So I went & looked at this '66 Fairlane last night. Not bad, but far from perfect. For $2600 it's awfully tempting though.
Note: Rock in picture is not a wheel chock. E-brake works fine.
Patina'd original paint (with some surface rust & buff-through) still holds a shine, good chrome, all there. The 200ci 6 runs great, starts on half a turn with no pump, no smoke, minimal leaks. Lots of new bits underhood. The Cruise-O-Matic shifts great. Manual steering is as tight as can be expected. Everything (which isn't much) works. Owner says he gets 20mpg+, and with the small carb I don't doubt him. It's been a semi-local CA car all it's life. I love the look.
A little more rust than I had hoped for, from a spoiled CA perspective. A bit of rust through the front floors that needs to be patched, rust in the drip rails where paint has peeled that isn't through metal but needs to be sanded & sealed, and some rust around the rear wheelwells inside the trunk that needs the same. Rust starting around lower corners of rear window, minor at this point, though I'm sure more lurks beneath trim. Center grille trim broken. Right taillamp bezel dented, as is fender behind it. Front shocks gone because the car is lowered. Front seat stuffing gone. Upholstery shot, rubberized OEM floor liner shot.
Still, it cruises great at 60mph, with a great view over the hood. Makes you feel good. I want a daily driver classic of some kind, and this could work while giving me a little of the Galaxie style I really want without ruinously expensive fuel economy. I don't need to haul ass, so the 200 is just fine. The rust isn't catastrophically bad, and with a little work the surface stuff could be done in a weekend without affecting the overall patina. The floors are serviceable, but something I'd want to address before cruising my family around in it.
What say you, Oppos? Hard to go wrong on one hand, potential pit on the other.