Wayne Cook
June 1, 2000

Step By Step

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Before...
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...and After!
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Our list of goodies from Dearborn Classics begins with this collection of emblems. The Fairlane 500 script is identical to the original pieces displayed prominently on the sides of the fenders. The 289 “V” emblems look similar to the ones on a Mustang, however for the Fairlane they’re gold instead of silver. The two-piece, early style Ford emblems are for the sail panels of the roof behind the rear side window.
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Early Fairlane bumpers are so massive we’ll probably save about 50 pounds by replacing them with new fiberglass bumpers from Dearborn Classics.
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We started with the lower-front grille opening molding. Most of the moldings for the Fairlane have a special fastener that goes behind it. We were careful to save this stuff when everything came apart.
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Here, the lower molding goes into posi-tion. This extremely discolored part was beyond any steel-wool refurbishing. A coat of Eastwood Alumi-Blast gave it a nice, uniform finish.
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The headlight buckets were swung out of the way so we could access the front fastener for the fender ornament, available new from Dearborn Classics.
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The headlight doors were the next parts to be carefully placed into position. All of the grille opening hardware got the Eastwood Alumi-Blast treatment.
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This heavy molding goes across the front edge of the hood and completes the trim circle around the grille opening.
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Installing the grille is a slow process because the retaining mounts for the headlight rings must be carefully worked around. Make sure all fastener holes are lined up before tightening down anything all the way.
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One tip that always makes a car look better after a paint job is cleaning crud or over-spray off the headlights with steel wool. Do this before the headlight rings go back into place.
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Our headlight rings were severely discolored after 35 years. A metal specialty shop could clean and reanodize these parts, but we’re still saving our weekly allowance toward that. In the meantime, Eastwood’s Alumi-Blast does an incredibly good job of providing a uniform metallic finish.
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All four of the Fairlane’s headlight rings are different, so we marked them when they came off because they all seem to look the same. Different-length screws are needed for the different screw-hole locations.
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All of the new emblems came with the small fasteners needed to attach them. They resemble small collars.
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A soft rubber mallet was used to seat difficult trim pieces.
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Moving to the sides, we used steel wool to remove old overspray and rust from the moldings. We then masked off the side moldings so the center stripe could be painted. It’s white on our car.
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With all of the moldings cleaned and painted, we installed them on the car. On this front left molding, most of the fasteners are reached from inside the wheelhouse.
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Next, the new 289 emblems from Dearborn Classics went into place. The gold color looks distinctive and sets these Fairlane emblems apart from the Mustang units.
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The finishing touches for the front fenders were the Fairlane 500 scripts. These long, delicate emblems must be installed carefully to prevent breakage. Once all of the locating pins were started, we used our soft rubber mallet to seat the lettering.
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After installing the side molding onto the door, we moved to the elaborate decorative moldings for the rear quarters. These diagonal trim parts attach from inside the car under the rear passenger window.
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The long spear moldings for the rear quarters attach from both inside the car and in the trunk.
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These metal trim pieces are not available as either NOS or in reproduction, so ours were Alumi-Blasted before being placed in position.
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The sail panel emblems are colorful, elaborate, and decorative. The two pieces must be assembled before they go into place.
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To install new exterior door handles, first remove the old handles. The rear retaining screw is outside in the jamb area of the door, and the front screw must be accessed from inside the door. We already had our interior trim panels removed to work on our moldings, so removing the handles was an easy task.
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To install the new door handles, it isn’t necessary to disconnect the pushrod from the latch assembly. Just remove the screw shown that holds the release mechanism to the backside of the exterior handle.
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When everything is apart, clean up the release button with steel wool so it will match the new part. Don’t forget to include the new handle gaskets when securing the new handle into place.
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We’re replacing the old sill plates on the inside of the doors. First, the new Ford emblems were affixed to the new sill plates from Dearborn Classics.
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Next, we placed the sill plates into position using new screws. With the newly painted door jambs, it’s looking good in an area that was once a real mess.
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To begin our work on the fiberglass bumpers, we first drilled holes to begin the creation of our turn-signal/parking-lamp openings.
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We used the drill holes to get our jig-saw blade started, then carefully cut the openings to the indicated shape. A file is used to clean up the openings.
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To obtain a good adhesion surface for paint, we went over the bumpers with a Scotch-Brite pad. After our light sanding, we wiped down the bumpers carefully to remove any debris.
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The bumpers were coated with a dull-silver wheel paint to simulate a steel finish. Black or body color were other possible options we considered.
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With a few small adjustments of the bracketry on the car, we were ready to install the front bumper. After reinstalling the turn signals, the bumper was bolted into place.
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Out back, our new bumper is in place, complete with license plate. We are in the process of hunting down replacement trim panels for the rear of our car, so for now, the mounting holes in the back panel will have to show.

Previously, we detailed our '64 Fairlane's bodywork and low-buck paint job at our local Earl Scheib outlet. Since then, we've been in touch with Dearborn Classics for help on what to do next with our Fairlane's exterior. The post-style sedan has the "500" trim package, and it sure looked naked without the original trim.

The company specializes in post-war Fords, except Mustangs, so its focus is on the less common cars like the Fairlane and Falcon. The Dearborn Classics staff was kind enough to provide new or reproduction body bolt-on items to make our Fairlane look really good.

After a paint job, putting the car back together is just about the most fun part of the whole project. Few things beat the enjoyment of seeing brand-new emblems and shiny trim go over a fresh coat of paint. While some vintage Ford owners feel the best look is achieved by the deletion of emblems and trim, it's a matter of personal preference. We like the look the colorful emblems, lettering, and moldings give to this early Ford, and these trim pieces firmly anchor the Fairlane into its time period.

In addition to the various emblems and trim, new fiberglass bumpers with mounting hardware also arrived from Dearborn Classics.

Of course, there were other things needing attention that aren't available in NOS or in reproduction form, so until we can afford a trip to the plating shop, a coat of Eastwood Alumi-Blast did a good job of dressing up discolored parts. Other trim items required a lot of elbow grease with some fine-grade steel wool to look their best.