Classic Car

1963 Ford Fairlane 500 A Classic Car with Timeless Style

The 1963 Ford Fairlane 500 is considered one of the most iconic American cars of the 1960s. Part of Ford’s popular full-size model range, the Fairlane 500 brought style, power, and luxury to the masses. Now over 60 years old, these cars still turn heads today for their timeless good looks and smooth V8 performance. Let’s take a trip back in time and explore why the 1963 Fairlane 500 has remained so popular with collectors, hot rodders, and classic car fans alike.

1963 Ford Fairlane 500 A Classic Car with Timeless Style

History of the 1963 Ford Fairlane 500

The Fairlane nameplate had been part of Ford’s lineup since 1955 as a premium trim level on the standard full-size Ford offering. For 1963, Ford gave the Fairlane its own distinct model line and introduced what many consider the best-styled Fairlane ever produced.

Establishing the Fairlane 500 Line

  • The Fairlane 500 was introduced in 1962 as a step above the regular Fairlane models
  • Offered premium trim, features and styling to compete with brands like Pontiac and Oldsmobile
  • The 1963 model year brought a major restyling and the most iconic Fairlane look

Style and Design Highlights

  • Flatter, wider hood with horizontal bars
  • Distinctive tall tail fins set it apart
  • Crisp lines and styling details front to back
  • Luxurious interior appointments and details

Available Body Styles

The 1963 Fairlane 500 was available in two-door coupe, four-door sedan, four-door station wagon, and two-door convertible body styles. This allowed it to appeal to a wide range of customers seeking anything from family transportation to a sporty cruising convertible.

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1963 Ford Fairlane 500 A Classic Car with Timeless Style

Design and Features 1963 Ford Fairlane 500

The 1963 Fairlane 500 brought meaningful improvements over previous models both inside and out. Its handsome yet elegant looks were backed up by comfort, convenience and performance.

Exterior Design

  • Sweeping lines, widened track for improved stance
  • Signature concave rear tail light panel
  • Longer front end with iconic horizontal grille bars
  • Rounded edges and sculpted sides

1963 Ford Fairlane 500 A Classic Car with Timeless Style

Interior Features

  • Available power accessories and luxury trim
  • Added sound deadening for quieter ride
  • Options like air conditioning and AM/FM radio
  • Better instrumentation including tachometer

Safety and Technology Upgrades

  • Added lap seatbelts for all outboard passengers
  • Option for padded dash and visors
  • Alternator replaced generator for better electrics
  • Transistorized ignition system for easier starts

1963 Ford Fairlane 500 A Classic Car with Timeless Style

Engine and Performance

Under the hood, the 1963 Fairlane 500 offered a range of engines from economical inline-6s up to the top-performing V8s. With a smooth ride, quick steering and confident handling, these cars were nimble and powerful for their day.

Powertrain Options

  • Base inline-6 cylinder produced 120 horsepower
  • Optional V8s in 260, 289, 352 and 427 cubic inches
  • Cruise-O-Matic 3-speed automatic transmission
  • Power steering now standard across models

Handling and Capability

  • Coil spring front suspension for smooth ride
  • Rear leaf spring suspension tuned for comfort
  • Power assisted drum brakes stop smoothly
  • Low center of gravity felt planted at speed

1963 Ford Fairlane 500 A Classic Car with Timeless Style

Performance Credentials

  • 0-60 mph in about 11 seconds, fast for the times
  • Capable 1/4 mile times in high 15 second range
  • Comfortable at modern highway speeds all day
  • Designed to cruise smoothly, not for all out speed

Sales and Popularity

The 1963 Fairlane 500 sold very well, as Ford moved further upmarket with the model and drew in customers seeking something more aspirational than a basic Ford. The car’s combination of style, performance and value resonated with buyers.

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Strong Sales Numbers

  • Over 300,000 units produced for 1963 model year
  • Outsold direct competitors from Dodge and Mercury
  • Helped Ford achieve record production numbers
  • Highest sales for any Fairlane 500 to date
  • 1963 Ford Fairlane 500 A Classic Car with Timeless Style

Appealing to Younger Buyers

  • The youth market was drawn to sporty styling
  • Advertising focused on active lifestyles
  • Affordable performance with V8 engines
  • Customization potential even in base models

Positive Reviews

  • Motor Trend award for outstanding design
  • Praise from car magazines for style and ride
  • Well-equipped interior impressing reviewers
  • Considered a lot of car for reasonable cost

Modifications and Upgrades

The 1963 Fairlane 500’s great looks, smooth riding chassis and availability of powerful V8 engines made it a great candidate for modifications and upgrades. From mild to wild, owners customized these cars to suit their personalities and needs.

Popular Period Modifications

  • Lowering kits for improved stance
  • Dual exhaust systems with glasspack mufflers
  • Aluminum wheels replacing hubcaps
  • Engine swaps to more powerful V8s

1963 Ford Fairlane 500 A Classic Car with Timeless Style

Custom Bodywork

  • Candy apple paint jobs with metal flakes
  • Fiberglass hoods to reduce weight
  • Removed trim and badges for cleaned up look
  • Chopped tops and frenched headlights

Improved Handling and Braking

  • Heavy duty shocks and springs
  • Rear sway bars to reduce body roll
  • Disc brake swaps greatly improve stops
  • Sticky modern radial tires for grip

Notable Models and Variants

Within the 1963 Fairlane 500 range, several models stand out today as the most collectible and valuable versions. Limited production numbers or special options account for the interest surrounding these specific cars.

500 Sport Coupe

  • Unique convex tail light panel
  • Bucket seat interior option
  • Console mounted shifter
  • Full instrumentation

1963 Ford Fairlane 500 A Classic Car with Timeless Style

500 XL

  • Top of line trim and features
  • XL badging and trim accents
  • Vinyl bucket seat interior
  • Engine dress up kit available

500 Skyliner Retractable

  • Hide-away hardtop roof
  • Pushbutton operation
  • Unique frameless door glass
  • Only 1,270 built for 1963
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Collectibility and Value

For many collectors, the 1963 model year represents the pinnacle of Fairlane styling and desirability. Low production numbers on some models along with these cars’ iconic styling keep values high.

Factors Affecting Value

  • Overall condition and originality
  • Rare factory options and trim
  • Specific model demand and production totals
  • Documentation with ownership history

Current Valuations

  • Typical coupes and sedans from $20k up to $50k
  • Convertible and wagons reach over $75k
  • The Skyliner retractable hard to value over $100k
  • Low mileage award-winning examples hit six figures

Future Collectibility

  • Values expected to continue to climb
  • Younger buyers entering the hobby
  • Iconic styling keeps interest strong
  • Prime example of a peak model year

1963 Ford Fairlane 500 A Classic Car with Timeless Style

Maintenance and Repairs

While the 1963 Fairlane 500 is not overly complex mechanically, attending to maintenance and properly repairing any issues is key to keeping the car in good running order. Working on these cars today also requires some unique considerations.

Common Problem Areas

  • Engine bay accessibility challenges
  • Obsolete parts requiring fabrication
  • Electrical gremlins from aging wiring
  • Rust prone areas around rear window

Expert Support Required

  • Specialty mechanics understand intricacies
  • Machine shops can recreate unavailable parts
  • Welding, metal shaping skills for rust repair
  • Patience required finding parts at swap meets

Special Considerations

  • Modern engine oils and lubricants
  • Upgraded ignitions improve starts
  • Alternator conversions help charging
  • Care around brake and fuel lines

1963 Ford Fairlane 500 A Classic Car with Timeless Style


The 1963 Ford Fairlane 500 has rightfully earned its place among the most recognizable American cars of the 1960s. Its iconic styling represents the jet age at the peak of the tail fin era. Performance across a range of available big block V8s gave it the muscle to back up those handsome looks. Significant numbers were produced, but prime collectible examples are increasingly valued and sought after today. For both cultural importance and enduring driver appeal, the 1963 Fairlane 500 secures its legacy.

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