Bargain Bangers – Ford Ka

The first in our Bargain Banger series, the Ford KA ticks every potential bargain banger requirement you could ask of it. The question is however, just how much of a bargain is the first gen-KA now, and what do you get for your (rather small) outlay? 

When the KA was launched in 1996, it caused quite a stir. Here was a small car that was keenly-priced with stylish looks both inside and out – and even today the KA can hold its own and as there are still so many about, it never looks out-of-place whatever the car park it finds itself in.

Early models came with grey bumpers which couldn’t be painted, but after Ford realised once again that people wanted something that wasn’t black, they dropped the UV coating and starting colouring the bumpers. These early models also shipped with the 1.3 Endura-E engine, of which I have much experience with. You certainly won’t find much refinement here, but the engine is incredibly simple, and not much ever goes wrong. I currently own a 130k mile KA and it starts on the button year after year with only the most basic of servicing. Speaking of both my KA, and the KA in general, the biggest issue is in fact one that’s pretty easy to spot by any novice – rust.

This is the biggest threat to the longevity of the KA, and one that has taken many off the roads already. The panels were not galvanised as a way of keeping the car cheap – and you will not find one with the dreaded brown-stuff. You need to get poking about pretty much everywhere from the window-line downwards. Also look for uneven paint and overspray as a potential bargaining-chip.

Most common areas are the door sills (inner and outer) and the infamous petrol cap area. I’ve had two KAs and both suffered bad corrosion around the petrol filler cap, and what you see on the outside is usually nothing compared to whats being eaten away from within, but any older KA that has been kept away from wet roads and salty water won’t be all that bad.

your 0-60 time will become comparable with that of the Titanic – in its current state

Equipment levels are basic but useful. Lots can be had, including leather seats and air-conditioning, and for not much cash. The boot is actually surprising for a car this small and I had four grown adults and a baby seat inside once. However, with that kind of weight, your 0-60 time will become comparable with that of the Titanic – in its current state.

They float about in value across the classifieds anywhere from £100 to £1000 for a later model. Most sit around the £300 mark for a usable example. I paid just £150 for a 2000 model with a bit of MOT left, the usual rust and 90k on the clock. The rust has become more extensive over the years of course and I feel it probably won’t clear another. But that’s three years service from a car that has driven to work everyday for just £150. I’ve done nothing more than change the oil and filters once a year. And I’ll still get £30 back when it comes to scrapping. Now that’s a bargain banger.


Leave a Reply