By on January 26, 2015

12 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI see so many Fox Mustangs in wrecking yards that I don’t pay attention to them unless they’re especially egregious Malaise Era abominations, but what about the other Foxes? Well, I’ll shoot a Fox Capri or Fox Thunderbird if I see one, and of course the Fairmont and its Mercury Zephyr sibling are sort of interesting. We’ve seen this snazzy-looking beige-over-gold ’82 Zephyr coupe and equallly snazzy-looking ’80 Fairmont Futura coupe in this series, and I spotted this red ’82 Fairmont Futura two-door at a Northern California yard a few months ago.
13 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe two-door sedan version of the Fairmont Futura didn’t sell so well, because if you were willing to put up with the inconvenience of two doors, why not get the groovy coupe with the cool-looking rear glass?
01 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI probably shouldn’t have attempted any online research on Foxtaur Racing, because it led right to some super-creepy Furry-related stuff. However, I ran into this page showing what may be the same car; the junkyard one doesn’t have a vinyl top, but the Foxtaur Racing stickers are in the same locations. I’m sure that Crab Spirits will explore this theme further.
07 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen you can’t find the correct-colored interior parts for your car, you make do with what you can find.
09 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, that’s a Pinto 2300 under the hood.
05 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis was made when Detroit didn’t worry too much about extremely phony-looking “wood” interior trim.

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69 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1982 Ford Fairmont Futura Two-Door Sedan...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    I was under the impression that only the the fastback/slant roof versions were referred to as “Futuras”. I understood that the “box tops” as they are called were just Fairmont sedans.

    These have become quite popular with the small tire, No ET and street racers in the last few years due to the light weight, and availability of GM LS engine swap parts. Anywhere that rust happens, even this example would have been snapped up for a turbo LS conversion.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Love the chrome bumpers with the black rubber bumpers. They make so much sense. The 2.3 engine, complete with belt-driven fan, takes me back to when I bought a Pinto at an auto auction while in college. (It was nearly impossible to sell!)
    To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “The Futura ain’t what it used to be!”

  • avatar
    darrinkaiser

    A Fairmont in this body style was my first car. Except mine was a 4 speed manual w/ no second gear and Brown. I HATED it at the time, and like so many, I’d love to have it back now. For a couple weeks anyhow. Then I’d have to do a 5.0L swap. At least now I could afford to do that, but I’d have to sell the wife on it, so it wouldn’t happen. Some things never change.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane Mr. Martin.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    So these were like – two levels below the LTD? It looks like a very narrow car. The seats don’t seem very big, and there’s no center console and no space between the seats. I need to see this parked next to something modern to judge scale!

    Seems like a purely hateful little car. Though I’m sure better than an equivalent K.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      This was Ford’s post-oil-embargo compact car, equivalent of the GM X-bodies and K-car. Ford got theirs out first and kept it RWD to share costs with the Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think I’d rather have the Citation.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          Yeah, the Citation was a much better car on paper and handily outsold the Fairmont. K-car ended up being the least worst of the bunch in real life, though.

          • 0 avatar
            CobraJet

            My wife and I shopped the Ford Fairmont and GM X bodies in 1980. I still have the sales brocures for all those cars. I had the Ford all speced out with colors, the 6 cyl engine and the options I wanted. Wife said no way. She didn’t like it at all. Bought an Olds Omega istead. Olds had a nicer interior, but the Ford would have probably been more reliable.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          This was the car that the Mustang was under the skin through 2004. It was also the platform used for the Lincoln Continental through ’87 and the Mark VII LSC. Some Fairmonts had small block V8s, while first model year Citations didn’t even have brakes.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I still don’t really understand who the Mark VII was for, I think. It seems like it was an exercise in modern technology for a segment which was very conservative.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            You have a point. As a teenage car enthusiast when it was new, all I knew was that the LSC got great press. Much like today, people wanted to pretend Detroit was on a par with imports and the LSC was a cheap alternative to a 380SEC. Reality was that there were few buyers and by the time I drove one in 1988 they were fooling nobody.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          Here we go, Battle of the Barf Buckets:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x7EmXT-Sf4

          It’s okay to cry, or fart, or fall asleep.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      ” I need to see this parked next to something modern to judge scale!”

      This close enough?

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15751248764/

      Modern Taurus is black, Fusion is light blue, Fiesta is white, Focus is solid red with a red EcoSport next to it.

      The Futura’s length is in the Fusion/Gen 1& 2 Taurus ballpark, but it’s wheelbase is much smaller than today’s Fusion and a half inch smaller than the Gen 1 & 2 Taurus: 112.2 vs 106 vs 105.5 inches. It is roughly the same width.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    This is the same car. You can see where the vinyl top used to attach at the C-pillar in the pics. The other clues also match up to one Valden S. Valmont aka “Funktaur” of Newark(CA), and his(?) interests of gaming, “Furries”, Reno Air Races and aviation, and Transformers.

    Not gonna waste all day going through the extensive Livejournal, etc posts, but what I’ve read points to this car dying a death of loose front end, too much gaming, too many other projects, and too much Miata.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I am so very glad that we two-door, two-row cars are a dying breed.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Oh, that’s something of a minor shame such a nice Fox body in the junkyard. Get that thing out of there, stuff in a nice LSx motor, a six point roll cage, a beefy rear end and go racing!

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Rented one in Calif 1980 no power, could not use A/C driving from LA to Vegas, it only had 25k miles and it drove like it was ready to die.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Murilee wrote:

    ” However, I ran into this page showing what may be the same car; the junkyard one doesn’t have a vinyl top, but the Foxtaur Racing stickers are in the same locations.”

    There’s a good chance it is indeed the same car, Murilee, since if you look closely at the exterior photos that you posted, this car did indeed have a vinyl top at one time. The rest of its characteristics pretty much match the car shown on that webpage. Wonder what happened here, either the guy died or got bored with it…

  • avatar
    carve

    “Futura”?

    Even in the early 80’s, was there ANYTHING about this car ANYBODY considered even remotely futuristic?

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    We had pretty good (but not perfect) luck with ours over 6 years and 80k miles. Clutch, electronic ignition module, and water pump had to be replaced–but car never left us stranded.

    It was an inch or so narrower than a Nova or Aspen of that era, but thanks to it’s boxy shape, the interior was not narrower, and with the generous window area, it felt roomy.

    With the 2.3 liter 4-cylinder, and 4-speed, the car got 21-23 mpg, and would get 30 on the highway, a lot better than 15 mpg. It cornered and rode well too.

    Biggest negatives–interior trim was cheap (base), no tachometer, and didn’t feel as substantial as a Nova (it wasn’t, weighing about 900 lbs less)

  • avatar
    Sixray

    I bet you can fit several fursuits in that trunk and still have room for your gaming PC!

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    My mom’s boyfriend owned one of these with the 2300.

    Given how gutless the 200 six was, I’d rather lose a few HP and a good amount of weight.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The 2300 actually had more horsepower, 92 to 87 for the 200. The inline-6 had more torque, 154 to 117, but it couldn’t make up for a smog-strangled 1-barrel carburetor on a 1950s intake manifold.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    “while first model year Citations didn’t even have brakes.”

    Silly boy ~ what else was it that turned my ’81 Citation II _sideways_ on the 101 / 110 freeway ramp @ 65 M<PH ? .

    =8-) .

    Not good brakes , but brakes it did have .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    My aunt had a 1978 Fairmont 4 door sedan that was a deeper color red. Then her cleaning lady starting washing the car with Murphy’s Oil Soap and eventually, it turned the color seen above. Wonder if they used MOS on this car too. Lesson is, keep Murphy’s Oil Soap away from a car.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Did anybody ever think it was a thing to wash a car with that? LOL

      • 0 avatar
        BobinPgh

        I find that a lot of older women, especially ones who volunteer cleaning the church pews, use MOS for everything that is a hard surface. One “church lady” I knew actually smelled of MOS so maybe she even used it on herself! Without senior women, I think MOS would have long gone away. By the way, it really doesn’t clean all that well either, but its not as much of a ripoff as Amway.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        My aunt used to wash her 1958 Ford Fairlane with Spic’N’Span. My dad (her big brother) tried to talk her into putting a wax coat on it and just hosing it off, but she said the car looked so nice and shiny after scrubbing with S’N’S. Good thing the thick Ford paint lasted longer than the steel underneath.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff S

          I had a roommate in college who washed his green 68 Rambler American station wagon with Comet cleanser and he wondered why the paint was wearing off. Comet was not only good for getting stains out of sink but it was good for preparing your car for a new paint job.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Back in the 90s I worked a summer detailing used cars for a Toyota dealership in Atlanta. Anyway, one of the guys oversprayed engine cleaner on a bright red Supra, leaving a few orange splotches on the car. Supervisor’s “brilliant” solution to the mess was to wash the whole car in engine cleaner, and hope that the dealership wouldn’t notice that the car was now orange–but washing a red car with engine cleaner doesn’t make a uniform color–it makes a splotchy orange-red-pink mess. Ended up buffing the car -almost to the primer- and the dealership didn’t seem to notice.

  • avatar
    Silverbird

    My parents bought one of these (the swoopy coupe version though) new when I was approx 1 year old.
    I learned to drive on it and it got me through High School and University
    Silver on red vinyl.

    302, 2 barrel, 3 speed auto, thirsty as all get out

    an LS conversion, or even just a good 4 barrel and headers would have been great

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Do you mean thirsty compared to other cars available when you were driving? A friend had a ’69 Fairlane with the 302-2-bbl, and got 17-18 MPG. Of course, that’s awful today, but pretty good in 1969.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Finally a car worthy of the crusher. I had a friend that had the 78 version of this car black with a tan vinyl roof and matching vinyl interior and a straight 6 which he named the “Sick Mont”. Finally to the relief of my friend it got totaled. Anemic acceleration and vibrating all over. Finally an alternative to those coin operated vibrating beds in those cheap motels. Typical malaise era car, overdue for the crusher.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Yet another contribution from Murilee that is a 347 Stroker away from greatness! Or perhaps a 2.3 Turbo from an 88T-Bird with the T5 Transmission. I’d toss some ecoboost emblems on it for good measure.

  • avatar
    donutguy

    I bought one of these new in 1980…..4 banger with the manual tranny and absolutely no options. I beat the living *shit* of of it for 9 years and other then oil and filter changes-I spent “0” dollars on repairs. No brake pads, or any other repairs. Most of the time was highway miles at 80- 85 MPH…..

    When I traded it in in 1989 for a 4 door Tempo, it had over 100K on it and it was *completely* used up. The fender wells were completely rusted out, the dash was cracked in 4 or 5 places and the paint was faded into what I would call “non-skid” paint.

    I did however have a bangin’ sound system in it, I had a couple of amps, a sub woofer, 4 6×9 speakers in the back deck, a couple of tweeter in the dash and two 5 inch speakers in the doors.

    Best car ever.

  • avatar
    Sixray

    Just gonna leave this here:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/12/Yiffmobile.jpg/1600px-Yiffmobile.jpg
    Furries and their Escalade!: http://youtu.be/-CWJgT5NTWg
    http://media.ebaumsworld.com/mediaFiles/picture/283928/80533386.jpg

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    I must be getting older.
    I remember when these cars were new.
    That said, these were the first Ford vehicles that were modern, in that the quality was really job 1 and not just a sales tag line.

    In a sea of Malaise vehicles with long hoods, floating rides and poor space utilization, the Japanese were producing the only modern auto rides that took advantage of computer technologies such as modeling, designing and build.

    Then came this car, which changed a lot at Ford. And, barely in time to keep from filing fiscal catastrophe in Dearborn.

    You see, the Fairmont showed that Ford was more than a Malaise-barge outfit with Lee Iacocca tendencies. The Fairmont stripped away the ridiculous faux Mercedes grilles and the opera windows and was a completely new redesign, not something warmed up on the old Fairlane chassis from 1972. Ford was producing cars that sold well, but weren’t well done until then. Even after the Fairmont/Fox body saved Ford, by 1981-1982, Dearborn was really living day by day financially.

    Even with this new car, Ford was the NUMBER FOUR car brand, the lowest placement since the William Howard Taft administration in the White House. Chevrolet was number one. Oldsmobile was number two. Buick was number three. Ford was number four. Dire times for Dearborn.

    The Fox was good stuff. Simple and boxy and big enough to accommodate whatever engine was demanded to satisfy the public, V8 down to 4 bangers. Rear drive, so nothing fancy. The Fairmont was a complete redefinition of what Ford had offered since the 1960 Falcon. As a matter of fact, the Fairmont was the Malaise Era Falcon, but with more flexibility to take various forms until 1992.

    I was given a well-traveled, but still under a year old, 1981 Futura four door. Until that time, I really had no idea of what to expect from Ford, or any American car company except troubles and problems. If you were a driver back then, being able to have your car start during the winter, having it be somewhat reliable, and not having it rust out from under you were considered plusses. Japanese cars only had it over the America brands regarding reliability and resale. If anything, they rusted quicker, and I really didn’t fit comfortably in such narrow Japanese vehicles of that era. The Chevy Chevette was in their class, size-wise, and I rolled down car windows in order to stop having my left shoulder and arm jammed inside it.

    My Futura was well traveled. It had a big six cylinder and an automatic, which in the Rockies, sucked. However, the Futura showed me that Ford was for real, that it could make an intelligently designed car just as good as the Japanese, and while not stylish, was utilitarian enough to be actually a bit not-ugly.

    The Futura gave me duo-headlights, and an upgraded interior. It had an attractive two tone gray paint job. The interior was very comfortable and relatively quiet. Unlike the previous Fords of that era, the Futura had a good ride in the mountains. The brakes worked well too.

    So, I have good memories of putting 50,000 miles on a Futura of this vintage. I also later-on tooled around in a 1992 Mustang which demonstrated how well the Fox body held its shape within the competition.

    I especially liked the Futura over the next vehicle I had to drive daily and was a full-blown nightmare; a 1982 Citation.

    So, to those who wonder if this car was typical of vehicles of this era – no. Compared to the X cars, the Fox body Fairmonts were very good cars. Compared to their Japanese cars, they were pretty good as well. Don’t let the Kleenex box styling fool you – these were actually very good cars!

  • avatar
    ltcmgm78

    I bought a new 1981 Fairmont (non-Futura) coupe in Bittersweet Glow with the 2.3L engine and a five-speed. This car was created for the 55 mph speed limit. I traded my 1978 Plymouth Horizon for it. It was a good highway car and we had plenty of room inside. It was a very comfortable car and quiet if you never stepped hard on it. The doors were HUGE and you always had to be careful opening them in a crowded parking lot. With that tractor engine up front, there wasn’t much oomph at all. When I got stationed in Germany, we shipped it over and even drove it on the Autobahn. It would barely crack 75. After a while, the high-speed (?) driving caught up with it. It became my wife’s car and there wasn’t much oil level checking going on. Constantly ran low on oil and it eventually started to eat the valve train. It caught fire in my driveway early one morning. I had just backed out of our garage in a little German village when I saw the orange glow from under the hood. Had to call in the fire department. Car was totaled. Used the settlement check for a goodly down payment on a 1985 SAAB 900 Turbo Sedan.

  • avatar
    skor

    I remember when Ford offered this car in a ‘sports sedan’ version (not the Futura body style). The car came with a 302. I recall reading a review in one of the car rags where the reviewer stopped just shy of saying he actually liked it. He said it made for an interesting sleeper. If I had the time and money, I would consider one of these for a sleeper street build. Totally stock looking and quiet. I bet it would be fun to see the looks on the faces of BMW drivers after they get passed by grandpa’s car.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Dad bought a 1979 blue Fairmont sedan with 200 six, automatic and little else in the way of options. It was the biggest turd imaginable! For starters the 1BBL carb always hesitated and stalled unless you warmed it up for at least 3-4 minutes. Then what you got was a stuttering hesitating slug that could barely get out of it’s own way. Gas mileage was pathetic for a 3.3 liter engine. That damned car refused to go more than 200 miles on a tank of gas, even on the open road meaning frequent annoying stops for fuel. 21-22 MPG was the best it got and city driving brought that figure into the teens!

    The factory paint was wafter thin on the hood, deckled and rear quarters and surface rust appeared with but 4 Winters. The super light weight meant that this car was like an ice skate in the Winter months and Winter tires and sand bags in the trunk were mandatory.

    The cloth solid bench seat with only fore and aft adjustment and no center armrest was torture on long drives and literally everybody complained when subjected to anything over 20 minutes of driving. Sound insulation must have been non existent in this car because road noise and wind noise made for an exhausting drive when the weather was anything but perfect.

    The door glass was the thinnest I have seen to date, which surely contributed to the noise on the highway, and when the windows were partially rolled down they rattled incessantly on all 4 doors. I remember stuffing rubber pieces of trim on the edges to keep them from rattling on a warm day.

    The dash had an annoying tendency of vibrating going 55 MPH which Ford supposedly fixed in later years by putting in a support beam in the dash to quell the resonant frequency. The trunk was so shallow it crushed your upright grocery bags. The horn button was on the turn signal nearly causing dad and mom to get into several accidents trying desperately to push where the horn should have been all along.

    When this car turned 6 years old dad passed it down to me with 66K miles on the clock. By that point the valve cover was leaking oil all over the driveway, the rear end was making a clunk when put into gear or taking off from a traffic light and the alternator bearings were shot causing a grinding sound at idle. Worse the famous noisy leaky Ford power steering pump was also starting it’s distinctive sound. I swapped out both for some much needed piece and quiet. When leaving college I went to back out the tired old Ford and snap! The engine revved up and nothing happened. Fearing that I dropped the tranny me and a friend put the car in neutral and pushed it back in the parking spot and called a tow truck. The rear end went south. Luckily there was a Ford guy in the neighborhood that dad knew and he put in a used 2.73 factory stock rear end out of a junked 1980 Fairmont coupe in my car and all was okay again. For a short time that is.

    Several months later with Winter weather and lots of cold the inside plastic door opener snapped and broke the actuator meaning I couldn’t open the passenger door from inside the car! Worse the very same passenger door glass window fell right down into the door because the regulator gave way. That was sure a nightmarishly cold drive home from work so a piece of garbage bag went over that window until Spring.

    By this point the tin worm was having it’s way with the rear quarters and holes were forming. After the window was dealt with the exhaust dropped on to the street from the muffler forward, the front driver’s side ball joint had loads of play which made for scary turns and electrical problems were rearing there ugly head in the form of inoperative brake lights which turned out to be a rusted ground.

    With that all said the 200 six never went bad and I’m sure would have outlived the car if given the chance and when the ball joint was replaced the rack and pinion steering was pretty sharp. I sold the car with 80 K miles to a co-worker who crashed it a month later totaling it out. It was probably for the best as that car sure knew how to nickel and dime it’s owner to death and annoy to boot!


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