We had one just like this. Those same finned hubcaps that were on my mother’s 1982 Ford Mustang GL. Same ruler-friendly lines, same basic-AF interior layout with the same basic interior materials. Same wheezing six-cylinder. Same automatic on the column. In fact, the only difference between this car and the one we used as a family machine for about six months after Mom’s Olds Omega was reduced to scrap metal was the color…we had that pale-blue shade that seemed to be on a third of the Fairmont production run. But outside of color…yeah, we had one.
My memories of that Fairmont…and for that matter, most all Fairmonts of North American origin….is that it was a simple, no-bullshit car. No fancy radios, no overcooked gingerbread trim. It was almost brutal, how simple it was. Four wheels, six pistons, automatic because who rows their own anymore, brakes that will slow the car down, and styling that isn’t designed to offend. These were someone’s third car, or they were the fifth owner. Or it was in beautiful condition because some old lady took meticulous care of the car. What did we do? We took the trailer tongue section from a 1970’s era mobile home, hooked it to the car with small ship chain, and dragged the dirt driveway we lived at the end on smooth with it. We then piled in and went somewhere to eat. It did the job well. Not spectacular. Not with big noise or aching beauty, just with sheer goodness.
Nowadays, Fairmonts are drag machines waiting to be harvested. Find one and build the hell out of it because it’s a light Fox body, right? Nobody will suspect a thing when they hear a cammed V8 and a hair dryer or two going to town underhood. I guess making the Fairmont theatrical is the trade-off to enjoying a competent but boring car forty years after they hit the scene.