This 1966 Ford Fairlane GT-X is custom ’60s glam at its best

Ever since the Buick Y-Job debuted in 1938, the auto industry has captivated the public with wild and impossible concept cars designed to show the world the manufacturer’s production capabilities. A step closer to reality are the custom show cars that manufacturers produce to promote current models, like Plymouth’s Rapid Transit cars. Ford used the same approach in 1966 to promote its mid-size Fairlane with the groovy Fairlane GT-X. 

This unique show car looks more like an oversized Hot Wheels than a Fairlane, and that’s what makes it so cool. Just look at those hood bulges and Hurst wheels. How could you not want to buy a Fairlane after seeing this? Well, that’s the idea. 

The Fairlane GT-X started life as a standard Fairlane, plucked from the line and delivered to Ford’s prototype division, where it was hand-assembled. At that time, Ford stuffed the powerful 427 V-8 under the hood, mated to a C6’s automatic transmission and nine-inch rear end with 4.11:1 gear ratio—not too shabby for a show car. 

After assembly, the car was shipped out to hot rodding legend Gene Winfield in Modesto, California. There Winfield worked his magic, bulging out the hood, reworking a custom front end, tweaking the taillights, and making countless subtle upgrades. The interior boasts Gene Winfield’s signature on the dash and upholstery worthy of a bass boat: metal-flake teal seats decorated with GT40-esque rivets.

The car was unveiled at the 1966 Autorama in Detroit and later appeared in the March 1966 issue of Car Craft. Throughout the rest of the year and into early 1967, the Fairlane GT-X toured the U.S. as part of Ford’s Custom Car Caravan; like many prototypes in the era, however, the public then lost track of the Fairlane GT-X. 

After a lengthy restoration process, the GT-X reappeared on display last year at the 2019 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals. In November 2019, Barrett-Jackson announced that the Fairlane GT-X would cross the block at its 2020 Scottsdale auction—which is this week. 

While a standard 427-equipped Fairlane can set you back nearly $140,000, the GT-X is no ordinary Fairlane. What it will sell for i-s anyone’s guess; concept cars built by Gene Winfield aren’t growing on trees. Whatever the price when the hammer falls—and we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s over 100 grand—the new owner will be bringing home a seriously cool piece of iron.

If you remember the days of cool concept cars, enjoy early customs, or just think this is how the Fairlane should’ve been built, be sure to stop by Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale to see the Fairlane GT-X before it finds a new home in a collection.

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