Low Mileage Truckster: 1979 Ford Fairmont

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It’s amazing to me how some cars can come back around and shed their previous unloved qualities to actually become moderately appealing classics. I don’t know about you, but I place the Ford Fairmont in that category; this example here on eBay has only 26,500 miles and looks great on later Mustang wheels. 

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Despite being a popular choice for family hauling duties, this Fairmont has escaped years of little league practice and bubble gum stuck to the fabric. The body looks darn near free of damage of any kind, even the tiniest door ding. The seller purchased this car from the original owner’s estate, so it has clearly led a gentle life before moving onto only its second owner.

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Shots like this just get you excited. Seeing the spare tire well completely free of rust or damage of any kind is always good to see. I actually just unloaded all the crap in my project 320 for the first time since purchasing it, and was overjoyed to see the original spare in great shape along with an unused factory jack! It’s the little things that survivor cars like this Fairmont pull off so well.

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Like to many cars from this era, there is a ton of red upholstery everywhere you look. It doesn’t bother me, personally, especially when it looks this good – you may find it to be a bit overwhelming, however. The seller has tackled some basic tune-up repairs and claims it runs great, and bidding is already approaching $5K – but will it hit the Buy-It-Now of $7,000?

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Comments

  1. Michael V.

    Very nice. The 200 six cylinder was a bad choice by the time this car was built. Strangled by emissions equipment, it actually made less power than the 2.3 four cylinder, plus it was heavier and thirstier. Ford made a few Mustangs with the 2.8 V6 from Germany, but substituted the 200 six without telling anyone. I drove one of the Mustangs with the engine, and it was the worst.

  2. Bobsmyuncle

    I’m a wagon guy so biased, but this is a sweetheart of a car, and the wheels set it off great! I’m not enthusiastic about the mill either but really at this point who cares?

  3. RockabillyJay

    I was just thinking about these the other day..I drove a silver 80 wagon in high school (held all the BMX bikes I could stuff in there) and my mom drove a red 79…

  4. AMCSTEVE

    It would make a great Rod.

  5. Chris

    We had a navy blue one, it had baby blue interior. It also had the 200 six. It was the first Ford we ever had that did not use a drop of oil between oil changes. Put 200k miles on it. Aside from normal wear items we had to replace the flywheel, which split in two, and a steering rack which leaked. Also the circuit board for the dash lights crumbled around the bulb sockets.

  6. sir mike

    USA car builders need to start building cars..especially smaller s/w…like this again.

  7. RichS

    Amazing condition – those cargo area plastics were usually the first to get beat up and they look new in this car. I learned to drive in my parent’s rootbeer brown ’81 2.3/4spd wagon. Our schools drivers ed cars were ’83 Fairmont sedans. I owned a couple Fairmont coupes in high school and early adulthood so I have a soft spot for these things.

    If I had the money, I’d buy this in a second, but I’m saving to restomod my ’81 Fairmont Durango pickup.

    Like 1
    • Whammytap

      Holy cow, you have a Fairmont Durango? That’s a rare beast. If you are documenting your work somewhere, I’d love to see the resto.

    • lc

      I liked the fiber glass bed of the Ford Durango. But it had engine power issues at 50+ where it would loose power. The 3.3 idled good. I did a basic tune up on it, but still the issue was present. After I sold it, I thought that it could have been a bad smog pump starving the engine of air? Anyway, it is pictured on Barnfinds parked in front of the Embraer Heights sign. The Durango after it in the field/yard is the person that I bought it from. So where is it now? I don’t know. The person that bought it from me, flipped it on Ebay.

  8. daniel wright

    We had two of these one that was the mirror image of the one for sale and another that we kids called the death mobile. That poor car was a mess of bondo and spray paint before we bought it. The death mobile out lasted the other by many years.

  9. SSPBill

    Since these are just Fox architecture a 5.0 is almost plug and play. I saw that done a few times. If one can avoid the temptation of muscling-up a v8 swap a stock 5.0 drivetrain would make a nice, torquey hauler.

  10. Larry K

    Agreed. As a kid saw no use for these but now having one pull up beside me would be a breath of fresh air.

    • John Edward Jordan

      I drove several of these vehicles as rental cars in the late 70s to haul our speech team students from West LA College to Bakerfield College in California. Loaded with students and lugage these Fairmont cars did not feel, ride, handle or accelerate like a similarly loaded 85 Fox chassis Ford Mustang with 5.0 V8 power train. Granted the Fairmonts carried 2 more passengers with lugage.

  11. Alan Stroh

    Worth every penny…a great beast

  12. fordfan

    My best man had one of these as a company car, same year but green ,with a v8. it was the first v8 I I’ve ever driven and it was as gutless as my 78 malibu classic with its 3.3 liter v6 . great wagon. We would load up his 85 hp johnson outboard in the back with plenty of room. Had to be about 500 lbs

  13. David Miraglia

    Owned a Fairmont. Unspectacular, yes. But better than its crude successor the Tempo.

  14. Car39

    Sold my father in law a 6 cyl Fairmont for $500. It took him and 3 brothers in law 6 years to kill. He was big on preventive maintenance: when something prevented from running, he did the maintenance. Tanks

  15. Rustytech Member

    First, wasn’t it a shame the manufacturers had to start putting stickers on the door panels to tell us how to drive our cars? This thing is gorgeous. I used to buy theses cheap from the city police department fix me up and sell me. They were real money makers then. Yes they were way better than the Tempo’s. I would be proud to own this one.

    • RichS

      Ford sent those stickers out in the early 80s so as to avoid a recall on the transmissions coming out of Park. I remember my uncles Pinto wagon releasing itself and rolling across Aurora Avenue in Seattle – somehow not hitting another car

  16. Clinton

    I’d love to get this and stuff a coyote 5.0 in it

  17. John E Jordan

    Clinton: A Ford 351 Clevland Engine used in in some 60’s Cobra, early GT 40 and 70s Ford Pantera is the same size as Ford’s 289 or 302 small block might be cheaper & easier to fit. The New Coyote engine demensions & architecture requires alot more engine bay room. Besides the Fox Chassis used in varitions for Fairmonts & Mustangs was originally designed for the 302 push rod engine. The reason it was offered in Fairmonts I suspect was EPA gas mpg.
    The Fairmont Fox Chassis is stretched.
    Given how these Fairmonts drove fully loaded I suspect Chassis torsional twist along under performing suspension compared to the shorter Mustang was one of those bean counter production decisions.

  18. John E Jordan

    Correction 302 was not used in production Fairmonts Clinton

    • John E Jordan

      Correction 302 and 255 Winsor was offer in production Fairmonts Clinton. But remember most of these were under performing because of all the smog gear. The 85 Ford Mustangs or Corvettes were only pushing 230 horsepower.

  19. Bryan

    Very nice condition and a rare site these days.

    These cars were so plain….minimalist to the extreme! At the time I remembered how Fairmonts made an Aspen or Volare’ look luxurious. Outside of the Mustang, 83 and on Thunderbirds, and the Mark VII, most fox – bodied Ford products of the era shared the same humble and boxy look (80-82 Thunderbird/Cougar, bustle – back Continental, 81 and on Granada, 1983-86 Ford LTD/Marquis, etc).

    Leave it to Ford though….they sold millions of these cars, despite the eras facination with front wheel drive.

  20. angliagt

    We bought a Black ’78 wagon,just before the birth of
    our oldest,in ’81.I put Mustang TRX wheels on it,so it
    handled reasonably well.Lowered it down a bit also.
    When our Fiesta was down,I entered an aurtocross
    with it,finishing second in class!
    We kept that car for about 11 years,& had it rebuilt
    at one point,as I didn’t see any family car that I liked at
    that time.It was also bulletproof,never seemed to break
    down.
    We would have kept it,but got totaled by a drunk driver.

  21. josh h

    When Fairmonts were new I remember thinking that they were the most boring cars ever created. Today the boxiness of them stand out among the sea of silver-gray-black blobs. I’d prefer the squire version though…or the 82 Granada or Cougar wagon.

  22. John E Jordan

    I agree Josh. Not a design sucess by any means.

  23. Paul D Smith

    Actually guys the 200 6 cylinder pulls this little wagon down the road with no problems. On my last 150 mile trip I averaged 23 MPG. I have it tucked away in a heated garage until spring. There is a movie company wanting to use it for one of their movies based in the Chicago/Milwaukee Area. So going to have to put the factory white walls and hubcaps back on so it can be a “Film Star”

  24. Whammytap

    I have had one of these as my daily driver for over a year now. “Gertrude” isn’t in quite as perfect shape as this stunning example, but she has been well taken-care of and I am trying to continue the tradition. She’s a sky blue 1979 woodie wagon with blue interior, 200ci inline six, C3 trans, 1bbl Holley, 67K miles. No rust, all original. I love her to death. Cool people give me the thumbs-up. It kills me how many of these Fairmonts were wilfully and knowingly destroyed. They’re great cars as long as you don’t need to drive like the Stig…and most of us don’t.

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