Introduction: Introduced in 1955 as Ford's fullsize model, the Ford Fairlane was
reborn in 1962 as Ford's entry into the hotly contested intermediate muscle car
market. With lighter weight than the fullsize Galaxie but with the same powerful
engines, the Fairlane, and its spinoffs the Torino and Cobra, were a force to be
reckon with on the street and the drag strip.
1962 Ford Fairlane
Comments: The previously fullsized Ford Fairlane was reborn in 1962 as Ford's
entry into the intermediate class. The new midsize Fairlane was nearly one foot
shorter than the fullsize Galaxie, and eight inches longer than the compact Falcon.
Also new was a new innovative, lightweight V8 created using a technique known as
thin-wall casting. Initially displacing 221 cid, the Fairlane V8 was 90 lb.
lighter and much more compact than the popular Chevrolet small block V8. In mid-year
1962, Ford introduced the Fairlane 500 Sports Coupe with standard bucket seats and
a mini console. Optional was the 260 Challenger V8, a bored out version of the 221.
1963 Ford Fairlane
Comments: New for 1963 was the introduction of the 289 V8 engine, a bored out
version of the 260. The 289 was rated at up to 271 bhp in optional "High
1964 Ford Fairlane
Comments: The most exciting news of 1964 was a special Fairlane model designed for
serious drag strip racing. Ford teamed up with Andy Hotten, of Dearborn Steel
Tubing Co., to build 57 Fairlane based 427 powered race cars with a weight of
around 3,203 lbs to compete on professional drag strips. These cars had fiberglass
fenders, teardrop-shaped hood blisters (to clear the competition 427's high rise
manifold and air cleaner), Plexiglass windows, lightweight police-package bucket
seats, an air induction system with air intakes where the inner headlights
used to be, 8,000 rpm Rotunda tachs, modified front suspensions (to fit the 427),
and many special competition equipment features. Sunvisors, mirror, sound-deadening,
armrests, even the jack and lug wrench were removed to save weight. The 425 bhp 427
big block was heavily modified and actually cranked out around 500 bhp. It was
linked to a beefed-up Lincoln automatic with 4.58:1 gearing or a Borg Warner T-10
transmission with Hurst shifter with 4.44:1 gearing. Massive traction bars,
asymmetrical rear springs, and a trunk mounted 95 pound bus battery helped to get all
that power to the ground. The 1964 Ford Fairlane Special Performance Drag vehicles
soon adopted the Thunderbolt name from the 1963 A/FX Fairlane drag race car and
were also known as "T-bolts." Demand was strong enough to lead to a second order
of 54 all white cars. Driver Gas Ronda dominated NHRA's 1964 World Championship
by running his T-bolt through the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds at 124 mph. Of
the 111 total built, at least 99 of them had manual transmission, and the first
11 were painted maroon, the rest were white.
Production: Thunderbolt: 100
Engines: 427 V8 425 bhp @ 6000 rpm, 480 lb-ft @ 3700 rpm.
Performance: Thunderbolt: 427/425: 1/4 mile in 11.76 seconds.
1965 Ford Fairlane
1966 Ford Fairlane
Comments: New for 1966 was the introduction of the GT and GTA packages, as
well as the addition of a new convertible body style in addition to the two door
hardtop. The Fairlane was redesigned to fit Ford's FE big block V8s for the first
time. GTs came with 390 cid V8s as standard, the GTA added the SportShift
Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission. The GT and GTA packages were available
on the 500/XL line and also included special badges, a special hood, body striping,
engine dress-up parts, heavy-duty suspension, disc brakes, bucket seats, console and
a sport steering wheel. The base 390 V8 335 bhp engine featured a hot cam, special manifolds,
and a single four barrel carb. This set up was good for mid-15s in the quarter mile, respectable,
but far from fast.
To boost its performance image, Ford installed a detuned version of its race ready 427 V8 in
approximately 60 Fairlanes. These were the famous "side oiler" 427 wedge engines that
Ford raced in NASCAR and was initial available only with dual quad carbs, which was good
for a rated 425 bhp. Fairlanes equipped with the 427 included a big air scoop at
the front of the hood. The 427 was available in two versions: a single four barrel
carb, good for 410 bhp, or with dual quad carbs which was rated at 425 bhp. Fitting
the 427 required modified shock towers and larger front coil springs. Free-breathing
cast iron exhaust headers, low-restriction dual exhausts, and Ford's top-loader
four-speed manual completed the powertrain. The 427 was only available on the
two door Fairlane 500s or 500XLs and it came with a lift-off fiberglass hood
with functional air scoop, small fender insignia, a Special Handling package,
manual front disc brakes, heavy-duty rear leaf springs, larger bias-belted blackwall
tires, but no tach. On the dragstrip, these cars could do the quarter
mile in under 13 seconds at almost 114 mph. With a little work, times in the
mid 11's were possible.
Production: 500XL GT 2D Hardtop: 33,015. 500XL GT Convertible: 4,327
Engines: 390 V8 335 bhp. 427 V8 410 bhp. 427 V8 425 bhp @ 6000 rpm,
480 lb-ft @ 3700 rpm.
Performance: 427/425: 0-60 in 6.0 seconds, 1/4 mile in 14.5 seconds @ 100 mph.
1967 Ford Fairlane
Comments: The Fairlane had minor trim changes with a slightly redesigned grille.
The small block 289 cid V8 became the standard engine for the GT/GTA, with the
390 cid V8 with either two or four barrel carb as optional, rated at 275 bhp and
320 bhp (15 bhp less than the previous year) respectively. All Fairlane GT/GTAs
gained standard power front disc brakes and had all vinyl interiors with bucket
seats standard. Still available was the 427 "side oiler" which was now available
with either a single four barrel carb ("W"), good for 410 bhp, or with dual quad carbs ("R")
which was rated at 425 bhp. The 427 was also available with tunnel-port heads,
which improved air flow and added an additional 30 bhp. Less than 200 427 Fairlanes were
Production: 500XL GT 2D Hardtop: 18,670. 500XL GT Convertible: 2,117
Engines: 289 V8 200 bhp. 390 V8 275 bhp. 390 V8 320 bhp.
1968 Ford Fairlane
Comments: The Ford Fairlane was redesigned for 1968. Although it retained its
116 inch wheelbase, it grew in almost every other dimension, and became nearly a
fullsize car. There was a new fastback "Sportsroof" model and a new sporty
Torino series. The GTs were included in the Torino line and included a standard
302 cid V8, bucket seats, console, name badges, specific striping and trim,
deluxe wheelcovers, and a lighting package. Muscle car options included a 390 cid
V8, and the 390 bhp 427 cid V8 for the first half of the year. It was replaced
mid-year by the new Cobra Jet 428, rated at 335 bhp. A Super Cobra Jet
version was also available.
Production: Torino GT 2D Fastback: 74,135. Torino GT 2D Hardtop: 23,939. Torino
GT Convertible: 5,310
Engines: 302 V8 210 bhp. 302 V8 220 bhp. 302 V8 230 bhp. 390 V8 265 bhp. 390
V8 335 bhp. 427 V8 390 bhp.
1969 Ford Fairlane
Comments: Modestly restyled, the three Torino GTs returned in 1969 with two new
Torino Cobra models. Standard equipment equipment included the 302 cid V8, three speed
manual transmission, styled wheels, GT stripes and ornamentation, a heavy-duty
suspension, and wide oval tires. A 320 bhp 390 and two 428s with 335 bhp were
available. Bucket seats were now optional. The new Cobra was designed as a budget
street racer that would compete against the Plymouth Road Runner and thus packed a
lot of performance in a no frills package. The Cobra had less trim than the
GT, but had a big snake decal (later a metal badge) on its front fenders. Standard
was the 428 cid Cobra Jet V8, rated at 335 bhp (though it really put out around
400 bhp). A four-speed manual transmission (automatic was just $37 more), beefed-up
suspension, wide wheels, fat tires, hood scoop, black grille and Cobra ID were
included. Options included bucket seats, and a functional hood scoop that fed fresh
air into the engine (which didn't affect the engine's rating but definitely added
more power). A clock, tachometer, power disc brakes, and gearing up to 4.30:1 with
Detriot Locker, were also extra.
Also new for 1969 was the introduction of the Torino Talladega to better compete on
the NASCAR Grand National super speed ways. Named for the Alabama town where a new
2.66 mile track was to open, the Torino Talladega was based on the SportsRoof two door
hardtop and got an extended sloped nose, flush grille, revised rear bumper used in
front, and reworked rocker panels, all to improve aerodynamics. The result was a
car nearly six inches longer and one inch lower than stock. Power came from the
335 bhp Cobra Jet 428 cid FE big block V8, but only a column mounted C-6 Cruise-O-Matic
automatic transmission was available. Production totaled 754 units (easily meeting
the required 500 requirement), and was available in Wimbleton White, Royal Maroon,
or Presidential Blue, all with a black hood. The black interiors only had bench seats
and there were no gauges, not even a tach.
Production: Torino GT 2D Fastback: 61,319. Torino GT 2D Hardtop: 17,951. Torino
GT Convertible: 2,552
Engines: 302 V8 210 bhp. 302 V8 220 bhp. 302 V8 230 bhp. 351 V8 250 bhp.
351 V8 290 bhp. 390 V8 265 bhp. 390 V8 335 bhp. 428 V8 335 bhp.
Performance: Torino Cobra 428/335: 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, 1/4 mile in 14.4 seconds
@ 101 mph.
1970 Ford Fairlane
Comments: The Ford Fairlane was restyled again for 1970, growing again as wheelbase
increased from 116 to 117 inches, length increased by six inches, and width increased
by two inches. A full lineup was available, topped by the Torino Cobra. Standard on
the Torino Cobra was the new big block 429 with four barrel carb and 10.5:1
compression rated at 360 bhp. Cobras came with Ford's top-loader four-speed manual
transmission (capped by a Hurst shifter), competition suspension with staggered
rear shocks, seven-inch steel wheels, F70-14 rubber, a black hood with locking
devices, black out trim, and Cobra badging. Bench seats were standard. Engine
options included the 370 bhp Cobra 429 with 11.3:1 compression, different heads, a
high-lift cam, and a 700-cfm Holley four barrel carb on a high rise manifold. The
429 could also be order with functional Ram Air (which was called the Cobra-Jet Ram
Air 429) but was still rated at 370 bhp. Ordering the Drag Pack with the Cobra
engine added Traction-Lok 3.91:1 or Detroit Locker 4.30:1 gears, a mechanical-lifter
cam, oil cooler, forged aluminum pistons, four-bolt mains, and a 780 cfm four barrel
carb, good for 375 bhp. Also available, briefly, was the 375 bhp Boss 429. On the
street, the extra heft helped traction off the line and the Torino Cobra's 0-60 times
were quite competitive. However, although the Torino Cobra was supposed to be used
for NASCAR, it was actually slower than the 1969 versions, which forced most race
teams to run the 1969 cars.
The King Cobra, Ford's answer to the Dodge Charger Daytona and Plymouth Superbird,
never saw production. Added to the Torino lineup was the Falcon trim, the lowest
trim level of the Fairlane/Torino lineup. It was possible to order the Falcon with
the Boss 429 engine rated at 375 bhp in a relatively light weight car. Boss 429
equipped Falcons could do 0-60 in 6 seconds, and 1/4 miles in 14.5 seconds.
Elsewhere in the Torino lineup, engines were detuned for emissions, mileage, and
Production: Torino GT: 56,819. Torino Cobra: 7,675.
Engines: 302 V8 220 bhp. 302 V8 250 bhp. 351 V8 285 bhp. 351 V8 300 bhp. 429 V8
360 bhp. 429 V8 370 bhp. 429 V8 375 bhp @ 5400 rpm, 450 lb-ft @ 3400 rpm.
Performance: Torino Cobra 429/370: 0-60 in 6.0 seconds, 1/4 mile in 13.99 seconds @
1971 Ford Fairlane
Comments: The 1971 Torinos were basically unchanged, but the standard engines
were downgraded, the GT from a V8 to an I6, and the Cobra from the 428 to a 351
Cleveland V8. Still optional were the 429s, with and without Ram Air, but the
Boss 429 was unavailable.
Production: Torino GT: 31,641. Torino Cobra: 3,054.
Engines: 250 V6 145 bhp. 302 V8 220 bhp. 302 V8 250 bhp. 351 V8 285 bhp.
351 V8 300 bhp. 429 V8 360 bhp. 429 V8 370 bhp. 429 V8 375 bhp.
1972 Ford Fairlane
Comments: The 1972 Torinos were even larger, heavier, and more luxury oriented. Both
Cobra and convertibles were gone. The GT continued, but it was only a shadow of
its former self.