SEPTEMBER 17, 2018
As we walked toward the exhibition center at the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals in Pueblo, Colorado, we did a double-take. We thought, “Whoa, wait a minute. That Fairlane wagon is a two door. Ford didn’t make a two door station wagon that year.”
Sitting in the shade away from the car was Dave Gardner of Colorado Springs, a Ford ball cap atop his head – a dead giveaway.
We found out the 1963 Ford Fairlane station wagon was a year-long project built entirely by Dave in his home garage. Dave has always had a soft spot for wagons – just not four-door wagons. He thought a two-door Fairlane would be unique, but, Ford never produced any Fairlane two-door wagons from 1963 to 1965. Dave figured the only way he was going to get one was to build it himself.
Dave’s a Ford guy, having built several Mavericks, a 1965 Fairlane 2-door hardtop as well as a 1979 Bronco 4-door, a 1954 F-100 “supercab” on a 1978 F-150 4×4 chassis, and a very nice 1955 Ford Crown Victoria. And those are just a few highlights of his 30-plus years as a body tech.
Dave really enjoyed the body lines and loved the fins Ford designed for the Fairlane. Before the build was even started, he envisioned a two-door wagon with 1962 Fairlane side trim and he ran an ad on Craigslist seeking it. A guy called from California saying he had all of the trim and would let it go for $600. At least Dave didn’t have to piece it all together from many trips to the auto recycler!
After studying the car for a while, he didn’t want to simply weld the rear doors shut. “The welds always seem to ghost out in the final finish for some reason,” Dave recalled. “No matter how well they are welded up – inside and out – those openings always show.” That only left one solution: find a donor car – a two-door Fairlane sedan for the quarters and doors. A good example popped up in Casper, Wyoming, and he started cutting the minute he got it home. “I wanted it to be a “true” two-door wagon, thus I needed actual doors and quarters from a two-door sedan.” Dave mentioned.
Dave said that was the fun part of the build. He opened up the whole side of the wagon and grafted on the sedan’s quarters, including the posts. The wagon’s rear door had a stock vent window and Dave wanted that gone. “It just didn’t look correct with a vent window there,” he said. “Because the window was a different shape [the sedans quarter windows are curved], I had one made to fit the new opening. It fits the look of a wagon better.”
If you look closely at the dash, you’ll notice there are no A/C vents. That’s because the wagon does not have A/C – Dave likes to have the windows down to hear the pipes. Not only that, but there are only a few months in Colorado summers when A/C is needed.
In August, 2017 Dave got out his stainless 1962 Fairlane 500 trim he’d been saving and straightened and polished it all. Before he bolted it on the wagon, he added the Gold foil insert. The front bumper is from a 1964 Fairlane because it wraps all the way around the front, unlike the ’63. All the side glass is tinted and Dave added 1965 Fairlane emblems to the quarter panels. The car was finished in late April of 2018, just in time for the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nats in June. Even “purists” could be fooled by Dave’s build – it’s that good!
Is there another build in Dave’s future? Yep, he says it’ll be a 1960 Galaxie two-door sedan with an entire chassis sourced from a 1989 Crown Victoria.