Curbside Capsule: 1966 Ford Fairlane 500 Sedan – A Fresh New Face In The Neighborhood

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(first posted 6/17/2014)    If the front end of the ’65 Fairlane was its weakest element, the front end of the ’66 is undoubtedly its best. Note that I didn’t use the word “original”, as Ford was obviously channeling Pontiac with the jump to stacked headlights for their full-sized line in ’65 and the Fairlane in ’66. And the real thing (Pontiac Tempest/LeMans) was still a step ahead. But it was a breath of fresh air, and ’66 Fairlane sales jumped almost 50% over the ’65’s lackluster results. Now about that middle section.

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Before  we do that, let’s check out the back end, as it too is reasonably attractive, if not exactly stunning.

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For 1966, Ford decided that the Falcon really wanted to be a shortened mid-size car, and had it share the Fairlane’s body, minus some inches on both ends, and an obviously shorter wheelbase at the rear, where the Fairlane is showing evidence of the stretch behind its rear door cutout. Or maybe the Fairlane is a lengthened Falcon? Which design looks more organic?

The Falcon ends up being the Studebaker Lark reincarnated, which also was a shortened mid/full size car. Except that the ’66 Falcon didn’t generate similar enthusiasm or a bump in sales. But that’s another story.

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We’re here to celebrate this owner’s fine Fairlane, which has been burbling around my neighborhood regularly, driven by a young woman. I was a bit surprised to see that the 289 has been warmed over some, with the addition of an aftermarket intake manifold, an Edelbrock 650 cfm carb, and headers. It does make fine sounds.

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It’s a clean machine, and has been re-upholstered in a fabric I see quite often these days. Not exactly original, but it works well enough.

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I asked her if she wanted to be in the shot with her lovely Fairlane, and she agreed, somewhat halfheartedly. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten her name, an affliction of my encroaching senility. Amber? Whatever it is, enjoy your fair Fairlane, and I look forward to crossing paths again.