Three generations of the Raincock family have spent time behind the wheel of their legacy 1956 Ford Fairlane.
The current owner is Don Raincock and he is the grandson of the original owner who bought the car from the dealership as a demo model 61 years ago.
Don’s grandfather used the car as a daily driver and also on holiday road trips, including a memorable trip to Alaska with another couple on one vacation. Eventually Don’s father became the owner and Don can remember plenty of time as a kid riding in the Ford.
The Fairlane stayed in the family with Don’s sister as the next owner after his dad until a misadventure on the road when she let her then-boyfriend drive the car. He subsequently hit the ditch in the car and sank it deep into the mud. That incident was a pivotal moment for Don because he became the next owner of the car when he was 17 years old.
The car suffered some damage from the ditch incident and Don had to drain the car before he could drive it. It even had mud in the transmission filler tube and that situation forced tranny fluid onto the exhaust manifold and started a fire.
The ditch legacy stayed with the car for many decades because Don found mud from his sister’s mishap in the Fairlane behind the car’s dash when he started the restoration process in 2004. The frame was also slightly bent in the crash and required a small repair to make it straight before Don could drive it as a teenager.
Don labels himself as a “Ford guy” and he was likely influenced by the family legacy Fairlane. His grandfather’s 1956 Ford was equipped with a factory-installed 292 Thunderbird engine and still wears the factory T-Bird badges on its fenders.
The car also has unique dual exhausts that exit in the rear bumpers and they were also a factory feature in the Fairlane.
The Fairlane clearly means a great deal to Don because of its strong connection with his family. He had an aunt with cerebral palsy and the Fairlane is the only car in which she was a passenger during her entire life.
Don’s goal in 2004 was to restore the car back to its original condition as much as possible, including its factory code black paint. The process would take 13 years because Don had to factor time and money into the equation.
He and his girlfriend tackled the interior and were able to locate the proper material to re-upholster the seats in the Fairlane. They even tackled the headliner and were able to install it like pros with no wrinkles in the process.
Don left the stainless steel side trim intact on the Ford because it was in remarkably good shape and, more importantly, it wore the history of the family in its minor scratches.
Don recently retired from his career as a firefighter and intends to relocate to the Shuswap region of British Columbia where winters are shorter and he can enjoy more time on the road behind the wheel of his Ford Fairlane.
We call that an excellent post-retirement game plan.
BY: Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.
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