1955 was a strong year for the American car industry and Ford in particular. There were 49,966 Fairlane Sunliners produced during that year and it easily outsold its closest competitor, the Chevy Bel Air convertible which saw only 41,292 examples produced.
This 1955 Ford Fairlane Sunliner Convertible has been given a professional cosmetic restoration and finished in the unusual Bumblebee two-tone color combination. It is equipped with the 272 cubic-inch Y-bloc V-8 rated at 162 horsepower and mated to a Ford-O-Matic three-speed automatic gearbox. There are hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes that keep this 115.5-inch wheelbase car in the driver's control. A cold-air air conditioning unit has been added and updated with 134-R coolant. Options include a Deluxe radio, dual spotlights, dual fog lights, dual exhaust and passenger curbside feelers. There is a continental kit, fender skirts, wide white walls, and spinner hubcaps. There have been only three owners since new for this car.
In 2008, the car was brought to the Hilton Head Sports & Classic Car Auction presented by the Worldwide Auctioneers. It was estimated to sell for $60,000 - $70,000. Bidding failed to reach those estimates and the lot was left unsold. By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2008
Crown Victoria Hardtop
The 1955 Ford was advertised as a car with the feeling of motion built into the basic shape of the car itself....with imaginative styling, chrome and stainless trim, fresh new colors, and modern interiors. 1955 would be the first year of the Crown Victoria, part of the Ford Fairlane range of products and was produced at Fords plant in Dallas, Texas. The name Crown Victoria is derived from the stainless band that 'Crowns' the roofline. The engine is a 272 cubic-inch V8 that develops 162 horsepower and has a top speed of 100 mph.
In 1955, Ford offered a completely redesigned model, both inside and out. The new design provided longer, lower and wider bodies, the lowest being Ford's new Crown Victoria, which was the company's first closed car under five feet high.
Being the top trim level for 1955, the Fairlane included chrome moldings around the window and 'A' pillar, chrome side sweep moldings, and chrome headlight door eyebrows. The name Crown Victoria was derived from the stainless trim the 'Crowns' the roofline, which is also commonly referred to as 'tiara' roof trim.
Powered by a 272 cubic-inch V-8 developing 162 horsepower, the Crown Victoria has a wheelbase of 155.5 inches and weighs over 3,380 pounds. Factory price was $2,302 in 1955.
This car was sold new to a female owner from Texas and is one of the mere 402 produced with factory Air Conditioning.
Production of the Ford Fairlane began in 1955 and ceased in 1971. During its initial offering, it was a full-sized family vehicle. In 1957, convertible and retractable option became available. Throughout it's life span, it could be had in eight different body styles including the 2 and 4 door models, and wagons.
In 1962, the Fairlane became Ford's flagship for the mid-size market. Its size fell between the compact Falcon and the full-sized Galaxie. During its introduction to the mid-size market, it accounted for twenty-percent of Fords total production.
The Fairlane was based on the Falcon's chassis and was available as a two or four door sedan.
The front suspension consisted of upper and lower control arms. Due to the front springs mounted on top of the upper arms, there was limited room in the engine compartment. The base engine was a 170 cubic-inch V6 power-plant that was capable of producing a little over 100 horsepower. A 221 cubic-inch V8 producing 145 horsepower was available as optional equipment. This small block engine was commonly referred to as 'the world's first economy eight'.
In 1963, Ford began offering additional engine options to improve the performance of the vehicle. The first was a 260 cubic-inch engine capable of producing 164 horsepower and cost an additional 150 dollars. The second was a High Performance 289 cubic-inch engine that was rated at over 270 horsepower and would set the owner back an additional 425 dollars.
The engines were not the only options available on the Fairlane. Power brakes, seat belts, air-conditioning, AM radio, and power steering could be added to customize the vehicle to suit the buyer's needs.
There were small changes, in 1963, to the front and rear of the vehicle. The most noticeable was in the front-end where it received a revised grill that made it resemble the Ford Galaxie.
In 1964, it was the rear of the vehicle that received the most visible updates. The tail fins were removed. Mechanical changes for this year included modifications to the suspension. A 'Cruise-O-Matic' and 'Fordomatic' transmission were new options for the 1964 model year.
The interior of the vehicle received luxuries such as carpeting, vinyl, and turn signals that would stop after a sharp or slight turns.
The big news for 1964 was the 'Thunderbolt'. This was a vehicle based on the Fairlane and fitted with a 427 cubic-inch high riser V8 engine. Its purpose was to dominate the drag strip. Fifty-four examples of these legendary monsters were produced.
1965 was the final year of production for the mid-sized Fairlane. The car grew in size, as did the base engine. The 170 cubic-inch V6 was replaced with a 120 horsepower 220 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine. The 260 cubic-inch V8 option was no longer being offered.
The steering wheel was made smaller to make it easier on the larger individuals when they were getting into and out-of the vehicle.
In 1966, the size of the Fairlane once again increased bringing it close to the full-size vehicle segment. With the increase in size, larger engines were now able to be inserted into the engine compartment. The 427 cubic-inch dual carburetor engine and 4-speed manual transmission were two popular performance options. Ford created fifty-seven Fairlanes with fiberglass hoods and 427 V8's with stripped-down racing accommodations. The purpose-built vehicles were created to dominate the racing scene.
The convertible option was re-introduced. The headlamp design was now dual-stacked.
The GT models were equipped with 390 cubic-inch big block engines, 4-speed manual transmission, bucket seats, and consoles. The GTA were the same as the GT versions but featured an automatic transmission, thus the 'A' at the end of the name.
In 1967 the performance of the vehicle was again improved with the addition of disc brakes replacing the drums. Emblem designs, body side trim and interior patterns received modifications, but style and mechanics mostly remained the same for the 1967 model year.
The 1968 model was redesigned completely. It now sat atop a new body style design sharing a platform with the Torino. The low and mid-range versions were referred to as Fairlanes while the high-end and GT models were Torino's.
In 1969, the Fairlane received a performance option dubbed the Fairlane Cobra. It featured a 428 cubic-inch Cobra Jet V8, 4-speed manual floor shifter, bucket seats and a suspension that had been modified to mimic the other performance components.
Ford began promoting the Torino name and phasing out the Fairlane. The Fairlane was available up through 1971 but only in selected trims. The Fairlane name became associated with the economy, lower end models.
Throughout its life span, the Fairlane had gone through many variations and revisions. It began as a full-size vehicle. Later, a convertible option became available. As it entered a new arena for Ford in 1962, the mid-size segment, it became an instant success. From there, it grew in size and performance until it began flirting with the full-size market segment again in 1968. It was always considered an economy vehicle but options were available to beef-up the performance and make it a true drag-strip competitor. By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2008
Crown Victoria Skyliner
The completely redesigned 1955 Ford Fairlane was named after Henry Ford's estate on the Rouge River in Dearborn.
The new body styles were longer, lower, and wider. They were equipped with a newly designed instrument panel and large round parking lights embedded in a concave grille beneath the headlights. The chrome eyebrows on the headlight doors and the rakish 'Fairlane Stripe' moldings were unique.
This Crown Victoria Skyliner is a two-door Fairlane with a pillared hardtop and transparent green plexi-glass in the forward half. Its Mountain Green color was rare, offered for only a few months in the Spring of 1955. The 272-cubic-inch V8 powered Skyliner was the most expensive Fairlane model, costing $2,372 new from the factory.
Sold for $88,000 at 2013 RM Sothebys. Sold for $110,000 at 2015 Gooding & Company. Sold for $57,200 at 2017 Gooding & Company. The bodystyle for the 1955 Fairlane was new though the mechanical components remained mostly unchanged. The Mileage Maker straight-6 engine displaced 223 cubic-inches and produced 120 horsepower. A new optional 272 cubic-inch Y-block V8 offered even more power.
Introduced on GM cars the previous year, the 1955 Fords featured a panoramic windshields. Air conditioning was offered as optional equipment, which included a front-mounted evaporator with cold air discharge vents located on top of the dash, a condenser unit in the trunk, plus a pair of air ducts in the trunk and clear tubes which ran from the rear package shelf into air ducts in the headliner. Few units were sold as it was a very expensive system.
The first 'Crown Victoria' 2-door 6-seat coupe also appeared in 1955. It was part of the Ford Fairlane range, which differed from the regular Victoria model by a stainless steel band that 'crowned' the roofline, passing over the car as an extension of the B-pillar. Production of the 'Crown Victoria' lasted from 1955 to 1956.
This example is finished in Buckskin Brown and Snowshoe White, with a two-tone interior. It has been completely restored, including the 245 horsepower V8. There is factory SelectAire air conditioning, power steering and brakes, a power seat, power windows, a Ford-O-Matic transmission, an AM radio with a rear speaker, rear fender skirts, stainless wire hubcaps, correct bias-ply whitewall tires, and Westinghouse bumper-mounted driving lights.
This Crown Victoria has covered only 317 miles since the completion of its restoration. It was shown at the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance where it was displayed in 2009, and at the Antique and Classic Car Club of Canada Concours in 2010, where it scored 99 points.
There were 49,966 Sunliner Convertible Coupe body styles produced in 1955. They featured new sheet metal with a wrap-around windshield and rode on a 115.5-inch wheelbase chassis. The inside featured a new instrument panel design that retained the see-through 'Astra Dial' speedometer concept. Power was from a 272 cubic-inch V8 engine offering 162 horsepower and mated to an automatic gearbox. The Tropical Rose and Snowshoe White color combination were unique for the convertible.
The current owner of this car spent six years to complete a frame-off restoration. It has been featured twice in Collectible Automobile magazine. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
Crown Victoria Hardtop
In 1955, Ford offered a completely redesigned model - both inside and out. The new design provided longer, lower and wider bodies - the lowest being Ford's new Crown Victoria, which was the company's first closed car under five feet high.
Being the top trim level for 1955, the Fairlane included chrome moldings around the windows and 'A' pillar, chrome side sweep moldings, and chrome headlight door eyebrows. The name Crown Victoria was derived from the stainless trim that 'Crowns' the roofline which is also commonly referred to as 'tiara' roof trim.
This Crown Victoria is equipped with a number of Ford options. The car received an off-frame restoration and received the AACA James Melton Memorial Cup award in 2004 plus an AAC Grand National in 2007.
Sold for $71,500 at 2013 RM Sothebys. The Ford Crestline Skyliner and Mercury Monterey Sun Valley (called the Monarch Lucerne in Canada) were introduced for the 1954 model year. The X-100 and X-500 show cars provided the inspiration for the two-door hardtops. Both featured a tinted Plexiglass roof panel over the driver and front passenger to tone down light, heat, and glare. Ford first showed its version at the Rotunda in Dearborn, Michigan, in January 1954; two were given away to visitors submitting the best 'Worth More' features of the new Ford car line.
Along with the all-new 'Y-block' 256 CID overhead valve V-8, Ford offered four-way power seats for the first time, along with power steering, brakes, and windows, and a Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission as options.
For 1954, Ford produced 13,444 units of their Skyliner. Both Ford and mercury models received a restyle for 1955, with both of their 'bubbletops' moving up-market. For Ford, this meant it was now part of the top-of-the-line Fairlane Crown Victoria series. Features included a non-structural chrome roof band, or 'basket handle.'
This example was manufactured at Ford's Los Angeles factory, spending its early life in the city. In the early 1980s, it was brought to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, where it was kept dry in storage until 2004, when it was purchased by the current owners.
The car has been treated to an extensive restoration, with the body being taken off the frame. The 312 CID V8 was rebuilt. It is finished in the factory-correct combination of Sea Sprite and Skyhaze. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2013
The name Fairlane came from Henry Ford's Fair Lane mansion location in Dearborn, Michigan. The Ford Fairlane was introduced in 1955 as Ford's full-size model and was available in six different body styles. The vehicle could be assembled as a 2 door club sedan, a 4 door town sedan, a Victoria 2 door hardtop, a Sunliner convertible, a Crown Victoria, or a Crown Victoria with a plastic top.
There were wide assortments of engines to select from. The base 223 cubic-inch, Inline-six cylinder engine produced 120 horsepower. A modified version of the engine produced 137 horsepower. The 272 cubic inch, V8 engine produced 162 horsepower with the modified version producing 182 horsepower. In
1956, two new V8 engines were introduced. The 292 cubic-inch engine produced 200 horsepower. The 312 cubic-inch produced 215 horsepower with the modified version producing 225 horsepower.
In 1956 a four door Victoria hard-top was added to the line up.
In 1957, the height of the vehicle was reduced by two inches. The suspension received improvements via swept back front lower control arms and longer rear leaf springs. The engines remained the same but with modifications, the horsepower ratings increased. A new top trim was added to the line up, the 500. This introduction was significant because it was the world's first power retractable hardtop.
With its convenience, it also brought problems. The system was expensive, complicated, and riddled with mechanical defects.
In 1958, the front bumper and grille was redesigned. Quad headlamps were used in the front and rear of the vehicle, replacing the previous single headlamp design. Other exterior changes included updates to the side and top of the vehicle. A new 'big Block', 332/352 cubic-inch V8 replaced the 292 and 312 cubic-inch V8's.
1959 was the final year for the Skyliner Hardtop Convertible. The remaining Fairlanes received styling and mechanical changes. The size of the windshields increased; the headlamps and rear of the vehicle received modifications as well. Due to fuel economy, the V8 engines were de-tuned. The suspension continued to receive improvements, increasing ride-quality. Part-way through the year, Ford introduced another body style, the Galaxie.
The 1960 Fairlanes were six inches longer, five inches wider and about 200 pounds heavier. The Sunliner returned to the line-up. The square-roof Starliner of 1959 was replaced by a pillarless, two-door hardtop version. The rest of the body styles received updates that included straight A-pillars and horizontal tailfins.
In 1961, a 390 cubic-inch V8 engine was introduced, capable of producing 375 horsepower. The modified version of the engine produced over 400 horsepower. The Fairlane was once again redesigned and contrary to the prior year, became lighter and shorter. The hood of the vehicle was reshaped, the grille was re-worked, and the taillights, once again, were changed.
In 1962, a new, light weight 221 cubic-inch V8 was built using a process called thin-wall casting. The 221 was referred at to as the 'worlds first economy eight'. Later, the engine was increased to 260 cubic inches and then 289 cu in. Half-way through the year, Ford introduced the Fairlane 500 Sports Coupe. The vehicle featured bucket seats and an option for a 260 cubic-inch V8, which was actually a modified version of the light-weight V8. The vehicles could be assembled in either three speed manual or 'Fordomatic Drive' automtaic transmission.
In 1963 another new engine appeared on the scene. This was a 289 cubic-inch engine that produced 270 horsepower in modified form. The exterior received minor improvements. The front grill was new for 1963 which required modifications to the hood, bumper, and fenders.
In 1964 there were eight body styles to select from; none were convertibles.
The rear of the vehicle was restyled. The tailfins were removed. The suspension was modified which improved ride-quality. The interior received minor enhancments. Full carpeting for the floors was available. Turn signals would shut off after a slight turn of the steering wheel.
Ford produced 57 special Fairlane's that were comprised of a highly modified engine and a 3200 pound lightweight package. The purpose was for drag racing. The weight of the vehicle was reduced by incorporating fiberglass fenders, Plexiglas windows, light weight bucket seats, and other weight saving measures. The engine was a modified 427 big block that produced around 500 horsepower. The transmission and suspension was modified to accommodate these special drag racing vehicles. Commonly referred to as 'Thunderbolt' or 'T-bolts', the success on the race track increased the demand for these vehicles and 54 additional vehicles were produced, bringing the total to 111 examples.
In 1965, Ford moved the Fairlane out of the mid-size market. The base engine was the 200 cubic inch V6 that produced 120 horsepower. The 289 cubic-inch V8 replaced the 260 cu.in. engine.
In 1966 the GT and GTA packages were introduced. A new convertible option was added to the line-up as well. Due to the size of the big block V8, the Fairlane needed to be redesigned to accommodate. The GTA series came equipped with SportShift Cruise-O-Matic automatic gearboxes and the 390 cubic-inch V8.
The GT series featured the 390 cubic-inch V8 as standard equipment. Other equipment for these series included suspension modifications, disc brakes, special hoods, paint and body striping, badges, and special steering wheels.
In 1967 only minor aesthetic changes were done to the vehicle. The GT and GTA series received front disc brakes, vinyl interiors, and bucket seat as standard equipment. The disc brakes were a major improvement from the prior drum-brake system. The 289 cubic inch V8 produced 200 horsepower, the 390 cubic inch V8 produced 275 horsepower and a modified version of the 390 cubic-inch produced 320 horsepower. A 427 cubic-inch 'side oiler' was available, although about 200 were produced. The 427 cubic-inch engine was capable of producing between 410 and 425 horsepower.
Additional modifications to the engine would bring about even more horsepower.
In 1968, the Fairlane was redesigned and was once again moved into the full-size car class. A 'Sportsroof' fastback and Torino series were added to the line-up. The vehicles were either called a Fairlane or a Torino. The lower through mid range vehiciles were Fairlanes. The GT and higher-end versions were called Torino models. The Torino featured a 320 cubic-inch V8 engine, bucket seats, badges, striping, light package, and wheel covers. The engine options for this year included a 302, 390, and 427 cubic inch.
In 1969, more modifications to the vehicle occurred making it better suited for the road and the race track. Mechanical enhancements increased the overall horsepower output of all the engines, the suspension was modified, four-speed manual transmission, and wider tires were offered.
The Torino Talladega series, named after a 2.66 mile track in Alabama, was designed for the NASCAR circuit. The vehicle featured aerodynamic enhancements that included a sloped nose and reworked rocker panels. The big block 428 cubic-inch V8 was used, supplying 335 horsepower. In total, 754 examples were produced.
In 1970, the Fairlane was once again restyled. All dimensions, except for the height, increased in size. The Falcon was added to the Torino series. A wide variety of engines and modifications existed this year for the Fairlane family. They included a 302, 351, and 429 cubic-inch engines. The 302, on the low end, produced 220 bhp and 250 bhp after modifications. The 351 produced between 285-300 horsepower, while the 429 produced 360 bhp on the low end and 375 horsepower after modifications.
In 1971, the engines were detuned or replaced with six-cylinder engines, due to rising fuel concerns and strict emission regulations. The 250 cubic inch six-cylinder produced 145 horsepower, the 302 cubic inch V8 produced 220-250 horsepower. A 351 and 429 cubic-inch engine were still available with horsepower ratings ranging from 285 bhp through 375 bhp. The styling for the Torino's remained virtually unmodified.
In 1972, the Torino's continued to grow in all dimensions, even weight. The convertible and Cobra options were removed from the line up.
Ford had used the Torino model-line to phase out the Fairlane models. The Fairlanes were offered from 1955 though 1971. By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2017