Cars We Remember: Arkansas reader still has ’79 Ford Fairmont wagon she purchased new
Q: Hello Greg Zyla! Per your story on station wagons that came out recently in my Sunday issue of the Times Record here in Fort Smith, Arkansas, thank you. It included many station wagons from days gone by so I’m hoping you could give me some pointers on the station wagon photo I have included with my letter.
It is a 1979 Ford Fairmont Station Wagon that I purchased new in July 1979 and still own to this day. It is powered by a 302-V8 and has a C4 automatic transmission. I drove it to three jobs over the years and to all of my cancer treatments, too. The red paint has faded a bit over the years but I still have all four of the original hubcaps and it has over 200,000 miles on the motor and the original C4 transmission. The only thing I have replaced has been the radiator and all the windows are original and none are broken.
I retired in 2003 as I needed a break. My Ford Fairmont runs fine, and since I have no children to leave the Fairmont to but lots of nieces and nephews, I’m wondering what I could get for it now? I bought the car in Poteau, Oklahoma, and this Ford dealer also sold me a ’66 Ford F-series that my brother has down in Texas and he is 74-years-old.
My first Ford was a Model A Coupe with the mother-in-law rear seat that I paid $35 for. I wish I had it now as I will be 82-years-old this year. Thank you for reading my letter and I enjoy your nostalgia columns very much.
- JoAnna A., Hackett, Arkansas.
A: JoAnna, you sure impress me with your knowledge of cars for a lady your age. You describe your Fairmont so eloquently and zip right through your description, especially with your “302 V8 and C4 automatic transmission” quotes. Further, it is because of this 302 V8 and C4 powertrain that your Fairmont Wagon is worth a bit more in today’s market … especially to someone who wants a neat street cruiser or even a drag-racing wagon.
When you attend cars shows today, some of the nicest examples are the station wagons from the 1960s and 1970s, as I explained in my recent column. Your Fairmont looks to be in really nice shape, as you don’t mention any body rust or major dents or bruises.
I can see your Fairmont right now with a new paint job, sitting a few inches lower, some chrome additions under the hood, and a nice set of new tires and chrome trim wheels.
Other potential buyers include the aforementioned drag racers, where Fairmont Wagons are rare and fan favorites just like the Chevy Malibu wagons from that same period. And again, since your Fairmont is already set up for the 302-V8, it will be much easier to make it go fast than had it been the six or four-cylinder models available that year. Some potential buyers may look at your Fairmont as a low-cost entry into this fascinating collector car hobby and not spend too much money in making it a worthy classic for hometown car shows.
Although the small picture you sent me might not represent the true quality of your Fairmont Wagon, I can assure you there are people out there who want to buy it. First I recommend running a classified ad in your Times Record newspaper, and make sure it appears in the Sunday issue as readership is always higher than the weekday issues. I would look for the classified multi-insertion deals and let your ad run for at least four days or even a week. (You might sell your wagon locally based on this feature column alone!)
Your other option is running an ad in Auto Round-up, AutaBuy or Hemmings Motor News, all respected and nationally circulated collector car magazines. If you don’t sell your Fairmont after advertising locally, call me and I’ll help you place the ad nationally if you want. A final option might be donating your car to The Salvation Army, a worthwhile charity.
As for the value, I’m sorry to say your Fairmont Wagon is not going to bring any big money. Currently, a 1979 Ford Fairmont Wagon is listed in the NADA Collector Car price guide at a low of $1,100 to a high of $3,245. The mid-level condition price is $2,060 and these prices include a 10% higher price because of the V8 302 engine. The Fairmont four and six-cylinder trims are less desirable and in my opinion worth less by at least 20%.
I feel a fair value to a collector enthusiast would be in the $1,500 to $1,900 range. Good luck if you decide to sell and thank you very much for your hand written letter and especially for your kind comments. I have sent your picture back along with my contact information and if any reader is interested, email me and I will forward the info to JoAnna.
In summary, that fourth generation F-Series 1966 Ford pickup your brother has is worth some serious money, but that story is for another day. Thanks also for the great phone chat we had.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at email@example.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.