It’s 1978, and you’re a Baby Boomer with a wife and a little kid or two, and you just got a promotion. Time to dump that hulk of a Pinto or rusty Nova, and buy a nice, new car. Specifically, a reasonably affordable compact-mid size car (the definitions of those were in huge flux at the time). What will it be?
I popped out with my choice: a 1978 Ford Fairmont ES with the 302 V8, sport suspension, four-speed stick (I’m not sure that was actually available), alloy wheels (not shown on this one), bucket seats, and floor shift. It was the closest thing to an international-style sport sedan, in my opinion, if hardly perfect. But it was clean, unpretentious, roomy, and light. Given what had been available from Dearborn up to that time, it was a first step in a big new direction from Ford, a harbinger of things to come. And yes, it was a “mid-size” in the changing realities of the time; the Fairmont had 90% of the interior room of a 1978 Impala. No, the LTD II wasn’t a “mid-size” car anymore, not that it ever was one, really.
But there were other cars in that general bracket that were appealing too. We’ve shown you some, but there were others too. Now I’ve set this up as a domestic car question, but if you’re from another country, feel free to go shopping from what was available there in 1978. But let’s keep it to sedans/hatches in the roughly comparable price/size bracket, otherwise we’ll be all over the map.