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As Quick As A Boss? 1963 Ford Fairlane


It’s amazing how much gearing can impact a car’s performance. With a high (number) ratio rear end, you can make just about any car accelerate of the line faster, but of course there is a cost to top speed. The seller of this Fairlane 4 door claims it’s just as quick as a Shelby or Boss Mustang. How could it be as quick you ask? Well it has 221 V8 paired to a 3 speed with overdrive and a 3.80 ratio rear end. Depending on the transmission gearing, you could actually get a lot of acceleration out of this sedan. You can find it here on eBay in College Park, Maryland with no bids and only a few hours left to go. The question is, could it really be as quick as a Boss?


I’m not so sure I agree that this thing is as quick as a Boss or Shelby. Sure, with the right upgrades, it could be made to be extremely quick, but the 221 currently won’t run for more than a few seconds. It’s hard to be faster than anything when you don’t run. I’ll believe it’s fast when I see it on the street!


One thing is for sure, it’s interesting that someone optioned it with the 3.80 rear end from the factory. I guess who ever ordered it decided fuel mileage wasn’t going to be that great anyways, so you might as well get up to speed quickly! The 221 is a decent little V8 and is related to the 260 and 289. It only puts out 145 horsepower, but it does churn out over 200 pounds of torque. With a few upgrades, that is if you can get it running, it could be a decent powerplant.


I get that the seller is trying to create excitement about their car. The fact that it’s essentially a factory hotrod sedan is pretty cool, but I wouldn’t say it’s a Boss or GT350 competitor. It would definitely be more fun to drive than the typical Fairlane sedan, but it’s no muscle car. I really would love to watch it go up against a Boss 302 or a GT350 though and see how it fairs!


  1. Alan (Michigan)


    Cool version of a midsize family car. Three speed column shifts were pretty common 50 years ago, before the automatic transmissions took over.
    Definitely not a fast car, but small V8’s can be fun, and sound great with the right exhaust system.
    Clean the fuel system, do brakes/hydraulics/cooling system maintenance, tires, etc…

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  2. Don

    faster then a BOSS our SHELBY .I bet MR SHELBY is up above laughing at that one

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  3. 68 custom

    as quick sure, after you pull a couple of plug wires off the shelby! :)

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  4. BOB

    With a HIGH ratio rear end, you can make just about any car accelerate of the line faster
    Really ? I guess I’ve been confused about axle ratios for many years .

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    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      Hi Bob, higher as in the gear number. It’s all a bit confusing and I get it mixed up sometimes myself. A taller gear would be a lower number, like 3.00 and would equate to a higher top speed and slower acceleration. A shorter gear would be a number higher than 3.50 and would create a lower top speed (engine is spinning faster to move the wheels one rotation) and quicker acceleration. I think that’s right, but someone correct me if I’m wrong!

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      • BOB

        Josh,we agree on the effect of gear ratios. I guess it’s all in the definition of terms. I drove a IH 10 wheeler for several years with 5.37:1 axle , that was low geared to me. At the same time I had a GMC pickup with 2.42:1 axle , that to me was high geared. BTW ,neither one was quick off the line or otherwise.

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      • Jim

        The terms associated with rear axle gearing are normally used wrong but after all these years it’s hard to change people. Lower numerically=more top speed, higher=lower top speed, engine torque-maximum engine rpm-transmission final ratio and tire diameter all affect quarter mile et and flat out mph. This 221cid was no powerhouse, probably with that 3.80 rear axle it’s a beast for 50-75feet but that’s it. Beat a Shelby? The seller had too many blue pills that morning.

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  5. J Paul Member

    “Sure, it’s just a riding lawnmower, but with the right gear ratios it’s quicker than a Ferrari!”

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  6. Chebby

    Looks to me like the seller may have used ‘Shelby’ ‘Boss’ and ‘Fast’ as keywords to attract Ford muscle seekers, he doesn’t seem to imply the car performs equivalently.

    Especially as it doesn’t drive….how would he even know!

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  7. erikj

    I had a 64 500 sportcoupe with a 289 special and 4sp. it was fast-didn’t know what I had. I think it was rare.we called it a nascar cause with rotted out glasspacks it was a heck of a sound. another that I wish I still had. I,m very lucky to have the true stories ,80s where great to me.

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  8. John B

    A VW Beetle will beat almost anything in a 50-foot race!

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    • rich voss

      John B – I agree wholeheartedly ! My six volt ’65 Beetle would “scat” for that first-second shift. Hard on the engine though, I rebuilt two and fully replaced another…

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      • John B

        I meant my assertion as a good-natured but very true joke(from experience) to compare with the Fairlane owner’s claim. Apparently some others did not get it. A Beetle is also the easiest car in which to learn to drive a manual transmission, but you know that! Rock on, brother…JHB

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  9. Car Guy

    Perfect “Men in Black” car!

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  10. The One

    I’ll bet this puppy pulls a mean second gear!

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  11. j.boyd

    To quote Petertsen Publication’s Complete Book of FORD, “A 221 didn’t have enough power to pull a sick horse away from a water trough” LOL

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  12. John B

    Could that be from Tom McCahill…the master of the automotive testing quote? If not, he probably thought so anyway…

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  13. stillrunners

    The little 221 started it…..the 260 – 289 – 351 grew from it…..Ford advertized in 63/64 – “put away the boring bar” with a Kwik Way boring bar (which I worked for for a time) in the add….

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  14. bob

    had a friend of mine had a 63 four door, red. his dad had a shop and it was fast. one saturday night we found a brand new 63 1/2 429 four speed fastback cruising with his girl friend. challenged him, he laughed at us, but to show his girl, he hit it- we smoked him. last time we saw him, he was hitting his brakes and making a quick exit. that car never lost a race.

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    • Marty Parker

      1968 was the first year for the 429 engine.

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      • Rocco

        You are correct. I think it was in a Lincoln?

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  15. Lawrence Wright

    Make him an offer, he’ll probably do anything to avoid more parking tickets; College Park has the most aggressive parking enforcement on the planet. You could have a restored Stanguellini in your living room, you’d come home one day and there’d be a parking ticket on it.

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  16. David Conwill

    I love this car, but I have a not-dissimilar setup in my ’62 Falcon Tudor (3.80:1 rear, 5-speed transmission, 250-cu.in. engine with 2bbl carb) and I don’t expect to smoke any big-block Mustangs anytime soon.

    The 3.80 gear is actually fairly mild for an OD-equipped car. Earlier 4.10 was close to standard when you ordered an OD, with steeper gears yet being common in larger cars.

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  17. Luke Fitzgerald

    Gone – 4 large

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  18. Bob C.

    The 221 and 260s were fords first Windsor engines. The 221 was discontinued after 63 but its 302 evolution lasted into the 90s. What does that tell you about this fine little engine?

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    • David Conwill

      It would be fun to bolt a roller-cam 5.0 and some E7 heads under those valve covers and air cleaner?

      Like 0

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