By on August 13, 2014

18 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe haven’t seen a Ford Fairlane in this series since this ’65 sedan, way back in 2010. We see station wagons here all the time, of course, the last couple being this ’66 Toyota crown and this ’86 Nissan Maxima. Our most recent Detroit station wagon Junkyard Find was this ’72 Pinto (or this ’60 Valiant, if you don’t consider the Pinto to be a proper Detroit station wagon). This ’70 Fairlane is rare indeed; I can’t recall having seen any midsize Ford wagon of this vintage on the street or in the junkyard for many years.
17 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s a lot of nostalgia for the big American family wagons among some of us who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, though most of those cars are the full-sized machines built on the Galaxie/Impala/Fury/Ambassador platforms, not the smaller midsize ones such as this Fairlane. My family never had a station wagon, preferring the Chevy Beauville passenger van as our family-outing-mobile.
10 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWindsor V8 with an enormous AC compressor, the same thing you saw under the hoods of millions of Fairlanes, Montegos, Torinos, Cyclones, and Rancheros of the era.
01 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one took kids to soccer practice 40 years ago.
05 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGuam pride!
06 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s not rusty and wouldn’t be a huge challenge to restore, but the love of old wagons among Generation X types hasn’t translated into much real-world willingness to spend money and time fixing them up.

The ’68 was an earlier generation of this platform, but it had the same “action size” as the ’70.

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28 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1970 Ford Fairlane 500 Station Wagon...”

  • avatar

    A great find! My parent’s had one like this – only in a light gold color – and I remember it vividly. They had it until 1973 or so when my father totaled it on the Major Deegan expressway in NY. It was replaced with a school bus yellow Torino wagon.

  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

    As a current owner of a 2004 Taurus wagon, I can’t help but to think of all of the soccer games, school drop off’s and pickups and the family trips to the beach this Fairlane wagon did. Shame to see it in this condition after it is all used up.

  • avatar

    I’ve always dug this generation of Torino/Fairlane. They just look right to me.

  • avatar

    You write this car wouldn’t be difficult to restore. Are you serious? It would take 5 times more than it would be worth to make this car a decent restored vehicle. I’ve restored 5 cars during a time when it was affordable by the average person and that is no longer the case.

  • avatar

    Oh look, a Maverick (picture #9).

  • avatar

    This is a pretty legit looking wagon. I think Ford was a bit ahead of the others at this time in history. Having said that, when you see old wagons of similar vintage – GM ones get a lot more love. Very easy to find a Custom Cruiser or what have you in good shape for sale.

  • avatar

    HA! Our junkyard paths overlap.

    The alternator and voltage regulator from this exact car are now in my ’64 Falcon. My generator died on the way back from judging LeMons in June.

    I was bummed it was missing from the engine, then noticed it tucked forward where the battery once was. Also, the floors in this thing are rusted out. California rust: leaky window seals leads to wet floors under the carpet.

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    My parents owned a light blue, 1969 Fairlane 500 wagon. They bought this car new and kept it until the late 1970’s. I recall many road trips in this car. Trips to visit grandparents in Alabama and Georgia. Summer vacations to the Smoky Mountains and Disney World. Weekend camping trips to the beach. Also Friday or Saturday night movie outings to the local drive-in theater.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      The 1969 Fairlane was better looking than this one, IMHO. I also liked its instrument panel with those four round, deep holes for the speedometer, etc. We owned a 1969 sedan. Good car, except like most vehicles of the era it started rusting early. We had ours until the late 1970’s as well.

  • avatar

    My folks had a late 60’s Galaxie wagon – it was their last Ford for 35 years after the rear bumper fell off from rust when it was only 2yrs old. Literally fell of in the driveway one night! A succession of Buick and Chrysler big-boat wagons followed until the gas crunch in ’80. Then they bought Subarus for a while. The next Ford “wagon” was a ’95 Windstar… Yeah, that went well. Then they bought an ’01 to replace the ’95 and it was WORSE.

    But many memories of being in the tailgunner seat in those floaty old boats as a kid. I am still a wagon person to this day, have generally owned at least one for most of my driving life.

  • avatar

    A sad thing to see , I am well pleased to see it has been heavily harvested for parts .

    Anyone who considers the overall co$t$ involved in restoration works , clearly doesn’t really like old cars .

    These were good when new and this one could have been saved , rusty floors isn’t a terribly hard thing to fix if you can weld .

    I can’t weld but I can get things welded .


    • 0 avatar

      Absolutely right. I disagree with the “no need to restore one if there are good ones around” comment as well. Car restoration is driven by emotion and actual enthusiasm, the people who do it genuinely enjoy their hobby and in that way it’s money well spent.

      The Aussie Ford’s of the 1970s are absolutely loved in NZ (well all except the XD which started in ’79), I’ve seen a lot of restored ones with the owner keen to show photos of what it looked like before he (and usually his son too) worked their magic.

      100% of said photos showed the car in much, much worse condition than this one!


  • avatar
    Jeff S

    This wagon is about the same color of a 64 Impala wagon my parents had when I was growing up. It was called Desert Sand and it had a brown vinyl upholstery (a 9 passenger with a luggage rack). It was a great car (327 V-8 with Rodchester Quadraject).

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Had my Impala been a wagon when I decided to restore it, I fear what would have become of it. I suspect it would likely be part of a number of Chinese made cars. Of course, back in 93 no one, and I mean no one was restoring wagons. If it wasn’t a pastel colored street rod you were basically on your own for replacement parts. Yards kept enough 2 doors cars but wagons and 4 doors were considered about the same. We pieced mine together with lots of used parts, without those it would have suffered the same fate.
    We’re living in great times for restoring.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Or a Chinese made freezer, washing machine, dryer. Here is you new Haier.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I’m amazed how rot free this one is in the quarters and tailgate since many Fords of this era were quite prone to rust. By 1970 the Fairlane became a lesser trimmed Torino which was also offered as a 500 and yes; Brougham which had flip-up lights.

    One of my Grandfathers had the Torino 4 door sedan version in the same beige as this wagon. It had the 302/C4 with a few options and was a nice riding mid-sized sedan.

    Back in the late 70’s-early 80’s I owned a 70 Mustang coupe and needed an A/C compressor. I went to my local wrecking yard and pulled one off of a Fairlane/Torino like this one since Ford used that type compressor on most models.

  • avatar

    My parents moved from a third-floor walkup apartment in the Highland Park section of Pittsburgh out to the suburbs in 1965. They bought a wagon-a leftover midsize 1964 Mercury wagon with woodgrain on the sides-because that’s just what you did back then.

    That’s the only wagon they ever had.

    Dad had cool cars before that-a ’51 Ford, a ’56 Ford and a ’61 Chevy-all convertibles, and a ’54 Olds ’98 coupe. And after; they traded the wagon in on a ’70 Olds Cutlass SX. Turns out you don’t need a wagon to haul two kids around; I recall having short legs back then so the small back seat area didn’t bother me. And the trunk and back seat held all the groceries a family of four consumed every week.

    That was a great car. It had the big 455 engine. Mom liked to squeal the tires a little going around a particularly sharp turn on Bigelow Blvd. near the Bloomfield Bridge. Do that in a wagon!

    So, no wagon nostalgia for me. Oh wait-my uncle had one. I rode in the rear-facing seat of his ’77 Caprice when I was ten. I now know why they called that the “carsick seat”. Not a fond memory.

  • avatar

    The front bumper could be used on a 1970-71 Torino restore project. But no this wagon was toast.

  • avatar

    My folks bought a brand new, 1971 Fairlane 500 wagon in bright yellow. My mom learned to drive @ 40-some-years-old (it was the 70’s, Women’s Lib and all that; good for her) so the Fairlane replaced a three-on-the-tree 1964 Rambler American. Six cylinder automatic, we drove that un-airconditioned wagon from Chicago to Riverside, CA in the SUMMER. It ran fine, but started burning oil @ 750 miles per quart just a year or two after buying it. Well within the warranty. But Ford wouldn’t fix it because it had to burn 1qt every 500 miles or less. Piece of crap. New valve guide seals would have earned Ford a repeat customer in my dad. As it was he switched Chrysler in ’74: a Plymouth Valiant Brougham! In metallic brown!

    • 0 avatar

      Based on Johnster’s post, below, my memory failed. I do remember the Fairlane 500 script, so my folks’ car must have been a ’70. Another mechanical failure that showed up early: the ignition cylinder would slide out of the steering column fairly easily, leading my stupid 13-year-old self to starting the car with a screwdriver and driving it up and down the driveway. Stop and repeat.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised that no one has yet commented on how the 1966-70 Ford Fairlane and Torino station wagons shared their bodyshell with the 1966-70 Ford Falcon station wagons.

    I think everyone knows how the original 1962 mid-sized Ford Fairlane and Mercury Meteor chassis were based on the chassis from the Ford Falcon and the Comet, but were both wider and had longer wheel-bases.

    When the Falcon was redesigned for the 1966 model year, it was moved to the wider chassis of the Fairlane, although Falcon 2 and 4-door sedans had a shorter wheelbase than Fairlane 2 and 4-door sedans, hardtop coupes and convertibles. (The 1966 model year also saw the Mercury Comet move from being a compact car to sharing its chassis and wheelbase with the mid-sized Ford Fairlane.)

    1966 Falcon and Fairlane station wagon were built on a wheelbase sized between the other Falcons and Fairlanes. They shared the same wheelbase and body-shell. The only difference was the front-end clip. The 1966 Mercury Comet station wagon shared the same wheelbase as the Fairlane and Falcon station wagons, as did the Ford Ranchero.

    (You will remember how the 1966 Ranchero used the Falcon front-end clip, while the 1967 Ranchero used the Fairlane front-end clip. There really weren’t many changes other than the front-end clip, but it was felt that the Fairlane styling would allow it to compete better with the Chevelle-based El Camino.)

    I remember how back in the late 1960s Consumer Reports classified the Falcon station wagon as a “mid-sized” station wagon along with the Fairlane and it really surprised people who considered it more of a rival to the Rambler American because of how the Falcon was marketed.

    In 1970 the Ford Fairlane and Torino, and the Mercury Montego and Cyclone all got new sheet metal, wagons included, but were still built on the same basic chassis as before.

    There was a short-run of early 1970 Falcons that were nearly identical to the 1969 Falcons, then there was the 1970 1/2 Ford Falcon that was really just a stripped-down Ford Fairlane.

    In 1971, the Ford Torino and Mercury Montego and Cyclone continued with only minor trim changes, but the Falcon and Fairlane names were dropped.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Johnster thanx for bringing this up, as briefly I owned a 1966 Falcon wagon , a pretty basic one with ” three-on-the-tree and no A.C.” that I bought for maybe $ 100 in Austin in 1976 . It really was more of a mid-size car , not like the older Falcons . Shortly after I bought it , it caught fire on the recently opened MoPac freeway . I left it smoldering by the side of the road and walked home .

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