Sunday, February 3, 2013

1960 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan

"With all of its emphasis on elegant lines, the 1960 Fords have not sacrificed passenger comfort to achieve their beauty. In the Finest Fords of a Lifetime six big people — including the man in the middle — ride in greater comfort than ever. The new Fords give you nearly half-a-foot more shoulder room, more knee room, more hip room. Chair-high seats mean extra comfort, extra leg room. The 'doglegs' — windshield supports that interfere with getting in and out of the front seat — have been eliminated in the 1960 Fords for your greater convenience."

We don't know if it's pure coincidence or done on purpose, but we do know that the classic car scene across the Florida Strait would classify this Ford Fairlane from Havana as a perfect "Hoodride" or "Rat Look" car: its chrome trim still shines and it's rolling on nice wheels, while the matte paint nicely imitates corroded metal. Rust 'n' Roll...

The fullsize Ford for 1960 was equally impressive when new. Not only because of its clean styling that made the competition look dated, but because of its vast dimensions, too. This car was a real land yacht, and with an overall width of 81.5 inches (2,07m) perhaps the widest american passenger car of all time. Incidentally, the new Ford legally wouldn't qualify for a passenger car in some states of the U.S., if the legislative hadn't agreed to connive at the fact that the car was just a bit too wide.

Sales, however, were sluggish. With just 461,092 cars, Ford's sales dropped by more than a third, compared to 1959. This sure wasn't due to the clean design of the 1960 Fords. Instead, the "Big Three" were staggered by the swift move of many car buyers towards "compact cars" following the economic recession in 1958. "Independents" like Rambler and Studebaker who had discovered the compact car market earlier as a way to avoid the direct competition with the "Big Three", now could capitalize for about two years on their fortunate timing. But already by 1960, the "Big Three" were ready to respond and presented their own "compacts". New models like Chevrolet Corvair, Dodge Dart, Plymouth Valiant and above all the Ford Falcon invaded the market and swiftly busted the "independent's party". Thus, even the sluggish sales of Ford's full-size cars ultimately didn't do much harm to Ford's own company profit.

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