Easy Project? 1964 Ford Fairlane 500

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For most of the 1950s, most U.S. automobile manufacturers offered just one size of the car. Then in the late 1950s, the compact was born. And by the early 1960s, there were three including the intermediate. For 1962, the Fairlane was transformed into Ford’s new mid-size car and Chevy soon followed. The auto was named after Henry Ford’s estate in Michigan, Fair Lane. This 1964 edition is the top trim model, the 500, and said to be a fresh barn find, although we don’t know how long it’s been off the road. It looks solid overall, although the passenger side door and maybe front fender have been replaced. Now located in West Plains, Missouri, the Fairlane is available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $5,000 but the reserve is still an obstacle to hurdle.

The revitalized Fairlane had a unibody frame, just like the Falcon compact, but the body had “torque boxes.” They were four boxed structures in the lower body structure placed there to help absorb road shock by moving slightly vertically. Originally just offered in pillared sedans, the ’63 Fairlanes gained a 2-door hardtop and the cars looked like slightly smaller versions of their full-size brothers, the Galaxies. Fourth-generation Fairlanes (but the first as a mid-size) would run between 1962-65 before getting their next big makeover.

This ’64 Fairlane 500 Sports Coupe is one of 64,164 built that year, with 21,431 having the bucket seat/console configuration like this car. It’s said to be a two-owner Ford, but we don’t know if the second owner includes the seller. It appears to still be on the trailer that brought it home having spent its prior life kept indoors when not in use. We’re told there is no rust or rot to be found, although there is evidence of a possible accident. The passenger side door is turquoise on the inside while the rest of the car is black. Given that the trim is missing on the door and front fender, both have likely been replaced although we don’t know when. The seller says the car is complete, so the trim must be nearby. The rear bumper is pitted but the front one is okay although it may be slightly bent.

While the body may escape a repaint for the time being, the interior is going to need work. The front seat is broken, and the upholstery on both buckets is torn, but the rest may get by except for new carpeting. And painting that passenger door red to match the other one. This is a “C” code car meaning that it left the factory with a 289 cubic inch V8 (new for ’64) with a 4-speed manual transmission. We’re told it’s a numbers-matching machine that the seller was able to get running briefly. The whole engine compartment has a rusty water look to it, suggesting it may have blown a hose at one point and coolant went everywhere. A good detailing of the engine bay could reveal any lingering problems.

This doesn’t look like a project car with too many challenges, but they’re always there, nonetheless. Not exactly a muscle car, it was built the same year that GM got into that scene with the Pontiac GTO, Oldsmobile 442, and Chevelle SS. With a relatively light body, a peppy V8, and a 4-speed tranny, this car should hold its own without being a drag strip beast. The aftermarket wheels certainly help it fit the part.

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  1. 8banger 8bangerMember

    As long as someone doesn’t turn it into a T-bolt clone…

    Like 15
  2. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972Member

    I’ve always thought the ’64 Fairlane was the best looking of the 1st gen intermediates. No dated fins and styling similar to it’s popular big brother Galaxie. This is well worth restoring and it has a lot going for it. The C-Code 289 will give decent performance, especially with the four speed. If it is as rust-free as the seller claims, it should be a fairly straight forward restoration. I’d like to see it restored to original though I wouldn’t mind a few performance enhancements to the original 289.

    Like 14
  3. BoatmanMember

    It’s a c-code car, but looks like an original (or nearly) four barrel carb, and what looks to be a rev limiter on the left inner fender. very interesting piece. SO much potential.

    Like 6
  4. gaspumpchas

    I’m a little confused by the amount of rust under the hood, as Russ has pointed out. I converted one of these to a thunderbolt clone, and he would have been much better off leaving it as the 289 4 speed that it was. Depending on what level you wanted to take it to, a great start. That engine / tranny combo is hard to beat for a street criuser, and It looks great with the mags. good luck and happy motoring!

    Like 6
  5. mike

    Or Holman Moody could make her a vintage racer like he did in 1964 for Ford to race in England etc.by Alan Mann.

    Like 2
  6. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac DivaMember

    My father ordered one for my mother in 1963. It was the color of the inner passenger door, turquoise with a tan interior. She wanted the interior to match the outside.
    Dad, being the cheap “B” that he was, ordered the smallest Falcon engine and a three on the tree. I think the only option it had was a radio, if heaters were standard by then.
    That poor car traveled to Arizona twice,
    towing a teardrop trailer and a few trips to South Carolina and Florida .
    In the 5 years Mom had it, it was involved in about 9 accidents. Only one was Mom’s fault. On Christmas day 1964, she got the right wheels stuck in the snow a crashed the car into cable barriers damaging the bumper, passenger fender and headlights.
    The first accident it was in was only three weeks after it was delivered. Some guy slid on the snowy road into the car in front of him. Mom stopped far enough back. But he must have floored it because he came barreling back right into our car, damaging the bumper quite extensively. That never got fixed.
    Other accidents included people running into the car, both front and rear and sides.
    It was replaced with a 1967 Checker Marathon in 1968

    Like 6
  7. Steve R

    Wrong body for an accurate clone. Cloning a hardtop would make just another wannabe. Building it based on this cars strengths us the smart choice. It has nice lines, bucket seats, 4spd and console and a great color combination. Besides it’s already been upgraded to a 4bbl and headers. It stands on its own merits and doesn’t need to try to be anything else.

    Steve R

    Like 11
    • gaspumpchas

      Steve R , correct, all thunderbolts were sedans, with the post. The car I converted was a 289 4 speed car and was sorry to see it converted. With the factory style traction Bar setup this car was undriveable, minus minus. Butch Leal and Dick Brannen told me the same problem existed with their factory T-bolts. That 289 4 speed needs nothing IMHO. Like you said stands in its own. Good luck and happy motoring.

      Like 6

    The missing trim looks to be in the back seat.

    Like 1
  9. Joe Samascott

    please , not another thunderbolt clone!!!!!!!

    Like 4
  10. Charles Sawka

    Agreed, not another TBolt . But I always loved the teardrop hood scoop. These wheels are period perfect.

    Like 3
  11. Gtprend

    I have a Hipo 289 5 bolt, that came out of a 64 Fairlaine that would be that perfect match for this car. I wish this was closer to California, because this checks all the Fairlane boxes for me.

    Like 0
  12. Greg Goodwin

    I really like it!! Red/black int are my favorite combination. Had to check it out further, right now 10,800 is the bid. Too far out of my range. Whomever gets it, I hope they do this particular car justice. A top notch restoration NOT a restomod etc. I would source an original under dash ac set up ……..
    Wonder how much higher itll go in the remaining 2 days?

    Like 0
  13. Ben

    I like this car and it is exactly what I would buy for myself as a project. If I had seen this sooner I’d put my vette up for sale to buy it. I’m afraid I can afford one go fast car at a time. The bidding has reached just over 7800 and the reserve still hasn’t been met. If I were to hazard a guess I’d bet the reserve was 10k.

    Like 0

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