Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
June 1, 2012

Nick assembled his favorite suspension setup to the fresh chassis/body--90/10 drag shocks with six-cylinder coils and a 1-inch spring spacer up front and 50/50 shocks with five-leaf Hi-Po springs in the rear with a front half-leaf added along with the leaves clamped together to prevent axle wrap-up and wheelhop. An air spring also found its way over the right rear spring to preload the right rear tire and counteract chassis twist/torque. This setup is identical to the chassis setup he used in the early '60s when he drag raced.

Inside, Nick installed N.O.S. upholstery, a pair of Bostrom lightweight bucket seats (like the Thunderbolt had, and originally from Ford's Econoline van), rubber floor mat, deleted the radio and heater, and left the factory sound deadening and insulation on the workbench. A vintage Sun tach resides on the steering column and a trio of Auto Meter gauges keeps track of the engine's vitals. A Hurst four-speed shifter controls the Top Loader four-speed found in the tunnel and sends the 352's power to a 4.88 geared 9-inch.

"Though this car was built as a six-cylinder, my concept from the beginning was to faithfully create a 'factory lightweight' Super Stock 1960 Ford, as if Ford had built it at the factory. Basically, we took the '63-'64 lightweight Galaxie concept and integrated it into this '60 Fairlane," Nick summarized.

Nick's "what if" build took approximately a year and he's been enjoying the car for the last couple of years at shows and drag racing it as well. Yes, Nick has taken the "what if" concept to the track numerous times to prove his concept would have been competitive. As Nick's display sign states, the fastest S/S car in 1960 was the Royal Pontiac Super Duty 389 driven by Pontiac great Jim Wangers. The Tri-power Catalina went a 14.13 at 101.43 at the Indy Nationals on Labor Day weekend of that year with the national record standing at 14.01. Nick's "factory" Super Stock has been a best of 13.52 at 102 mph! I guess you can say Ford would have certainly had something competitive for Mr. Wangers.

"Our efforts with this '60 Fairlane are aimed at proving that a well prepared Ford could have successfully competed against the country's quickest stockers," Nick's sign also explains. Nick's "by the book" build shows us all just what might have happened if Ford jumped into the Super Stock foray just a little sooner.

The Details

Nick Smith's '60 Fairlane two-door sedan


  • 352ci FE big-block
  • 4.060-inch bore (0.060-inch overbore)
  • 3.50-inch stroke
  • Rotating assembly fully balanced
  • Engine blueprinted and built to 1960 NHRA specs
  • Stock Hi-Po internals
  • Stock Hi-Po distributor with Pertronix Ignitor
  • 375 estimated hp
  • Built by George Aberts, Hampstead, MD


  • Top Loader four-speed manual
  • Built by Dan Williams, Franklin, NC
  • Hurst shifter


  • Ford 9-inch axle housing
  • Detroit Locker differential
  • 31-spline axles
  • 4.88 gears


  • Stahl headers, 1-3/4-inch primaries, 3-inch collectors


  • Front: Stock control arms, 90/10 drag shocks, six-cylinder springs, 1-inch spring spacers
  • Rear: Five-leaf elliptical springs with forward half leaf clamped to prevent axle wind up, airbag over right rear for preload, 50/50 drag shocks
  • Six-cylinder frame


  • Front: Stock drum
  • Rear: Stock drum


  • Front: Wheel Vintiques, powdercoated black, 15x5
  • Rear: Wheel Vintiques, powdercoated black, 15x6


  • Front: Goodyear Power Cushion, 6.70x15
  • Rear: M&H Racemaster, 7.0/29.5-15


  • Stock gray vinyl; Bostrom front bucket seats; rubber floor mat; Sun tachometer; Auto Meter water temp, oil pressure, and volt gauges; radio and heater delete; insulation/sound deadener deleted


  • Raven Black basecoat/clearcoat paint by Dan Groth of St. Clair Customs (Harrison Township, MI), fiberglass front bumper from Wildfire Marine with aluminum mounting brackets

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