Last post on Mar 21, 2002 at 8:02 PM
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Feb 05, 2002 (7:33 am)
Volvos of the '70s and '80s weren't all that reliable?
#16 of 24 Volvos - reliable?
Feb 05, 2002 (9:08 am)
A roommate of mine bought an early 80's 240 sedan in immaculate condition with something like 70k miles about 2 years ago. For the money he paid he could have bought something a few years old and Japanese, but he was convinced it would run forever, so it was worth it. He changed his mind as we replaced the water pump in February out in the parking lot. My opinion is that Volvos tended to attract a class of customer who maintained the car very well, which contributed to its longevity. FWIW - my dad bought a brand new Volvo wagon when I was little. I barely remember it, since it was in the shop more often than not with transmission problems. Volvo finally had to buy it back under the state lemon law.
What was the topic again? Oh yeah. Fairmonts. We also had a dark green Fairmont wagon - I think it was from a gov't surplus auction. All I remember about it was that you could still see where the seal had been on the door if you looked at it in the right light. I used to tell my friends my dad was a spy. That car never left us stranded, as far as I remember.
#17 of 24 My neighbors bought an '89 Volvo wagon...
Feb 05, 2002 (9:22 am)
...around 1991 or '92. I forget the exact model...I think it was a 760 or something like that. It was the bigger, more modern style. Nice car, but it became a money pit and they unloaded it in 1998 with about 115K miles on it. It had just gotten to the point that every time it went back to the dealer, it would cost about $1000 each time, and then would break again really soon! They have a Legacy Outback now.
Neither of the Fox-bodied cars my grandparents had gave them any trouble, but they traded every 3-4 years, so the car was usually somebody else's baby by the time it acted up. They had an '81 Granada coupe and an '85 LTD. Back in high school and college, one of my buddies drove whatever spare car his family had. He usually alternated between an '85 Cavalier and a Fairmont sedan (forget the exact year, but it was a '78-80) with a 4-cyl engine. The Cav was that dark GM metallic gray that was designed to fade after 5 years. The Fairmont was a two-tone gray and silver, with a red interior. Hopelessly faded and peeling by this time, but the sucker still ran. It wasn't too fast, with its 2.3 inline 4, but his Cav, with the 2.0, didn't really feel any faster!
#18 of 24 Modal Analysis
Feb 05, 2002 (11:44 am)
From what I recall, the Fairmont was the first car to
use modal analysis technology to design the car. This allowed the engineers to design the structure so that it wasn't overbuilt in one area and underbuilt in another. This is why the car was reletively light but strong where it need to be.
Feb 05, 2002 (2:54 pm)
I just spent some time reminiscing about my parents' '81 Granada and '85 Marquis Brougham that they had when I was little. Don't remember much about the two, only that the interiors were the same, rode the same, and had similar trunk space. The Granada had a 200 six and the Marquis had the infamous 232 (3.8) V-6 that ate head gaskets for lunch. Oh, and the doors would close with this really annoying tinny sound. You would not confuse these cars with a Mercedes.
#20 of 24 The 78 Fairmont
Feb 16, 2002 (8:06 pm)
had a TON of recalls in the first year or so.Once the bugs were dealt with they seem to keep going ang going.One of Ford's biggest first year hits with something like 440,000 [someone please check it's been some time since I've seen figures] sold. Almost as good as the first Falcon, Maverick and Mustang II and Granada.
The Volvo reference was in relation to some of the techniques used in making a lighter stronger, roomier car and the similarity in size weight and styling.Techniques such as swiss cheese type inner metal: same strength,lighter weight.
Many people such as my Father wound up buying Japanese I think when they were treated like dirt just asking to look at a Fairmont or Chevette.The dealers were just not interested in selling small cars. "They're over there" one of the salesmen said when my Dad inquired about the Chevette.No "Let me show you" or any sort of respect shown, just barely hidden contempt. He bought a Subaru after that. I even suggested at the time a Fairmont with the Pinto 4 cyl, because pricewise it was quite competitive with the imports and got good mileage.
I wouldn't mind one of the Fox platform station wagons in any form for household hauling chores and occasional commutes to work. My friend just got rid of a Marquis wagon with the notorious 2.8 V6. Comfortable ride, but had that ignition problem so many Ford products have been recalled for.
#21 of 24 Wow...
Mar 08, 2002 (12:07 pm)
Another memory lane thread!
My dad was in the market for a new car in the fall of '77. I did all the research for him in the car magazines and at introduction time I was sold on him getting a Fairmont/Zephyr on the basis of the write-ups without ever having sat in one.
When they arrived in showrooms we went to look and were underwhelmed. They just seemed exceptionally cheap. The 4-cyl base engine was a bad joke, and the 200 CID six seemed almost as underpowered. The 302 solved that problem but was ridiculously overpriced. The interior was taxi-like, and the car generally felt tinny. I remember sitting at a stoplight in the test-drive car while it rained and hearing the "plink plink" of raindrops on the roof. It sounded like they were amplified!
Dad went to the local Pontiac dealer and drove a new '78 Grand Lemans right off the transporter. The dealer didn't even have pricing at that point. What a difference! It was silent, rode like a big car, and was superior in just about every way. He bought it. It turned out to be an awful car quality-wise with all sorts of troubles, but it made a far better first impression.
As for Volvos being trouble... true. He had a '68 144 that was bulletproof and that he loved, but put a lot of miles on. He replaced it with a new '73 144 which was likely the worst car he ever had. Just about everything went wrong with it. A true money pit.
#22 of 24 Turbo Fairmonts
Mar 21, 2002 (3:06 pm)
Just a quick post- I know several sources say that the Fairmont wasn't produced with a turbo 2.3, but here in the central Ohio area I remember seeing two of them in the early '80's. I can't honestly recall if they had a stick or auto backing them up, but they were the genuine article, not just a hoodscoop slapped on the hood. I think they had full instrumentation, too, similar if not identical to a Mustang, along with a rear sway bar. I owned a '79 Futura coupe with a 302/C4 combo, so I was always keeping my eyes open for them.
Mar 21, 2002 (3:19 pm)
My mom had an '81 Granada with a 200 six and C4 (I believe that was a 3-speed auto). Nothing but a more expensive Fairmont.
#24 of 24 Speaking of Granadas....
Mar 21, 2002 (8:02 pm)
I remember a really unique Mercury Monarch, a '77 or '78, that was very cool. It was a two-door, black with a biscuit interior and half vinyl roof, those "Magnum 500" mag wheels, and a 351 Windsor under the hood. I'm thinking it had one of those 3-speed plus overdrive manual trannys behind it, but I could be mistaking for it for one of the several 302-powered Granadas with that tranny that I recall. An interesting vehicle, to be sure.