VIDEO: Colin Sebern’s Fairlane Thunderbolt Tribute

In 1964 Ford wanted to become a major player in the sport of drag racing. They had been using their Galaxie for both the strip and circle track, but it was rather heavy. So the ’64 Fairlane Thunderbolt was born; with the smaller frame of the Fairlaine and the power of the Galaxie’s 427 cubic inch engine. The engine was rated at 425 horsepower for insurance purposes but in reality was closer to 550.

To make the car even lighter Ford used fiberglass for the hood and doors, Plexiglas for the side and rear windows, and eliminated the passenger side windshield wiper. The Thunderbolt was a beast on the track and caught the attention of a young Carl Sebern while he was flipping through a magazine. The Thunderbolt became his dream car from that moment on.

There were only around 100-120 of these vehicles produced in ’64, however, and they were strictly sold as race cars. This posed a problem for Carl who wanted the look of his dream car but with the reliability of a modern machine. So, Carl engineered his badass 1964 Fairlane Thunderbolt tribute car from the ground up.

Mike Musto takes us on a cruise with this sweet ride. On the outside Sebern’s car has a worn Fairlane body. The faded and chipped paint gives the car an unsuspecting stance as well as telling its history. Beneath the body it is essentially setup like a race car, with an SLA front end and torque arm watts link setup in the back. The hood is the reverse tear drop shape of the old Thunderbolt, and Carl even has the dual snorkel intakes on the inner headlights.

Under the hood is a 331 cubic inch ford small block engine which produces over 400 horsepower but still can get in the 20 range for gas mileage. On the inside, the noise from the 3-inch exhaust is reduced, the bench seat is comfy, and the A/C keeps the driver cool on a 100 degree day. Carl Sebern’s ’64 Thunderbolt tribute is a beast with plenty of power, loads of reliability, and a lot of history.


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