Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fairlane Wagons

As some of you know, I used to have a '64 Fairlane Ranch Wagon back in high school.  That thing was sweet with a 289 "Special" V8, C4 Cruise-O-Matic auto trans, something close to 4.11 gears out back, and dual exhaust with glass packs.  I had my fair share of tire smoke and sideways moments on those MN/SD gravel roads.

My Fairlane, shortly after I got it.
 Sadly, as most high school students, I was forced to give up my precious Fairlane to pay for the mechanic bill on my daily driver, after two years of ownership.  Lucky for me, my bill was more or less of a trade to my mechanic who was a close family friend.
Fairlane as I last saw it while my name resided on the title, right before I went off to live in Milwaukee and left it at my parents' house in MN.
The sad shot that was e-mailed to me at college of my car being dragged away.
That was in '08.  I was kind of sad because my Fairlane had never gotten to see the glory it deserved.  Last week I was talking with my mechanic (still current owner of the Fairlane), and we were talking about car projects.  This conversation always winds up talking about our Jeep FC-170 that is still in a grove in MN, but then it usually turns back to the fact that all that's happened to my Dad's '52 F-3 and my Fairlane, since he's gotten a hold of them, is increased their rust content.  I was mentioning how I missed having an old car around, and he should make a deal with us and give one of them back.  He made the comment (quoted roughly), "Charlie, you know I wouldn't feel right selling it to someone else."

Armed with this knew knowledge and the image of what this car could look like with some help...

I know.

I started to think about what I could do with this car.  Although, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't feel right doing anything rash to the car.  It's all original, a very desirable year, higher trim level, factory V8 with low gears, and is simply an awesome classic that's fun to drive no matter what I do.  With that in mind, I would upgrade the suspension to have a sweet stance like the first pic, fix the rust, and rebuild the drivetrain.  Oh, I would also definitely have to get some sweet tires and wheels too.

Back in high school, I used to go and get parts from a Mustang restoration shop in the next town.  That place always had tons of awesome parts cars sitting out front.  While I still had the Fairlane, I saw a rundown '58 Fairlane wagon in the lineup out front, and in my classic 17-year-old style, I had this awesomely amazing idea:  Why not get a collection of Fairlane wagons!?!  I asked the guy who's car it was, and he directed me to his brother who, conveniently, worked there too.  He said I could buy it after he pulled some parts off of it.  I don't remember the price, but unlike my 17-year-old self, I realized that that was a bad idea (unlike the time I bought a '72 Mercury Monterey out of some guy's grove almost 2 hours from my house, realized I didn't have the gear or funding to bring it home and it wasn't worth it, and left it there to keep rotting).  Now that I may very well be re-acquiring my '64, I'm starting to think I should find a '58, and rat rod it.  A Courier would be way more awesome though.

Picture this in white and pink instead and pulled out of a leaky shed after 45 years, and that's what I tried to buy.
 As though that weren't enough Fairlane wagons for one man's garage, I've spotted another one!  When we moved here 3 years ago, I stumbled upon a great '67 Country Squire with 66,xxx miles on a factory 390!  It's even the same color as the '64 (minus the wood)!  The guy only wants $2000 for it, and here's the kicker, it runs and drives!  The front brake is seized, but it runs and can drag the tire under its own power.
Not the car in question
 I'm suddenly reinvigorated to buy this car.  I had decidedly put it out of my mind as something I wouldn't wind up keeping long-term, but that all changes when you have a set of them!  I'm a bit torn on how to go with that car, though.  Do I go with a pro touring style build like the one above, or do I do more of a dragster feel like the one below?  Either way, I'm definitely boring out the stock 390 and adding an off-roading cam for more low RPM power.  I also found a totally sweet dual 4bbl intake that would make this car look downright sick!  I would also get the trans, which I assume is a C6, rebuilt and adding a trans brake and some sort of gear splitter/overdrive add-on.  I'm also going to implement the concept I had when I was trying to chase down an Armadillo ('92-6 Buick Roadmaster wagon) and cutting off the rear end of the wood paneling to leave wood grain flames in the wooden frame on the sides.  However it looks beyond that will still look awesome no matter which way I go with it.

This website also makes a good case for the drag car look:
 This also goes along with my late dad's idea that we should open a station wagon restoration shop and call it Wagon Ho!