Fairlane stays in the family

The 1962-64 Ford Fairlane is one of those models that has been overshadowed by the success of the first Falcon (456,700 American sales in its first year) and the Mustang (600,000 sold in the US in 1965.)

And yet, the Fairlane is a significant success story in its own right, for three very good reasons.

First: the Fairlane delivered 297,000 American sales in 1962, at higher profit margins than the Falcon.

Second: it introduced one of Ford’s legendary engines, the “thin-wall” 221 cubic inch (3.6 litres) V8.

This power plant would go on to be enlarged to 260 cu in (4.3 litres), end up in a Lotus at Indianapolis and then expand to 289 cu in (4.9 litres) and 302 cu in (5 litres).

Third: it created the “intermediate” category of American cars, between the compact Falcon/Nova/Corvair/Valiant and full-sized cars, and caused General Motors considerable worry until they were able to get their own intermediates (Chevelle, Skylark, Tempest and Cutlass) into dealerships for 1964.

In Australia the Fairlane badge first appeared on the locally built 1959 “tank” Ford and remained fixed to the big car until 1962 when Ford switched it to the new, “smaller” car.

And as in the USA, the success in Australia of the ’62-’64 Fairlane has been somewhat overshadowed. Yet in its day it sold as well as the Chevrolet Bel Air.

Peter and Sandra Hibbert’s 1964 Fairlane 500 four door was built at Ford’s Homebush factory.

“I’d long admired the car when it was owned by a fellow member of the Southern Peninsula Classic and Historic car Club,” Peter told me.

“Every now and then I’d say to him that if he ever decided to sell it please let me know.”

In March 2006 Peter was contacted by the car’s owner, the car offered and a deal was sealed.

“It only had 103,500 miles on it at the time and in original condition. It was just too good to pass up,” Peter recalls.

Peter has ensured extra safety and converted the car to disc brakes using an assortment of 1970s Falcon parts.

The interior is basically all original and in great condition. Even the decals and instruction stickers are original.

“I’ve added an air conditioner, “Peter says. “It is an original Ford branded four ball outlet, with an Email compressor that I modified to suit the latest gas.”

Peter and his family use it to go to swap meets. “It is safe, reliable and comfortable Ford,” he says. “And it will certainly stay in the family.”

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos.com.au

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