1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt - best muscle cars

The Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt was a street-legal drag racer with a mighty 7.0-litre V8

Another extreme rarity inspired by the need to win at the track, the Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt was a stripped-out drag racer that mated the lightweight (relatively) and compact Ford Fairlane body with the meaty 427 cubic inch (7.0-litre) V8 race engine developed for the bigger heavier Ford Galaxie NASCAR racers.

The Galaxie was too heavy to be competitive on drag-strip acceleration runs, but the Thunderbolt solved that problem for Ford by winning the National Hot Rod Association’s Super Stock championship in 1964.

According to Ford’s official documentation, the Thunderbolt was rated at 425bhp in its standard race-prepared spec. Unofficial estimates put that figure closer to 600bhp – and performance was further improved by lightening the car with plastic windows and glass-fibre doors, bonnet and wings.

The best bit? The Thunderbolt was technically street legal, although Ford riveted a disclaimer to the inside of the glovebox stating the model’s fit and finish was not up to normal road car standards. Just 100 examples were built in 1964.

Recommended

Best new cars coming in 2024
Best new cars coming in 2024 - header image
Best cars & vans

Best new cars coming in 2024

There are some big new models from the likes of BMW, Citroen, Dacia, Ford, MINI, Skoda and more on the way in 2024
29 Jan 2024
How Ford and Vauxhall became national treasures
Assortment of Fords and Vauxhalls
Features

How Ford and Vauxhall became national treasures

We take a look at the rivalry of two manufacturers that have battled for the hearts, minds and money of British car buyers
27 Dec 2023
'Once-dominant Ford and Vauxhall could become also-rans in the future'
Opinion - Ford plant
Opinion

'Once-dominant Ford and Vauxhall could become also-rans in the future'

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks Ford and Vauxhall need to get their pricing right in the EV era if they are to remain popular with customers
15 Nov 2023
New Ford Capri spied testing for the first time
Electric Ford Capri - front
News

New Ford Capri spied testing for the first time

Iconic Ford nameplate will return on MEB-based crossover
9 Nov 2023

Most Popular

New Renault 4 EV: price, specs, release date and all the details
Renault 4 - front (watermarked)
News

New Renault 4 EV: price, specs, release date and all the details

Renault’s retro revolution will continue with a new version of the iconic Renault 4 as a small electric car. Here’s everything we know about it
2 Mar 2024
New Kia EV9 Air 2024 review: entry-level model is appealing in almost every way
Kia EV9 Air - front
Road tests

New Kia EV9 Air 2024 review: entry-level model is appealing in almost every way

The all-electric Kia EV9 SUV has a new entry-point, and it just might be the pick of the range
1 Mar 2024
Car Deal of the Day: new razor-sharp Toyota C-HR hybrid SUV for £257 a month
Toyota C-HR 2.0 Hybrid GR Sport front corner static shot
News

Car Deal of the Day: new razor-sharp Toyota C-HR hybrid SUV for £257 a month

The recently-launched second generation of Toyota’s funky hybrid SUV is our Deal of the Day for 29th February
29 Feb 2024