The Ford Fox platform provided the basis for a number of FordMoCo products in the late-’70s and ’80s. From the basic Ford Fairmont like this one posted on the Cohort by williamrubano, to the sporty Mustang, and even the ritzy Lincoln Mark VII. But the wagon variants of the Fox are among the most curious. Why you ask? Because the same body shell lasted through a succession of three different Ford models, with only minimal exterior changes to the front of the vehicle. Talk about stretching your dollar.
The Ford Fairmont (and Mercury Zephyr) was introduced in 1978. Updated coupe and sedan models were introduced in 1981 and 1983, wearing altered sheet metal, different rooflines, and names new to the Fox (the 1981 Ford Granada and Mercury Cougar, and the 1983 Ford LTD and Mercury Marquis).
Yet, the wagons remained largely unchanged. The received the new front-end styling, interior updates, and new names, but were essentially rebadged versions of the same Fairmont wagon. Now the Big Three had been doing things like this to “maximize value” of their station wagons for decades. GM and Chrysler often used one single body shell for their full-size wagons across all divisions. Similarly, the only sheet metal differences were often the hood and fenders. Ford did this too, more recently with the Taurus and Escort wagons. When their sedan counterparts were redesigned, the wagons received only minimal forward sheet metal changes. But never throughout this practice has the same basic body shell changed names so frequently in so little time. So if you bought a new Fox-based wagon every two years in 1980, 1982, and 1984, you would’ve had the exact same car with three different names.