In the mid-1950s, Ford sedans were marketed under three names: Ford Mainline, Ford Customline and Ford Fairlane.
1956 was the year Ford adopted a 12-volt electrical system across its product line. It was also the year that Ford added a myriad of features like seat belts, a new AC system, new heater and a nine-tube signal-seeking radio.
Engine choices included a 272 CID V8 that made 173 horsepower, an optional 292 CID with 200 hp and, like our East Coaster Today, the ‘Thunderbird’ V8 a 312 CID that pushed out 215 to 225 horsepower.
Ford actually named their eight-cylinder engines of the day, Y-block, to draw attention to the shape of the engine with its deep skirting which made for a very rigid block with added strength in the bottom end. The Y-block engine replaced the long-in-the-tooth Flathead V8.
The 1956 Ford gave its competitors at Chevrolet and Plymouth a run for their money but didn’t quite outsell the Chevy Bel Air. Ford would have to wait until the following year when it would finally outsell Chevrolet for the first time since 1935.
Advertising for the Fairlane featured the tag line “America’s fine car.. at half the fine car price”. In 1956, a Fairlane would have set you back about $3,000 ($30,000 today). An average home in the U.S. that year had a $22,000 price tag, gas was 23 cents a gallon and a postage stamp cost 3¢. You could get a six-pack of beer for $1.20!
This beauty, spotted at the weekly Thursday evening car meet in Woodside, NS, is 65 but sure doesn’t look ready to retire. Hope to see it out cruising next year!