Junkyard Find: 1970 Ford Fairlane 500 Station Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1970 ford fairlane 500 station wagon

We 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.

There’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.

Windsor 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.

This one took kids to soccer practice 40 years ago.

Guam pride!

It’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.

Join the conversation
3 of 28 comments
  • Johnster Johnster on Aug 14, 2014

    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.

  • Bill mcgee Bill mcgee on Aug 15, 2014

    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 .

    • 70-Tbird 70-Tbird on Sep 15, 2014

      I live close to austin, "Recently opened mopac freeway" made me laugh.

  • CEastwood Seven mil nitrile gloves from Harbor Freight for oil changes and such and the thicker heavy duty gripper gloves from Wally World for most everything else . Hell we used to use no gloves for any of that and when we did it was usually the white cloth gloves bought by the dozen or the gray striped cuff ones for heavy duty use . Old man rant over , but I laugh when I see these types of gloves in a bargain bin at Home Cheapo for 15 bucks a pair !
  • Not Previous Used Car of the Day entries that spent decades in the weeds would still be a better purchase than this car. The sucker who takes on this depreciated machine will learn the hard way that a cheap German car is actually a very expensive way to drive around.
  • Bullnuke Well, production cuts may be due to transport-to-market issues. The MV Fremantle Highway is in a Rotterdam shipyard undergoing repairs from the last shipment of VW products (along with BMW and others) and to adequately fireproof it. The word in the shipping community is that insurance necessary for ships moving EVs is under serious review.
  • Frank Wait until the gov't subsidies end, you aint seen nothing yet. Ive been "on the floor" when they pulled them for fuel efficient vehicles back during/after the recession and the sales of those cars stopped dead in their tracks
  • Vulpine The issue is really stupidly simple; both names can be taken the wrong way by those who enjoy abusing language. Implying a certain piece of anatomy is a sign of juvenile idiocy which is what triggered the original name-change. The problem was not caused by the company but rather by those who continuously ridiculed the original name for the purpose of VERY low-brow humor.