‘67 Ford Fairlane transformed from drag racer to street gem
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.
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.