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It looks like I am buying a 1957 Fairlane in excellent condition. It's numbers matching and short of somebody bolting a set of aftermarket gauges to the bottom of the dash it is unmolested.
Because of the condition, I really don't want to do any major modifications. It currently has a newer very big aftermarket Holley carburetor, and somebody put chrome valve covers on it. I was thinking about doing too small four barrels and a set of headers. I might even go so far as to pay someone to do a cam. I'm not looking so much for performance as I am looking at building a nostalgic Street racer. I've had 500 plus horse cars a few times, I'm not really looking to do anything like that again. I'd like to give it a bit more pep, but mostly I'm doing it because I think it would be cool. Wondering what other people would think about it.
 

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that engine was used in t-birds. look for stuff that way
I have a 57 ford fairlane 500 and some of the 1950s T-bird restorers were talking to me about the differences between the two. It seems that a lot of the outboard stuff (power steering pumps, etc.) are on the opposite sides for these different models. Also some of the aftermarket parts will fit one and not the other. So make sure that if you order some T-Bird parts that they will work on the Fairlane.
 

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If I remember, and I am by no stretch of the imagination a 1950s car guru, the t-bird was a lot smaller. I wonder if that affected fitment?
I have never heard the reasons for the different layouts. Looking at the engine bay for a T-Bird, it wasn't much different in size from the Fairlane 500.

From experience, I had an overheating problem and was looking at some aftermarket parts for the cooling system and a particular part was made for the T-Birds but would not work for a Fairlane 500. (This problem was eventually fixed but adjusting the timing and I didn't need any other changes.)
 

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1957 Thunderbird engine compartment
AND
1957 Fairlane engine compartment

Both shots swiped from the world wide web
And I have never owned either model
Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Hood Wheel
Car Motor vehicle Hood Vehicle Automotive design



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