Classic Prototype Outtake: 1980 Globe-Union Maxima – The Fairmont Of Your Electric Dreams

I stumbled across this ad or whatever it is a few weeks ago and while there isn’t a ton of information on the car itself, it’s interesting nonetheless.  In the late 1970’s, Globe-Union, once the largest battery manufacturer in the world (they apparently produced Sears’ Die-Hard line amongst others) developed a few electric cars to showcase their battery technology.

For the body of this car, released for display in 1980 and named the Maxima presumably before Nissan laid claim to the name, Globe-Union obviously started with a Ford Fairmont Wagon body.  However they then produced a new nose for it that lengthened it and included six huge lights, somewhat foreshadowing the lightbar of the future Mercury Sable.  There’s also a large hood ornament in the shape of the Globe-Union logo with colored stripes and the letters Maxima spelled out in front, Range Rover style.  If you try to put out of your mind what the front of a standard Fairmont looks like, this isn’t actually too terrible and certainly distinctive.  Remember, this was 1980, stuff was bold!  I’m somehow reminded of the ’70’s Ford Consul’s front end, of which my Dad had an example late in the decade and we have featured a very similar example here in the correct color, even.

As far as propulsion goes, apparently the car was rebuilt to house twenty lead-acid batteries that powered a 20hp GE motor.  Starting with a relatively large car such as a Fairmont, this doesn’t sound as if it would be overly difficult to manage. The Achilles heel was apparently recharging time and speed, common maladies of the day in regards to early electric vehicle efforts.  It wasn’t ever actually intended to reach production, but merely showcase what could be done by Globe-Union.

The Maxima wasn’t even their first effort, that honor belonged to the vastly more futuristic looking Endura of 1978, pictured in the combo ad pic above.  Much has already been written about that car including how it supposedly foreshadowed some of Elon Musk’s Tesla Model S design and in fact aspects of it are eerily similar such as the general shape and a flat screen in the middle of the dashboard for all major functions.