Henry Ford owned an estate called “Fair Lane” near Dearborn, Michigan, in the early ’50’s, and the Ford Fairlane, its namesake, replaced the Crestline marque for the 1955 model year. The Fairlane was the top full-sized vehicle in the Ford fleet for 1955, with six body styles to choose, including the Victoria Coupe and the Crown Victoria Skyliner, which featured a tinted plastic roof, convertible Sunliner, plus a range of sedan models. All would sport the special stainless-steel “Fairlane” strip along each side.
The basic power is a straight-six 223-cubic-inch (3.7L) engine. But the optional offers of the “Y” block 272-cubic-inch (4.5L) Thunderbird V8 or the highest-powered 292-cubic-inch (4.8L) V8 Thunderbolt were also on the table. The engines bolted to a standard transmission with a three-speed, column-mounted shifter.
Beginning in the 1958 model year, the Fairlane looked much the same, although the Crown Victoria Hard-top and two-door Victoria now sported a trimmer roof line. Ford had the “Lifeguard” safety package available in ’58. For that model year, the 292 was available in two power variations and a new 312-cubic-inch (5.1L) V8 engine,which offered up to 225 bhp (168 kW) and brought the Fairlane up to speed a bit quicker.
The second-generation Fairlane was in showrooms for the 1957 model year, and looking trim, it was sleeker than the previous model. The model was longer, wider, and closer to the ground with tail fins not as pronounced as in the G1. The custom was the entry level and was on a shorter wheelbase than the top-of-the-line Fairlane 500.
A new model that year, the Fairlane 500 Skyliner had a retractable hard-top that folded into the trunk with a flip of the switch. The model did bring people into the showrooms, but the vehicle was pricey and not very practical, and the top is also somewhat unreliable, so this is a rare unit today.
The retractable top version has a shorter roof than other Fairlanes, and Ford enlarged the trunk to accommodate it. This vehicle was originally designed as an option for the Lincoln Continental, and it was a last minute decision to put it on the same platform as the Fairlane. The Skyliner model has some sheet metal alterations to give it the same look as the other Fairlane offerings in ’57.
In 1958, the Fairlane sported a front clip with similar lines to the Thunderbird, and quad headlights were now the style. Ford upgraded the optional three-speed automatic transmission and introduced the FE V8 engine line to replace the older power options. The two new big-blocks were a 332-cubic-inch (5.4L) and the 352-cubic-inch (5.4L)