AJ’s Car of the Day: 1956 Ford Fairlane Sunliner Convertible

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1956 Ford Fairlane Sunliner Convertible

Car: Ford Fairlane Sunliner Convertible

Year: 1956

What makes it special: The American Ford line of cars gained a new body starting in 1955, although it remained similar to the 1952 Ford underneath. Fords were marketed under separate names for each of the three trim levels: Ford Mainline, Ford Customline and Ford Fairlane. The eggcrate grille featured on the 1955 cars was widened into a series of rectangles for 1956, but this subtle exterior change was nothing compared to Ford’s adoption of a 12-volt electrical system across the line.  There were new convenience options, such as a new air-conditioner system, a new heater, and a nine-tube signal-seeking radio. Instead of gauges, instrument cluster warning lights for oil pressure and ammeter were standard.

What made it famous: Ford used the Sunliner name on many of its full-sized convertibles through the 1950’s and 1960’s.The Lifeguard safety package consisting of seat belts, a padded dashboard, a deep-dish steering wheel, and a breakaway rearview mirror was introduced. This option was a slow-seller. The Mileage Maker Inline-6 was bumped up to 223 cid for 120 hp and the Y-block V8 was now offered in two sizes: Standard Fords used a 272 C cid version with 162 hp with 2-barrel carburetor and single exhaust or 182 hp with 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust, but the large 292 cid unit from the Thunderbird was also offered, boasting 193 hp.

Why I would want one: As a Fairlane fan and collector, it only seems natural to own one of the earlier models of the famed line. The Sunliner convertible is a fun, good-looking cruiser.

Fun fact: Fords for 1955 and 1956 also featured the panoramic windshields. With this panoramic windshield the A-pillars have a vertical angle, giving the driver more panoramic visibility.

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