Ford Fairmont

The United States was introduced to an all-new, rear wheel drive compact car in 1978. The Ford Fairmont would remain in the marketplace until its demise in 1983. The 1978 Ford Fairmont was the first model ever built off the Ford Fox platform, which would later be the basis for a variety of other models, including the 1980 to 1988 Thunderbirds. The same platform was also used on the 1981 to 1982 American Ford Granada, the 1979 to 2004 Mustang and in 1982 on the downsized Lincoln Continental. The Fairmont was intended to replace the Ford Maverick and at its release was the equivalent of the Mercury Zephyr. The Ford Fairmont was available as both a 2-door or a 4-door sedan, and was also offered as a 5-door wagon. Slightly later a specialty coupe was introduced. This out of the ordinary edition had a different roofline known as the Futura, a name that had first appeared in the Ford Falcon some 17 years prior. The Fairmont Futura brought forward an unusual two-piece vinyl roof with an upswept central roof band. This design was similar to that on the contemporary Thunderbird. As it turns out, this odd addition became a stunning success for Ford, and the 1978 model set the record for new model production. This record was taken from the previous holder, the 1965 Mustang. The Fairmont was efficiently packaged and offered first-rate passenger and cargo room for its size while retaining a conventional rear-wheel drive platform. Reviews consistently praised the Fairmont as favorably compared to the contemporary Volvo and BMW models. This was of course a major success for Ford and most likely helped them survive the tumultuous decade. The Fairmont Futura coupe and the four-door sedan continued through 1983. At that time they were replaced by the Ford Tempo for the 1984 model year.