The Ford Fairmont is a mid-size car that was produced by Ford for the North American market that was sold from the 1978 to the 1983 model years. Introduced as the successor to the Maverick, the Fairmont was sold by Lincoln-Mercury dealers as the Mercury Zephyr, which replaced the Mercury Comet. The Fairmont and Zephyr were sold as two-door notchback sedans, two-door coupes, four-door sedans, and five-door station wagons.
The Fairmont and Zephyr marked the introduction of the long-running Ford Fox platform, used for a wide variety of later models. Those most closely related to the Fairmont included the 1980–1982 Ford Thunderbird, the 1981–1982 Ford Granada, the 1980-1982 Mercury Cougar, the 1979–1993 Ford Mustang (and 1979–1986 Mercury Capri), and the 1982–1987 Lincoln Continental.
While retaining a conventional rear-wheel drive platform, the Fairmont was efficiently packaged and offered excellent passenger and cargo room for its size. Contemporary reviews uniformly praised the Fairmont and it was favorably compared with contemporary Volvo and BMW models. Rack-and-pinion steering gave the Fairmont much better handling and roadability than its Maverick predecessor and despite its roomier interior, lightweight components were used which gave the Fairmont better fuel economy than the Maverick.
As Ford switched to lighter, more aerodynamic cars with front-wheel drive in the 1980s, the Fairmont was replaced by the all-new Tempo for 1984.