In the early 1950s, Ford’s Crestliner was its luxury offering. But in 1956 the company surprised the public by replacing it with the Fairland in six different body styles in an effort to maintain Ford’s share of the marketplace. Chevrolet continued to press forward with exceptional cars, and Ford needed to stay competitive.
Ford’s Crown Victoria Skyliner edition could be had with a tinted transparent acrylic glass roof and loads of stainless steel trim. There was also a convertible version known as the Sunliner. Two- and four-door versions all offered the trademark stainless steel Fairland stripe. Standard power option choices included an inline straight six (3.7 liter) or the V-8 (4.5 liter).
As a special more powerful engine option, a select few customers ordered their cars with the Thunderbird 4.8 liter, four-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust, 292-cubic-inch power train, which produced 193 horses. Seat belts were offered as a dealer option for the safety- minded buyer. A factory-installed air conditioner was made available starting with the 1955 models. Drum brakes were increased in size to 11 inches for better control when hard stopping was needed.
An Indiana Hoosier car enthusiast friend of mine from the Northside found this Thunderbird-equipped 1956 Fairlane here in central Indiana. His restoration efforts included replacing all the outside trim and badging, re-chroming the bumpers and replacing the wheels with more modern tire sizes. Minor upgrades to the interior on the dashboard trim and replacement of the radio were needed. The original paint had excessive “orange peel” and required wet sanding and professional buffing to bring it back to life.
My good friend and his entire family have a true love of automotive history and can be frequently found participating in parades and vintage car shows. This time with his reborn Ford Fairlane.
Until next time, happy cruising!