1963 Ford Fairlane 3.6L Challenger V8 from North America
It's a solid, dependable driver and a nice cruiser, but it lacks heavily in performance
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.
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
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.
Needs a 302, it'll bolt right in.
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.