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Rare Find: He Bought This Ultrarare R-Code 427-Powered 1967 Ford Fairlane XL500 Twice
Jay Cushman "couldn't tell" if the Fairlane he spotted on the side of the road had 390 or 427 badges. He stopped for a closer look and the badge read 427.
"I opened the door. It had an R in the serial number. I opened the hood. It had a 289 Hi-Po and a Top Loader."
No matter, this baby was the real deal, a super-rare, dual-quad 427, which is what an R denotes in the fifth spot of a Ford VIN. At the time nobody knew that for 1967 Ford built a mere 72 in the XL500 series with bucket seats, as found here, and 92 with bench seats. The year was 1982. This Fairlane was just 15 years old.
"A guy came from inside and said, 'You want to buy the Fairlane?'"
Jay is a Ford fanatic, and the answer was yes. The price was right, $750. The car was rusty, and Jay asked if the seller would take any less.
"He said, 'No, but there's a bunch of parts in the trunk.'"
Inside, Jay found the original dual-quad setup, exhaust manifolds, and a Top Loader.
"I gave him $100 deposit and told him I'd come back in the morning and get it."
Jay continued driving down Route 1 (in Maine) and noticed a Mustang with fender flares parked at a body shop.
"I was kind of laughing at it with my girlfriend, and I looked at the axles."
"Double dot" signaled 31 splines, so Jay further inspected the old fastback to find it was a Boss 429 with a 302 under its hood. He purchased this muscle Mustang for $850 that included "every N.O.S. part that you could buy in 1982 from the Ford dealership."
Jay pulled the 289 Hi-Po out of the Fairlane and sold it, and he sold the exhaust manifolds and intake that were in the trunk. He kept the tranny, and about the year 1983 sold the Fairlane for 10 grand and the Boss 429 for 10 grand, enough to pay for half the house he built at that time.
The man who purchased the Fairlane "did a little bodywork" and put a 427 motor together. His interests changed, and the car sat in a body shop. More than three decades passed. The 427 Fairlane owner died in the summer of 2017.
"The son called me. The problem was the car had been in a body shop for 35 years."
The body shop owner wanted $15,000 in storage fees. Jay was interested in buying the Fairlane a second time. He talked to the son and then drove out to talk to the body shop owner.
Jay was direct in his dealings. He announced he was "interested in buying the car," and then asked if the shop owner wanted to buy the car. The shop owner said he was not interested. He was moving out and he was "past building cars." He did want to get paid for storing the 1967 model inside his heated shop for 35 years. Cushman negotiated $12,000 in storage fees, more than he had sold the car for in 1983. He had already negotiated a price to purchase the car from the son.
Jay had purchased, twice, a 1967 Fairlane XL500 that came from the factory in Lime Gold Green with few options, the main one being the dual-quad 427 backed by a four-speed. The car also had black bucket seats, tinted glass, and an AM radio.
"All 427s came with open 3.89 rear gears," Jay says, "because you put your own axle in after you bought the car."
This second time around, Jay is restoring the 427 Fairlane.