The name Fairlane was applied to Ford's top-of-the-line full-sized car in 1955. The name was derived from Henry Ford's estate near Lake Michigan, Fair Lane. The Fairlane replaced Crestline as the premium vehicle model name and was used as part of the vehicle description, as in Ford", "Fairlane Victoria;" or "Ford", "Fairlane Crown Victoria".
The engine options for the Ford Fairlane were an inline six-cylinder or a 272 CID V-8. Transmissions were either an automatic or a three-on-the-tree manual. Overdrive was an option with the manual transmission. For second year of the Fairlane, Ford enhanced the engine options with two new power plants; a 292 CID V-8 and a 312 CID V-8, the latter with 225 horsepower. In 1958, the two bigger Ford V-8s became the big block 332 and 352 CID engines and the three-speed automatic CruiseOmatic was introduced.
In 1959, the top Ford model name became the Galaxie, though the Fairlane brand name was retained for the remainder of the big car line. In the 1962 model year, the Fairlane name was moved to the new mid-sized Ford that bridged the gap between the compact Falcon and the full-sized Galaxie. The Fairlane name stayed on a Ford model through the 1970 model year.
The Ford Fairlane underwent a number of modifications over the fifteen years of it existence, from a full-sized sedan/coupe/convertible/station wagon to a mid-sized line-up of the same vehicle classifications. Ford experimented with various engine options, using a basic six for economy models and big block V-8s for high-performance cars.
V-8s that were used in the Fairlane models ranged from: Basic 244 and 260 CID units, a 289 CID with two-barrel and four-barrel carburetors, a high-performance 289 with solid lifters and a hot cam and a big four-barrel carburetor, a 302 CID, a 390 CID with either a two- or four-barrel carburetor and big block 427, and 428 mills.
A Fairlane two-door was modified by stripping off all superfluous weight and was stuffed with a huge, race-prepped 427 CID engine, topped with dual four-barrel carbs on a high-rise manifold producing 657 horsepower. Called "The Thunderbolt", this high-performance racer was intended for NHRA AA Stock classification, but it was so light that in order to meet the minimum weight requirements, it had to be weighed with a full tank of gasoline. Ultimately, it was forced to run in A/FX (Factory Experimental). In 1963-64, Gaspar (Gas) Ronda won the Winter Nationals driving a Thunderbolt.
The 1967 through 1970 Ford Fairlanes were one of the most attractive vehicles on the highway. They are still prized by collectors, for good reasons. They were, essentially, cut-down versions of the Galaxie 500 full-sized Fords, but with more sensuous lines.
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