Dysmey Post > Projects & Stuff > My Ride: 1997 Ford Aspire

Ford Aspire

My car never looked anything so nice and shiny.

1997 Ford Aspire

It ended on 7 July 2009 when I traded in my Ford Aspire for a 2009 Honda Fit.

My current ride was a maroon 1997 Ford Aspire two-door hatchback with automatic transmission and air conditioning.

What is an Aspire?

Ford's smallest, lowest priced, least powerful, and most fuel efficient car, the Aspire, is imported from Kia Motors in South Korea.

This is the subcompact Ford had sold during 1994-1997. How good is the Aspire? On a Car Talk broadcast on 20 August 2005, the Magliozzi Bros. rip the model a new exhaust hole: That is the stupidest name for any vehicle! I though, What were they thinking? Aspire: I wish I had a better car than this!!.

In response I took the Car Talk survey and said this about my Aspire:

I bought my Aspire from some guy who completely rebuilt the back end after an accident. Apart from the transmission (which helped me enhance my credit rating after I paid off the loan to replace it), the electricals (there's a fault somewhere that makes the check engine light stay on) and the speedometer (which squealed on cold winter mornings until I replaced the panel myself), I like the car. It gets me wherever I want go without consuming a lot of gas. And it's mine — an important fact to someone who has gotten hand-me-down junkers from his folks for years.

My Aspire was rebuilt after the original owner smashed the back end. I bought it in 1998 for $7000 from the guy who rebuilt it. The loan I took out to buy the car was my biggest personal loan, and I was so glad when I paid it off in 2002.

The transmission died on me almost immediately after I bought the car. It was replaced with a rebuilt transmission, to pay for which I had to take out a short-term loan of $1000.

Apart from the transmission I have had no major problems with my Ford Aspire until 2009. That transmission decided to fail on me. It cost me a lot to get another rebuilt transmission, which was the only way to repair the car. Still, at over 200,000 miles, it runs a lot better than the junkers I drove for most of my adult life. Yet, with the loss of replacement parts for the Aspire (apart from cannibalized parts in junk yards and online dealers), I reached the point where I had to replace my car with a new one, which I did on 7 July 2009.

An abridged version of the Consumer Guide Web site on the Ford Aspire.
A Long History
My car and its minor irritations, now, then and way back when.
Ford Aspire Speedometer Inop
What to do when that bloody speedometer finally dies.
Car Radio
Then my car radio decides to die, or least to pick up only the shlock radio station from Muncie.

Written by Andy West on 20 August 2005. Updated on 7 July 2009.