View Full Version : B.J. ~ OlePhart's '59 Fairlane 500!

02-06-2014, 02:25 PM
Here are some pix that BJ sent me of his '59 Fairlane 500! BJ lives not to far up the road from me, so I hope to be able to drop in one day to see it in person! He says she is in pretty good running condition but does need some minor work done on her. They like her because now that they traded their '55 Babybird for her, they can take their pups riding with them in the 500! Enjoy their pretty red & white Fairlane 500!

02-11-2014, 11:26 AM
Not too shabby, I even like that storage container "garage". :cool:

That looks like a 332 or 353cid FE motor painted red like the "Y-block" 292cid would have been in 1959. Threw me for a loop at 1st- I had to do a double take on the engine pic... ;)

-Jon in TX.

02-11-2014, 12:12 PM
Mine came with a 292 Y-block but my 1959 Ford service manual shows an FE as a factory option. It's called out as: THUNDERBIRD 332 AND 352 SPECIAL V-8, AND 352 POLICE SPECIAL V-8. Most of the guys in my Galaxie club have FEs as well. '59 was the first year for Galaxie but the last year for Y's in full size cars. Trucks used them up to '64, I think.

I like the way Y-blocks sound but after overhauling mine I understand why Ford quickly produced the FE, and got away from building Y-blocks in the USA. These engines are Ford's first attempt at building an overhead valve engine and they are small. The largest Y is a 312; hardly any competition for a 332, 352, 390 or 427. Everything you can do to improve a Y, you can do more to an FE and for a lot less money.

I have never heard of any hotrodder who pulled out an FE and stuffed a Y in its place. This swap usually goes the other way. - Dave

02-11-2014, 12:36 PM

I believe Y blocks were used in full size Fords up to 1962. I had a '61 Sunliner that had a factory 292.


02-11-2014, 01:14 PM
Yes, Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Y-block_engine) says the Y-block: "..was replaced by the Ford FE engine (on medium cars) and the Ford Windsor engine (on small cars) in 1962, and lasted until 1964 in Ford trucks.

They may have been 'replaced' but most cars from '59 on came with FE's. I was surprised mine came 'bare bones' with a 292/3-speed stick with no PS or PB. C'mon, this is a Galaxie! Maybe someone just wanted the nicer interior and roof. I don't know... I am grateful that mine didn't come with a Mileage Maker SIX!

02-11-2014, 03:42 PM
My sunliner also had a 3 speed on the column. At least it had PS although it had manual brakes. It wasn't exactly built for speed.


02-13-2014, 04:51 PM
I knew it was an "FE" under BJ's Fairlane 500 hood, but it's painted to look like the original 292cid "red" engine colors of 1959. I'm sure this was probably done to match the red/white exterior. :)

I just couldn't tell if it was the optional 1959 Ford 332cid 2-barrel or the larger optional 352cid 4-barrel FE hiding in there... LOL!! :p

-Jon in TX.

Dakota Boy
02-13-2014, 08:36 PM
nice car :cool:

I like those old Fairlanes…. I've seen VERY few of them around here. They seem to be about as rare as our squarebirds.

02-14-2014, 04:49 PM
...I just couldn't tell if it was the optional 1959 Ford 332cid 2-barrel or the larger optional 352cid 4-barrel FE hiding in there...Yes Jon, all these FEs look identical from the outside. Maybe that's not a bad thing.

GM had matching engine numbers, but Ford did not. Maybe that's not a bad thing especially for the guys overseas. Here we are fifty years later, trying to make the car 'stock' with few resources that are left.

Does it matter whether the engine is a 332, 352 or 390? I guess it depends on your purpose. I do know a quick way to find out which one you have because they came with three different strokes.

332 has a 3.300" stroke
352 has a 3.500" stroke
390 has a 3.784" stroke

Ok, that's nearly 1/4" difference between each one. Let's make this easy:

1. Put the crank at TDC and remove #1 and #4 spark plugs. (When #1 piston is up, #4 is down.)
2. Stick a welding rod straight down #1 spark plug hole and mark it with a fine Sharpie at the valve cover flange.
3. Pull the rod out and stick it straight down #4 spark plug hole, and mark it the same way you did step #2.
4. Measure between your marks.

This doesn't need precision. If the distance between your marks is around 3-1/3", this engine is a 332. If the distance between your marks is around 3-1/2", it's a 352. If the distance is around 3-3/4" it's a 390/427 crank. - Dave