The Ford Fairlane is one of the less obvious muscle cars sold between 1955 and 1970 in North America. It is well-known for its variety of body styles, including two-door and four-door sedans, two-door and four-door hardtops, station wagons, and both traditional and retractable-hardtop convertibles. The Ford Fairlane was the predecessor to the Crown Victoria and 500 nameplates which later became stand-alone full-size models. From a muscle car perspective, the 427cu(7.0 L) Cobra V8 from 196-67 and the 428cu(7.0 L) FE V8 of 1969 are the standout versions. In South America, the sixth generation of Ford Fairlane was marketed until 1981.
Along with introducing the Ford Fairlane, Ford also introduced the 1955 model year with a full-size offering. The Ford Fairlane had six different body styles available, including the Crown Victoria with a tinted transparent plastic roof, the regular Fairline with stainless steel trim, a convertible Sunliner, the Victoria hardtop coupe, and a traditional sedan. Power options at this time included a 223 cu in I6 engine and a 272 cu in V8 engine.
In 1956, the Fairlane was given new and slimmer roofline, with a one-year-only two-door station wagon, the 1956 Squire, offered to compete against the Chevrolet Nomad. This same year, a safety package was also introduced. For the 1957 to 1959 model years, the Fairlane 500 was added to the Fairlane lineup while other new features included new trim, the 292 cu in V8 Y-block called the Thunderbird V-8, and the 302 V8 option was expanded with a 332 and 352 cu in V8. These changes were popular with customers who, for the first time since 1935, outsold the Chevrolet in 1957.
The Ford Fairlane was also the first vehicle to feature the push-button cruise control mechanism, an innovation that was eventually adopted by many competing car manufacturers. In addition, Ford introduced a new two-speed Ford-O-Matic transmission in 1958, giving drivers the ability to switch between low and high gear without the need for a clutch pedal.
The Sixties saw even more improvements and features added to the Ford Fairlane, including a chrome grille and a reshaped hood. The Fairlane also received an upgraded chassis, power steering, and body insulation to reduce noise levels. In 1967, Ford completely redesigned the Fairlane and included a much wider track and larger wheelbase. The new Fairlane also featured a new suspension system, variable ratio power steering, and a slew of other comfort and convenience features.
In 1968, the Ford Fairlane was given a restyle and in 1969, the Fairlane was completely redesigned again with an all-new body style. This last generation of the Ford Fairlane was sold until 1970 and came equipped with a powerful 429 cu in V8 engine, making the Fairlane very popular with muscle car enthusiasts.
In the years since production of the Ford Fairlane stopped in 1970, the car has gained in popularity with collectors and classic car fans alike. The Ford Fairlane is now seen as a classic American car, and its sleek and stylish design makes it a favorite among collectors. Today, Ford Fairlanes from all periods of production can still be found on the used car market with various price points depending on rarity and options.
The Ford Fairlane is also notable for being the first car to feature the now-popular “shaker” hood scoop. This feature, which was originally designed for improved engine cooling, is now a popular styling element with classic car enthusiasts. The Ford Fairlane’s shaker hood is one of the most iconic features of the car, and its popularity continues to this day.
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