The Ford Fairlane was introduced in 1955 to replace the Crestline model as Ford’s top of the line, full-sized automobile. The large, two-toned car was designed with curvy lines, jutting round headlamps, a distinctive stainless-steel side stripe, and either a straight-6 or V8 engine. The most interesting of the original six models was the swanky Crown Victoria Skyliner, which included a unique transparent roof made from tinted plastic.
In 1957, Ford updated the Fairlane with a lower, wider shape and debuted the convertible Skyliner body, with a retractable top that automatically folded into the vehicle’s trunk. In 1958, the car got flashier quad headlights and a T-Bird-style grill. The following year, Ford released the new Galaxie, built to take the Fairlane’s position as the company’s priciest full-size luxury sedan. The 1960 Fairlane redesign shrunk the car down to a mid-size model, and it was no longer pushed as Ford’s top luxury series.
In order to capitalize on the rising popularity of muscle cars, Ford released the Fairlane Thunderbolt in 1964. The Thunderbolt incorporated a 427 CID V8 racing engine and had a much lighter body, so light that it actually fell below the National Hot Rod Association’s minimum weight requirement without a full tank of gas. In 1970, the Fairlane series was merged with the Torino line, and the Fairlane name was officially dropped in 1971.