Back in the spring of 2010, Dad and I were looking for a father/son project car. He looked at a couple 2nd gen Camaros, a late 80s Regal, Cutlasses. Basically, stuff that he grew up with and he could afford. All of them were junk. Full of rust for way too much money.
Then, on the way home one day, he spotted a 1963 Ford Fairlane. It was primer black, had tinted windows, and red wheels. He was *slightly* interested, and drove me by as we went to get Mother’s Day cards. This was a big mistake on his part, as we later went and fully checked it out, and I fell head-over-heels in love with it.
The owner, who incidentally was the uncle of a kid I’d meet a few months later and become best friends with, wanted $3500. It needed floor pans and various body work. It had a weak little 260 c.i. V8 and a Fordomatic 2 speed shifted by a B&M Z-Gate. Exhaust was Cherrybombs.
After confirming that repop parts were out there, I. Would. Not. Shut. Up.
“Make him an offer, Dad, come on, make him an offer!”
Finally, I proved too annoying and Dad broke down and went up there with a plan, a plan that backfired spectacularly.
He offered $2500, thinking Cliff (the owner) would laugh in his face and tell him to get the hell off of his property. Wrong. He accepted, saying someone else had offered him the same, and whoever showed up with the cash first got the car. We did.
Mom was less than pleased, seeing it as an old man car. A rusty, piece of junk old man car. Dad more or less agreed.
I didn’t give a damn. To me, it looked absolutely evil. Was it fast? No. Pristine? Well, you see the picture, don’t you? It rattled like a deathtrap and rode like garbage. The first (and more-or-less only) things we did were remove most of the tint (leaving the rear window out of laziness), and replaced the shocks. We also added some gauges under the dash.
By July 2010, it’d been shoved into the garage, as it leaked a huge amount of oil. It sat there, other than being pushed out, for years.
I actually used it in a school project in 7th grade. We had to do a “who-dun-it” crime story, either on paper or video, so with a couple kids I knew, we had two of us push the car and the other basically jumped on it like it hit him. Yeah, it was dumb.
By spring 2013, Dad had made me an ultimatum: You fail the 8th grade, and I’m selling the car. I don’t do well under pressure, and despite the depression, I just couldn’t motivate myself. I failed.
To sell it, he replaced the starter solenoid and battery (it quit running at some point) and did a couple minor things. In July 2013 (the worst month of my life, for another reason), the car was sold. Dad was at least kind enough to let me get behind the wheel and drive it in an empty parking lot.
It was slow. Really slow. Bad valves meant it had no go. This was an engine that when new produced 164hp. Gross horsepower. It couldn’t have made more than 60 by then. I still loved it.
The man who bought it (who shared the same first name as me, Joe) said on the way home, it refused to go over 40 miles per hour. On the freeway. Yeesh.
Within two weeks, he did more work than we’d done in 3 years. Since then, the engine’s been rebuilt, the floors patched, the seats replaced, the steering wheel swapped, the rear bumper replaced with fiberglass, and the hubcaps ditched. And probably more.
Browsing craigslist one morning in school last year (Yes, I know. Should’ve been doing work), I see an ad.
“1963 Ford Fairlane 500-7500"
I recognized it immediately. It was for sale again. My heart shattered. Somewhat fortunately, nobody bought the car, and he still has it, and as far as I know, plans to keep it. Which is good, because one of these days I’m going to want to buy it back.
Oh, when Dad was readying to sell it, I googled the VIN and found out a bit of history. It was previously in South Carolina, then to Kentucky, then Michigan.
I really like writing these.