1963 Ford Fairlane

The 1963 Ford Fairlane got a facelift and the same technical improvements given to other Ford products, many of them designed to ease maintenance. Nine models made the 1963 lineup, five of them new. Two- and four-door sedans returned in both trim levels. The 500 took on two new two-door hardtops, one of which usurped the Sports Coupe title.

Three station wagons also joined the line: a Ranch Wagon with base Fairlane trim, a Custom Ranch Wagon with the Fairlane 500 look, and a pseudo-"woody" Squire. Front ends got a fresh grille pattern and new bumpers not unlike that of the senior Fords, and the hood's leading edge lost its pronounced overhang. Back ends still sported little angled fins, a styling touch that was gradually disappearing from most American cars.

1963 Ford Fairlane
After turning out 297,000 first-year Fairlanes, Ford
produced almost 344,000 of the 1963s (above).

Sitting an inch lower than the sedans, the 500 Sports Coupe was the most dashing Fairlane. The new hardtop roof was modeled after the Thunderbird's, featuring large, square C-pillars and rectangular rear glass. Bucket seats, a console, standard spinner wheel covers, and Buick-style front-fender "ventiports" were the major marks of distinction between the Sports Coupe and the slightly plainer bench-seat Fairlane 500 hardtop. Both could be kitted out with a vinyl roof covering.

Six-passenger wagons could be equipped with a rear-facing third bench, for eight-passenger capacity. Opening the tailgate and folding the second seat down into the floor produced a flat load space more than nine feet long. Beneath the floor, the owner had a big, covered luggage area.

The 1962 Fairlane's three engine offerings were reprised in 1963, but there were a couple additional choices, as well. When the Fordomatic trans was selected for a six-cylinder car, the engine to which it was attached was a new 200-cubic-inch job good for 116 horsepower.

At the other end of the spectrum was a sizzling 289-cube small-block V-8 available for sedans and hard-tops. Its cylinder bores increased to a full four inches and its compression raised to 11.0:1, this meatiest Fairlane power plant supped on super-premium fuel through a four-barrel carburetor. Horsepower hit 271 at 6,000 rpm and torque peaked at 312 pound-feet at 3,400 revs, enough power to propel Ford's intermediate to 60 mph in less than nine seconds. Warned a magazine ad for a hardtop with the 289, "Wait till you feel Fairlane's Sunday punch!"

Transmissions were shuffled, too. Standard for all V-8s was a new "Synchro-Smooth" three-speed stickshift with synchronizers on all three forward gears. (The manual with 170-cubic-inch six had synchros on just the top two gears.) Overdrive and a new Borg-Warner four-on-the-floor stick could be had with any V-8. Fordomatic was compatible with the large six and the two smaller V-8s. Buyers also had several choices of final-drive ratios to maximize economy or performance potential.

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