|1978 Ford Fairmont station wagon|
|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company|
|Body style(s)||2-door coupe|
4-door station wagon
|Engine(s)||140 CID OHC I4|
200 CID Thriftmaster Six I6
255 CID Windsor V8
302 CID Windsor V8
3-speed C3 automatic
3-speed C4 automatic
- See Ford Fairmont (Australia) for the Australian built vehicle of the same name.
The 1978 Ford Fairmont was the first vehicle built on the Ford Fox platform, which would be the basis for a variety of other models, including the 1980 to 1988 Thunderbird, the 1981 to 1982 American Ford Granada, the 1979 to 2004 Mustang, and in 1982, the downsized Lincoln Continental. The Fairmont replaced the Ford Maverick, and at introduction was twinned with the equivalent Mercury Zephyr.
2-door and 4-door sedan, and 5-door wagon bodies appeared at introduction, joined slightly later by a specialty coupe with a different roofline known as the Futura, a name which had first appeared in the Ford Falcon line some 17 years before. The Fairmont Futura featured an unusual two-piece vinyl roof with an upswept central roof band, similar to that on the contemporary Thunderbird. The Fairmont was a stunning success for Ford, and the 1978 model set the record for production of a new model, eclipsing the record held by the 1965 Mustang. While it retained a conventional rear-wheel drive platform, the Fairmont was efficiently packaged and offered excellent passenger and cargo room for its size. Contemporary reviews uniformly praised the Fairmont and it was favorably compared with contemporary Volvo and BMW models. Rack-and-pinion steering gave the Fairmont much better handling and roadability than the Maverick models it replaced, and despite its roomy, midsized body, lightweight components were used which gave the Fairmont better fuel economy than the Maverick.
The Fairmont's front end differed from the Zephyr's at the time of introduction. While the Zephyr always had four headlights, the Fairmont got by with only two, with the exception of the Futura coupe. However, beginning in 1981, the entire Fairmont lineup received the four headlight treatment as well.
A wide variety of engines and transmissions were available, including a 2.3 L four-cylinder, 3.3 L (200 CID) six, and 255 CID and 302 CID V8s. Transmissions ranged from a three- or four-speed manual, and the more commonly ordered three-speed automatic. A turbocharged four-cylinder carbureted 2.3 L from the Mustang was offered in 1979 and 1980. A few turbo four door automatic sedans were used for testing by the California Highway Patrol.
In 1981, a new Ford Granada was introduced on the same platform and wheelbase, at which time the Fairmont was positioned in more of a basic, entry level role. In 1982 the Fairmont wagon was dropped and replaced by a Granada wagon. For 1983, the Granada coupe was discontinued and the sedan and wagon were reskinned and rebadged as the Ford LTD, previously the name of Ford's full-size car, which was renamed the Crown Victoria. The Fairmont Futura coupe and four-door sedan (now also with the Futura name) continued through 1983, after which they were replaced by the front-wheel drive Ford Tempo for the 1984 model year.