Ford got more mileage out of the Fox platform than pretty much any since the Model T, and today’s Nice Price or No Dice Fairmont is where it all began. Let’s see if nostalgia and some interesting options will give this Futura’s price some mileage.
I had a fun time reading your comments on yesterday’s 2000 Plymouth Prowler. Pitchforks were raised and torches were… um, torched in rebuke of both its appearance and the “NO LOWBALLERS!!!” admonition in its Craigslist ad. With so much acrimony focused on the questionably modded car, there was little chance that its $35,000 asking price would have much of a chance in the poll. Sure enough, the Plymouth went down in a massive 94 percent No Dice loss. I guess that’s one Prowler that won’t soon get nabbed.
I’d like you all to take a knee. The purpose is to have a moment of silence in remembrance of Ford’s glorious Fox platform. It may no longer be in service but it’s still beloved by Ford fans from coast to coast for its flexibility and accessible performance.
The Fox platform arrived in 1977 under the Ford Fairmont and its Mercury twin, the Zephyr, It was a clean-sheet design that initially served as a replacement for Ford’s mid-sized Maverick. Considering that the Maverick rode on a chassis that first saw duty under the Ford Falcon back in 1960, it certainly was time for Ford to turn a page.
Unlike the earlier Maverick’s Coke-bottle design, these new cars wore simple and space-efficient lines. They also expanded the model line from two and four-door sedans to include a station wagon and a smartly styled coupe. The latter dusted off the Futura name, which had previously seen duty as a Falcon model and before that as a show car for Ford subsidiary, Lincoln that eventually became TV Batman’s whip.
The Fairmont Futura carried a basket handle roofline similar to that of the contemporary Thunderbird, a forward-canted rear end, and, up in the front, a four-headlamp light setup in place of the more plebeian Fairmont’s two light arrangement. Like all Fairmonts and Zephyrs of the time, it also wore aluminum bumper caps and wind-swept side-view mirrors tucked into the corners of the A-pillars.
This 1979 Ford Fairmont Futura has all that and looks like it just drove off the assembly line. There are just 86,327 miles under its belt and even those few hardly show. Not only does this Futura look to be in amazing shape, but it’s also kitted in a unique fashion for a ’70s car, what with its top-of-the-line 5.0 V8 and the four-speed manual transmission behind that.
The V8 wasn’t just squeezed into the Fairmont as an afterthought either. Showing some prescience, Ford designed the car for V-engines. In service of that, the MacPherson strut front suspension has its coil springs not on the top of the strut in what we might consider traditional fashion, but down low next to each strut between the frame and the lower control arm. This allowed for an appreciably wide engine bay for cars like this V8-powered Futura.
Now, based simply on modern standards, there’s not so much “power” to be had here. That carbureted V8 only managed a mere 139 horsepower this model year. The manual gearbox should at least make those ponies fun to corral.
Also fun is this Futura’s interior. There you’ll find wonderful plaid upholstery and a factory AM/FM 8-track player. The car has power steering and brakes, plus A/C that’s claimed in the ad to have been “restored.” Everything looks to be in remarkable shape for its age and the fact that Fairmont interiors were generally pretty chintzy on the whole.
Outside, the car wears paint that the ad calls Red Glow but that I think looks more like Vaquero Glow. That’s topped with a brown vinyl roof split by the basket handle. Down below there are steel wheels with fancy wire wheel covers and wearing new tires.
The title is clean and the car still wears its desirable-to-Californians blue and gold license plates.
There’s a lot to unpack with this Futura. How did it last in such immaculate shape for this long? Who originally optioned this personal coupe with a V8 and a stick? Where can I get a suit tailored in that amazing plaid upholstery pattern?
These questions, and many more, may be answered by engaging the seller in pursuit of this Futura’s purchase. The more important question of the moment, however, is whether it’s worth the $13,500 asking price to do so.
H/T to Matthew Finio for the hookup!
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