Basicly Basic: 1956 Ford Fairlane Mainline

From 1952 to 1956 the Mainline was Ford’s base model. This one is the less expensive 2 door with a manual 3-speed transmission and did not even come with a radio or a heater. However, this Mainline listed here on craigslist in St. Peters, Missouri does have the 272 V8 option instead of the base 6. It’s been through a couple of owners and had lots of attention since it was rescued. The seller, for example, has done a tuneup, been through the brakes, carburetor, replaced the radiator and more. It has a few rust bubbles and a few dents but the floors are solid and the chrome is OK. The asking price seems high, but according to NADA it’s not far off average retail and well below high retail.

The interior is really nice, original and clean. It has a defroster only, but it looks like that might be a heater under the dash on the right side.

This is the 176 horsepower 272 V8. The radiator is new and is not stock of course. The engine is said to have been rebuilt and not completely stock with higher compression and a high lift cam.

The seller replaced the cross-member under the radiator, a common area for rust. There is also a new dual exhaust system under here.

This old Ford may have been restored years ago and then not driven for some time. Someone added an antenna for the deleted radio. It appears to be in great original condition with very little work needed to make it a nice driver. It would also be tempting to add better brakes, improve the suspension a bit and coax a little more power out of the V8. Others, of course, envision big horsepower and tall shiny wheels. Hopefully, someone can see the value in the originality of this car and preserve it as it is.

Fast Finds


  1. pajones1972

    Too bad he doesn’t live close to me in NC. Would ask him if he wanted to trade the car and some cash for my 65 Mustang. The 55/56 Ford is the first car I remember my parents having. Would like to own one myself.

    • RedBaran

      Hi Pajones,

      I’m in NC and looking to buy a classic Mustang for a father/son project (I’ve owned 3 in my lifetime so far: an ’83, a ’66 convertible, and a ’68 convertible). Shoot me a reply if you’d like to talk. Thx.

  2. MathieuB

    No heater… this one would not sold well upnorth.
    Although a very nice car!

    • Ed P

      One of my uncles would buy high end cars like Buick Roadmasters and Cadillacs. He would not get the heater until it was standard equipment. That did not stop him from ordering other fancy options though.

      • St. Ramone de V8

        My Dad used to consider a car with a radio and heater to be well optioned. Full wheel covers and white walls on top of that made for a full load. This is a nice Ford. Dad would love it!

      • rs

        I remember as a kid when ‘radio, heater and whitewalls’ was considered ‘full factory equipment’, power steering and brakes was ‘full power’ and with A/C was ‘loaded’.

  3. 86 Vette Convertible

    Had an aunt and uncle with a very similar one except 4 dr and I think it was a 6 cylinder. I rode in it many times with them until the hood decided to open at about 60mph on one outing. Wrapped that sucker right over the windshield onto the top making a royal mess. For what it was, it was a nice riding car.
    I think theirs had a heater though as it was a year round car.

  4. Don H

    Umm why put a antenna on with no radio?

  5. 56 Ford Customline

    Here is a pic of my 56 Ford Customline that I have restored. The pic is from when the paint had been completed and I was waiting for the chrome to be installed. It is a 6 cyl with three on the tree. First car I was allowed to drive as a 16 year old.

  6. Luke Fitzgerald

    Nice car – bit of rot, but must be rare – always laugh about hiding the tags… Why not the rig in the garage? – wish the aircleaner was smaller

  7. Joe Nose

    I like the drag chute. Packed and ready to run!

    • Utes

      @ Joe Nose….
      Drag chute?…..that’s a rag to hide the plate.

      Please admit you knew that!

      • Mike McCloud

        Why ruin a good joke? I thought it was funny enough! Har!! ( So there! &, oh yeah; Lighten up ! )

      • rs

        You can never be sure whether someone is joking. I remember years and years ago watching some pro drag racing on a major TV network and two Pinto funny cars were racing. One of the announcers said ‘This should be a close race. Both of the cars are Pintos.’ Neither he nor the other announcer laughed the least bit. I honestly don’t think he was joking.

  8. Joe Haska

    “I hope someone can see the value of the originality of this car and preserve it.” Are you serious, its a 56 Ford. I am almost 75 years old and have been building and driving Hot Rods and Modified Cars all my life. This attitude has been going on since my first car a 32 coupe in 1959. It seems that the myth is that if it is restored to original it is worth a butt load of money, what a bunch of misinformed people. I have had more cars than I can count or remember, but I can’t think of a modified car that I have owned, that an original or restored car (in like condition) was worth more than mine. I have two cars now (thinning the heard) a 34 Coupe and a 53 F-100 P/U, both Hot Rods and both worth more than a restored example of the same car in similar condition. When are people going to get over the idea that an original or restored car is so valuable. Wake up! We are a cross roads and now, vintage hot rods are bringing big bucks. The same cars that years ago were supposedly worthless because they weren’t original. No problem you like originals and restorations fine, great to each his own, but come with the argument that they are so much better and more valuable, and you are saving history (Really a 56 Ford) That line of reasoning is getting old after hearing it for 50 years.
    Do and build what you like, but don’t tell me I am some sort of a criminal, for building what I like. Certainly there are exceptions the true Classics, Auburn, Duesenburg, Buggati, and many others , but it still is at the discretion of the owner/ builder, who is footing the bill, what they want to do with their car and their money. I believe that not all but a large portion of Modified / special built cars are an art form, and you can like it or hate , but you can’t say you can’t do it.

    • Woodie Man

      It’s a matter of taste isn’t it? Some like hot rodded vintage tin , others like the cars as they were built by the factory. When people say “dont rod it”. they are expressing their preference for leaving the car as it was built. Big deal. Given your age and changing tastes I would wager that soon enough there will be a lot of rods for sale……………

  9. NMCarNut

    Actually the car has a recirculating air heater which was the base heater accessory for Ford. The control is mounted on what appears to be the heater delete plate. Pull the knob for defrost and twist for the two speed blower. And when you want to shut off the heat raise the hood and close the valve on the engine feed heater hose. Above is a better picture of the control.

    And it must have been a good price since it is already gone . . .

  10. Joeinthousandoaks

    Nice looking car. Apparently already gone. What was the asking price?

  11. Rustytech Member

    All this needed was a Hurst floor shifter and some fussy dice! Nice!

    • rs

      “Fussy dice”, lol

  12. Howard A Member

    Can you imagine ( some youngun’ might say) they drove cars like this? And yes, it does have a heater, and the radio was probably concealed in the glove box, to preserve the original dash. Already dated by 1956, and the ’57’s would change everything, but for the last of this style,it looks great.

    • rs

      I’d much prefer an original Ford radio – AM only even – where it belongs in the dash.

  13. starsailing

    Oldest brother had one for his first car 1964. White with grey / black interior. After a year or two needed rust patched up…along with buddies cars…had a nice bondo party all of us younger brothers doing 4-5 cars that afternoon. by nightfall all patched and primered with pieces of screen, newspaper to hold bondo in place below headlights, sanded down and primed. next couple days…two painted special mix of orange and red. One was my brothers. Tranny held up to a thousand neutral drops with the 272 squeeling the tire…same small chrome pot air cleaner type…lot of mileage and fun for the day…Parts cheap, easy to work on, great beat..easy to dance to… I give it an 8!

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.