It's been a long road getting to this point. The transformation of our '70 Ford Fairlane 500 from grandma cruiser to boulevard bruiser has been steadily working toward this moment. We improved the brakes with SSBC binders, rehabbed the suspension with a kit from Just Suspensions, beefed-up the rear with a crate 9-inch from Strange, and built a street/strip C4 tranny with the guys from Hughes Performance. Alas, it was time for the icing on the cake-the reason we did all the other modifications in the first place. It was time to drop in our 552hp 408 Windsor stroker.

If you recall when we first tested the Fairlane, it ran a lethargic 17.64 at 77 mph in the quarter-mile. At that point, it seemed silly to even bother to wear a helmet, but the stroker we've been building over the last few months should help motivate the 3,460-pound Fairlane down the track in a much quicker time. Will it be into the 11s? We certainly hope so. In any event, it'll sure be a lot faster and more fun than it was when we bought it off eBay.

Swapping in a 408 is a straightforward deal, since it's just a taller-deck version of a 302. Of course, being taller meant none of the pulley system would transfer, but it fit the same motor and transmission mounts, so that was half the battle. The rest was just fitting it all together and getting the new engine to mesh with the 37-year-old Ford. One thing we found was how fast all the installation tidbits add up. We spent just under $2,800 getting it in and that's not counting the exhaust system aft of the header collectors. Not a small sum, but we tried to keep it realistic. It's mostly function, with a little bit of glitter thrown in to make us proud to pop the hood. With the engine in, we still need to knock out a few safety issues like better seatbelts. Then we can try the track, see how she shakes out, and identify what other mods might be necessary to hit our 11-second goal.

Fairlane Headers
We were excited when our custom headers arrived from Ford Powertrain Applications (FPA) out of Washington state. The company's been around for 20 years and only makes headers for Fords from the '50s through the '70s. It also has applications for more than 30 different small-block Ford cylinder heads, as well as most big-block applications. According to Owner Stan Johnson, "Our headers are one piece, and constructed with heavy-duty materials. We pay special attention to ground clearance, as well as clearances for cable clutches, AOD transmissions, and aftermarket rack-and-pinion applications." Nobody we called, except Stan, had headers to fit our application, and these 1 3/4-inch long-tube headers are truly well made.

The coating was done by Performance Coatings, which has been working with FPA for the last eight years, and does coating for the general public. The company's Chromex ceramic coating is more than just aesthetic, it protects the headers from corrosion, too. More importantly, Chromex thermally insulates the header and keeps heat out of the engine bay. We were going to run these on the dyno, but the dyno shop didn't have an exhaust pipe that mated to the two-bolt ball flange that FPA uses.

WHERE THE MONEY WENT
FPA 1 3/4-inch coated headers $695
Holley HP Fuel Pump $269.95
Motor mounts (PN 6021151) $37.00
Trans mount (PN 6201040) $12.30
FPA drop bracket $24.00
Ford mid-plate $59.90
Match balance flexplate $20.00
ARP flexplate bolts $8.88
Starter $130.00
March pulley/bracket kit $552.95
March crank pulley spacer $60.88
Serpentine belts $39.80
Alternator $47.60
Holley throttle bracket $95.95
Mallory coil $60.95
TCI Thunder Stick shifter $194.88
Hughes trans cooler $71.95
Performance Carbs plate $95.00
Summit aluminum radiator $169.95
Summit catch can $13.95
17-inch flex fan $24.00
Fittings from G&J Aircraft $95.00
K&N Filter $125.95
Mallory HyFire VI-AL box $179.95
New heater hose $18.00
New radiator hoses $37.90
New bypass hose $10.30
Edelbrock breathers $20.00
Misc. hose clamps and bolts $25.00
Misc. fluids $30.00
Money from sold 302 and C4 trans -$450.00
Total: $2,776.99
SOURCE
Best of Show Coachworks
7-60/-480-0227
www.bestofshowcoachworks.com
March Performance
5820 Hix Rd.
Westland
MI  48185
734-729-9070
www.marchperformance.com
Don Lee Auto Performance Carburetors
Ontario
CA
9-09/-673-1080
performancecarburetors.com
Ford Powertrain Applications
2-53/-848-9503
www.fordpowertrain.com
Summit Racing
P.O. Box 909
Akron
OH  44309-0909
800-230-3030
www.summitracing.com