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Is this too much rust to consider to buy? 1966 Ford Fairlaine

It actually looks like it’s in great shape to me just going off the underside photos. You need to find a local mechanic to inspect it though. I’ll also say it’s not a good choice for a new driver or as a daily driver.

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Why not? Cars made in the '60s had about ten times the death rate of modern cars. And teenage drivers are the worst on the road, their lack of experience making for lots of accidents. A bad combination.

Your teen could be a great driver and still get hit by a bad one, t-boned in an intersection, for example. That '66 Fairlane would perform VERY poorly in protecting your child.

In addition to lacking airbags and crush zones, they have TERRIBLE brakes compared to modern cars.

One more thing - Fords of that era were infamous rust buckets. My '65 Mustang rusted out beneath me. Rust means a weaker body, just making things worse, safety-wise.


He picked it out. He saved up the money. I’m on here trying to get the information to make sure he’ll be OK. Thanks for your duck judgement!

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That amount of rust is normal/typical for a car from the 1960’s that was driven in the rain, cars in the desert are cleaner underneath, if that car was from the rust belt you might see the carpet drooping through the floor. The floors of those cars didn’t have durable paint, some suspension and steering parts and rear axles weren’t painted at all.

There is no need to sand blast and paint the the underside of this car, it is not going to be a show car. If it driven only on occasion in good weather rust shouldn’t be a concern.

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Thank you. He’s going to college to be a mechanic and said he can work on cleaning it up. We just didn’t know if it was too much rust. He’s going to talk to his teacher after the hurricane passes. We just wanted to get an idea.

He won’t be able to drive this car the way he drives your other cars. Drum brakes on all four wheels mean that’s braking distances will increase dramatically. That means he has to leave a lot more distance between himself and any car he follows. Handling is also worse than modern cars, even the most inexpensive modern cars. He has to adjust his driving style to account for that as well. Gas mileage will be poor, especially bad if it has a V8 engine. If it has the 390 cu in engine, it is powerful and is not really suited to a new driver. The 390 was in the GT and GTA trim levels. We don’t know why he wants this particular car, but it doesn’t make sense for a young person.


Edit your response to Cavell , this is an open family forum and you cannot expect all responses to be just what you want.

I think I found the vehicle on Ebay . If it is the one they are looking at it is a 4 door automatic with what appears to be a decent exterior paint job. I was expecting at least a 2 door post and something a little more desirable.

My first car was a 1969 Buick Skylark I got in 1979. Power steering with manual drum brakes. Every weekend I was working on that car. Every 12k miles the plugs, points, and distributor/cap needed to be replaced. Brakes lasted 10-12k miles. I was lucky to get 15k out of a set of bias ply tires. It was wrecked in 83 when a van turned left in front of me at an intersection. The manual drum brakes barely slowed it down before the collision. Any newer car with disc brakes would have easily avoided the crash.

The car was 14 years old and needed constant maintenance, fortunately parts were cheap and labor was free. This will not be true today. For your son’s sake, make his first car a couple of decades newer.

It’s not just the drum brakes, but I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that era of cars (1966) had single master cylinders, compared with cars just a little bit newer that utilized dual master cylinders.

The redundancy of the dual set-up gives limited braking during a hydraulic malfunction which is way better than NO BRAKING offered by the single set-up.

Nothing makes a person more home-sick than hitting the pedal, having it go to the floor, and no appreciable slowing occurs.

Mix those old single circuits with old lines, hoses, and wheel cylinders and be prepared for some surprise excitement.

One would pretty much want to replace all lines, hoses, and cylinders, and change it over to a dual master.


I love cars of the 50s and 60s, but compared to today;s cars they are death traps. Encourage him to take up something safer, like motorcycle racing or bull riding.

I have no idea what “duck judgement” is…

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The only value in this car is nostalgia for old people like me. A car you wanted but never had or a car you had and wish you did not sell or wreck. $8,000 is to much for a car that will cost at least that much to make it fairly nice and reliable.

I bought a 1948 Dodge in 1977 with the idea of using it as a daily driver. The car wasn’t as old then as a 1966 Ford Fairlane is now. The Dodge was a one owner, but needed a lot of body work. I managed, through an old car magazine, to obtain a rear fender–back then the fenders were bolt ons. Tires were a problem as the Dodge had 7.10x15 bias ply tires. The old flat head 6 was easy to work on, and some parts were a available. However, I realized it would be a money pit, so when a person offered me $100 more than I paid for the car, I sold it. I learned that old cars can be fun, but they don’t make great transportation.
As I think about real improvements in cars over the decades, my first car was a 1947 Pontiac Streamliner. The 1955 Pontiac thatvm replaced it had better visibility from the driver’s seat and better handling. Going into the 1960s, my 1965: Rambler Classic had seat belts and a dual brake system which made for a safer car. From the Rambler, I jumped to a 1971 Ford Maverick. The power steering made it handle better than the Rambler and the air conditioning made it more comfortable. The rear window defroster also improved visibility. Also, the Maverick was the first car I owned with electric wipers–a big improvement over the vacuum wipers. The Maverick also had shoulder harnesses The 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass had front disk brakes and radial tires which improved the handling and stopping over the Maverick. Now I could go on with improvements in the cars since the 78 Oldsmobile–front wheei drive for better traction in the snow, interval wipers, air bags, etc, but you get the picture. A 1966 Fairlane is probably similar in safety features to the 1965 Rambler. I would bet a 1966 Fairlane doesn’t have 4-way emergency flashers. It may not have windshield washers or even back up lights. I had to have these features installed on my 1965 Rambler . Also, the 1966 Fairlane may not have outside rear view mirrors that can be adjusted from inside the car. In fact, my 1971 Ford Maverick was the first car I owned that came equipped with outside rear view mirrors.
My advice as an old geezer who likes old cars as long as someone else owns them–forget about the 1966 Ford Fairlane. It wasn’t s great car back in 1966.

Your 65 Rambler had dual master cylinders, the 66 Fairlane did not.

I have owned may old vehicles and they were not high maintenance. When I bought a 15-20 year old car of coarse there were needed repairs but not in need of maintenance every weekend. I drove my old cars on weekend trips to California and vacations to the midwest without worry.

I owned a 1962 Chevrolet C10 pickup from 1991 to 2000. It wasn’t a daily driver, I only put 40,000 miles on the truck. I used it for camping, hauling and towing. I replaced the spark plugs once but no other engine or ignition work. I replaced the shock absorbers and welded the broken shock mounts but that is to be expected after exploring hundreds of miles of mining trails in Nevada. I replaced the brake hoses once and the clutch slave cylinder piston seal once. After 9 years I decided to buy a truck with air conditioning.

I still own 7 vehicles dating from 1968 to 1973 but I stopped driving them in 2005 when I took a new job 18 miles away, after a 45 minute drive in 90 degree weather my back would be rather sweaty from the vinyl seats. Also I have become a cheap skate, I won’t drive a car that only gets 14 MPG in the city.

When your son becomes a senior citizen he will loose interest in driving old cars.

The spelling was changed to protect the children of this forum from corruption. I wonder if anyone is familiar with the language of 7 year old children today.

I owned many 1960s vehicles. Most were very reliable when properly maintained. I would not want any of them as a daily driver now.

I suspected that was the case with “duck judgment”. I have never heard the term.

It just came to me…

The kid wants the car because of these series of videos putting a turbo engine in a 66 Australian Fairlane!

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You have not shown any pictures of the outside of the body. Since this a unibody car, I would look at the fenders, the lower parts of the doors, the roof, the area in front of the windshield, inside the trunk and the area behind the rear glass.

It looks like the engine is a big block. I had a Fairline with a 390 ci that was way over powered. It was a bear on slipper roads; the 4 wheel drum brakes didn’t stop that well; and boy,did it drink gas. It sure was fun to drive unless the cops got on your case.