The '66 Fairlane 500 hardtop you see here is owned by Ann and Eddy Hanley of Tarrytown, New York. Ann and Eddy are siblings and they and several other family members inherited the car from their brother George, who passed away during the restoration of the Fairlane. George bought the Fairlane from the original owner as a project way back in 1980 for the low sum of just less than $1,000. The car had been sitting under an Oak tree for many years and was covered in acorns. As Eddy puts it, the hardtop had "begun to turn green." The engine and transmission were nearby in a barn, as were many other original parts to the Fairlane. George was an auto body man by trade, and he worked in the industry for 45 years. George's obsession with correctness on the restoration of the car amazed both Ann and Eddy.
The narrow roof pillars and...
The narrow roof pillars and Coke bottle contours that make this such a beautiful and stylish design are readily apparent in this photo. To those in the know this unadorned and understated look is a tip off to the real potential of this car.
George's intention was to restore the Wimbledon White Fairlane to its original glory as one of only 57 R-code '66 427 Fairlanes ever produced. Many muscle car purists believe that the '66-'67 Fairlane hardtop is Ford's best styling effort ever and this unadorned R-code example is the Holy Grail for many Blue Oval muscle car enthusiasts. Compared to the Chevelles and GTO's of the day, the Fairlane was light in weight and the R-code 427 medium-riser engine made it very competitive. Ford needed 50 examples of this car with the 427 and Top Loader powertrain to achieve certification for racing, and in the end 57 units were produced. From the dog dish hubcaps to the bench seat and radio delete, the car was bare bones and all business.
The only deviation from stock condition left on this particular example is the radio. Back in the day, the original owner wanted another form of music available in the car so he had an AM radio installed, complete with the correct instrument bezel. However, the Fairlane was originally a radio delete car furnished with a block-off plate. The antenna was also added after delivery. Although they left the radio in place, everywhere else the car was returned to original condition. Over the years George accumulated as many original and NOS parts as possible. Yearly visits to the Carlisle, Pennsylvania, All-Ford Nationals yielded tons of stuff, including a '68 NOS side-oiler block. The original block had a welded repair and George did not want to use it. Other boxes, including hubcaps, door handles, and directional signal lenses began to pile up.
Although the Fairlane was complete and in relatively undamaged condition, the acorns that had accumulated in the cowling had held moisture and rusted the part beyond repair. A Fairlane convertible donor car was found and the complete cowling assembly was transferred to the hardtop body. Fender flares from racing days were removed by carefully reforming the metal to original contours using a hammer and dolly, repairs an expert like George was more than capable of handling. Eddy reports that the bodywork took months to accomplish. Other vestiges from the car's early racing days, such as the car's welded on traction bars, were removed. When at last the body repairs were complete the new Wimbledon White paintjob was applied at Reliance Auto Body of Dover, New Jersey.
George was in the midst of the engine assembly when he passed away in 2005. Eddy and his cousin Fred finished the project after inheriting the Fairlane. The end result is the car you see here. Eddy reports that the car is quiet with the factory exhaust, but that it has a very healthy feel to it. Included in the documentation for the Fairlane are timeslips from different New Jersey dragstrips showing times in the 11s. When Eddy wrapped up the project he took the Fairlane around to show all of George's old friends, who all say the same thing: "If only George could see it now."
Sometimes the factory got...
Sometimes the factory got things right the first time. Other than the factory fiberglass hood, the body on this car is the same as any other Fairlane 500 hardtop. From the Wimbledon White paint, dog dish poverty hubcaps, and bench seat interior this R-code Fairlane is factory badness nailed down to the floor.
These original time slips...
These original time slips were part of a documentation package found in the glove compartment. Original racing history like this only makes the car more valuable and this Fairlane 500 is one of the most collectible Ford cars out there. It must have been something to see this car crank out an 11.96 pass at Englishtown or Island Meadows. It's also interesting to contemplate doing 180 mph around the high banks at Daytona in a stock-bodied 427 Fairlane like this one. Including both NASCAR and the NHRA, the Fairlane does indeed have a colorful racing heritage.
Spartan is the best way to...
Spartan is the best way to describe the interior on this factory produced racer. To many of us, the factory floor shift and bench seat combination is the epitome of the minimalist school of cool. Factory instrumentation includes a speedometer and turn signal indicators. On this car the rev limiter is your ear.
Ann and Eddy Hanley's '66 Fairlane 500 427 8V R-Code Hardtop
Here's the ultimate incarnation...
Here's the ultimate incarnation of FE madness. With the dual-quad intake and pent roof valve covers, the FE is perhaps the coolest looking of all the classic Ford engines. The seriously over-square engine, with its huge bore and short stroke, revs like a chainsaw; while the cross bolted main caps kept everything together at the top of the rpm range. For durability, the 427 block was the way to go, and other high-performance FE engines, such as the Thunderbird 390 and 428 Cobra Jet used two-bolt blocks. In its various forms the FE has no shortage of serious racing victories to its credit including wins at Le Mans and the 1968 NHRA Winter Nats in Pomona, California.
- NOS '68 427 FE side-oiler block
- Cross-bolted main caps; journals two, three, and four
- 4.23-inch bore
- 3.78-inch stroke
- Medium-riser cylinder heads
- 2.18-inch intake valves
- 1.73-inch exhaust valves
- Mechanical lifter camshaft
- 0.501 lift/306-degrees duration/
- 78-degrees overlap
- 11.0:1 compression ratio
- 8V aluminum intake manifold
- Twin Holley 4160 600cfm carburetors
- Autolite dual-point distributor with mechanical advance
- 425 hp at 6,000 rpm
- 480 lb-ft at 3,700 rpm
- Top Loader four-speed
- Ford HD clutch assembly
- Factory 9-inch housing
- Nodular iron gear case
- 4.11 gears
- Stock exhaust manifolds
- 2 1/2-inch exhaust system
- Ford passenger car mufflers
- Front: Stock coil springs, stock shocks
- Rear: Stock leaf springs, stock shocks
- Front: Factory 11-inch disc, single-piston caliper
- Rear: Factory drum
These pizza cutters could...
These pizza cutters could be fried off the rear axle in one pass with the way this Fairlane is powered, and certainly traction was one consideration when it came time to getting this car into the 11s. Eddy reports that despite an excellent alignment job these early bias-ply tires follow every crown and crease in the road. The emblem in front of the wheelhouse is the same emblem you'd see on a Galaxie station wagon. Only the numbers are different.
- Front: Stock steel wheel with Ford hubcap, 14x6
- Rear: Stock steel wheel with Ford hubcap, 14x6
- Front: Firestone Red Line, 7.75x14
- Rear: Firestone Red Line, 7.75x14
- Black standard interior with bench seat, factory floor shift, aftermarket radio
- Wimbledon White DuPont Century enamel paint applied by Reliance Auto Body of Dover, New Jersey