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Don Antilla's 1966 Fairlane 500 R-Code 427
Don Antilla spent three years and burned thousands of miles looking for a 1967 427 Fairlane, never thinking he could fine a clean, not abused 1966 car.
As luck would have it, Bob Sharpe mentioned that a friend had an R-code 1966 for sale in Indiana. Don sent his brother Bob (the body man) out to inspect it and the car was unbelievable; it had less than 2,500 miles on the odometer and the body had no rust. The car was trimmed out to look like a 67 R-code so NHRA would allow it to run in a Stock Class- better than running FX.
Three years after bringing it home, and after driving all over the US to document other R-code Fairlanes, Don felt that he had assembled enough information to know how these rare cars were produced as they rolled off the Atlanta assembly line. Don hunted down the original owner, Jim Ryan. Jim campaigned the Fairlane generally in the Eastern Drag strips under the name "Downing & Ryan". The car ran 11.55 which is not too far off of Bob Sharp's 10.69 times with another 1966 Fairlane in Texas. Jim Ryan provided Don some photos of the Fairlane when it was less than two days old! Jim actually went to Atlanta, hooked the Fairlane to a hard tow bar and drove it home to New Jersey. See the photo and look at the stickers on the window glass. You can't do much better in documentation than having images of a brand new R-code Fairlane. Don runs the Fairlane on the street and reports that it has a lot of power over a wide RPM range (who'd have guessed???) and that he has big trouble getting traction with the street tires. It is a stable car even with the tires burning.
The 1966 R-code Fairlanes were delivered with no radio, a heater (2 exceptions known), 3.89 open rears with a nodular case, and a plain black interior. The interior and exterior are exactly the same as the day that Jim picked the Fairlane up at the Atlanta plant.
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