The car market's indifference towards the Ford Falcon of the late 1990s and early noughties is no secret. The AU model was continually improved and eventually turned into a pretty good car, but it wasn't until the BA model of 2002 arrived that buyers started to forgive Ford.
That indifference has made the AU model a real second-hand bargain, because they're cheaper now than they might have been.
But if the Falcon copped a hard time in the marketplace, its long-wheelbase off-sider, the Fairlane, was even more studiously ignored.
That didn't even change with the switch to the BA Falcon and the Fairlane (which looked pretty similar all the way along the timeline) was never front-of-mind for many buyers.
You could argue that this level of disinterest was a large part of what finally killed the Fairlane in 2007.
Yet for all that, it's quite a good car and, these days, a heck of a lot of metal for the money.
Forget that the Fairlane was traditionally the default choice for bookmakers, real estate agents and publicans for years, because if you have to move a big family over long distances and in plenty of comfort, then a Fairlane from the last decade takes some beating.
Essentially, you get most of the features and safety gear you can think of with the Falcon's rugged engineering and low running costs, all wrapped up in a car with plenty of legroom front and rear.
As today's teenagers continue to grow at an alarming rate, that's got to count for something.
And since the Fairlane was just 60 kilograms-or-so heavier than a Falcon (or Fairmont Ghia) with the same level of standard equipment, fuel economy in the six-cylinder version is potentially good.
Driven carefully at highway speeds, you'll find that a six-cylinder Fairlane can sometimes beat 10 litres per 100 kilometres.
You won't achieve the same thing in a V8 version and with very little extra performance and refinement than the six, the V8 isn't really worth the bother.
No matter which engine you opt for, Ford's ubiquitous four-speed automatic transmission will be your lot (up until the 2005 facelift when the six-speed auto became standard).
This is no bad thing, however, because the gearbox works well with both engines, and the torque inherent in either motor makes for unruffled progress.
The catch is that in most cases, the transmission can have a very finite lifespan.
Generally speaking, if the car has covered 170,000 kilometres or so, you should budget for a transmission rebuild on the four-speeder in the not-too-distant future.
Up to that point the car should be fine and, once the gearbox has been overhauled, it'll be good for another 170,000 kilometres.
Even with an intact service record - and we wouldn't buy a Fairlane without one - the gearbox will probably need this attention. The six-cylinder engine, meanwhile, is pretty much unbreakable and capable of covering huge distances with just oil changes and a modicum of preventative maintenance.
The head gasket problems of earlier versions of the 4.0-litre motor were fixed by the time the latter-day Fairlane arrived and the biggest problem is likely to be oil leaks.
Check the engine where it joins the gearbox for leaks and also at the front of the engine, around the harmonic balancer.
A car that loses coolant gradually is likely to have a faulty O-ring in the back of the water pump but radiators don't last forever on these cars, either.
One problem that did afflict a high percentage of Fairlanes was front brakes that were a bit underdone.
They stopped the car well enough but over time the rotors can warp.
Sometimes the rotors can be machined back to straight but eventually they'll need to be replaced.
Any car that shimmies or shudders when you apply the brakes or has a pulsing through the brake pedal is almost certainly suffering from this problem.
It's common and something that can recur over time.
Also, make sure any car you're considering has a fully functioning suite of electrical doo-dads.
The Fairlane was well equipped and that means lots of electronics.
Take a close look at the central locking and ensure that all doors lock and unlock in unison. A car that mysteriously unlocks itself can be suffering from a dud body computer that will need replacing.
While we're on that subject, make sure you get both ignition keys with any purchase, too, as the body computer can't be re-set without both keys available.
Check that all the lights work, especially the tail-lights - which have a strange habit of failing on these models.
No one has been able to explain why this happens, but the number of Fairlanes (and Falcons) of this vintage getting around with one tail-light blacked out is too large to be just coincidence.
Another other thing to be mindful of is the particular car's history.
While the Fairlane of this vintage might have been shunned by private buyers, its huge rear accommodation, moderate running costs and reliability made it a bit of a favourite with some fleet operators.
That's why a high percentage of Fairlanes wound up doing duty as hotel limousines, upmarket taxis and even mourning cars for funeral homes.
That's not to say those vehicles aren't worth having but an ex-taxi is likely to have covered huge distances, probably in heavy traffic.
You don't want to buy one of those by accident.
■Check for oil leaks. Check out where the car is usually parked and look for oily spots.
■Water leaks are often caused by a simple, cheap O-ring.
■Many Fairlanes have had hard lives on fleets. Check the car's history.
■A pulsing brake pedal is usually caused by warped front rotors that will need to be replaced.
There's plenty of metal for your money in this unfairly shunned lounge chair on wheels.