Re: EF Vs EL - The differences
1. Series two was introduced in October 95 so 95 model series 2s do exist. Easy way to tell is by looking at the interior. Series 1 had 'stripes' across the trims whereas the series 2 had 'pebbles'. The exterior was exactly the same for series 1 and 2 so its impossible to determine what series it is just by looking at it. Series 2 Fairmont Ghias had a slighty detuned version of the XR6 engine which can be differenciated via a red rocker cover (not sure if it had tickford badging on it).
2. You might be able to get a series 2 fairmont for $6,500 but it will be absolutely shagged with heaps of kays. I've seen heaps here in Melb with decent kays (between 115-160ish) from about 8,500-9K. Exceptional exmaples with 80,000 kms usually go for 14-15K.
3. All series 2 cars had improved suspension to improve feel but this will make no difference at this stage of the cars life cycle - remember we're talking about a 9-10 year old car so the suspension will be rooted by now if it hasn't been changed. Better off spending a grand or so fitting decent suspension and it will handle relatively well for a 1,600kg car.
4. In terms of reliability the Fairmonts and EFs are generally pretty good. The sixes usually require a head gasket change (approx $1,000 if done by a mechanic) at least once. Standard rotors tend to warp and hence shudder if they've been abused and in my case the leads have caused me a little grief (on my third set in 5 years). Some cars tend to chew the inner or outer edges of their front tyres but this can be rectified with a camber/catser kit (approx. $300 fitted). Also note that if you decide to lower the car the camber/caster kit is imperative. Sealing isn't a problem and i don't ever recall anyone complaining on the forums about leakages or the like. If you're buying a Fairmont or Ghia remember they have power windows so its only a matter of time before a window regulator shits itself. Other than that they're pretty stubborn cars.. all you need to do is make sure you service it every 5,000km and keep all the vital fluids such as the coolant fresh.