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John Calvert's 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 - RAW

John Calvert's '64 Fairlane Left Us Speechless.

By , Photography by Calvert Racing,

Tech Notes
John Calvert

What: '64 Ford Fairlane 500

Where: Lancaster, California, in the Antelope Valley

Engine: Though not original to the car, the 427 in John's Fairlane was cast in 1964, as were the heads and intake manifold. The carburetors are also vintage 1964. The engine was machined and assembled by Blair Patrick Racing with top-shelf stuff like Crower rods and CP pistons. The crank is a stock forged piece. The cam is big and so are the valves, and that's about all we know. The compression ratio is a stratospheric 15.0:1, and the twin Holley carburetors feast on 113-octane C25 race gas.

Transmission: A tough transmission is needed to handle big horsepower numbers and the violent forces experienced with wheels-up dragstrip launches. John's got a G-Force GF4A four-speed behind his FE. Though it looks like cast iron, that case is actually made from lightweight magnesium. It has straight-cut gears, which many people whine about being exceptionally loud. John has no complaints. We doubt he hears any gear noise over the engine.

Rearend: Nothing but a 9-inch Ford would be right in this application. John's is stuffed with Mark Williams axles and Richmond 4.86:1 gears on a spool. It's fed by a custom Inland Empire driveshaft.

Fuel: An Aeromotive pump draws fuel from the stainless cell in the trunk feeding a pair of Holley carbs.

Brakes: Those are lightweight Strange Engineering Pro Series 2 disc brakes on all four corners.

Wheels/Tires: Hoosier tires are mounted on Weld wheels. Up front you'll find 28.0x4.5-15 skinnies on 15x4-inch wheels, and the rear slicks measure 30x9.0-15 on 15x10s.

Interior: For as fast and hard-core as the rest of the car is, open the door and you'd swear you're looking at some retro-styled luxury car. Check out the suede dashpad and matching inserts in the front seats. The Sparco steering wheel also got the suede treatment. Classic Touch upholstery in Lancaster did the work, and all that leather means your nose will appreciate this Fairlane's distinct new-car smell. Likewise, the carpet is a lot nicer than the rubber floor mat that would have been in an original Thunderbolt, and the dash is fitted with Racepak gauges that feed information to an on-board data logger. John and his crew can download rpm, oil pressure, water temperature, fuel pressure, and air/fuel ratio information after each run.

Electronics: The previously mentioned gauges are part of a complete chassis wiring kit from Spaghetti Menders Wiring Specialists. This system uses three relay units mounted in the engine compartment, under the dash, and in the trunk, which are all connected by a computer cable interface. Battery power is distributed among each relay output unit, and each unit then distributes power to everything needing 12 volts in its region of the car-lights, ignition, fuel pump, and so on. Each circuit is fused or contains a relay, and each circuit has LED warning lights on the input and output side for easy diagnostics in case of an electrical failure. This is cool stuff-check them out at

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