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1966 Ford Fairlane 427

Changes to the Ford Fairlane

For 1967, there were changes to the Ford Fairlane. The narrow/wide/narrow Fairlane GT side stripe motif was carried on the other models in the form of a bright molding rather than vinyl. The grille now sported three vertical crossbars and new split taillights filled the old housings.

ford fairlane 500 hardtop
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Because a vinyl bench seat was standard on the Ford Fairlane 500 hardtop, the 200-horse 289 V-8 was controlled via a "three-on-the-tree" shift lever.

The GTA manual/automatic transmission, now called SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic, was optional on all Fairlanes, even those with a column shift lever. Front disc brakes became standard for GTs, optional on other Fairlanes. Wide-Oval tires were also standard on GTs, optional on all others except wagons.

There were no additions to the GT model lineup, but the Ranchero, which had been a Falcon since 1960, was now moved into the Fairlane line. Probably in an effort to attract more conservative buyers into GTs, the 390 was no longer the standard engine.

The lineup now started with the 200-horse 289, then moved up to a two-barrel version of the 390 with 270 bhp or a four-barrel rated at 320 bhp. The price of the GTs remained about the same as in 1966, $2,839 for the coupe and $3,064 for the convertible, but it cost the buyer an extra $78 or $158 for the 390 depending on whether the two- or four-barrel version was chosen.

GT/GTA identification changed slightly. A crest replaced the round grille identification and rear plaques. Chrome GT or GTA letters replaced the side badges. The chromed indentations on the hood were replaced by twin "power domes" housing the turn signal indicators. When the optional 390 was ordered, chrome numerals were attached to the outside of the domes at the rear.

Facing increasing competition from all the intermediates and given a down year for the industry as well, Fairlane production for 1967 fell to 238,688 units, GT and GTA output slid more than 40 percent to 18,670 hardtops and a mere 2117 convertibles (500/XLs were even rarer: 14,871 hardtops and 1943 ragtops).

Standard references do not list the 1967 Fairlane GT and GTA as having the 335-bhp version of the 390. But Motor Trend claimed it tested one, so a few must have been built. MT preferred the 289 in another Fairlane they had driven, claiming that "power corrupts," even in automobiles.

"As good as it felt, that big engine has other subtle disadvantages besides economy," said MT. "Power steering masks the fact that the 390 adds a hefty chunk of iron over the front end, but it is clear that handling is not the same as the 289. Not terrible, or brutish, or dangerous, just not as good. This manifests itself in the kind of front-end pushing that makes it tricky turning into a narrow street at speed."

MT further commented that it took longer to stop a 390 with front disc brakes than a 289 with drums.

Go on to the next page to learn about the legacy of the Ford Fairlane.

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