David Pearson’s Race Car: 1966 Ford Fairlane

David Pearson was a racing legend in NASCAR. He competed at about the same time as Richard Petty and his stats during that period are only rivaled by “The King.” He was generally a part-time racer and yet won 105 races and three championships at the sport’s highest level. But he would also venture into other racing venues, such as the Late Model Stock Sportsman Series (now Xfinity), and had success there, too, but on a much smaller scale. This 1966 Ford Fairlane is one of three built for him to run in the Sportsman and it was restored a few years ago. Now in Whittier, California, this legendary racer’s car is available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $27,877, but the seller’s reserve is still looming. Thanks for the speedy tip, Kyle K!

The list of Pearson’s accomplishments in NASCAR’s Cup Series is lengthy and many of them may never be challenged. But his record in Late Model shows only six starts in two years, with one win, four Top 10s, and three pole positions. This was in 1982-83 (the seller says the 1970s) and that’s when David may have campaigned the Ford for sale here. It sports the same car number (21) that Pearson used while driving for the famed Wood Brothers. And sponsor Purolator’s logo adorns the car as it did on the ones at the Cup level.

“Stock cars” of the 1960s were more like showroom cars than those of the 2020s, but they were still custom-built by pros like Banjo Mathews who was regarded as one of the best in the business. Mathews’ focus was on fabricating the chassis which is underneath modified 1966 Ford Fairlane body panels. We’re told that this car was restored a half-dozen years ago and is set up to run historic road course races. Its attributes are many, like a side-oil 427 cubic inch V8 with tunnel port heads, and parts that carry the names of companies like Racetec, Eagle, Howard, Isky, T&D, Centerforce, Quicktime, and more.

The Ford will come with two sets of double center wheels (and we assume tires) and a fire protection system. We’re told the hot rod is well documented, though we don’t know what that will consist of. If you were to be the winning bidder, what would you do with the car? Race it on a limited basis or park it in a museum? Pearson passed away about five years ago, so consulting him about this car won’t be possible.


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Like Russ says, pretty neat car, but not sure what one would do with it. Good summary of David Pearson’s career. And, one cannot write about the Wood Brothers without using the adjective “famed” (as Russ did) or “famous” or “legendary.” I guess 73 years in the racing business, all associated with Ford, will do that.

    Like 17
    • Ira Hayes

      I seen David win a race in a 1966 Fairlane at Hickory Speedway NC & after the race he also showed one of the drivers not to mess with a TRUE MAN let’s put it this way never start a fight that you can’t win.

      Like 1
  2. Woofer Woofer Member

    I love old race cars. The red and white Wood Bros #21 is iconic. I guess it would have to go in a museum somewhere, I don’t think one would want to do ‘hot laps’ at Daytona in it. Maybe the Wood Bros should buy it, just sayin…

    Like 10
  3. Howard A ( since 2014) Member

    Yeah, that’s a nice writeup, but I think it’s incorrect. Didn’t Cale Yarbrough drive the #21 ’66 Fairlane for Wood Brothers? Pearson did drive a ’66 Fairlane as #17, no? Later, he did drive a Mercury for Wood, and I agree, a very under mentioned driver. Anyway, this is about the time, mid 60s, that safety was just beginning to be addressed. This car has been updated some, I doubt they had those seats, padded steering wheels or window nets like that, it was still 1966. It’s a neat find, just not sure what, if anything, to do with it. Ahh, the rich and their toys, eh?

    Like 8
    • sakingsbury20 Member

      right about yarborough driving the 21 in ’66 in the grand national series but with this being a late model might be the reason of the driver discrepancy…..

      Like 5
      • axsimulate

        Pearson drove a Dodge and won 15 races in 1966.

        Like 0
  4. ThunderRob

    The Tunnel Port Sideoiler is worth more than the current bid alone :P

    Like 16
  5. Guido Sarducci

    A video w/ audio, LOUD AUDIO, will greatly enhance the bidding.
    Even if the car stays in the driveway, results will still be good.
    Can we have a pic of the intake manifold where it meets the TP head, please?

    Like 3
  6. angliagt angliagt

    I visited the Wood Brother racing Museum abot
    a year ago in Stuart,Virginia,& got to meet Leonard –
    Wood in person.I was amazed that he was still alive.

    Like 9
  7. Yblocker

    I guess Petty didn’t spend a lot of time looking at taillights, but when he did, they usually belonged to Pearson. Petty ended his career with 200 wins, with Pearson coming in at 2nd with 105, in nascar, neither of which will ever be eclipsed. This car will bring a high price, if it is in fact the real thing. It really belongs in a museum, not on frickin ebay.

    Like 10
    • scottymac

      Yblocker: Petty’s team was the only Grand National team to make the slog to Long Island to race at the 2/10 mile Islip track, racing against locals, but is counted in his 200 total wins. IIRC, Bud Moore was the first to try the Ford intermediates (Fairlane and Mercury Comet) with the Galaxie front stub frame welded into the unibody. This appears to have the Junior Johnson Chevy pickup rear trailing arm rear suspension, both which became the norm for years. They were still miserable race cars, 3-4 wins during the year and a half they were campaigned, while Petty went on his 10 in a row win streak.
      Howard A: Believe window nets became the norm after Joe Weatherly bonked his noggin in 1963 after hitting a wall at Riverside, causing his death.

      Like 2
      • ninja3000

        Window nets didn’t become mandatory, or even used at all, in NASCAR until 1970.

        Like 1
      • sakingsbury20 Member

        petty also ventured as far north as here in Maine and won in 1968 at oxford plains speedway. Quite a thrill for us locals…..drivers and spectators alike

        Like 2
  8. Maggy

    I agree with y block.If this is such an important piece of racing history it should be a feature at a mecum auction and very well advertised beforehand imo..Ebay? Really?

    Like 6
  9. Big C

    Unless I’m reading the write up, wrong? There’s no way Pearson drove this car in the 82-83 Busch series.

    Like 8
    • Retiredstig Member

      I’m with you Big C. Either someone goofed on the write up, or there is some serious BS around this car. No way a racer like Pearson would drive ‘66 bodied car in the ‘80s.

      Like 1
  10. Anthony M.

    As a youngster, David Pearson was my hero… because my older brother had already picked Richard Petty.

    Number 21 is still my favorite number simply because of that!

    Like 8
    • Mark

      I feel the same w/Cale Yarborough and #11.

      Like 3
      • Yblocker

        Ned Jarrett was #11, for a time anyway.

        Like 4
  11. Todd Zuercher

    Tip from Kyle K! The same Kyle K. of BaT fame who used to submit a lot of cool stuff there before they went all in on auctions?

    Like 3
    • Mike

      I’d sure like to know who Kyle K is. Kind of a legend in BaT’s early days.

      Like 2
  12. Howie

    This is mighty clean!! But like others have said what would you do with it?

    Like 3
  13. Cooter Cooter

    Great memories of watching NASCAR growing up in the 70’s. I think the announcer’s name was Jackie Stewart, a Brit I believe. Pearson was leading by a lap over everyone else. Stewart gets all excited as Pearson’s Ford began slowing on the backstretch, thinking something is wrong with the car. The other announcer states “Nah, he’s just smoking a cigarette” and sure enough that’s what he was doing. With his left elbow out the window!

    Like 17
    • Bass Player Mike Mike W Member

      Close on Jackie Stewart, who was actually a Scotsman and nicknamed the Flying Scot… Can still hear his voice, and he did get excited a lot! He was a fierce advocate for safety improvements in racing and was a hell of a race driver himself… That’s a great memory about Pearson!

      Like 10
      • Shaun Martin

        3 times world champion F1. Says it all really. I didn’t know that he commentated on Nascar.
        He was also a world champion in Clay Pidgeon Shooting, multiple I think.
        I think that Fairlane could race here in the uk and be very popular, amongst the Mustang, Galaxy and Falcon racers.

        Like 1
    • 433jeff

      Well i wont have the money, would love to get ahold of that motor.

      If i was rich i would get it and change the rear gear to 411, and drive it.

      I would not mothball it. Can you imagine how mich fun this car would be to drive!!

      Like 4
  14. robert stockamp

    I saw this car race in the 1966 Riverside 500.My favorite driver won Dan Gurney.

    Like 3
    • JAC HMguy

      The car for sale was NOT a NASCAR Grand National stock car (like the one you recall seeing race). Rather, it was built and campaigned as a short track/dirt track car for the Sportsman series and driven by DP in the 70s.

      Like 0
  15. Paul N

    hard to talk about Pearson without mentioning the 1976 Daytona 500 finish. One of the greatest nascar finishes ever. To this day I can still remember my late father getting all worked up as David started inching the #21 towards the checkered flag. “Go you son of &@%^, Go!!” He screamed

    Like 5
  16. Rob

    Every once in a while, you take it out on a warm summer morning, around 6 am, and just stomp on it!

    Like 4
  17. Cooter Cooter

    Now that we brought up Stewart ive been racking my brain trying to remember his partner in the booth. It was Chris Economaki.

    Like 3
  18. Robt

    What to do with it???
    Put it on a track of course, and race it! Hopefully a road race track.

    I had a 66 fairlane 500 hardtop for over 25 years. Every time I got in it, to go anywhere, this is exactly what I imagined I had. Well, actually my vision was Andretti’s 66.
    I did manage to drop a 351w into it at one point for a little more umph.

    Like 0
  19. pwtiger

    I saw this car last October at Willowsprings running hard with a bunch of Shelby’s and other vintage stuff. It sounded meaner than it looked.

    Like 2

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