Thursday, October 31, 2019

Danville Street Sighting - 1969 Ford Fairlane 500

 Wow, I have truly been delinquent this year. It's been a good ten months since our last post, but I'm still here and still photographing cars. It's Halloween time, so let's get into the spirit of sorts with a little orange and black. Here's a 1969 Ford Fairlane 500.

 The '69 Fairlane was a simple formula: Moderate size, fairly low price, mass appeal. The 1968-69 cars grew in overall size from the 1967 model but kept the same wheelbase length, and were still smaller than the full-sized Galaxie and luxurious LTD. The Fairlane body could be upgraded into the sporty Torino, a car that would soon end up replacing the Fairlane altogether. These late Fairlanes also continued to serve as the base for the Ranchero coupe utility pickup.

Fairlanes could be had with a choice of several engines and three transmissions, ranging from a 200ci straight six and three-speed stick for your bargain-basement fleet special salesman's sedan, to a 289 or 302 V8 with three-speed Cruise-O-Matic for mom's grocery getter station wagon, to a 390 V8 out of the Thunderbird with a four-speed manual for your Torino GT Sportsroof. For 1969, the range was changed to a bigger 250 six, optional 302 or 351 V8, and one could even specify a 428 Cobra Jet or Super Cobra Jet big block for the hairiest Torino on the block.

 This Fairlane has had some work done to it. Luckily for me, it was for sale and had an information sheet on the window describing the car. This one has had a heart transplant out of a 1988 Mustang and features a 5.0 liter V8 coupled to a five-speed manual transmission. Instead of the 1980s electronic fuel injection system, the owner elected to go with a 4bbl Edelbrock carburetor and installed freer-flowing exhaust headers and pipes. I am pretty sure that orange paint isn't stock either!

Oddly, it was described as a 1968 model on paper but the rear end is completely the 1969 style and includes 1969 Torino trim pieces underneath the taillight panel. The grille appears to be a 1969 Torino GT item, minus the GT badge, and I'm not entirely sure what the hood scoop came from but a Torino GT or Mustang Mach 1 part seems likely. Note the Torino badge on the trunk, but no Fairlane badges anywhere on the car and also no round Torino-specific medallion on the C-pillar. This car could be a Fairlane 500 with the factory Torino trim package or it could be a mix 'n match custom build. It's interesting to me that they used a notchback or "formal" roof car instead of the fastback style I most commonly see on Torinos of this generation.

It looks to be a fine driver and as the ad sheet described it, had a lot of money invested in the build. You can tell that the seller expected it to attract attention based on the lack of license plates while parked on a busy local thoroughfare, and the fairly unique anti theft device of a chain fed through the wheel spokes. I photographed it in November 2018 at the same time as the 1972 Mustang Mach 1 I featured as part of last year's Christmas countdown. Unfortunately the quick photo shoot shows significant haze due to smoke from the Camp Fire up north that destroyed much of the town of Paradise. As I write this, the skies are again smoky from time to time due to wildfires around northern California. I am hopeful that this Fairlane went on to a good home; but more importantly hopeful for the safety of those at risk of this latest wave of fires around the state, and the brave first responders and emergency services who work to keep us all safe.

For the rest of my readers whose biggest worry this Halloween is running out of candy for the neighborhood trick-or-treaters, stay safe too.


  1. I've been delinquent for a long time, as well. I don't think this is a Fairlane 500. I think it's a Torino which would not have had Fairlane badging. The trim is unique to the Torino, even the grille. Still, it could have been added. I'm surprised that the seller would say that it's a '68. It is clearly a '69. I don't think this is a '69 color, but this car looks good in orange. I like the bench seat with floor shift. That wasn't unusual back then. My sister's boyfriend bought a new Roadrunner in '69. It was set up like this. I don't think the shifter is original. It appears to be straight. They had a bend. I do think it is unusual that it has dual chrome side mirrors. A couple of things the owner did do is to add the lower body stripe that you would find on a GT. Removed the Torino badges from the C pillar. They were absent on the Cobra. He added hood pins which would have come on the Cobra. I would prefer the correct drive train, but this is a good choice. I have a 1984 Capri with the 5.0 and 5 speed. I'm sure that there's a considerable difference in weight, but I'm sure this car has plenty of power. With my Capri, you have to try not to spin the tires. I really like this car. It's straight and clean. I'd be extremely happy to own this car. If I were reading this when you posted it, I'd be asking if you took a picture of the for sale sign. I'd want the phone number, and depending on the price, I'd be trying to figure out how I could buy it.

    1. Hi John, I don't usually post phone numbers for cars I photograph for sale, mainly because by the time I get around to posting the cars they are usually already off the market.

      However, you might be interested to know that I saved the last Craigslist ad I found for this car (Feb 2020). By that point the car had had an engine swap and was described as follows:
      "408w crate motor, forged pistons, March serpentine pulley system with new alternator, PS pump, AC compressor, water pump, T5 transmission, all new fuel system including Edelbrock 750, all new aluminum radiator/electric fan cooling system, all new McLeod clutch/flywheel/hydraulic throwout, Wilwood clutch master, new brake master, Borgeson steering box conversion to eliminate the leaky factory design, custom steering shaft/column, etc. Most everything has been replaced with new parts. ... Motor put down just under 500lbs of torque, 475hp at the crank." The seller was asking $30k for it after all those upgrades.

      As photographed in 2018, pre-408w swap, the seller was asking $17,500. The window sign described the shift lever as aftermarket but didn't specify the type. It's a Hurst, they sell a straight lever shifter for the T5.

  2. I got hung up on the paint color. I didn't find it in Ford colors for years surrounding 1969. I expanded my search to Mercury. I believe this paint color is the 1969- 1970 Cougar Eliminator color Competition Orange. If you look at pictures on Google, you will find photos in which the cars look just like this Torino, plus some which look darker. I think it depends on the lighting.