I came across this classic on Kijiji classifieds and it immediately caught my attention. The Fairmont and Zephyr are already extremely rare to come across these days and usually if you do come across one, it’s a Futura or Z7 coupe that is already restored, modified and carrying a hefty price tag. It is amazing how a car that was once so plentiful on the streets of North America has all but vanished, save for those few that have become Garage Queens.
I have always had a weakness for the Fairmont & Zephyr and I am certain this has more to do with the fact it was the very first type of car I looked at when it was time to buy my first car 20 years ago. I remember Dad and I taking a 1980 Zephyr wagon, burnt orange with wood grain accent, for a test drive. The Fairmont & Zephyr wagons are an attractive looking car in their own way (and really, so are the others in the line up) and even though it was equipped with the less-than-thrilling 3.3L six and column shift automatic, I thought it would be an ideal car and a great bargain.
Dad didn’t have too much of an opinion, he wouldn’t have cared too much, but my Mom certainly was not about to have that ‘relic’ hanging around the house and promptly shot down any notion of purchasing it, advising me that my first car would be ‘a few years old’ and ‘good on gas’… and ultimately that first car came in the form of a 1990 Chevrolet Sprint (yes, I hit both prerequisites).
This example apparently sports the 3.3L (200 CID) six and the base three-speed manual gearbox, something I have never actually seen in person before. The ’78 Fairmont brochure states that the three-speed manual comes with column shift, but there were obviously some exceptions.
I have acquired two of these original Fox body rides over the years. I had a ’79 Fairmont four door sedan in the same burnt orange with the rare venting rear sail panels for a few months followed by a decked out ’81 Z7 coupe with all the goodies and even a 302 swapped in for the original 255 V8. Unfortunately, the former was purchased more for parts than use (I was building a 1980 Mustang coupe at the time) and the latter was a ride that I loved but was completely impractical for my life at the time (ie: it needed too many repairs and too much fuel for a cash strapped youngster in the city). Ownership of both was brief, sadly.
Manual steering, manual brakes, dog dish hubcaps and what appears to be a very basic driver’s side mirror (perhaps the only side equipped with one). This is about as basic as it gets, though it’s interesting that this one carries the upgraded engine option over the base 2.3L four.
At the end of the day, it’s completely piqued my interest. This is a rare car, indeed. It deserves new life. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted. We’ll see what sort of replies I get to my inquiry and then consider the logistics of a trip deep into the southern interior of BC. Unfortunately, it’s not just down the road!