Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Ranch Wagon Project: 1966 Ford Fairlane Custom

The Ford Fairlane entered the 1960s as the downstream companion to the full-size Galaxie. In 1962, the company moved the nameplate over to a new type of product – a mid-size car positioned between the Galaxie and the newer compact Falcon. This ’66 Fairlane is the Custom Ranch Wagon, the intermediate’s most popular wagon model. Located in Berkeley Hills, California, it’s being offered here on craigslist for $2,950 as the one-owner senior citizen has given up driving. Thanks for the FOMOCO tip, Pat L.!

For the nameplate’s fifth generation (and the second as a mid-size), the Fairlane was redesigned for 1966-67. In the process, the Fairlane received dual-stacked headlights much like the company’s senior automobiles. The car’s new styling must have resonated with buyers as sales perked up 42% over the prior year. More than 43,000 Fairlane wagons were built in 1966 and 45% of those were the Custom Ranch Wagon like the seller’s offering.

We’re told this Fairlane has stayed in the San Francisco Bay area since new. The seller says the carriage is rust-free, but the sheet metal hasn’t been so fortunate. There is evidence of some patchwork along the roof on the passenger side and the tailgate is a different color meaning it has been replaced (rusted or wrecked?). According to the seller, this car was regularly driven until about two or three years ago.

The VIN verifies that a 289 cubic inch V8 should be under the hood with the tamer 2-barrel carburetor. Said carb has been rebuilt along with the distributor and the Ford fires up with no smoke. But the brakes are shot, at least the master cylinder as the brake pedal goes to the floor. Options may have been few with this wagon as this one has a 3-speed manual transmission. The interior is okay on this Fairlane, but the front door panels are MIA. But it’s the 3-seat version that should accommodate up to nine people. If you’re a fan of station wagons as opposed to SUVs, would you like to restore this one?


  1. misterlou Member

    3-on-the-tree is next level anti-theft device.

    Like 34
  2. Howard A Member

    Bill Gannons personal car,,

    Like 5
  3. jrhmobile

    Interesting sidebar to your article … this same wagon body, like the Ranchero switch from “Falcon” to “Fairlane” in 1966/67, was used by both the Fairlane and Falcon lineups with only minor trim differences.

    Like 3
    • Petesponies

      Ranchero to Fairlane was 67. 66 was still a Falcon

      Like 0
  4. That AMC Guy

    I had one very much like this in college in the early 1970s, down to the 289 2-barrel V8 and three on the tree transmission. (Didn’t have the 3rd seat though – or power steering.) Drove the heck out of that sucker and it just kept going, should have kept it. If this thing wasn’t on the wrong coast I’d be sorely tempted to buy it and relive my misspent youth!

    Like 10
    • Howard A Member

      Misspent youth cannot be reclaimed,,,

      Like 4
      • Tbone

        Howard, I respectfully disagree. Its never too late to have a happy childhood! I think thats part of what this hobby is for me.

        Like 19
  5. Yblocker

    Well worth the asking price, it won’t be around long.

    Like 8
  6. Cadmanls Member

    The roof is rusting off, look at the putty all around the top. Shame would have been cool car.

    Like 3
  7. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Even in 1966, it’s hard to imagine a wagon being ordered for dealer stock with a three-on-the-tree. More likely, a frugal family with several kids ordered it. I’d like to see this one restored or restomodded.

    Like 7
  8. Maggy

    The saltwater did a # on the roof.Theres a lot of surface rust under the from that sea salt mist.Probably the old timers attempt at a repair.I’d redo the bondo best I could and maybe a little metal and paint the roof white and leave rest just shine it up.The gold tailgate is cool.Duals and glass packs sounds cool on deceleration while down shifting as well as upshifting.Do all the usual stuff and go thru brakes and suspension.I’d throw 2500 at it and cruise it.Hopefully it’s solid underneath.If it was closer I’d look at for sure.Glwts.

    Like 5
  9. Don

    The amount of bondo/sealant running along the side of the roof gutter is a bad sign on a wagon.

    Like 1
  10. beardog99 Member

    If this was closer I would be the buyer! Darn it!

    Like 1
  11. scott m

    Oh Man, somebody put a perfectly good station wagon out for trash pickup

    Like 1
  12. Dave Member

    I bought a 67 from the original owner. 289 and three on the tree with overdrive. Drove that car everywhere. If I had the room and time I’d buy this.

    Like 0
  13. BigDaddyBonz

    Had a 66 Fairlane once (although it was a 2 Dr post w/289 2bbl. auto.). Most indestructible car I’ve ever owned. Bought it from a ‘poor driver old man’ as a front end wreck. Put some 67 fenders and hood on it, Earl Sheib paint job, and drove the snot out of it before my brother bought it from me, passed to another brother and finally a family friend who drove it back and forth to college 2 states over.

    Like 2
  14. Mark Ruggiero Member

    Something similar with a stock 390 just sold on ebay

    Like 1
    • Rich nepon

      I had a 66 fairlane wagon in 75. It had a 390 4 barrel, automatic, 15” rims with the faux wire wheels like a mustang. Very fast But the rust on the floor caused me to fall backwards when backing up and hitting the brakes. The car continued on and hit a steam roller. Slow speed, not much damage, but I was seat belted to the bench with my feet in the air.

      Like 2
      • Yblocker

        In 75? You backed into a steam roller? Sounds like maybe you backed into a museum.

        Like 1
  15. C Force

    Seems like a good price,fairly clean.But a 289 isn’t really enough motor for a big wagon like this,especially a 2bbl.Carrying around 9 people plus any cargo,This thing really needs a 390 4v for the torque and pulling power

    Like 1
  16. Sam

    A LEFT COAST (CALF) car that has rust. This think need a lot of metal work to repair the roof If it got up to highway speeds you might end up with TOPLESS Wagon

    Like 1
  17. Chris Cornetto

    This screams YES in so many ways.

    Like 0
  18. Petesponies

    For that price I’d buy it tonight if it was near me…and I don’t even need it. Can’t pass that up if you’re close. I do restorations.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.