I’m still checking Craigslist daily for a replacement for my hapless Ford Focus. I’m clicking the “manual transmission” checkbox and clicking Search to see what comes up. Pickings are slim. A handful of manually shifted cars appear new each day. Most of them are work trucks, Mustangs, and compact cars, but a few are Curbside Classics like this 1961 Fairlane 500 with three on the tree and the 292 engine.
In 1960, Ford relegated its formerly top-line Fairlane 500 to the second rung beneath the new Galaxie, as Chevy had done to the Bel Air in 1958 with the Impala. But in 1962, Ford would break from Chevy’s tradition by reassigning the Fairlane name to the new intermediate cars. GM would ape this move, but not until 1982 when Pontiac downsized its big Bonneville onto the mid-sized A platform.
This one looks really clean. The ad (see it here) says that there are a couple of rust spots but they have to be pointed out, and that the interior is almost perfect. Not bad for a car that has just rolled past 100,000 miles.
It’s startling to see this all-blue interior and be reminded how it used to be: when you stepped below the top of the line, interiors became mighty basic. At least this blue is cheerful; imagine this car being all black inside.