Fox In Sheep’s Clothing: 1981 Ford Fairmont Wagon
The Ford Fairmont (and its badge engineered cousin, the Mercury Zephyr) was a Fox-body based large compact (or small mid-sized) sedan that superseded the Maverick in 1978 and survived until it was replaced with the terminally terrible Tempo in 1984. The Fairmont isn’t something you’d expect rich guys to buy under the air conditioned tents at a Barrett-Jackson auction, but this next one will be able to embarrass the stock C4 Corvette they just bought for too much money. Find this 1981 Ford Fairmont Wagon here on eBay offered for $6,500 buy-it-now located in Odenville, AL.
This Fairmont might not seem like much from the outside — it wears a faded blue coat with a white cap, and the trim is falling off in places. However, the Fairmont was more than just a restyled economy car, it was a unibody car build on the Fox Mustang platform and featured a stiff/light frame, rack-n-pinion steering, plus an oxcart solid axle out back. Stock power wasn’t anything to get excited about…but Ford 302 V8 is second only to the Chevy 350 for being easy/cheap to tune up.
Under the hood of this sedate looking wagon is a Ford Performance Racing Parts “X” 302/340 horse power crate engine mated to a Tremec T5Z five speed transmission with Hurst shifter. Power then heads to a 8.8 inch rear end with 3.55 tracloc gears — yeehaw!!
Even a cursory glance inside this thing won’t alert any would be competitors to the monster lurking under the hood. The cue-ball sized shifter on a long arm is the only thing that doesn’t scream grandpa car.
Hat tip to Oddimotive. See another quick wagon? email@example.com
The phone-dial wheels are a pretty clear tipoff of what's going on to those Fox-aware.
2.95 Z-code T5 and 3.55 are just about right for that car. Don't go racing any CTS-Vs but you'll be quick enough for most purposes.
I love this so much. The only thing I would want to do with it would be to lose the front buckets and source the stock vinyl bench. That way, when I make an abrupt right turn, I can slide my surprised woman into my waiting clutches. Heh heh heh.
As I used to say back in college…bench seats have their uses, none of which have anything to do with actually *driving*.
Well, I am torn about this one. I love Fairmonts, and adore Fairmont wagons (I have owned two). The sleeper aspect of this one is really well done, but the exterior condition is just a bit too rough for that kind of money (at least from me).
If I owned this, the one change I would make immediately is to install a leather steering wheel from the 79-82 Mustang (also used on the Granada). In fact, I have one hanging in the garage right now. The stock Fairmont steering wheel is skinny and feels nasty in your hands. The Mustang wheel is a treat.
I am a grandpa and love it, even if the "Mustang" wheels tipped me off, perhaps Mustang front seats would help too. It is an interesting car.
Oh, this does bring out the respect in me.
I had a beige one it was my post divorce driver (she got the Porsche)
I was invisible to women of all ages and social standings.
Almost as much no respect as a K car.