Photography by Joe Greeves
During the performance heyday of the ’60s, Ford’s mid-size Fairlane was a combination of sleek styling and outstanding performance. While overshadowed by the incredibly popular Mustang, the Fairlane was a more refined car. The 1966 Fairlane received major body and chassis updates, and for 1967, little was changed externally with the exception of the grille and taillamps. Like many ponycars of its time, the Fairlane, with its semi-fastback roof looked the part of a performance car that demanded respect from anyone pulling along side it at a traffic light.
Ford developed the “Total Performance” program aimed at beating Chrysler and General Motors at local and national dragstrips. Ford did its homework when redesigning the mid-size platform to ensure there was enough room for the FE big-block V8 to be dropped in. While most performance enthusiasts remember the Fairlane GT and GTA as Ford’s factory hot rod, the fact was that most non GT/GTA Fairlanes ruled the dragstrip, as the 390 and 427 cubic-inch engines could be had in any of its body styles.
While the base engine was Ford’s tried and true six-cylinder, a mere $278.25 could get you a 270-horsepower, two-barrel version of the 390 and for an additional $158.08 speed freaks could order the hotter 320-horsepower, four-barrel version of the 390. But for those crazies who truly needed excess performance, the 427 cubic-inch V8 was available coupled with either a four-barrel or dual four-barrel intake manifold and a horsepower rating of 410 or 425. A three-speed manual transmission was standard with a heavy-duty three-speed manual, four-speed manual or three-speed automatic available as extra cost items.
On the road the Fairlane, if equipped with the 390 engine, was in the middle of the pack when it came to straight-line performance. While it was no match for the Chevy big-block or Plymouth Hemi, Ford’s muscle car held its own in many street races. The combination of the heavy big block engine and limited traction of bias-ply tires restricted quarter-mile times to about 16 seconds. Anyone lucky enough to own a 427 Fairlane would, however, rule the world.
Suspension pieces were mostly carryover from 1966 and typical of mid-size Ford products. Handling was considered decent, but not earthshaking. If equipped with a big-block, corners were taken with tires squealing and the front end pushed to its limit. Braking was fair at best with the standard four-wheel drum brakes, but better when the optional front disc brakes were ordered.
The interior of the 500XL was considered mildly plush with comfortable bucket seats, standard center console and an easy-to-read instrument panel. To make things even more comfortable, a six-way power driver’s seat was an available option. The convertible top featured a glass rear window but it took an additional $52.95 to get a power convertible top. Other comfort features included Select-Aire conditioning, tinted glass, push button AM radio and a courtesy light group.
Today, the 1967 Fairlane continues to be a very desirable car for the avid collector. It represents Ford’s passion to produce a comfortable, yet high-performance intermediate car for the masses and hindsight shows that Ford was successful at doing just that. While not the fastest of the ’60s performance intermediates, the Ford Fairlane was an exercise in youthful styling and today remains well regarded more than 40 years later.
Number built – total production 238,688 units including 16,800 Fairlane 500XL units
Construction – Unibody
Engine – 200 cubic-inch six-cylinder, 289 cubic-inch V8, (2) 390 cubic-inch V8s, (2) 427 cubic inch V8s
Power/Torque – 120/190 (200), 200/282 (289), 270,403 (390), 320/427 (390), 410/476 427), 425/480 (427)
Transmission – three-speed manual, four-speed manual, three-speed automatic
Suspension front – independent ball joints, single lower control arm, A-type upper control arm, independent coil springs
Suspension rear – semi-elliptical leaf springs
Steering – recirculating ball and nut
Brakes – four-wheel drum brakes standard, front disc brakes optional
Length/width/height – 197.0 inches/74.0 inches/54.5 inches
Wheelbase – 116 inches
Weight – 3,607 lbs (convertible)
0-60mph/quarter-mile – 8.4 seconds/16.2 seconds at 89 mph (Motor Trend, June 1967)
Top speed – 120 est
MPG – 9-14 mpg
Price – MSRP $2,770 Today – $ 15,000
FUEL FOR THOUGHT
First year for Fairlane Ranchero
Only 1,943 Fairlane convertibles were built in 1967
A 1967 Fairlane 500 won that year’s first NASCAR event, the Motor Trend Riverside 500
Less than 200 427 cubic-inch Fairlanes were produced in 1967
ENGINE – This month’s feature car has the 390 cubic-inch FE motor. From its modest beginning as a 332 cubic-inch engine in 1958, the FE block has proven itself in the performance world. While slightly underpowered compared to other muscle cars of 1967, with some fine tuning the 390 Fairlane gave the competition a run for the money.
HANDLING – As with most intermediates of its time, the Fairlane offered a solid ride. Handling was somewhat better with the 289 cubic-inch engine due to its better weight distribution. The 390 equipped cars made the front-end dive under hard cornering but its straight-line performance overshadowed the car’s handling concerns.
Insurance cost is $190/year for a $15,000 1967 Ford Fairlane XL convertible. This is based on 3,000 miles per year of pleasure driving.
*Based on a quote from
Heacock Classic Car Insurance
1967 Chevelle SS396 convertible
Number built – 7,995 units
0-60/quarter-mile – 6.5 seconds/14.9 seconds at 98 mph
Top speed – 125 mph est
Price – MSRP – $2,796; Today – $23,500 - $47,300
1967 Barracuda “S” convertible with the 383 cubic-inch engine
Number built – 33,031units
0-60/quarter-mile – 7.4 seconds/15.2 seconds at 92 mph
Top speed – 120 mph est
Price – MSRP – $3,235; Today – $9,800 - $22,600
More affordable than other muscle cars of the era
Great boulevard ride
Excellent performance with the big block engine
Parts readily available
Not considered a top muscle car for 1967
Appreciation potential is limited
Unrestored cars typically have rust issues
Radiators were problematic with both inlet and outlet on the same side
The 1967 Ford Fairlane is considered a weekend driver car. Owners enjoy using their cars as they were meant to be used and regularly show up at many local events. Only the rare 427 cubic-inch race cars are trailer queens.
WHAT TO PAY
1967 FORD FAIRLANE CONVERTIBLE
MSRP – $2,949
Low – $7,825
Average – $15,000
High – $19,400
*Based on prices from the Classic Cars and Parts Price Guide, fueled by NADA and available wherever Mustang & Ford magazines are sold.
Carpet kit $194.95
Brake drum $53.95
Upper control arm $113.95
Door trim panel set $326.95
Front and rear seat cover set $437.95
*Mac’s Antique Auto Parts
Fords of the Sixties by Michael Parris
Ford Fairlane Performance Portfolio by Brooklands Books
Standard Catalog of Muscle Cars by John Gunnell
Ford Fairlane 1955-1970 by R.M. Clark
Ford Parts Interchange Manual: 1959 to 1970, Mustang Fairlane,Torino and Mercury by Paul Herd
The Ford Fairlane was arguably the best balanced Ford product for 1967. With its vast array of available powertrains, buyers could choose economy or brute power. Its ride was better than the Mustang and it was more agile than the large body Ford products. Add the long list of comfort features and the Fairlane was considered the ultimate Ford of 1967.