The Futura Nobody Wants to go Back to


Guest Article by P. Garsin, Fairview, NJ

1978 was a pretty odd year for new cars. 1977 was one of the very last years most cars were "standard size", although by today's standards they were humongous. The 1978's were mostly downsized versions of their former selves, taking on preposterously shrunken proportions.
I was working at a Ford dealer in 1978 and my "new" demo was a baby blue Fairmont Futura. I took one look at it and thought, "You've got to be kidding". Everything was the same baby blue, except for the anodized aluminum bumpers that carried multi-colored hues of purple, pink and green. 
As I walked around the car, I noticed the interior was as sparse as...well it was damn ugly as compared to the LTD Brougham I was giving up. Hard plastic everywhere. I cringed at the thought there might be a 4 cylinder Pinto engine under the hood, so I grabbed for the hood release but there wasn't any. "How do you open the hood", I asked. After a few minutes, we figured out there was an inside hood release. I finally got the hood open, but after lifting it up and expecting it to stay open, it slammed shut. "Hood prop," they told me. What the heck is a hood prop? Well it was sort of a stick you used to hold the hood up. Then I found out that to blow the horn, you had to push in the turn signal. "I'm screwed," was all I could think.

That's when everything changed. Under the hood was a 302 CI V-8. It didn't really strike me as all of the previous cars I had been given were V-8's. What I didn't really comprehend was this car weighed about half of the car I had been driving. Hindsight being 20/20 and a bit more educated, this "sedan" was a square version of a Fox-bodied Mustang.


Holy crap! Despite our location on a busy secondary street, I arrived at the first traffic light with no one else in sight. Green means "go baby" and I pounded the gas pedal to the floor. The car sat nearly motionless pulling the best burnout in my memory. As I scanned the rear view mirror, I realized I had smoke on both sides..."I've got Traction-Loc!" Damn, I love my boss!

"Oh help me, please doctor, I'm damaged. There's a pain where there once was a heart"

Not everyone was happy about their Fairmont demo's. My compatriot, Bernie for one, decided to put up a holy stink about his baby blue sedan behind closed doors. Much to our surprise, it seemed to work, as Bernie was handed the keys to a stunning, fully loaded Russet Red sedan. "Every option in the book," said the boss. "Happy now," he asked?  It was pretty obvious Bernie was very happy. His demeanor was so physically exaggerated, it became known as the "Bernie Shuffle".
All was good until he opened the hood to find a 4 cylinder Pinto motor. Feeling rather brazen, the result of his recent victory, he again challenged the boss. I'll probably never forget the look on Bernie's face when the boss said, "Maybe you should've kept the @#$%^-ing blue one!"


Despite the fact I became the number one salesperson on Fairmonts alone, I was worried when the boss called me into his office. "The shop says you need two new tires. There's less than 3,000 miles on your demo. What the Hell have you been doing?" "Test drives", I said as my mind replayed my numerous gleeful burnouts. "People just love these cars with a V8," I said while pointing to the sales board. As the boss signed the work order, he exclaimed "Damn it Pat! You better keep those numbers up or you'll be paying for the next set of tires yourself!"


I left the Ford Dealer in 1979 to join the ranks of "Danny the Honda salesman", where people stood on line like many do now every time a new iPhone is released. They all payed "list" (MSRP) or more and I never looked back. By the way, I really like your site. I wish I had a classic car. Maybe someday.You guys must be killing it!

Thanks Pat! In case you ever get a Classic...we'll leave the lights on.

Safe Driving