Weekend Junkyard Quiz (02/11): What Are We Looking At?

We missed a weekend of the junkyard quiz last weekend, but we’re back with a tough one for you today. Can you tell what car this is based on just one close-up photo from a junkyard? Here’s a clue: It’s a squared-off canine cousin.


Maybe a slightly wider view would help?


The all-rectangle shape might have tipped you off that you were seeing a 1979 Fairmont Futura! The coupe version of Ford’s mid-size car came with a unique cabin shape that included the incongruent rear window shape that still looks at odds with the car’s otherwise-squared lines.


The four-barrel carb spacer that was hanging out of the hood in the lead photo (with some help, admittedly) suggests it was a V8 car and upon lifting the hood, we learned it did indeed have a ubiquitous 302 Windsor V8, which Ford had just begun rebranding as the “5.0-liter.” This Malaise Era version, looking mostly stock, should have made all of about 150 horsepower at best.


The purplish-blue respray job had cracked in the sun long before this Fox-platform car came to rest in the junkyard. Can’t lie about it: I like the way this looks a lot.


In case you didn’t get the memo about the car’s boxy shapes, Fairmont tail lights are rectangles made out of rectangles.


And here’s the one outlier, the half-curved half-window that makes the Fairmont Futura so easy to recognize.


This Fairmont clearly had been driven a lot. The rocker panel was drooping and rust holes pockmarked the floor. The seat padding had worn almost completely through and the ashtray on the trans tunnel was full of cigarette butts. However, look at that plush steering wheel!

Not all Fairmonts have been turned into shredded steel, however. A few enterprising souls have taken the Boxy Foxes racing recently. HOT ROD Drag Week™ competitor Kurt Borton runs The Almond Assassin, a twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter LS truck engine-swapped Fairmont Futura. He’s come home with a third-place trophy in the 2015 Super Street Small Block Power Adder category with an incredible average of 8.45 seconds at 165.82 mph.

The Sloppy Mechanics, several of whom we met on the “Retreat From Moscow” LeMons Rally, have their own super-quick Fairmont. While Kurt races a Fairmont Futura, the Sloppy Mechanics instead send their Crew Cab Fairmont well into 9-second territory thanks to a turbo LS setup. Check out their YouTube channel for more on this build.

That’s not all, either. The Ford-powered “Fearmont” has been around grudge racing for a number of years with some impressive kills to its credit. Dragzine reported this might be the quickest 16-valve Ford Modular V8-powered car in the world (or was in 2013, anyway) with driver William Bryant running 8.399 at 166 mph in the 2013 Import vs. Domestics World Cup Finals.


What junkyard post could possibly be complete without a few 24 Hours of LeMons cars? The Billy Beer Racing Futura raced for several years with Ford’s 200 cubic-inch straight six under the hood and mostly with a three-speed automatic. It wasn’t exactly fast, but it was a competitive Class C car. The poor fellows on the team—which included motorcycle writer Bryan Wood—always came up just short in the series’ slowest class, but the Billy Beer paint scheme made it the best-looking of the LeMons Fairmonts.


Property Devaluation Racing were the first team to take a Fairmont Wagon racing in LeMons. This Texas team has owned and raced just about every Fox-platform car in LeMons, but the Fairmont steered Property Devaluation both to an Index of Effluency win in 2010 and later to a fourth-place overall finish in 2012. The Wagon was retired after 14 races, although parts of it likely lived on in the team’s Thunderbird, LTD, and Granada they later raced.


Lost in the Dark also brought their own Futura to Texas races and simply put, this properly brown Fairmont was fast. Over the years, LeMons organizers have learned that you can’t really visit any Back 40 in Texas without tripping over snakes and Ford Fox-platform parts, so it’s no surprise this Fairmont could run with smaller sports car. Despite regularly running among the 10 quickest cars in a given race, the Fairmont has never finished better than 13th.

And according to this 1978 TV spot, the Futura can drive in space. So it’s got that going for it.


Unfortunately, not all Fairmonts go to racetracks and this Futura is bound for the scrap bin. Did you guess right on the quiz? Did the clue (squared-off = boxy, canine cousin = fox) help you out at all? We’ll have another junkyard quiz for you next weekend.

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