1963 Ford Fairlane Reviews

1963 Ford Fairlane 3.6L Challenger V8 from North America

Model year1963
Year of manufacture1962
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 3.6L Challenger V8 Automatic
Performance marks 3 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.5 / 10
Distance when acquired79000 miles
Most recent distance83000 miles

Summary:

It's a solid, dependable driver and a nice cruiser, but it lacks heavily in performance

Faults:

Between 79,000 and 80,000 miles, the starter had to be replaced, and the transmission & carb rebuilt (transmission began slipping & losing fluid through the overflow valve, carburetor leaked gas.)

Worn timing chain & gears were replaced recently, as they were causing the car to stall.

Bushings in the front suspension are starting to rot/disintegrate, suspension pops & creaks.

Needs a front end alignment; steering is off-center & wheels sit with negative camber.

General Comments:

I'll preface this by saying this is the first car I've ever owned, but I've driven many other, newer cars.

Although I've had many issues with the car, I take blame for most of them (I push that little 221 engine way harder than I should.) The rated max speed of the car is 98 mph, & I've had it up to 101.

I'm used to cars actually accelerating when you hit the gas pedal, but this car crawls even when you floor it from a dead stop. That's not to say it doesn't move at all, but don't expect to go anywhere fast; a HUGE inconvenience when having to drive in stop-and-go interstate traffic. At first, I chalked it up to the ridiculous 2-speed "Fordomatic" transmission, but apparently that's just how the 221 performs.

That being said, the car is great to cruise downtown or take joyriding down a country road on a summer day. The car will ride nicely at 45-60 mph down the highway. Going any faster than that can get a little unsettling, though; the roar of the engine at high RPMs is overshadowed by the incredible wind noise.

The Fairlane handles decently, though driving it around a parking lot can be a chore, what with the non-power-steering and brakes. In most settings, however, maneuvering the car is quite smooth and easy. It also has a slightly tighter turning radius than you'd expect for a sedan its age, though you'll be fighting with the steering wheel to achieve it.

The seats are comfortable, but don't allow much room behind the steering wheel (I'm thin so this isn't an issue for me, but I imagine it's bothersome for others.) The combined cushion of the well-upholstered seats and the floaty suspension makes it extremely comfortable to drive on most roads.

The aesthetic, both interior and exterior, invoke a feeling of performance. The car's square, sleek profile and short fins, combined with the simple 3-gauge instrument cluster and pleated chrome dash panel, seem vaguely inspired by the jet aircraft of the times. I could just be over-analyzing it, though.

All-in-all, the Fairlane is a solid, conventional car. Its comfortable ride and sleek aesthetic are an unfortunate contrast to its anemic performance. It's never left me stranded on the side of the road, though, and that's saying something, considered the amount of mileage I've accumulated in the short time I've owned it (it's my daily driver.)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th December, 2011

15th Dec 2011, 16:37

Yeah, 4000 miles in two years; that must be one killer commute.

Don't know that I would try driving a car that's nearly a half-century old with bad front suspension and steering at 101 mph, but, whatever.

15th Dec 2011, 16:41

Needs a 302, it'll bolt right in.

18th Dec 2011, 10:38

It may be slow from a dead stop, but you can still brag about how easy it is to work on the engine compared to... well any new car.

1963 Ford Fairlane 221 from North America

Model year1963
Year of manufacture1963
First year of ownership1965
Most recent year of ownership1969
Engine and transmission 221 Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.6 / 10
Distance when acquired6000 miles
Most recent distance150000 miles

Summary:

The "small" Fairlanes were magnificent cars in the '60s and EVEN better to own now -if you can find

Faults:

Radiator split a seam and overheated the engine when coolant steamed from the radiator. Otherwise this little car was almost indestructible. Almost. Hurricane Camille actually "totaled" the car, & that wasn't the car' fault.

General Comments:

This 4-door sedan car was extremely well designed for its time (of development).

The "new in '62" 221 cubic inch displacement, 2V aspirated engine rated by Ford @ 145 horsepower was quite a magnificent performer in torque, acceleration, fuel economy (using "regular" gasoline), and smoothness through its complete RPM range. Current technology engines should perform so well.

A rear stabilizer bar would have appreciably helped cornering stability (rear stabilizers as we know them today were not available "back in the day."). "Brown" stabilizer would do the trick (if you could afford the $125.00 cost in the mid-to-late '60s.

The car would comfortably carry six passengers on long trips. Just don't expect it to accelerate as quickly carrying that extra 1,000 pounds of people & luggage.

The manual "3-speed" column shift transmission was the "first of its kind" produced and installed in domestic (US made) automobiles. It was a "fully synchronized" (could be shifted into low/first gear without having to "stop" the car to shift into low/first gear) transmission allowing the driver to down-shift into first gear without having to bring the car to a standstill.

The "little" 221 cu. in. displacement engine evolved (by cylinder boring) into the 260, then mighty 289, 302, and with more modifications, the Windsor 351. What a track record! Similar to the Chevy 265, 283, 327, etc.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th October, 2007

18th Oct 2007, 05:06

Ah, I love to see this review! It makes me very nostalgic! Thanks for the memories.

My dad had a 1962 Fairlane with this small V8 engine, and what a fabulous car it was. I went with him to the dealer when he paid the steep sum of $2500 for it in the summer of 1962! It didn't have factory air and had three speed on the column, but this was the car that I learned to drive with. Dubbed "Elizabeth" by my mother, this little car stayed in the family for 10 years.

1963 Ford Fairlane 260 V8 from North America

Year of manufacture1963
First year of ownership1974
Most recent year of ownership1976
Engine and transmission 260 V8 Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10

Summary:

Fun little Ford

Faults:

When I got the car, the carburetor and starter had to be replaced, but were very cheap. In fact, parts for this Ford were always cheap.

Other replacements were routine maintenance items like brake shoes. A previous owner had jacked it up and punched holes in the muffler with a screwdriver (I'm not kidding!), so I replaced it and the exhaust pipe.

General Comments:

This car would go through anything; there just seemed to be no stopping it! We called it the '63 Ford SUV. Dependable and basic, the little V8 had lots of power for a car its size and served me well through my trade school days until I got a "respectable" car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd April, 2003

1963 Ford Fairlane I-6 from North America

Year of manufacture1963
Engine and transmission I-6
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10

Faults:

Rear springs rusted away & had to replace.

General Comments:

Never had any problems. Has 150,000 original miles. Body is in excellent condition.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th October, 1998

Average review marks: 7.6 / 10, based on 4 reviews