Thunderbolt or Clone? 1964 Ford Fairlane 500

Ford created a mid-size car in 1962 to sandwich between the full-size Galaxie and the compact Falcon. They would give it the Fairlane name which had been a Ford staple since 1955 and would continue through 1970. In 1964, Ford built a limited number of high-performance Fairlane’s with a 427 cubic-inch V8 that were called Thunderbolts. The seller’s car hails from Las Vegas, Nevada. and has many of Thunderbolt’s cues, but the seller avoids using that label. It’s available here on craigslist for $18,900. So, it is a real Thunderbolt (which would sell for a lot more money) or a tribute/clone? Thanks, Pat L., for the hot tip!

This 1964 Fairlane is a 2-door sedan with 500 model trim. It has a 427 V8 with a side oiler and a high-rise manifold with twin 4-barrel carburetors. Fiberglass hood, trunk lid, front fenders, door skins, and both bumpers are part of the package. Plus, the battery has been shifted to the trunk. So, is it a Thunderbolt or a wannabe? The Thunderbolt was a factory experimental drag car that would be a one-year wonder and have all these characteristics.

Sources differ, but as few as 111 and no more than 127 of the Thunderbolts were built. The 427 big blocks were tuned to deliver 657 hp and 7,500 RPM. That output was assisted by ram-air induction that moved air through the openings left by deleting the inbound headlights. The cars used acrylic instead of glass in the windows, which the seller does not mention. These cars were devoid of luxuries like seats for people other than the driver.

This ‘64 Fairlane looks to have worn light blue paint when new, at least by the spray found in the trunk. Now it’s wearing white over grey primer. Besides the beast of a motor, the Ford sports a 6-speed manual transmission with disc brakes on the front and oversize drums in the back. A 9-inch rear end can be found along with 3.50 gears. The seller makes no claims as to how well the car runs but would consider a Tri-Five Chevy as a trade. The interior needs work as about a quarter of it’s in place and usable. So, is this a real Thunderbolt? The VIN provided offers no help.


  1. Mark_K Member

    A Marti report should confirm whether or not it’s a Thunderbolt. I suspect it’s a clone since I don’t think hydraulic clutches were standard equipment in 64.

    Like 5
  2. Howard A Member

    I’m in the “clone” camp. The seller never claims it’s a Thunderbolt. Several things are missing. The ram air tubes for one, and I read, Ford rivited an ID plate to the inside glove box door indicating a Thunderbolt and a disclaimer, of sorts. Many items were deleted, sun visors, wiper arms, and Econoline front seats, and a lot more this car still has. Back then, it was customary to make all Fairlanes LOOK like Thunderbolts, but I believe all ,or most of the original 100 units have been accounted for. However, make no mistake, the 427 in a Fairlane, was about the biggest stick you could have in ’64.

    Like 8
  3. Malcontented Misanthrope

    I think I would want powerbrakes in such a beast

    Like 4
  4. Rw

    18,900 not a Thunderbolt

    Like 6
  5. Rw

    The seller doesn’t say anything about Thunderbolt or clone just Fairlane

    Like 1
  6. MikeB

    I imagine that getting on the accelerator in this car would be quite an experience.

    Like 3
  7. Hans Selin

    clone or what ti bi .but 18 are nearly what going to pay for that engine only

    Like 1
  8. Carbob Member

    I’d love to run through the gears in this beast! Clone or not this is a neat car!

    Like 2
  9. Gord

    All Thunderbolts started life as Hi Po K code Fairlanes. The serial number they provided doesn’t make sense.

    Like 2
  10. PaulG

    The only party asking if it’s a Thunderbolt is the author .
    The obvious answer is NO…

    Like 2
    • Rw

      PaulG ,Russ is good at stuff like that.

      Like 1
  11. Rw

    It’s finnally happened, just like every Tri 5 Chevy is a Bel-Air, every Mopar is a Muscle car, everything with a straight axle is a Gasser, Now every Fairlane with a teardrop hood is a Thunderbolt,Geez Louise.

    Like 1
  12. angliagt angliagt Member

    And every ’63 Corvette hardtop HAS to be described
    as a “Split Window”.

    Like 1
    • Rw


  13. Jost

    I think this is a really nice project for a “cruise in” car. Its not a real Thunderbolt… if it was the seller would state so and make huge money on it. Its cool and represented honestly based on what is seen here. Very nice find and I would love to have it.

    • Rw

      Just it’s a hot rod,very cool

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