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1966 Ford Fairlane 427

Legacy of the Ford Fairlane

Once again, the Ford Fairlane GTs did not go to the tracks except for some drag racing. The 427 wedge was most often matched up for racing with the standard Fairlane 500 hardtop body. Ford returned to racing with this combination.

ford fairlane red hardtop
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Flagship of the Fairlane fleet was the GT, like the flashy red hardtop seen here.

By this time, NASCAR had legalized the 427 sohc engine, but Ford chose not to produce it. NASCAR further permitted Galaxie suspension systems for racing Fairlanes, and Ford did take advantage of this new ruling.

The first event of the 1967 NASCAR season, the Motor Trend Riverside 500 in January, was won by Parnelli Jones aboard a Fairlane 500 after four-time Riverside winner Dan Gurney's Comet Cyclone broke a rod. At the Daytona 500 in February, Mario Andretti won in a Fairlane with a special 427 engine while officials looked the other way.

Fred Lorenzen was second in another special Fairlane 427. Both were Holman & Moody cars. Fairlanes won again at the Atlanta 500 in April, with Cale Yarborough taking first, Dick Hutcherson second. At the Atlanta 400 in July, it was four Fairlanes in a row -- Cale Yarborough, followed by Dick Hutcherson, Darel Dieringer, and David Pearson. But Richard Petty, driving a Plymouth, dominated the season.

Things went about the same for the Fairlane in USAC competition. Fairlane winners were Parnelli Jones, Jack Bowsher, A.J. Foyt, and Mario Andretti. They were all at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Speedway in Milwaukee on July 9, but Don White in a Dodge Charger emerged as the winner.

Ford unleashed another Fairlane armada on the same track during the Wisconsin State Fair in August. These two events were won by Fairlane drivers Jack Bowsher and Parnelli Jones. Ford Fairlanes took nine of the 23 USAC events that year, which only equalled Don White in a Dodge. He was declared the champion.

The Fairlane score was Jack Bowsher, four wins; Parnelli Jones, three wins; and one win each for Andretti and Foyt. Drag racing relief for the Fairlane came that year when the NHRA expanded Super Stock from one class to five, going from SS/A, the hottest class, down to SS/E. The Fairlane 427 was put into SS/B, where it held its own but wasn't the dominant competitor.

According to the tiger ad, the GT/GTA was "a very hot dish." Maybe it didn't cook any tigers, but with all the trimmings and the manual/automatic transmission, it was a pretty good mousetrap.

Even so, the Fairlane would be completely restyled for 1968, with the top series renamed Torino. Not only would it be slightly bigger, but it would also offer fastback styling -- and see demand rise to a new model-year record of 372,329 units.

Still, the 1966-1967 models have their place in many collectors' hearts because of their clean styling and status as the first of the big-block Fairlanes. In addition, the GTs are far rarer than the GTOs and Mustangs they ran with.

Go on to the next page to learn about 1966-1967 Ford Fairlane specifications.

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