The automobile featured in this article is a great looking 1957 Ford Fairlane Convertible.
The Ford Fairlane was produced between 1955 and 1970. The automobile was named after Henry Ford's 56 room, 31,000 square foot Fair Lane estate in Dearborn, Michigan, a Detroit suburb.
According to HenryFordEstate.org..... The estate along the Rouge River included a hydro-electric powerhouse and dam, a greenhouse, a working farm built to scale for their grandchildren, an indoor pool, skating house, staff cottages, bowling alley, and a pony barn, as well as a private garage and laboratory for Henry. The vast gardens and landscape were designed by famed architect Jens Jensen".
The 1957 Ford Fairlane / New Style and Improved Power
The 1957 model year was a good one. All of the major automakers were adding new designs and the era of car fins was in full stride. Just prior to 1957 Chevrolet was known as the car with styling and performance. The 1957 model year upset this to a degree. Ford introduced what some might say was the most beautiful automobile of the decade. The Ford Fairlane was completely restyled for 1957. The Fairlane had a bigger, weightier and sportier new body, with a lower-profile "cowbelly" frame. The Ford Fairlane didn't have as much chrome as the Pontiac or Chevrolet but the car looked futuristic in many ways.
Along with great styling, the Ford Fairlane received increased power with it's Y-block engine. The successor to the Flathead engine, the Ford Y-block V-8 engine delivered far better performance. The 57 Y-block engine was found under Ford's first hood that opened from the back end of it.
Trim lines for 1957 included the base "Custom", "Custom 300", "Fairlane", and the top of the line "Fairlane 500". The two "Custom" trims offered were built on a 116.0 inch wheelbase.
Handling was improved for the 57 Ford Fairlane with a lower stance and revised suspension.
The 1957 interior was entirely new. A new instrument panel showcased a large sweeping speedometer with a fuel and temperature gauge located at each end. Seat covers, as well as door panels, were also redesigned.
The 1957 Ford Fairlane ended up being a big success with 637,161 vehicles sold.
1957 Ford Fairlane Specifications
Ford offered a variety of engines for 1957. These included a 223 cubic-inch “Mileage Maker” six-cylinder, to 272, 292, and 312 cubic-inch Y-block V-8s. Improvements in the Y-block for 1957 included larger valves, a higher lift cam, and a large-bore intake manifold. All 1957 engines were essentially the same as in 56 except tuned for more power.
Transmission choices were a three speed manual or a two speed automatic.
Brakes were four wheel drum.
Front suspension was unequal length upper and lower control arms with coil springs. Rear suspension was longitudinal leaf springs.
Dimensions for the 57 Fairlane included a 118.0 inch wheelbase. Overall length was 207.7 inches...width 79.0 inches...height 56.2 inches...and an average weight depending on V-6 or V-8 of 3,400 lbs.
New car price in 1957 was $2,500-$2,600.
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References for this article included...Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner, 1957-1959 (Classic Motorbooks Photofacts) by author Jerry H. Magayne.....Ford Fairlane Performance Portfolio 1955-1970.....Ford Motor Company Archives.
The 1957 Ford Fairlane Collector Car
In general, the 1950's produced some terrific collector cars. The 1957 model year was arguably one of the better ones. Ford made great strides in the design and performance departments including building their first hardtop convertible and the Ranchero which was essentially a good looking pickup with passenger car styling. The 57 Chevy Bel Air became an iconic car of the 50's and designs in general took another step forward in modernization. Car fin styling was at the forefront in 1957 but these would eventually fade away in the very early 60's.
As of this writing, current values for the 1957 Ford Fairlane Sedan range from about $14,000 to $20,000 for very good to excellent condition vehicles. Highest values for the Fairlane models are the hardtops and convertibles in the $25,000 to $30,000 range.
Fairlane 500 Sedans are generally in the same range as the Fairlane Sedans. The highest values Fairlane 500 is the Skyliner Hardtop Convertible in the $50,000 area and the Sunliner Convertible in the mid $40,000 area. These are general estimates based on sales and obviously will vary due to overall condition and mileage plus age of restoration.
(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)