1981 Ford Fairmont futura 3.3 liter straight six
The last of the great Fords; a jewel of an automobile
With over 200,000 miles on it, of course the car had some problems.
The carburetor had to be rebuilt.
The alternator needed to be replaced.
At 290,000 miles, the head gasket blew, warping the head.
The starter needed replacing.
Even with all those problems, the car never left me stranded. At its worst, the carburetor still functioned (just barely) well enough to get me around.
When the head gasket blew, I was in northern California, and the car still, on 3 cylinders, got me all the way back to Portland, on the freeway, at 60 mph. After fixing the gasket, it was discovered that the head was badly warped; there was a large amount of water in the oil- but it still drove reliably and smoothly for another 20,000 miles, although I had to add oil regularly.
The previous owner drove drunk into a concrete embankment, head on, at 40 mph. The car not only survived, but had only a bent bumper.
It gets about 24 mpg highway, 16 or so city.
The long wheel base makes U-turns difficult, and the vinyl seats are not very comfortable. The ride is a bit bumpy.
This particular car was not maintained at all, but still lasted this long.
Safe, surprisingly peppy, and reliable, this car is a soldier.
It finally died, due to metal fatigue in the engine and transmission, but I loved it so much, I bought another Fairmont to replace it.
I'd recommend a Fairmont or Zephyr to anyone.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th October, 2005
14th Oct 2005, 12:16
I had one of these. A station wagon, back in high school. My friends loved it because it still had the factory 8-track player in it. I loved it because it had 175,000 miles and was only worth about $300. It wouldn't go over 50 mph, but I was saving up for a new, well, different anyway, car and wouldn't buy the new car until the Fairmont died.
Eventually, it would run no more and all I could do was junk it. I got about $150 for it, which was fitting, because that's how much I paid for the new set of tires I had just put on it the week before.
14th Oct 2005, 14:48
I have to agree with you. I owned an 82 Futura back in the mid 80's. It was silver/charcoal tu-tone with a red interior. It was loaded to the gills with accessories and looked just like a mini TBIRD. The 3.3 wasn't the fastest thing in the world, but the car was a total cruisemobile. Those cars are hard to come by here in South Florida, so enjoy your new one!
16th Jan 2011, 20:21
My son bought a 1981 Fairmont Futura when he was 16 (his first car) in 1988. He virtually ran the wheels off it. We had to replace the camshaft due to his running it low on oil. I eventually bought it from him, so he could buy another car. I also sold the Fairmont a couple years later, boy how I regret that. This was very good car, it was a 4 cyl. 4 spd. I am now looking for a car just like this, not many out there, but I am still looking.