1978 Ford Fairmont

Posted by: CNGInterceptor

1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/27/15 08:44 AM

So, I originally bought this car back in 2012.

I sold it later that year - and have regretted it since.

When I came back from Sheppard AFB in March, I wanted to try and find it.

As fate would have it, it popped back up for sale on Craigslist a few months back.

Long story short, it has 30,xxx extra miles, a little more rust, and the interior is worse than I remember - but I got it back cheap!

Enough talking - here's the pictures!







Posted by: 2kGM

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/27/15 09:06 AM

I still have PTSD from an experience involving a rental fleet Fairmont in 1983. I'll never love them, but they were decent cars for their day, and did avoid most of the stupidities of that time through being focused on economy and utility.

Tough to kill, except for the usual body rust problems.

Does that have the Falcon six cylinder in it? The fours were pretty gutless as I recall.

I wonder if any Zephyrs from that era survived - I always thought the grafted on greenhouse back window looked amusing and silly on those.
Posted by: CNGInterceptor

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/27/15 09:17 AM

Unfortunately, it's "gutless" with a 2.3L 4-cylinder.

88HP is torture, but it's a fun car to drive around town and it gets more attention than any other car I've ever owned.
Posted by: GrandMarq9807

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/29/15 12:41 AM

They are almost as light as a Fox Stang, make decent race cars.. The 5.0 was optional in the first couple years, had a '78 wagon with one... Bought probably four or five with the 3.3L(200) 6cyl, to resell, never owned one with the half motor... Had enough '74-'83 Stangs with the 2.3 4cyl(plus a '79 with the 2.8L V6 & a '80 with 3.3L & SROD), sure didn't want one in a F'mont... Around the time I quit "flippin" I'd acquired a '87 LX Stang with 4cyl & 5speed along with a 5 speed '86 GT... Finally gave the LX to daughter and she ran it up close to 200K mi before buying a new Saturn... Sold the GT to guy up in OH...
Posted by: bigROC209

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/29/15 01:22 AM

My cousin had an early 80's Malibu with a 305 in it. That thing was a light weight sleeper.
Posted by: CNGInterceptor

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/29/15 06:59 AM

This car is literally begging for more power!

...one project at a time though.

And rightfully, my '72 Galaxie is next on the "list".
Posted by: Mrvic2004

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/29/15 01:11 PM

Would love to find a 2 door Fairmont. Still that 4 door is nice.
Posted by: 2kGM

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/29/15 04:09 PM

Any old Windsor block will drop right in. But as it's a four-cylinder, why not be amusing and put the SHO turbo 2.3 in it?
Posted by: CNGInterceptor

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/30/15 07:13 AM

I have more project cars than I know what to do with!

But the thought crossed my mind about a 2.3L EcoBoost powertrain from an S550...
Posted by: 2kGM

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/30/15 12:03 PM

Yeah, that'd also be a fun knob to turn. It would certainly fit in the hole. You'd have to do some thinking about the transmission, though.
Posted by: GrandMarq9807

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/30/15 06:14 PM

Originally Posted By 2kGM
Any old Windsor block will drop right in. But as it's a four-cylinder, why not be amusing and put the SHO turbo 2.3 in it?


The 2.3 turbo that would fit were used in '84-'86 SVO Mustangs and '83-'88 Turbo Coupe T-Birds... A donor T-Bird could give the parts needed, most of those were 5-speed with Traction Lock 8'8" rear and 3.55 gears('87 & '88)... I looked for approx a year at the auctions to find one optioned with automatic that I used for my 5.0/AOD swap...

The late 2.3 with all the computer controls, DBW etc would be a nightmare... If a stand alone harness could be sourced most of the work would be fitment...
Posted by: Bangster

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 07/31/15 11:51 PM

Miss my four door and 2 dr sedan fox body cars. Even the 81 with the 255 V8 was fun for what it was.

The 302 in the 79 Zephyr was much better, I had an 80 2 door with the straight 6, which was an okay driver, it just didn't rev real well and wasn't well matched to the transmission and rear gearing, so it would shift and fall on its face.

I miss my 79 the most, I gave up on it after a lot of years and miles. The distributor gear roll pin sheared, and it took me forever to realize what was happening, as it was almost correctly timed a portion of the time, then off 180 degrees and just filled the exhaust full of gas until it slipped again and was nearly in time.

That color looks familiar, however mine was originally a silver car but they oxidize fast here without proper care.

Posted by: fomoco4me

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 08/02/15 11:02 PM

Nice Fairmont I had two exactly like that. One was a Government GSA car. 2.3 4 cyl automatic. I had to use it to climb a 4,500 ft mountain highway every other day. Top speed uphill 45 mph.

Second was an exact copy of yours another 2.3 4 cyl. with a blown motor. I saved it from the junkyard. Put another 4 cyl. in it. Putted around town until I sold it.

I had a total of six or seven of the fairmonts or the zephers. The one I really want is the Fairmont wagon that was made into ranchero type called the Durango. There was a dealer in California, Galpin Ford that sold these. Rare, but I would like to get one.
Posted by: ilovemercury

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 08/03/15 09:44 AM

Those Durangos were hardly very robust, a fiberglass bed on a unibody frame?
There's a reason more weren't made.
Posted by: CJCCV

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 08/03/15 12:25 PM

Originally Posted By fomoco4me
The one I really want is the Fairmont wagon that was made into ranchero type called the Durango. There was a dealer in California, Galpin Ford that sold these. Rare, but I would like to get one.
Actually, the Durango conversions were based off the Futura coupe not the station wagon; the length and shape of the doors' being the dead give-away.
Posted by: Jarlaxle

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 08/09/15 06:35 PM

Originally Posted By 2kGM
Any old Windsor block will drop right in. But as it's a four-cylinder, why not be amusing and put the SHO turbo 2.3 in it?


Note that a 2.3 turbo will bolt to a C4 with the appropriate bellhousing. (1974-76 Pinto/Mustang II)
Posted by: GrandMarq9807

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 08/10/15 06:09 AM

Originally Posted By Jarlaxle
Originally Posted By 2kGM
Any old Windsor block will drop right in. But as it's a four-cylinder, why not be amusing and put the SHO turbo 2.3 in it?


Note that a 2.3 turbo will bolt to a C4 with the appropriate bellhousing. (1974-76 Pinto/Mustang II)

Far more of Ford's 4cyl RWD used C4 behind the 2.3 than just Stang II... The trans currently installed in that Fairbox may well be a C4... Yeah I know many had C3(that '84-'86 Turbo Coupes also used), but C4 were widely used as well... Had '79 & '81 Stangs with 2.3/C4 and another junk yard 2.3 C4 that had Fairmont stenciled on it... Was in a '80/'81 Stang parts car when I got it...

BTW just checked a 1981 Hollander Interchange manual, both C4 & C3 are listed for 2.3 back to '74 for Stang and '78(first year) for Fairmont...

Of course the NA 4cyl(& 6cyl as well) trans were built with less clutches than their V8 counterparts, would guess the Turbo C4 may be built similar to V8 versions... Light duty C4 have a "PEB" ID while the versions with additional clutches are "PEE"...
Posted by: Jarlaxle

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 08/15/15 10:37 AM

After 1976, most got the C3. I almost bought a 1980 2.3 Mustang...it had a C3.
Posted by: DudeAbides

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 08/29/15 08:13 PM

I recall seeing a powder blue 2 door Fairmont with a cammed 302 in it when I was a kid, thought it was so cool, reminded me of Bob Glidden.
Posted by: Alex07

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 09/03/15 07:29 AM

I loved riding in that car when you got it -- glad you have it back!
Posted by: 55sunliner

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 03/04/16 11:26 PM

A old girlfriend had a one that was identical but had a 6 cylinder motor,she ended up wrecking it to where it was not worth repairing.
Posted by: SlamBradley

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 05/05/17 02:35 AM

Originally Posted By CNGInterceptor
Unfortunately, it's "gutless" with a 2.3L 4-cylinder.

88HP is torture, but it's a fun car to drive around town and it gets more attention than any other car I've ever owned.


Ah, memories. My mom's '82 Fairmont Futura was similarly gutless with its 2.3 and automatic. Beige on beige, too, with AM-only radio.

The car was actually fine while we lived in the flatlands of Nebraska, but moving to Colorado and its many elevation changes really began to tax the poor Fairmont - and my mother.

She traded it in on a Colt Vista 4WD wagon (anyone remember those?), though the Dodge dealer was rather reluctant to offer much in value.

In summation, the Fairmont with the Four: dead reliable, deadly slow.

Duncan biggrin
Posted by: SlamBradley

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 05/05/17 02:41 AM

Originally Posted By GrandMarq9807
Originally Posted By 2kGM
Any old Windsor block will drop right in. But as it's a four-cylinder, why not be amusing and put the SHO turbo 2.3 in it?


The 2.3 turbo that would fit were used in '84-'86 SVO Mustangs and '83-'88 Turbo Coupe T-Birds... A donor T-Bird could give the parts needed, most of those were 5-speed with Traction Lock 8'8" rear and 3.55 gears('87 & '88)... I looked for approx a year at the auctions to find one optioned with automatic that I used for my 5.0/AOD swap...

The late 2.3 with all the computer controls, DBW etc would be a nightmare... If a stand alone harness could be sourced most of the work would be fitment...


Around the time that the first turbo Mustangs and Capris were arriving, in 1980-1981 or so, the big rumor was that Ford would also be installing the turbo 2.3 in the Fairmont and Zephyr. There are indeed pre-production photos of a Fairmont Sport Coupe with a specific "turbo bulge" hood, but it's unclear as to whether Ford ever actually built any cars beyond prototypes (pre-production or otherwise) with the turbo motor.

I'll dig around and see if I can find the pic online.

Duncan biggrin
Posted by: GrandMarq9807

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 05/06/17 10:12 AM

There were '81 and/or '82 Fairmonts built with the blow thru 2.3 turbo... Figures I've seen were around 1100...
Posted by: grand123marquis

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 05/10/17 12:02 AM

Nice Fairmont. Reminds me of my 1st car, a 1980 white 4 door Fairmont with the inline 6 engine I got in 1988. Wish I had it now and could afford to restore it.
Posted by: JaxRhapsody

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 06/27/17 01:51 AM

I miss my 81 Mustang 2.3. I still have an OFFY dualport 4bbl intake for it.
Posted by: GrandMarq9807

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 09/15/17 11:05 AM

Originally Posted By grand123marquis
Nice Fairmont. Reminds me of my 1st car, a 1980 white 4 door Fairmont with the inline 6 engine I got in 1988. Wish I had it now and could afford to restore it.

My first car was a '57 Ford Country Sedan Sta wgn... Never really wanted another(tho wagons are now in vogue) and definitely not the next two that were '62 & '58 Ford 4dr... The '58 did have one redeeming virtue, was equipped with 352 interceptor(and, BTW power windows)... Fourth car was a '64 Galaxie 500 Fastback, 289 & three-on-tree that I converted to 390 4-speed, that one I'd like to have back... Fifth was a identical '64 but automatic, despised that car(soon sold it and started driving the 4-speed Galaxie again)... Number six is my Cobra Jet that I still have... Wouldn't trade it for all the aforementioned or next 25 combined(maybe one exception)... Somewhere in that bunch was '68 GTE Cougar with factory 427, that's the one I should have kept, some of those have sold for six figures...
Posted by: TenTwelve

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 01/17/18 05:46 PM

I have a fondness for Fairmonts. My parents had a couple.
Posted by: 2011CVLX

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 02/28/18 10:44 PM

neat.
Posted by: 2011CVLX

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 02/28/18 10:48 PM

my dad has a black 82 fairmont futura. He put a 351 crate motor in it with a AOD trans and a 9 in rear end. it has a functional shaker hood. we tried to bring it out of hibernation the other day only to find a fuel leak from the carbuerator. it has a mustang GT interior and phaser stripes. i enjoy driving it
Posted by: agroff383

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 05/20/18 11:44 AM

love this car in 2 doors and four, another one you dont see often anymore...now im thinking if i want a vic or one like that but would be nice to not have to deal with rust either.....awesome ride!
Posted by: Ponyguy

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 06/18/18 04:52 AM

i bought a 79 Fairmont new, with a 200 inch six/C4 and ordered the "sport instrumentation" interior with buckets and a floor shift... handling package... basically, a 4 door Mustang. It was that light metallic blue color, too... "Blue Glow," I think. Drove that car well over 125k miles...
Posted by: road_pizza

Re: 1978 Ford Fairmont - 08/09/18 12:36 PM

Did somebody say "1978 Ford Fairmont" biggrin ???