Donald MacInnes's Fiesta Popular
I learnt to drive in my aunt's white 1.1 Popular, a sensationally boring car. Nevertheless, I was 17 and learning to drive, so behind the wheel I felt like a concrete-thighed superhero; more virile than a lion in midnight-blue fashion slacks. Although my aunt had a driving school, she was never particularly schoolmarmy. In fact, she even seemed to react to my incandescent masculinity – not flirtatious, but maybe a little sardonic and playful; certainly I got the impression that during our lessons she was an individual quite distinct from her familial role.
But while she may have been the first relative to treat me like a man, she could still bring about my utter emasculation with one flick of her foot. The car had dual controls, you see. Nothing makes you feel like a wee boy quicker than your auntie having to brake for you when you're approaching a roundabout at 87mph.
Simmy Richman's Fiesta Mark 2
My second car was a Ford Fiesta. It was light blue and it was a gift from my brother. He bought a raffle ticket at a posh dinner and, when he left early, he joked to the person sitting next to him to "give me a ring when I win the car". On his way back home that night his phone rang. "You've won the car," the voice on the end of the line said. My brother thought he was joking. He had no need of the car so he gave it to me. I can't say I loved it but it was an improvement on the lumpy Cortina my father had made me learn to drive in.
About a year later, I was joining the Westway flyover in London when a car rear-ended me. The damage didn't seem that extensive, the car still drove, but the garage informed me that my Fiesta was a write-off. The car I bought next (with the insurance money) was my one and only mobile folly: a bright orange, vintage Saab V4. It was no end of expensive-parts pain but it left my unloved and barely driven write-off of a Ford Fiesta in its dust.
Sophie Lam's Fiesta Finesse
As a committed cyclist, I never understood the attachment between man and car. That was until Ragu. She was, and still is, my first motor. A silver, W-reg Ford Fiesta Finesse hand-me-down. My mother-in-law didn't much care for her stained upholstery, her throaty growl on a winter's morning or her clunky clutch. But to a newly qualified driver, Ragu was perhaps the best Christmas present ever.
Two and a half years and 10,000 miles later, Ragu has done me proud. Two weeks after passing my driving test, we drove back to her previous owners for Christmas. My husband and cat were also present and the latter decided to take a nose around Ragu's blotchy interior while I revved up to what felt like a terrifying 50mph. Suffice to say, she got me there safe and sound. She's also chugged down the A303 on an epic seven-hour trip from London to Devon (it wasn't her fault – there were roadworks and I took a wrong turn), been borrowed by a friend who claims she did 100mph on the M6, and acted as sleeping quarters when it was too stormy to pitch a tent at a festival in Sussex. Oh, and she's passed all her MOTs without a hitch. This hand-me-down is staying with me.
Tim Alden's P-reg and S-reg Fiestas
When my eldest's driving test loomed, I went on Gumtree to look for something he could take off to university and we could possibly afford to insure. Almost half my search results seemed to be Fiestas, and when a seller turned out to be the student daughter of a northern garage owner, I decided I was on to a good deal.
Alas, my son failed his test, the gearbox went on our gas-guzzling estate and a £400 P-reg maroon Fiesta became the family car. It was incredibly cheap to run, and when a rusty bonnet became an MOT issue two years later, there was a bloke around the corner who had one in exactly the right shade for £20. I was sold on its sheer practicality, eventually upgrading to a bright red S-reg with alloys and power steering for £500, ideal for growing old disgracefully.