The 1963 Fairlane Drag Race Project
The gasser’ s were a big thing in So Cal got to see few up close on my first trip to Drags Irwindale had booked a match race of Stone, Woods & Cook Vs. Big John Mazmanan two 41 Willy's coupes. So that’s what pops in to my mind when I hear the word gassers there were also many cars roaming the streets built to have that kind of look. I built several of these and also helped on friend’s builds. Also a serious effort at building me a 41 A/Gas car, the impression of those first two gassers! I also liked the top SS and FX cars. My idea is to build the 63 like one these types of cars.
I remember also hearing about a 63 Fairlane that Bill Lawton drove for Tasca Ford. In looking for more info found that they had first built a 62 version (Challenger ) and later on the 63 (Zimmy I). I did not get to see either of these two Fairlanes run, have seen severial of Tascas later efforts run at the Winternatals. I think Bob Tasca might of had some pull with Ford although the factorys were trying to look like they were out of racing certain teams got the back door help with the latest parts first. It is rumored that Ford was very impressed by the performance of Zimmy I, and put in an order to build 100 new Fairlanes for the 64 years SS wars and the Thunder Bolts swept the top SS class in 64. I never got the chance crawl under one of these real Thunder Bolts so still don’t know how they did the front suspention most arcticals and pictures never show or give much details on the front. The info that I found on the 63 car is also short on info and found only one picture of it yet I do like the looks of it. From fitting a 427 & 428 FE in two 65 Mustang fastbacks I know the towers need to be severialy cut or taken out. I have seen many others that were done with tube frame stub or the stock frame with either a tube axel and a pair of semi elictic srings or an early Econoline axel moded to fit. This 63 was done with the Econoline way when a 427 and four speed were installed. It was race at Bakersfield and the other old strips in the central Ca area. Sometime in the late 70’s a 351C and T10 were swaped in it was changed back to a combo street and bracket racer. This is how I bought it in 85 around 88 engine was pulled for another car and has sat since due to work and not much free time.
62 FX Car
Tasca had a couple of guys working in his service department who raced, John Healey and Dean Gregson, who partnered on a Galaxie that ran in Super Stock. When Ford was getting hammered by 421-cu.in. Pontiac Tempests and big-block Chevy Ils in A/FX during the 1962 season, a subcontractor named Detroit Steel and Tubing fabricated a new front end for the little Fairlane that could accommodate the bruising 406-cu. in. Ford performance engine. It was called the Challenger, and one of the earliest ones went to Tasca Ford for development work. Fitted with an automatic transmission, it quickly dipped into the 12s, with Healey in the seat.
63 FX Car
One of Tasca’s first innovations was campaigning a ’62 Fairlane with a 406-cid engine for A/FX competition. The car, called the Challenger, was built by Detroit Steel and Tubing firm and required many modifications to shoehorn the large engine into the midsize engine compartment. A second version, Zimmy I, was built in 1963 with a 427-cid high-riser engine, and Bill Lawton drove it to a new A/FX national record of 12.21 later that season.
For years Tasca’s Providence, R.I. dealership Tasca Ford sponsored Super Stock, A/FX, and Funny Car driver Bill Lawton, whose John Healey-tuned Mustang won the Factory Experimental title at 1965 Winter nationals. In 1962 and 1963, Tasca, Lawton, and Healy campaigned one of a kind 427-cid Ford Thunderbolts, which were the for runners of the famous Ford Thunderbolt Super Stock entries in 1964.
Tasca found himself being badgered by a local racer named Bill Lawton, who was a legitimate tough guy in a 409 Chevy.
"The Chevys had been kicking the pants off us at all the race tracks, and especially with the kids on the streets," he said. "So Bill Lawton walks in here one night at 11 o'clock and he's talking about the Chevys, and I told him, 'You'll never win another race in a Chevy again.' So we took that '62 Galaxie to the Charlestown Naval Air Station, and my mechanic drove it to a 13.33. Lawton had never run quicker than 13.60, and when he got in it, he ran 12.90. He never drove a Chevy again for the rest of his life."
Tasca went on to handle the development work on a 1963 Fairlane powered by a dual-quad, high-riser 427 Ford, dubbed Zimmy I, which would be the predecessor of the 1964 Thunderbolt. Lawton would campaign one of those for Tasca, called Zimmy II, and would move on to a succession of big-inch Mustangs running in both Super Stock and the FX classes, the latter with the SOHC 427 that Ford drag raced after NASCAR banned it. His sons worked closely with Ford in the development of the 428-cu.in Super Cobra Jet. Lawton, who died in 1999, won more than 90 percent of the races he entered, by Tasca's estimation. As the wild stockers changed inexorably into Funny Cars, Tasca left the sport as a team owner, since they didn't represent anything he sold. “
Okay so what do you think mine looks a lot like this and in the old days when you brought a car like that to the locale strip they put you in the Gas classes just for the non stock front suspension. By the time I got out of the army except for national meets the local stips here had converted over to bracket racing programs, I did like this type racing also. It is nearly a stock body except for the Econoline swap under it and a teardrop hood scoop has about a 67 Mustang 9 inch under the back and a pair of old drag masters that I had form a previous Mustang added some home made spring clamps. Typical old backyard engineering it did hook up good and think would not have much trouble getting a set of 8 inch slicks or maybe the drag radials (have not tried them before). Is it a true Gasser no! It had little engine set back from the 10% they allowed and it has nearly the full interior including stock windows so is more of those old street versions.
For parts have two 300 carb engines one new med duty rebuilt other a running core with couple loose guides, a 240 bare head, new set of truck style headers, point and DSII setup. Clifford 3x2 intake no carbs think this probably won’t fit under the hood I don’t know what a weber measure's in height. Have a good lead on set of the Clifford drag headers don’t know what body style they are made for. From the old 351C is a four speed top loader with mr. gasket straight line shifter lakewood bell, billet mcleod flywheel, and fresh zoom clutch. Also have a few Holleys and autolite carbs, art car rev. manual valve c6 fe case and 5000 converter, from the old A/gas car, rebuilt c4, a fmx, and couple of T10’s. d.t. locker unit 28 spines short on 9 inch gears 3.00’s one 3.50, lots of housings and stock axles, cases. I would like to put it in the 13.20's to 12.80 range have not weighted it guess should be about 2900 to 3100 pound ready to go. Any suggestions on this 300 engine race build? Can't remember how to do the pictures so will have to add those a bit later.
Last edited by bubba22349
on Sun May 23, 2010 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A bad day Drag Racing is still better than a good day at work!
I am still hunting for a project car to build but with my current low budget it's not looking so good. My Ex- Fleet of Sixes these are all long gone!
1954 Customline 223 3 speed with O/D, 1963 Fairlane project drag car with BB6, 1977 Maverick 250 with C4, 1994 F-150 a 300 with 5 speed.