Ford sort of invented the concept of the car-based pickup with the 1925 introduction of the Model T Runabout with Pickup Truck Body. Despite those auspicious beginnings, by the end of the ‘70s Ford had basically ceded the category to Chevy and their El Camino. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Fairmont-with-a-bed is a non-factory parting shot, but will you find its price to be foxy?
I'm sorry Michael, but I'm afraid sixteen thousand dollars is too much to ask for me considering I have the wrong wheels and interior color, and am but a sad reminder of the maxim: just because you can, dosen't mean you should. Thanks KITT, I'll take it from here. When the Transformers movie came out, thousands of males who grew up in the eighties got stiffies over their pre-pubescent fantasies finally getting the big screen respect they deserved. Yesterday proved that not every ‘80s memory is worth being paraded past the wincing eye of adulthood, as it was decided the 1985 Pontiac Trans Am KITT replicar was a visual crime, and it went down in a 77% Crack Pipe loss.
I've always said, crime doesn't pay, Michael.
Shut up, Daniels.
Modifying cars for movies and TV is one thing - and can result in either a kitchy coolness - i.e. driving around like future boy in a BTTF Delorean - or, as yesterday's car suggested, an embarrassing manifestation of one's stunted maturity. On the other hand, sometimes a non-factory modification is a forehead slap of brilliance - and today's 1981 Ford Durango is just such a slap.
The last Ford Ranchero - based on the pointy-fendered body of the LTD II - rolled off the assembly line in 1979, basically bringing an era to an end. However, nature, and the aftermarket, abhors a vacuum and so the very next year, National Coach Corp of Los Angeles took a Sawzall® to the Fairmont Futura, and added a fiberglass pickup bed where none had once been, and created the Durango. The change was made super simple by a styling meme that Ford was applying to their sport coupes at that time - that of the basket handle roofline. Both the
B-Turd T-Bird and Futura had that greenhouse feature, and slicing away everything past the hoop down to the tail lights on the Fairmont coupe provided for a short load area and hair whipping shenanigans from all the open behind the seats. The fiberglass bed solved the hair problem, and also replaced the back seats, solving whatever problem those caused. A flat rear window now sat behind the front buckets, and the stock tail light panel was cleverly disguised the fold-down rear gate. Stainless steel trim caps the joint between the plastic and the unbelievably thin steel of the remaining Fairmont body, while the spare tire moved into what once was the rear passenger footwell.
This Durango, in yellow over gold, sports later Mustang wheels and an an overall jaunty appearance. The seller claims it to be a daily driver as well as an attention grabber at car shows. That the Durango looks cool is a plus since driving it would probably be a somewhat disappointing experience considering its Pliocene-era 200-cid six and 3-speed autobox. Smog strangled but sturdy, that engine put out only about 90-bhp back in the day, and the auto makes the least of that power that it can. It is shifted by a floor-mounted lever which is at least a nod to sportiness, as are the bucket seats and weight-saving manual winder windows. In fact, the entire interior will seem a familiar place to anyone who has spent time in a Mustang of the era as pretty much everything in Futura's command center was shared with the pony car. That means the six-gauge dash, four-spoke wheel with sharp-edged cruise control buttons, and those flat buckets. The seller makes the claim that the seats have been reupholstered, however I'm hoping he doesn't mean the two shades of beige snoods covering them in the pictures.
Total production numbers for the Durango aren't known, but estimates peg them at between 80 and 200. So small a run would indicate that Ford's actuaries probably made the right decision when they axed the Ranchero, and in fact, by then the Chevy El Camino only had a few years left as well. Still, while the Fox platform is as common on the nation's roads today as Bots dots, this edition can be considered one of the rarest. That, and only 78K on the clock ,make this a fine choice for any Ford collector or cowboy poseur looking for something a little different.
To be that different, the buyer will need to come up with $5,950, as that's what the seller is asking. That's a hell of a lot better than the blue one we saw a couple of years ago, but is it a deal? What do you think, is fifty shy of six grand a price that makes this Durango desirable? Or, does that make this a Fairmont without a fair price?
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