Street trib­ute

‘67 Ford Fair­lane trans­formed from drag racer to street gem

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - AUTOS - LARRY D’ARGIS

BY mid-1960, the Ford Mo­tor Com­pany had ceased pro­duc­tion of the mid-priced Ed­sel, down­sized the Mer­cury, brought out a new Lin­coln and in­tro­duced the new Ford Fal­con and Mer­cury Comet com­pact line.

Ford’s aim was to build cars that fit the times and buy­ers tastes, and the in­ter­me­di­ate Fair­lane fit the bill when it ar­rived in 1962. A fa­mil­iar name from the ‘50s, the new model was a great fit be­tween the com­pact Fal­con and full-size Galaxie.

Avail­able with both six-cylin­der and V8 power, the Fair­lane was light­weight eco­nom­i­cal to op­er­ate for grow­ing North Amer­i­can fam­i­lies. It was also a model on en­thu­si­asts’ radar for drag rac­ing — Ford even pro­duced a limited num­ber of 427 V8-pow­ered Fair­lane 500 mod­els in 1964 that went on to win many Na­tional Hot Rod As­so­ci­a­tion ti­tles.

To the masses, the Fair­lane was only avail­able with the small-block 289-cu­bic-inch V8 un­til 1966 when it was re­designed to ac­cept the 390 and 390 high-per­for­mance V8 engines. Ford still went on to sup­ply 427 V8-pow­ered Fair­lanes to drag-rac­ing teams, and a few savvy buy­ers could find the right codes on the or­der sheet to get one for the street as well.

Today, the mid-size 390 V8 Fair­lane is quite collectable. While find­ing a 427 V8-equipped ex­am­ple would be like win­ning the lot­tery, build­ing a clone or trib­ute car is a vi­able op­tion to find­ing these rar­i­ties.

A few years ago, Scott Pay­ton of Win­nipeg had his eye on a ‘67 Fair­lane in Min­nesota. Orig­i­nally from Phoenix, Ari­zona, the car was a quar­ter­mile drag car that had been raced in a nos­tal­gia class since 2002. The car was raced in both Min­nesota and Wis­con­sin, but never saw use on the street. To­tally clean, with a straight, rust-free body and wear­ing new paint, it was a great find.

It took some hag­gling, but even­tu­ally a deal was struck and Pay­ton brought the Fair­lane back to Win­nipeg in 2010.

Sev­eral parts had been re­moved to lighten the car for rac­ing, such as the wind­shield wipers, heater and much of the wiring and as­so­ci­ated switches. Pay­ton spent an en­tire winter re­in­stalling the miss­ing items to get the Fair­lane back in road-wor­thy con­di­tion. With the help of friend Rob Ko­vacs and Dave at Drag­mart Per­for­mance, Pay­ton got the job done in time to roll out the Fair­lane in the spring of 2011.

Fin­ished in Wim­ble­don White with a Crites fiber­glass Ram-Air hood, the Fair­lane hard­top wears match­ing white steel wheels and chrome hub caps, wrapped with a set of re­pro­duc­tion F-70 14-inch Fire­stone Wide Oval tires.

While the red and chrome front fender em­blems show the 427-cu­bicinch dis­place­ment, the car has a 428-cu­bic-inch Co­bra Jet V8 un­der the hood. Top­ping off the en­gine is a set of free-flow­ing cylin­der heads, with a rare 427 Sidewinder alu­minium in­take man­i­fold. The man­i­fold ac­tu­ally off­sets the car­bu­re­tor slightly to the driver’s side of the car to help create equal-length run­ners for a more even fuel and air in­take.

A Hol­ley 650 c.f.m. dou­ble-pumper four-bar­rel car­bu­re­tor and Hol­ley fuel pump feed the fuel, and a Pertronix elec­tronic ig­ni­tion mo­d­ule with MSD Blaster ig­ni­tion coil light it off. Full-length Hooker ex­haust head­ers lead to a three-inch-di­am­e­ter alu­minized cus­tom dual ex­haust sys­tem with Hooker muf­flers. Bal­anced and blueprinted, the 11.00:1 com­pres­sion en­gine also fea­tures a solid-lifter per­for­mance camshaft and pro­duces 440 horse­power and 504 ft. lbs. of torque at 6,200 r.p.m.

Fur­ther mo­ti­va­tion for the big block-pow­ered Fair­lane is sup­plied by a 2,800-stall TCI torque con­verter hooked to a race-prepped rol­ler­ized C4 three-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion from JPT Trans­mis­sions in Michi­gan, lead­ing to a Ford 9-inch Trac­tionLok rear axle with Day­tona pin­ion and 3.89:1 gear­ing. A set of Cal-Trac trac­tion bars help to sup­ply the weight trans­fer needed to plant the tires to the ground.

In­side, the car is rather aus­tere. In true ‘60s fash­ion, there;s black vinyl up­hol­stery, a front bench seat, col­umn shift, no ra­dio and no op­tional power steer­ing or brakes. To mon­i­tor un­der­hood func­tions, Pay­ton has mounted sup­ple­men­tal Auto Meter gauges and tachome­ter.

Clean and func­tional-look­ing, the Fair­lane has ev­ery­thing needed to get the car down the road or the dragstrip. Fully ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing mid-12sec­ond elapsed times in the quar­ter­mile, this street-trim trib­ute is a sight to see.

TREVOR HA­GAN/WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

Be­fore mak­ing it to Win­nipeg this Wim­ble­don White Ford Fair­lane was raced in both Min­nesota and Wis­con­sin.

The car has a 428-cu­bic-inch Co­bra Jet V8 en­gine that pro­duces 440 horse­power.

Scott Pay­ton with his 1967 Ford Fair­lane.

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