Bold School: 1964 Ford Fairlane

When I was a kid, I used to watch Superman cartoons. One thing I always noticed was how everything about Clark Kent changed after he dumped his street clothes. As he went into the phone booth he always said “this is a job…” in a wimpy, milquetoast voice.  Then a fraction of a second later, when he stepped out, he finished the sentence with “FOR SUPERMAN!” in a deep, booming voice and leaped into the air. I mention this only because it’s remarkably similar to the story of the ’64 Fairlane. In its normal, everyday “C class” version it was far from a muscle car. It rolled off the assembly line with a 289  V8 and 2-barrel carb that created 195 hp at 4400 RPM. Drivers could get a little more power out of it by upgrading to the “A” class engine with a four-barrel carb. That kicked the same 289 cid engine up to a 9.8:1 compression ratio and 225 hp – better, but still nothing extraordinary. All that changed, however, if a customer at his local Ford dealership said  “I want my Fairlane with the ‘K’ engine hi-po package.” That still got the buyer a 289 under the hood. But it came with super-hot cams, performance valve lifters, high-flow exhaust, cylinder heads with oversized valves, dual point distributor, and a Holley four-barrel carb. The makeover transformed an everyday sedan into a high performance street rod, with a 10.5:1 compression ratio that turned more than 300 lightning-fast horses loose on Main Street USA. The reborn engine was so aggressive that it was used as the power plant for the ’64-65 Shelby Cobras. Unfortunately the hi-po package made the Fairlane too expensive for most motorists, and starting in ’65, Ford replaced it with the colossal 398 and 420 cubic inch engines, which created similar power at less cost. In its time, though, the Fairlane with the 289 hi-po package proved that turning ordinary rides into supercars wasn’t just a comic book fantasy. Clark Kent would be proud. THE BASICS Make: Ford Model: Fairlane Year: 1964 Car Type: Classic See more Ford Fairlanes here Written by Bill Wilson Photo courtesy of Barrett-Jackson