Ford Fairlane Sunliner Convertible

Ford emphasized passenger safety for 1956. All cars had deep-dish steering wheels, and seat belts and padded dashboards were optionally available. Less familiar, though, is the fact that Ford was concurrently pursuing NASCAR competition and had a number of performance options, some of which were dealer- or owner-installed.

The most powerful factory engine was a 215-bhp, 312-cubic inch “Thunderbird Special” engine with Holley four-barrel carburetion. However, Ford had a performance kit for both the 312 and smaller 292 Y-Block engines, comprising an aluminum twin-four-barrel manifold and carburetors, topped off with a round Purolator dry-type air filter.

The carburetors were specially-calibrated Holley “teapot” units and came with linkage, brackets, hardware and gaskets. The kit also included special ECZ-C cylinder heads, valve lifters and springs, a performance camshaft and recalibration for the distributor.

The twin-four-barrel setup, of course, became a factory-installed option in 1957 as the “E-Code” 312, making 270 or 285 bhp, depending on compression, with heads and manifold redesigned for better breathing. This was nearly as powerful as the top-line “F-Code” supercharged 312 and had the advantage of better street manners.

Part of the RM Auctions in August 2009 in Rochester, Michigan, July of 2011 at The Inn Michigan, for Charlie Thomas in October, 2012 and for John Staluppi in December, 2012.

292 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, three-speed Fordomatic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115.5".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel and Teddy Pieper

Gallery: Ford Fairlane Sunliner Convertible