Ford Motor Company introduced the Fairmont nameplate as a mid-sized car for model year 1978. It was brought to market as the replacement for the previously popular Ford Maverick. It was also sold under the Lincoln/Mercury (Ford owned) marque as the Zephyr. Improvements over the Maverick included better handling, fuel economy and a larger interior. The Fairmont was eventually replaced by the Tempo after the final production year of 1983.
Ford Fairmont Features & Specifications
- Model years: 1978-1983
- Assembly: US, Canada, Venezuela
- Class: Compact
- Body Styles: Two Door Coupe (Futura), 2 & 4 Dr Sedan, Station Wagon
- Layout: Front Engine / Rear Wheel Drive
- Platform: Ford Fox
- 140 cubic inches (2.3 L) OHC I4
- 200 cubic inches (3.3 L) Thriftmaster Six I6
- 255 cubic inches (4.18 L) Windsor V8
- 302 cubic inches (4.95 L) Windsor V8
- 4-speed manual
- 3-speed C3 automatic
- 3-speed C4 automatic
- 3-speed C5 automatic
- Wheelbase: 105.5 in
- Length: 193.8 in
- Curb Weight: 2,747–2,959 pounds
Introduction, Body Styles & Design Changes
Initially Ford Fairmonts were only available as sedans and wagons, with the wagon body style featuring a unique hatchback style single piece liftgate. During the first model year Ford quickly introduced the two door coupe version known as the Futura.
Ford Fairmont Futura
The Futura was designed to be the sportier version of the Fairmont with a separate roofline modeled after the Thunderbird. The Futura was also inspired by the Crown Victoria although the name was borrowed from the Falcon nameplate. The Futura also shared the four-headlight fascia initially used on the Mercury Zephyr models. In 1981 all models would move to this front look for part uniformity.
Marketing Shift & Discontinuation
Ford moved it’s a higher end Granada nameplate to the Fox platform in 1981 and thus shifted the focus of the Fairmont more towards fleet and entry level sales. The wagon body style was also dropped in 1982. In 1983 Ford made a major overhaul to their entire car lineup and part of this shit would be the discontinuation of the Fairmont model.
Mercury Zephyr Differences
Initially the Zephyr was easy to distinguish from the Fairmont due to the front grille design. Other than this and the badges the Zephyr was almost identical, with the same body styles, powertrain and suspension. Rather than call the 2-door coupe the Futura the Zephyr version was called the Z-7 and was a limited production car with a custom two-tone paint job.
Displayed below are pictures of a few vintage ads / marketing materials / brochures for the Ford Fairmont. Click on an image to see an enlarged version.
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