Condition: Tow bar aside, straight from the brochure
There were many rather fabulous cars at the 2022 Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional, but while running around the show speaking to owners about their mundane motors and taking snaps of the metal on display, it didn’t escape my notice that the car your author had brought along had a near-permanent group of admirers.
That car was an astonishingly tidy 1994 Ford Mondeo GLX, and its owner is my brother. While he couldn’t attend the Festival himself he graciously lent me the car for a few days, and to be frank it was an absolute pleasure.
I’ll write about it in more detail at some point because it deserves a closer look, but it was clear on the day of the show that this once-familiar car still has plenty of admirers, particularly in such good condition – and even declaring bias, I don’t think there was a finer Mondeo at FOTU.
If you want to challenge it next year though, I might have found just the car. This 1996 Ford Mondeo scores brownie points immediately for being in LX trim, one step below GLX, and for being the arguably more unexceptional hatchback, rather than my brother’s saloon.
If it then loses points it’s for having a 2-litre engine rather than the 1.8 I drove, though in terms of condition the two cars seem really quite similar – both look near-perfect in photographs but no doubt have a few more scuffs and scrapes when you see them in the metal.
What really draws me to this Mondeo though, survivor status aside, is that oh-so-’90s-Ford combination of dark blue exterior paintwork, and a blue plastic interior. It’s pretty much how all Mk1 Mondeos look in my head, the blue trim extending as far as the doorcards, seats, carpet, and even the plastic-rimmed steering wheel.
And after several hundred miles behind the wheel of the GLX, I’d expect this LX to be no less of a joy to drive – that dashboard layout is an underrated bit of interior design, ergonomically near-perfect and quite handsome too. Ditto the good-looking four-spoke wheel, which is good to hold, and hopefully the gearshift on this LX is as good as the GLX too.
Of slight concern is the tow bar hanging under the rear bumper. Hopefully it’s only done light duty, but for the best Mondeo driving experience you’d want all the springs, dampers and bushes to be like-new.
Here though the car’s 136k miles is probably a good sign; if it’s been properly looked after, there should be very few creaky old parts still left on it. The first Mk1 Mondeo I drove, Ford’s low-mileage and otherwise well-kept heritage fleet car didn’t drive half as well as my brother’s 115k-miler. It’s a good advert for always buying on condition and history, not purely on mileage.
There’s an MOT until November and previous tests have all looked fairly clean, which is another good sign. While we’d always exercise caution with any used car, frankly this is probably one of the most appealing unexceptional classifieds we’ve found in weeks, as well as one of the most affordable at £1795 – and we can pretty much guarantee it’ll draw a crowd at next year’s FOTU.