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Issue 08:05:02 - May 12, 2008

Profile of the 1957 Ford Fairlane

In 1957, Ford exceeded its 1955 sales record by introducing all new lower, wider, and longer Fords in a low-price field. Included in these new Fords were the distinctive Fairlane and the glamorous Fairlane 500.

The 1957 Fairlane Series featured the four-door hardtop Town Victoria. This open-type car provided the driver and passengers extra comfort, extra fun, and plenty of extra room. There was also a two-door Club Victoria, which was full of life with unleashed power from its V-8 or Six engine.

The four-door Sedan had body center posts hid behind the trim and slim window frames, which looked like a Victoria. The two-door, six-passenger Club Sedan also looked like a Victoria with the thin center post.

1957 Fairlane 500 Series

Five distinctive models were included in the Fairlane 500 Series, which were the Town Sedan, Club Victoria, Town Victoria, Club Sedan, and the Sunliner. All models featured new interior miracle fabrics and new protective enamel for the exterior.

The highlight of 1957 was the long and lean Fairlane Town Victoria hardtop. And, everyone felt like they were riding in a convertible when they rode in their new Fairlane 500 Club Victoria. This two-door had plenty of get-up and go with its high-compression V-8 engine. Ford also offered the big and sleek Fairlane 500 Sunliner Convertible. For those who wanted to have both luxury and convenience, the four-door Fairlane 500 Town Sedan was offered. The hardtop styling and the low silhouette of this town car allowed graceful exit and easy entry. A car that was often mistaken for a hardtop was the two-door Club Sedan.

Safety features

Safety features on the Ford Fairlane were a Lifeguard deep-center steering wheel, Lifeguard door locks, and a Lifeguard safety-swivel rearview mirror. Also, the control knobs were deeply recessed. Available at extra cost were Lifeguard cushioning for the instrument panel, body-anchored Ford seat belts, and Lifeguard sun visors cushioned with super shock-absorbing material.

Mechanical facts

Engine choices gave each buyer an opportunity to get the power he or she wanted. The standard engine was a 144-horsepower Mileage Maker Six with a displacement of 223 cubic inches. Its bore and stroke was 3.62 inches x 3.60 inches. It had a compression ratio of 8.6:1. The engine had a carburetor that was a unit design with a larger Venturi, an automatic Power Pilot distributor, and a manual choke.

Optional engines

The 212-horsepower Thunderbird 292 V-8 was an optional engine with a bore and stroke of 3.75 inches x 3.30 inches, and a 9.1:1 compression ratio. It had a displacement of 292 cubic inches. The engine had a low-silhouette, two-Venturi carburetor, a Y-type single exhaust, an automatic choke, and a Time-O-Matic distributor.

Another optional engine was the 245-hosrepower Thunderbird 312 Special V-8 with a 312-cubic-inch displacement and a 9.7:1 compression ratio. It had a bore and stroke of 3.80 inches x 3.44 inches. It also featured dual exhausts, a Time-O-Matic distributor, a low-silhouette 4-Venturi carburetor, and an automatic choke. Another optional engine was the 270-horsepower Thunderbird 312 Super V-8.

1957 Engine features

The low-friction design, new high-left camshaft, deep-block construction, and overhead intake and exhaust valves were just a few of the engine features. Other features were the 450-watt generator, full pressure lubrication, turbo-action 18-mm spark plugs, and the reusable paper element on the Super-Filter air cleaner.

Other Fairlane features

The double-seal Giant-Grip hydraulic brakes had an 11-inch drum, a suspended pedal, and a lining area of 180 square inches. Optional at an extra cost were the low-pedal type Swift Sure Power Brakes.

The Conventional Drive transmission had three forward speeds and one reverse, with each engine having its own gear ratios. The Overdrive was a combination of a three-speed transmission plus an automatic fourth gear cutting in at about 28 mph and cutting out at about 22 mph. The clutch was a semi-centrifugal type with a suspended clutch pedal and full-weighted levers.

The low-slung hypoid rear axle was the semi-floating type with an exclusive straddle-mounted deep-offset pinion. The worm and triple-tooth gear mechanism steering had a three-spoke Lifeguard, deep-dish steering wheel and anti-friction bearings. Optional at extra cost was the Master-Guide power steering. The angle-poised, four-way ball-joint design of the front suspension had a one-piece stabilizer, viscous-control shock absorbers, and coil springs that were tailored-to-model. The suspension-arm pivots required no lubrication and were rubber-bushed for quietness. The outboard-mounted, variable-rate type rear suspension had increased leaf lengths ahead of the axle for an "Even-Keel" ride. There was full insulation in the front and rear eyes and pads at the axle with rubber bushings.

All 1957 Ford Fairlane models had four-ply, tubeless, 14-inch tires with 5-inch safety-type rims. Models with Fordomatic Drive and V-8 engines had 8.00 x 14 tires and other combinations had 7.50 x 14 tires.

The Fairlane models had a 118-inch wheelbase with an overall length of 207.7 inches. The maximum height with design load for Victorias and Sedans was 56.2 inches and 56.5 inches for the Sunliner.

Extra cost accessories

Ford offered many fine accessories at an extra cost. For safety, there were full view mirrors, Ford seat belts, and Lifeguard Jr. door locks on the rear. Other accessories, which were offered for pleasure and comfort, included a transistor-powered radio, a fender-mounted antenna, a heater, a defroster, a SelectAire conditioner, and seat cushions with ventilation. Car mats and seat covers were also offered to protect the car's interior.

Additional accessories included backup lights, fender shields, a Sports Spare wheel carrier, exhaust deflectors, and a distinctive looking grille guard. Power assisted accessories included power lift windows, a four-way power front seat, a Fordomatic Drive Selector, a Master Guide power steering, and Sure Swift power brakes.

Ford Fairlane's interior and exterior

Fairlane models offered many colors and combinations for the grained vinyl and nylon cloth in the interior. The front and rear floors were covered with Luxury-Loom carpeting in harmonizing colors

For both the Fairlane and Fairlane 500, there were 13 new body colors available either in Single Color or Style Tone combinations. Standard on the Fairlane with the Single Color and Style Tone combinations was a bright metal rear side molding. On the Fairlane 500, standard with the Single Color and Style Tone combinations was gold, anodized textured aluminum trim highlighting the chrome side molding.

Basic colors were Starmist Blue, Raven Black, Silver Mocha, Cumberland Green, Colonial White, Dresden Blue, Doeskin Tan, Inca Gold, Gunmetal Gray, Woodsmoke Gray, Coral Sand, Willow Green, and Flame Red. It is very obvious why Ford outsold Chevrolet in 1957 with all the extras offered to the consumer on the exquisite Fairlane models. Ford fans and classic car lovers today can appreciate the Fairlane's beauty through car shows, museums, and special clubs dedicated to these amazing automobiles.


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