By SHAWN BRERETON JANUARY 18, 2019
I’ve got the mother of all scenarios for you. Let’s say you don’t have the time, money, or ability to do a complete restoration yourself. Instead, you go searching for a project that someone has already completed so you can start enjoying it right away. Maybe you buy it sight unseen or maybe you get to drive it a little, but either way it isn’t until it’s in your garage that you figure out things weren’t what they seemed. Now you’ve got to figure out how to fix it.
If it’s an original car or an original-style restoration, you can probably figure out most of the parts you need, even if they come from the aftermarket. Most websites allow you to do searches for the year, make, and model and come up with a replacement “kit” for whatever you are trying to fix. But, what do you do if the car you bought is a restomod where someone has replaced virtually everything on the car, more specifically the chassis, complete drivetrain, and suspension?
This is the scenario I recently found myself in when I bought my father’s 1966 Ford Fairlane. It wasn’t your average Fairlane though, it had the entire drivetrain from a 2009 GT500 in it! Even though my dad built it years ago, he didn’t keep any of the records of where he got parts, so obviously didn’t remember a lot of the particulars to help me fix it. It was like I bought it sight unseen.
Driving a Dump Truck
Here is the problem — the car drove like a dump truck! You could literally feel every bump in the road and it would bottom the shocks out on any little dip. Any bridge transition induced a tense butt-puckering reaction from me. Have you ever had a car so ill-handling that you had to pay attention to how close the cars behind you are in case you need to avoid something? That is how this car was. Because I bought it as a daily driver, I couldn’t deal with it for much longer; it was beating the crap out of me and wasn’t enjoyable to drive — at all.
The original ‘66 Fairlane was a unibody car, but my dad retrofitted it to essentially make it a full frame with a triangulated 4-link in the rear and a Mustang II-style front end. It has sway bars front and rear, but the adjustable coilover suspension had no markings on them whatsoever. To make matters worse, the knobs wouldn’t turn (not even after we took them off). By all outward appearances, this car should’ve driven like a new Mustang, but instead, it drove like a pig.
Getting Expert Help
I knew just who to turn to help fix the situation — the experts at QA1 in Lakeville, Minnesota. I bought QA1’s for my ‘55 Chevy back in 2008 and I absolutely love the way that car rides. The Fairlane has all the right ingredients in place to be a great handling car, so it doesn’t need a major overhaul, it just needs someone who knows what they are doing to instruct me on how to fix the issues at hand.
When I say QA1 are the experts, I truly mean that. It was founded by Jim Jordan in 1993, and at the time specialized in just rod ends and spherical bearings, quickly becoming a leader within the performance racing industry. It wasn’t until 1998 that it got into the shock market after purchasing Hal Shocks. In 1999, they introduced revalveable and rebuildable shocks for circle track racing and it took off from there.
Showing how dominant it had become in the shock world, in 2004, QA1 bought the number 1 manufacturer of performance racing shocks, Carrera Shocks. More recently in 2011, they acquired Edelbrock’s suspension line. This year, they introduced the MOD Shock, which is a revolutionary revalveable on-the-car shock that is sure to become a bestseller.
With that kind of pedigree, I knew they should be able to help me with my situation. I put in a call to Dave Kass, the marketing manager at QA1 to tell him about my situation. I had this car with unknown adjustable shocks (that wouldn’t adjust) and the car drove like a dump truck. Could QA1 help me fix it? He immediately knew what I was talking about.
“We get calls like this on a daily basis where someone has bought a car and is upset it drives so horribly,” Dave says. “A nice paint job and pretty wheels don’t mean the car is going to handle well. Our technical support team has been helping people with unique problems like these for years.” He got me in touch with Bill Foley in the technical sales and support department.
Doing My Homework
Bill called me and gave me some homework to do because there were so many unknowns about the car and it was so far from stock:
- I needed to measure each shock’s length at ride height from center-to-center on the mounts (not very easy to do without a 4-post lift).
- Check the diameter of the mounting holes.
- Weigh the car — preferably with corner scales (there are ways to scale the car without corner scales, check out the sidebar).
One extra measurement I added for myself was the measurement of the body (fender above the wheel hub) from the ground (24.5-inches front and 21.5-inches rear on both sides, respectively). I liked the stance of the car as it sat, so I didn’t want to change that up too much if possible.
I got to work on my homework right away that night and slithered under the car while it was on the ground to get the shock measurements. The diameter of all of the mounting holes was 1/2-inch. The front shocks were 10-inches center-to-center, while the rears were 13-3/4-inches center-to-center. It appeared the front shocks only had about 2.5 inches of travel until the shock was bottomed out and the rear only had about 3 inches — and both showed signs they had been there before. As a matter of fact, the first thing I did after I bought the car was take it to an alignment shop and the tech showed me the front shocks were leaking oil from bottoming out, he surmised.
Over the next weekend, I was able to get the car corner scaled at Racefab Performance who was building a rollcage for my Project CrossTime Miata. The weight surprised us all, coming in at a whopping 3,622 pounds minus the driver. That is pretty heavy for a Fairlane, but my dad had built that full frame to handle the stress from the 550-hp GT500 engine, so it wasn’t that shocking (no pun intended).
Figuring Out What Will Work
With those measurements in hand, I called Bill and gave him the news. He did some calculations and determined that the rear needed Proma Star Single-Adjustable Coilover shock (P/N DS501) with a 12-inch, 170-pound spring (P/N 12HT170). But, he asked if I could raise the ride height to 14 or 14.5 inches, which wasn’t a problem. The DS501 is 11.625-inches compressed and 16.875-inches extended, so 14- to 14.5-inches at ride height would be the sweet spot to allow more compression travel.
As expected, the front shocks were a bit more of a challenge. Because of the short travel, Bill decided that the best way to go was to use a Proma Star Single Adjustable Coilover (P/N DS301), which is 8.75-inches compressed and 11.125-inches extended. He chose a 7-inch, 650-pound spring (P/N 7HT650), which is the stiffest spring QA1 offers. This had me questioning his expertise, because I figured a stiffer spring meant more “dump truck driving” for me, but Bill put my mind at ease and told me to trust him. QA1 hadn’t let me down before, so I had no reason not to.
The last question from Bill was whether I preferred spherical bearings or polyurethane bushings. I chose spherical, seeing the four-link was attached with sphericals already. I also ordered the recommended Thrust Bearing Kit (P/N 7888-109), which would make turning the spanner wrenches easier to adjust the ride height. A few days later a big ol’ box arrived with everything inside ready to be assembled. On the weekend, I took the car over to my friend David Fulcher’s house who was generous enough to allow me to use his lift, making the job so much easier.
Swapping In New Coilovers
With David and my other friend Chris helping, the installation was easy. However, we did make one easy-to-make, critical error that made us do the whole install twice! It was a stupid, rookie mistake, which shows the importance of not only reading the directions thoroughly but understanding them thoroughly, as well. We put the thrust washers in between the spring seat adjuster nut and the jam nut — it needs to go on top of the adjuster, against the spring (duh!). We didn’t notice our guffaw until we went to turn the adjusters and had to take all four shocks back apart to fix it; they are harder to take apart than put together, so don’t make the same mistake.
Here is how it should be done. You spin the spring seat jam nut all the way down with the little shoulder pointing up, then you put the spring seat on (shoulder up). Next is one spring seat thrust washer, then the thrust bearing, then another thrust washer. The spring goes on top of that, then the spring cap goes on. If you don’t run the whole assembly all the way to the bottom, you will have a tough time getting the cap under the spherical bearing. Even then, it took a little bit of work to get the cap on the DS301’s with the 650-pound front springs.
The most important part of the assembly (which is mentioned several times in the instructions) is to use Permatex anti-seize lubricant on virtually everything. This stuff is very messy, but extremely important seeing we were working with different metals — including aluminum and stainless steel. We used it liberally!
Once the shocks were assembled (properly) it was an easy swap with eight total bolts to change out. Just so we had a decent starting point, we measured the number of threads on the old coilovers, set the QA1’s in the same position, and put the car on the ground. The rear fenders measured the same height (21.5 inches), while the fronts were about an inch lower than the 24.5 inches it was before. So, back up in the air it went to twist the front springs up a few more threads.
One other error we made here — we should’ve also measured the shocks themselves before we raised the car back up to see if we were within the recommended ride height for the shock. Instead, we were measuring the fenders, which really didn’t matter as much, as far as ride quality was concerned. The front fender came out right at 24.5 inches, so we decided to take it for a drive with the shocks on full-soft.
Getting It Dialed In
As I pulled out of the driveway, I was careful to make sure we didn’t have any clearance issues anywhere by turning the wheels back and forth then proceeded down the street trying to hit every bump along the way. The first few were small and the suspension showed promise — it was already light years better than before, but as I hit some of the larger bumps, I found the front end too bouncy and the rear seemed kind of harsh, possibly bottoming out. This is when I remembered Bill saying the DS501s liked 14 to 14.5 inches at ride height, so I returned to the shop.
When we measured the shock lengths at the shop, they were about 13 inches, so we jacked it up and cranked in another two or three threads and set it back down. Surprisingly the fender height only went up about a 1/2 inch to 22 inches, but it brought the shock height up to about 14.25 inches. Before the next test drive, I set all four shocks up two clicks from full-soft and went for another spin.
It was a noticeable difference as I covered the same route, but still seemed a little bouncy to me, so I returned one last time and set the shocks at four clicks above full-soft. I grabbed up all my old parts, thanked David for the help, and set off toward home. On four clicks I couldn’t believe this was the same car. It was night-and-day difference and light-years away from what I drove into the shop. I still had some experimentation to go, but things were promising.
Over the next few weeks, I kept turning up the knobs until I got to nine clicks all the way around. Surprisingly, the front felt great at nine clicks. I figured the higher you went on the damping, the rougher the ride would get — especially running that heavy spring — but it needed to be up that high to keep the spring from bouncing. The rear felt pretty stiff at nine clicks and I was experiencing an almost see-saw motion where the rear seemed to be sending signals to the front. I decided to call Dave at QA1 to ask for some direction on what I should do to get these dialed in.
“Oftentimes, people install a set of adjustable shocks with them adjusted in the middle of the valving,” Dave began. “In many cases, this is substantially better than what was on the car previously, so, the user leaves the shocks set that way and carry on. Adjustable shocks have the potential to greatly improve the ride, over marginal improvements. Keep adjusting the shocks stiffer and stiffer until you’ve gone too far. It’s not until you’ve seen what both ends of the spectrum feel like you know what’s best for you.
“These shocks come with baseline starting points for valving, but every car is different. It’s common these days to see large 18-plus-inch wheels and thin wall tires. This drastically impacts how feedback through the road transfers into the cockpit of the car. It will often be harsher than if you had a large sidewall with a 15-inch wheel. As such, softening the compression valving while having a slightly firmer rebound will provide the control you need without the jarring effect from sharp impacts in the road.”
I took his advice and kept cranking them up just to see what it’s like. Let’s just say, I don’t recommend full-firm for street use, that’s for sure. I ended up backing down the front shocks to twelve clicks and went all the way back to four clicks for the rear. That is definitely the sweet spot for this car for daily usage. The car is so much more civil now. I can drive down any street and not have to pay attention to any little indention in the road. I still haven’t experimented above these settings because the car drives so well, but I do plan to autocross the car in the future, so I’m sure I will be playing around with the settings in due time.
In the end, here is the point of my story: you don’t have to settle for an ill-riding car. For anyone out there who has a car you have no idea about and are experiencing similar problems, give the folks at QA1 a call and tell them what you are experiencing and see if they can help. Chances are, unless you have a severe problem, they can get your restomod riding like you always hoped it would.
All in, it only cost me $1,019.60 to change out the suspension and completely change the manners of my car. That is not much more than you might pay for four OE-style replacement shocks — which most likely won’t fix your problem. And, those won’t be adjustable if you plan to do anything more than regular daily driving. I can’t wait to go have some fun with this thing — although maybe I shouldn’t — I’ve already gotten one speeding ticket while out “testing.”
For 1970, Ford’s intermediate lineup was all new. Up to and including the 1969 model year, Fairlane was the main model, with Torino a high-end trim level. In 1970, the Fairlane, a model that was introduced in the 1950s, was relegated to the entry-level-trim base models. With the introduction of the Maverick in the spring of 1970, the Falcon nameplate was being phased out of the Ford lineup, but not before it was applied to an even more stripped-down midsize model. Confused? You should be. It was one of 17 models in Ford’s midsized lineup for the year.
The Torino, though, stood out, especially the high-performing GT and Cobra versions. Even among that sea of Ford intermediates, Torino garnered enough attention that it was awarded the Motor Trend Car of the Year award for 1970.
Some 407,493 Ford intermediates (Torinos, Fairlanes, and Falcons) were built that year. Of those nearly half-million cars, just 7,675 Torino Cobras were made. This one is owned by longtime car buff John Chencharick. Originally from New Jersey, his family migrated to the Golden State in 1959. His first car was a 1959 Tri-power Pontiac Star Chief. It was followed by, of all things, a 1971 Toyota Corolla purchased new. After some discussion with the dealer, Chencharick became a sponsored driver for them and raced the now modified 1600 Corolla at Irwindale Raceway.
After owning the Mustang for 14 years, Chencharick felt it was time to let it go and retire from car shows. “A year later, I was missing the Ford shaker and the Cobra Jet. So I started a new hunt. This time, however, I wanted something with a little more legroom and offered a little more comfort.”
Chencharick called a few muscle car dealers and hit “pay dirt” with Mershon’s in Ohio. “The salesman there informed me that they were going to look at a Torino that I might be interested in. The next day I received a call from the dealer, and I had them send me photos.
“The car was very straight and in very good condition. It was equipped with a 429 Cobra Jet motor, C-6 transmission, shaker hood, rear slats, front spoiler, more room inside than my Mach 1, with nice yellow with black matting. The car stood out, but still had the rarity that would give me the ability to not see others like it at shows, or other car outings. I really liked that option. A deal was made, and the car was on its way to California.” This was 13 years ago, in 2005.
Once the Torino arrived, Chencharick set out to make it perfect. Through diligent research, he learned more about the car, which showed just 24,000 miles when he bought it. The car’s first owner lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, and at some point parked it in his barn. A few years later, it was learned that sap from the barn roof had leaked onto the car, from the top of the windshield to the cowl. The owner called his insurance company, and the agent was amazed at the condition of the Torino. He informed another agent, Chris Zimmer, who was a muscle car guy. The car was repainted where needed. Around 1991, Zimmer was able to purchase the car with approximately 12,000 miles.
Chencharick spoke with Zimmer, who said he sold the Torino to another local, Gary Smith, who owned a body and repair shop. Smith told Chencharick that he never did any additional painting to the car. He did, however, sell the Torino to a man from New York in 1998. He estimated the mileage at 19,000.
Chencharick explains how he took the Torino to the next level. “Finding a car this well preserved, the car cried out to be improved. I wanted to eliminate some rattle-can locations and restore the car to what it should be. It was so well maintained over the years that I wanted to preserve it further. Along the way I have made some incredible friends who have assisted me in upping the Torino game, making it a showstopper. This has been done with their expertise in mechanical work or spending the time teaching me.”
The Torino has its original powertrain. Upon internal engine inspection, the original pistons (marked CJ429) are in use, as are the stock rockers, pushrods, intake, Quadrajet carburetor, exhaust manifolds, and cylinder heads. The engine had not been bored, as it had very little wear. A custom Comp Cams camshaft was designed by engine builder Jim Van Gordon of Van Gordon Racing in Upland, California. The engine was rebuilt and blueprinted, and the new cam helped move air through the huge 429 heads. Power output is estimated at 420 hp at 5,400 rpm and 490 lb-ft of torque at 5,400 rpm, quite a bump from the 370hp/450 lb-ft ratings the Ram Air CJ got from the factory.
In addition to Jim Van Gordon, Chencharick wants to acknowledge Jeff Sneathen at SEMO Mustang in Gordonville, Missouri, for some of the hard-to-find parts; John Coute at Arrow Auto Air & Service Center in San Bernardino, California, for engine compartment detail; and Phil La Chappelle for technical concours detail information.
Over the years, the car has been displayed extensively. At the 2012 Palos Verdes Concours it scored 94 out of 100 points. It received various awards, including Best Muscle Car, Best Ford, and Best Original. It has been displayed twice, in 2015 and 2017, at the prestigious San Marino Motor Classic. It was displayed at the Fabulous Fords Forever 45th Anniversary of the Torino, and the 2018 Grand National Roadster Show, where it was one of 100 cars invited to its prestigious Muscle Car Gathering. It made a return trip to Fabulous Fords Forever for the 50th Anniversary of the Cobra Jet. Also this year it picked up a Best in Class trophy at the All-American Car Show with AACA judging.
“While at the San Marino Show in 2017 with the Torino, I had the opportunity to speak with Jay Leno,” Chencharick tells us. “He approached me and asked if the Torino was my car. We had very nice conversation. He stated that he liked the rare stuff, and the Torino was definitely in that category. He said that I should be congratulated for the job I did and thought the car was an excellent example. I thanked him for the kind words and felt like I had just won San Marino for the recognition he had given me. Pretty cool.”
When asked about his car’s best or most unique attribute, Chencharick says, “The thing I love the most about this car is the rarity of it. I have very rarely ever seen another, and it’s extremely rare to see one at such a high level. These cars just don’t get the recognition they deserve. Their lines, ride, and sleek look, along with style and power, are very much underappreciated.”
What’s on the agenda for the car? Chencharick wants to continue to improve it and one day, when time permits, take her to the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals to be displayed. That would be the ultimate celebration for this car’s travels.
We’ve seen this stunning example of Ford power many times over the years and feel that it deserves a spot at MCACN. Bob Ashton, are you listening?
At a Glance
1970 Torino Cobra SportsRoof
Owned by: John Chencharick
Restored by: Unrestored; detailing and additional parts by owner; SEMO Mustang, Gordonville, MO; Arrow Auto Air & Service Center, San Bernardino, CA; Phil LaChapelle; engine rebuilt by Van Gordon Racing, Upland, CA
Engine: 429ci/420hp Cobra Jet V-8
Transmission: C-6 3-speed automatic
Rearend: 3.00 gears with Traction-Lok
Interior: Black bucket seat with console
Wheels: 14-inch Magnum 500
Tires: G70-14 Kelsey reproduction Goodyear Polyglas
This wild Fairlane isn’t what you’d find down at the local bowling club. Anton’s Hot Rod Shop from Hiram, Ohio, are bringing straight fire to SEMA 2018 with what looks at first like your average street machine but actually hides a mind-bending amount of custom work. Riding on a custom chassis from Roadster Shop radically updating the handling of the old mid-size muscle car, the ’66 is powered by a 8.6-litre (526 cubic-inch) all-aluminium version of Ford’siconic “cammer” overhead cam big-block V8!
WORDS: ROBERT BARRY | PHOTOS RB/MERCURY ENERGY
To prove that electric vehicles are cool and can be an emotional as well as a rational choice, energy company Mercury created Evie the bright yellow fully-electrically powered 1957 Ford Fairlane convertible which has recently featured in a television advertising campaign.
Evie has become the most recognised member of the Mercury team, and even when parked outside the company’s offices in Newmarket, both staff and members of the public are immediately drawn to her presence, with many taking pictures and selfies on their smartphones.
NZ Autocar recently enjoyed a short cruise around Central Auckland in Evie, with her “minder” Trippy (vehicle wrangler Mike Tripp) behind the wheel explaining her finer details to us.
Nothing makes a statement like a bright yellow classic 1950s American convertible, and there are many smiles noted from other motorists and pedestrians as we make our way to Okahu Bay for a photo shoot.
Much like modern electric vehicles, Evie offers a very quiet driving experience, there’s some road noise from the tyres, and some wind noise around the windscreen when the electric roof is lowered, but she has plenty of oomph when needed for a swift getaway.
The creation of Evie was the result of a brainstorming process between Mercury and it’s agency FCB to prove that electric vehicles can be fun and exciting and that they provide the same dynamic experience as a car with a internal combustion engine, apart from the lack of sound.
Evie left the Kansas City, Missouri Ford factory in 1957 as a standard Fairlane Skyliner convertible painted black and equipped with a V8 petrol engine and automatic transmission.
Mercury purchased her from a private owner in the Bay of Plenty before shipping her to Dunedin for the powertrain transformation. Dunedin-based James Hardisty and the team from Control Focus were responsible for Evies conversion to electric drive using a Siemens bus motor and lithium iron phosphate batteries from China.
The 50 kwh battery pack contains 218 cells and weights 414kg, and Scott Drive in Hamilton was responsible for building the motor drive. The electric motor produces 170kW or 12,000 rpm so Evies three-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic gearbox was retained, rather than running a direct drive to the rear differential which would possibly break it.
Evie originally weighed in a 1.9 tonnes but the conversion to electric drive means she now comes in at a healthy 2.2 tonnes. At 5.5 metre long and 2.2 metres wide her dimensions are similar to a large Ute.
Because Evie was born as a convertible her chassis was strong enough for the conversion to electric drive but the rear suspension received an additional two leaves, while the front suspension remains unchanged.
As part of her transformation, Ron and Nick from Ron Wood Electrical in Point Chevalier did the automotive electrical work on Evie. Most of the upholstery in Evie is original and in very good condition but Walter from Mr Snippet in Grey Lynn tidied up the carpeting.
It was Peter Lineham and Warren Gibson at Chandler Panel beaters and Lineham Spray painting in Grey Lynn who resprayed Evie in the fetching shade of Mercury Yellow, which has been registered as an official colour according to Trippy.
Depending on weather and traffic conditions as well as Trippy’s driving style, Evie’s driving range will vary from 90km to more than 120km on a full charge, and like modern EVs the engine is regeneration capable, taking your foot off the accelerator will automatically do this. Evie has three recharging options.
Using a Chademo fast charger will refill the battery pack to 80 per cent in 60 minutes, a J1772 Type One charger will take seven hours to refill the battery pack to 100 per cent, and plugging in with a three-pin plug charger at home will take up to 20 hours to refill her to 100 per cent.
Mercury chief marketing officer Julia Jack says watching people react to Evie’s presence has been the most fun part of the journey.
The name Evie, a play on EV, was conceived by Mercury’s head of brand and marketing Ben Harvey-Lovell for the bright yellow convertible and Jack says it was a logical choice.
Before launching Evie officially to the general public, she took a road trip around the Mercury offices to meet the staff.
“The buzz created by the staff about Evie certainly exceeded our expectations, they really engaged with her and continue to do,” says Jack.
“We were blown away by the teams positive response.”
Evie made her first official outing to a Caffeine and Classics meeting in Auckland, followed by an appearance at the Beach Hop in Whangamata, which according to Jack saw a very positive response from the other participants and guests.
“It was a really good reaction from the Beach Hop crowd, the people there were very positive towards Evie and they acknowledged that electric is the engine of the future,” says Jack.
Jack says Mercury has a few more adventures lined up in Evies calendar. There will be some more television appearances to show people the benefits of electric vehicles and then there is a big summer calendar of events planned for her.
Evie will make appearances at the Big Boys Toys event in Auckland in November 16 to 18, followed by visits to various Ford dealership showrooms, and she will also take a South Island road trip during the 2018-2019 summer.
by Scotty Lachenauer
Out of the smoky haze created by the hordes of Chevy tri-five Gasser’s choking-up dragstrips across the country, comes a new and refreshing take on the straight axle form. This stunning jacked-up Fairlane not only dishes out a severe case of eye-candy craving, but also reeks of a “built to be reckoned with” tour-de-force out on the eighth-mile straightaways across the nation.
When owner Jeff Jacobson, decided to build a gasser, he wanted to do something completely out of the box. His journey started when he found this needy 1955 Fairlane for sale by a mutual friend. It had sat for the better part of 15 years before Jeff rescued it, and was a complete car when he pulled it from its dusty lair.
Even after its extended slumber, it didn’t take long before the Fairlane’s Y-block sprang to life, and the feisty Ford hit the streets under the new owners command. Jeff drove the crusty car around for a while before deciding to put his horse-powered plan into action. Game on!
Next piece of the puzzle was to source the motor-vation for this here hot rod Ford. Jeff knew that this ride needed one hot engine, a really HOT engine, and by no means did he want to skimp here. He knew he had to go big, or not go at all. So he decided without a doubt that Ford’s SOHC 427 was the way to add some adrenaline to this build. Jeff got to work and soon started assembling the parts needed to get this powerhouse off and running.
Starting with a fresh 427 block, Jeff added a billet Bryant crank, and CP-Carrillo rods, and pistons; the latter personally designed by Ric Panneton himself. Next a Hilborn injection set up was installed to help get this thirsty beast fed the fuel it would need. The assembly of the engine was done by Mike and Matt Faucher at Factory Billet in Lake Zurich, Illinois. The compression here is a hefty 15:1 and this ride runs on VP C14 fuel. This combination made well over 800hp on the dyno. A G-Force 101A 4-speed transmission with a Ram Sintered Iron Clutch was next on the list of must haves, and a Ford 9-inch rearend sends the power out to the back meats.
The interior is all aluminum to save precious weight, and its styling is as bare bones as they come. Diamond pleat vinyl covers were hand stitched by Mikey’s Kustom Upholstery in Deputy, Indiana. Most importantly, the Fairlane’s cage was custom built and NHRA certified to go 8.5 seconds in the quarter-mile. With Jeff in the seat, this svelte speed demon still weighs in at a paltry 2,450 pounds.
The headers were made in-house at JSS. Body work and paint were done by Jeff at the family owned Brothers Autobody and Repair, which he operates with…you guessed it, his brother Joe. The paint is PPG Deltron with DC4000 clear. The cool retro lettering was done by Jason Vanderwoude at NSD Paintwerks in Griffith Indiana. Wildwood Drag Brakes were installed at the four corners for mucho stopping power. Wheels are American Racing Magnesium; 15×4 up front and 15×10 out back and shod with Firestone skinnies up front and MT 29.5×10.5W meats out back. Building this ride was by no means a one-man show. “99% of the car was built by me and my fellow buddy’s in our car club, the Border Bandits.” Jeff and his wife Amanda campaign the “Skairlane” with the other wild gassers that make up the “South East Gasser Association,” traveling the States and hitting the top eighth-mile tracks. Its best time to date is 5.68 at 122 mph in the eighth-mile. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to catch it a track near you, and witness this “Cammer” Fairlane outrun the other big dogs in a straight track showdown.
Read Full Original Story here… Check out all the photos as well!
One of the most sleek and sinister-looking production Ford’s from the ’50s had to be the 1957 Ford. Gone were sleek and popular shoebox Fords of the late ’40s and early ’50s as Ford Motor Company was quickly catapulting itself toward the ’60s that would become known as the muscle car era. In the process, the Blue Oval sought to keep pace with General Motors and its popular Tri-Five Chevy lineup. With the introduction of its 1957 lineup of cars, Ford were able to do just that.
The 1957 Ford had a classic look that would quickly win the hearts of hot rodders across the country. The 1957 gained even more popularity after being featured in the Robert Mitchum classic moonshine film Thunder Road in which Robert’s character, “Lucas Doolin,” drove a basically untouchable 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 as he ran illegal moonshine across the South. If Lucas drove a 1957 Ford modified like Freddy Merritt’s 1957 Ford 300, those pesky revenuers might still be chasing him!
Freddy’s car is highly modified from one end to the other. Much like the moonshiners of the past, Freddy went after the fastest and most readily available Ford engine on the market to power his ride, the Coyote 5.0-liter. Backed up by a C4 Ford automatic transmission and a Currie 9-inch Ford rearend with a 3.00:1 gear. Wilwood disc brakes on all four corners handle the stopping duties. With all these modifications, this 1957 is ready to run some whiskey or take on a Sunday evening cruise down a mountain back road, or most anything in between.
Just like the drivetrain, the interior on Freddy Merritt’s 1957 is modernized. Gone are the factory gauges and in their place are super trick set of 1966 Mustang-style VHX Dakota Digital gauges. Paul Atkins from Alabama built the custom, leather-wrapped interior and it looks great. A simple radio and HVAC control unit sit in a nice center console featuring two large cup holders that are certainly big enough to hold your favorite insulated tumbler of choice.
This car also features a push-button start and a push-button shifter. As cool touch to pay homage to the classic history of the car, the original steering wheel still resides atop the column. It reminds the driver that even with all the modern accessories, they are still driving and enjoying a cool, classic car.
Freddy is the first to admit, the body was in pretty rough shape on his 1957 when he started due to years of wrecks, repairs, and abuse. Thanks to a two and a half year painstaking restoration with the help of Carl Quinn in Folkston, Georgia, the car is back in better-than-new condition. The car is painted in a sinister Chrysler black-and-silver two-tone combination. A set of appropriately colored 17-inch Riddler wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber finish off the look of the exterior. Making Freddy’s 1957 Ford 300 an awesome show-or-go hot rod that is sure to grab attention wherever it goes. It definitely grabbed ours.
By Bob Golfen
What looks to be merely an especially clean Ford Fairlane has an explosive secret under its conservative dark-green paint.
The Pick of the Day is a 1965 Ford Fairlane 500 coupe that has been totally restored and built up into a very fast machine, according to the private seller advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. Not only that, the seller says, but it has been designed for reliability and ease of maintenance.
“Every nut, bolt, weather-stripping, etc. is new,” the Bayfield, Ontario, seller says in the ad description. “Body and paint totally redone with original color in 2-stage paint hand rubbed. Interior is all new, as well as all chrome and stainless.
“Installed is a Ford 392 crate engine. (The) reliable, low-maintenance stroker crate engine produces 460 hp and 450 (pound-feet of) torque. Brand new Ford SVO Sportsman II block and all new top-quality components from top to bottom.”
The interior looks sporty but comfortable, with auxiliary gauges and a Hurst shifter linked with the automatic transmission. But the main highlight here is the pro-built performance V8.
“The Smeding Ford 392 boasts such premium parts as full roller valve gear, specially modified Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads with 2.02/1.60 valves, and Edelbrock RPM Air Gap intake manifold, a modular-iron crankshaft, 4130 Forged I beam with 3/8-inch ARP WaveLoc bolts, 5.956 connecting rods, hypereutectic pistons and low-friction single moly rings,” according to the ad.
“It features 9.8:1 compression, so it can run all day long on pump gas with no problem. Plus, to reduce maintenance demands, Smeding uses a hydraulic roller camshaft. There’s no valve lash to set, so vehicle owners can treat this engine just like the one in a brand-new vehicle.
“The street-performance engine spins to a maximum rpm of 6,000. Horsepower is rated and dynoed at 465.”
he driveline also has been completely tuned, the seller adds, with a “performance 4-speed automatic AOD tranny (with) Hurst V-Matic 2 Shifter.”
The running gear includes a “complete 9-inch Musclepak, new heavy-duty Moser 9-inch housing, with OEM located mounting provisions and seamless steel tubing” and Trac-Loc clutch posi. The steering is via custom rack and pinion, and the Fairlane boasts new drum brakes, brake lines, camps and emergency-brake cable.
Engine cooling is enhanced by a new aluminum radiator, the seller says, while the air-condition system for occupant cooling “needs final plumbing.”
This Fairlane looks to be in pristine condition with a gleaming paint job and black steel wheels. I’d source a set of original hubcaps to give this coupe a unassuming stock look for surprising the other hot rodders.
The asking price of $35,000 seems reasonable considering all the work that went into it.
by Meg Duncan
In 1995, when Shawn was 16-years old, he met the love of his life. After the state of Missouri deemed him a licensed driver, he found her for sale at an old shop somewhere.
“You are so beautiful.”
His words were tender as they tip-toed off his lips ever so carefully. In the 20 years I have known him, Shawn never expressed such raw emotion. Appreciation filled his eyes, as his hand slowly moved over a silky surface.
I tapped him on the shoulder.
“Uh — sorry to interrupt,” I said.
He jumped ten feet in the air like he’d been caught in a tawdry affair. Truth is though, I have known about her for a while. He sneaks out of the house late at night to see her, and buys her pretty things.
Sometimes when I am talking about all the important stuff I talk about – I can tell he is thinking about her instead. She is pretty and curvy in all the right places, but even worse, I truly think he loves her. I mean, they have quite a history together.
In 1995, when Shawn was 16-years old, he met the love of his life. After the state of Missouri deemed him a licensed driver, he found her for sale at an old shop somewhere.
A 1959 Ford Fairlane. He calls her the ’59.
She was a rusted version of her turquoise and white glory days, but Shawn saw something in that old car and knew she was worth restoring.
Of course, the problem is that when you’re young and working for minimum wage, buying hard-to-find car parts isn’t exactly affordable. So, Shawn’s first love was just parked in the grass. Through storms, winters, and under the hot sun, she waited on her destiny for 26 years.
And little did that old ’59 know that Shawn never forgot her.
Every time we drove by, his gaze wandered to her overgrown place in the grass. The upholstery ripped from weather and off-track windows sagged in the door, her body was becoming more rust than color — but he still saw her beauty.
He never stopped seeing what she could be. In fact, he loved her so much that he built her a house — a garage in our side yard just for the ’59 (and his ’69 Mustang, a whole other love story).
And on the day the ’59 came home from the farm, Shawn watched her arrive on his stepdad’s trailer like she was a soldier returning from battle. Standing beside him were our two boys, and by the twinkle in their eyes, I saw they were just as enchanted by the classic beaten-up beauty.
Work began almost immediately. Shawn and Connor, and occasionally Logan whose interest waned a little when he realized how much work would be involved, spend evenings sanding and painting, and Connor learned to weld.
They come inside for the night exhausted and usually paint covered, and once in Connor’s brand new school shirt which they both heard about all through supper.
But now as they stand back and look at the ’59, they see the reward of blood, sweat, and tears shining in the chrome and smooth turquoise and white body. And if she is finished in time, the ’59 might just chaperone Connor or Logan to the prom (only seven short years away).
Yep, the old ’59 still needs a lot of work, which is done as the money allows. There are a couple of flat tires and a few cracked windows. Plus, she still needs seats, and basically all the stuff under the hood that makes her go.
(As you can see, I haven’t taken this as an opportunity to learn anything about cars myself).
Shawn has taught the boys so much, though. They talk car-talk at the dinner table. They go to car shows together, and point out their favorites and discuss what’s under the hood. And even though I don’t understand most of it, I love the language of father and son.
This old love of Shawn’s has now become a shared passion, and it is teaching them not only valuable skills and a strong work ethic, but that you can build something with your very own hands. Building cars, building dreams, and building memories that will last forever.
So, it’s true. My husband is in love with someone else. But that’s OK — because I love her too.
By Ken Peters
It’s one of those cars that makes you smile when you see it. It’s not a hot rod, it’s not a luxury ride, but it is a perfect example of what average income earners bought when they shopped for a new car in 1956.
It’s a 1956 Ford Fairlane, two-door coupe, in beautiful Peacock Blue and Colonial White, a wildly popular color for Ford during 1955 and 1956. The two-tone scheme, with Peacock Blue on the top and bottom, offset by Colonial White in the middle, with Ford’s unique, but bold chrome piece sweeping along the side and up to the top of the front fenders, is a classic today. But the thing is, it was an instant classic in 1956.
Ford and Chevy captured the public’s imagination sales-wise during the mid-’50s years, and were locked in a fierce battle for customers. When all was said-and-done many people believed and still do today, that Chevy outsold Ford that year. But the truth is Ford sold 142,629 Fairlane two-door coupes, while Chevy sold 105,098 two-door Bel Air coupes, the comparable car to Ford’s Fairlane two-door coupe. A two-door coupe, by the way, is commonly called a ‘post car’ today.
But Chevy marched on to outsell Ford in total production for 1956, 1,626,843 to 1,392,037. In 1957 it was a decidedly, but confusing different year. Chevy outsold Ford by 130 cars, although 7,359 of those cars were leftover 1956 models sold during 1957.
In any event, the Zimmermans are happy with their Ford Fairlane, a car they bought from a private owner in North Syracuse, in pretty much the condition it’s in today.
“I saw an ad for the car and went and looked at it,” Marv said. “I wasn’t looking for a specific car, just a nice car to drive.”
The Ford is a nice car to drive. Although it doesn’t have power steering or power brakes, it’s large and comfortable. With 74,000 original miles on the odometer, the Zimmermans.
The interior was replaced somewhere along the line, and while the material isn’t authentic, it is in the correct color for the car’s exterior. The bright work was sent out for chroming sometime in the not-too-distant past, but the car’s finish is older, although it’s nice.
Marv said he’s always been interested in cars because his father “had a lot of cars.”
The previous owner did some work on the car, and Susan and Marv indicated they may do a few things to the car to upgrade its overall condition.
1956 Ford Fairlane two-door
- Owners: Susan, Marv Zimmerman, Tully, N.Y.
- Cost new: $2,047
- Color: Peacock Blue/Colonial White
- Equipment: Ford-O-Matic 3-speed transmission; AM radio; heater
- Engine: 292 cubic inch V-8, 202-hp
- Ford Fairlane two-door production 1956: 142,629
- Total Ford production 1956: 1,392,037
- 1956 house price: $22,000
- Average income: $4,454
- Gallon of milk: 97 cents
- Gallon of gas: 23 cents
- Loaf of bread: 18 cents
- U.S. postage stamp: 3 cents
- Dozen eggs: 45 cents
- Rheingold 6-pack: $1.20
Full Original Story can be found here…
DEARBORN – Anthony Guillebeau tells us he’s a true-blue “Ford Man” and as such couldn’t be prouder of his latest build – this spectacular big-block 1966 Ford Fairlane. Although it took him about five years to complete, we can see why he says it was “well worth it.” To find out what year Fords donated the Cobra Jet and Tri-Power setup, read his email message to us below:
“Hello, Ford Performance! My name is Anthony Guillebeau. As a huge Ford fan I wanted to send you a few pictures of my latest build. It’s a big-block powered 1966 Ford Fairlane.
“The Cobra Jet engine is a 1969 428CJ converted it to a roller cam and fueled by a Tri-Power setup that came off a 406 V-8 from 1962. It all runs through a Ford Performance Tremec TKO 600 five-speed manual transmission.
“There’s a lot more go-fast goodies included in the build, which took about five years to finish — but was well worth it. I would love to see my car featured in your ‘Ford Fan Spotlight’ if you think your readers would enjoy it. Thanks!”