Confession time: I’m rather partial to the Ford Street Ka picked up by our serial snotter-buying YouTube team, even if it did turn out to be riddled with rust. It’s cheap, fun, doesn’t take itself seriously, and looks weirdly cool.
It isn’t the kind of Ka I’d buy with my own money, though - I’d get a Sport Ka. It uses the same 1.6-litre eight-valve inline-four as the Street Ka, but with less weight to cart around, it can crack 0-62mph in under 10 seconds.
Well, just - it does the deed in 9.7 seconds. Hardly shocking pace, admittedly, but you’ll have a hell of a time getting there, revving that little N/A four-pot’s heart out. It’s the kind of joy missing from most similarly-powerful modern city cars, thanks to the rise of the lethargic inline-three.
Ford could have chucked the pokier engine under the bonnet and called it a day - the first-gen Ka is, after all, a sweet-handling thing straight out of the box. But no - Ford lowered the thing by 14mm, stiffened up the anti-roll bar and rear torsion beam, added some bracing and widened the front track by 22mm.
The front arches were widened to match the increase in track, while the Ka’s tiny standard wheels were switched out for 16-inch rims. Front foglights (this was back when they were considered sporty, don’t forget) and an odd low-mounted circular reverse light completed the look. On the inside Ford… didn’t really do a whole lot.
But who cares - this is a car you can pick up for peanuts, and unlike a lot of our more affordable finds from the classifieds, one you can run for not much at all. The caveat here is rust - like our poor, crusty Street Ka, the Sport Ka has a deserved reputation for tin worm issues.
One of the most common areas is around the fuel filler cap, but if you’re looking at one of these, check the car over thoroughly for any unwelcome brown patches or bubbling. The Sport Ka’s rot problem is probably one of the main reasons there aren’t many about these days - this 2007 example is one of only a handful on sale in the UK.
The mileage is reasonable at 63,400, and in the pictures at least, it looks very tidy. It’s up for £990, and we’re struggling to think of a more fun way to spend that kind of money on a car.