Troy & Cindy Pumphrey's 1957 Ford Fairlane 500
(from Volume 17, Issue 186)

Troy and Cindy Pumphrey’s 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 is certainly an impressive car, and the story behind it is just as cool since Troy’s father originally owned the car. After his death the car had sat in Troy’s grandmother’s driveway for about ten years. At the time Troy took possession he also owned a 1940 Ford Coupe. Now the owner of two classic cars, Troy was faced with the decision to sell one of the cars in order to rebuild the other one. Since the ‘57 was previously his father’s car, and because there was so much family history surrounding the ‘57, he decided to sell the ‘40 Ford Coupe and rebuild the ‘57 Fairlane.

Troy drove the Fairlane in its original state for a while, until he could figure out exactly what to do with it. Troy had absolutely no ideas on where to start or what he wanted the final car to look like. He’d searched magazine after magazine for ideas, but no one seemed to be building ‘57 Fords. Finally he consulted with a very good friend and custom car builder, Bob Von Rinteln. Bob suggested that Troy look into the 2000 Ford Cammer motor produced by Ford Racing for the SVT Mustangs. Ford had a number of these motors left over and were looking to sell them off, so Troy contacted Ford and made a deal. That put 435 horsepower at the heart of the project, including an aluminum block, dual overhead cams, 32 valves, and fuel injection. The motor would later receive Aeromotive fuel rails and pressure regulator, BBK cold air intake, Canton remote oil filer, and a custom 2-1/2 inch exhaust from Running Great Automotive in Tampa, incorporating a Bassani X-pipe and Flowmaster 40 mufflers.

With the motor and trans in hand, he still had no idea what the car could look like. He decided that a professional set of eyes were needed, and thus contacted Jason Rushforth of Rushforth Designs located in Tacoma, Washington. Jason came up with about ten different design option, and after deciding on one it was time for Troy to roll up his sleeves and get to work.

With the assistance of his friend Bob, the body was removed from the chassis. The chassis was stripped and all necessary support bracing, mounting brackets and a Fat Man Mustang II front sub-frame were installed, along with Air Ride Technologies Shockwaves up front. The project would also include 11-inch disc brakes, plus power rack and pinion steering. The chassis was then cleaned, painted and the triangulated 4-link rear suspension mounted to position the 9-inch Ford rear end fitted with 33 spline axles, 3.73 gears, and a Trac Lock posi.

The next step was to figure out how best to handle the braking system and foot controls. After consulting with Bob, it was decided that the best way to minimize potential issues with hydro boost pressure and foot control geometry was to cut the firewall from a late model Cobra and splice it into the Fairlane’s firewall. Once the Cobra firewall was in place, they made the necessary modifications to the transmission tunnel in order to clear the tall Tremac 5-speed manual transmission that would now be used.

It was at this time that Troy and Cindy decided to move to Tampa, Florida. After they got acclimated to the area, Troy had the ‘57 shipped to its new home in Tampa. After many, many hours of what he called “relationship building”, Troy decided on a local paint shop, Next Level in Tampa, to take on the job of massaging and painting the car. While the car was at the paint shop the weirdest thing happened. Eric Reynolds, a Ford crazy mechanic, saw the car and fell in love with the concept. After Troy got the car home from the painter, he contacted Eric for a meeting. Eric seemed to have a passion for his work, and the money seemed to be secondary. They talked about Troy’s expectations for the job, as well as Eric’s expectations. Everything seemed to coincide, so Eric worked on the engine management system and wired the entire car with a Telorvek wiring harness.

The last great chore was to find someone who could do the upholstery work. Troy wanted to update the interior with mere subtle changes, and through his good friend John York, was introduced to Cimo & Cimo in Tampa. To Troy’s excitement, one of the original Cimo brothers, now retired, came into the shop while he was there. At 84 years old he decided to come out of retirement and personally do the stitch work on the Fairlane, with the results fitting perfectly with Troy’s expectations. Other interior items also include a custom dash with one-off Classic Instruments gauges, an Ididit steering column topped with a Budnik steering wheel, Billet Specialties door handles and window cranks, a Vintage Air system with aluminum controls, and a JVC audio system with a 5-channel Hifonics amp and speakers.

The whole project came out great, with the car taking on a decidedly modern look, while retaining that old car coolness. The smooth as glass black and red paint accentuate the cars styling and propensity for a two-tone color scheme, while the Intro rims (18x8 inch front, 20x8.5 inch rear) lend a classy retro-modern look. The car certainly turns heads at any car show the Pumphreys have taken it to, and there is no doubt that if Troy’s dad could see his ‘57 Fairlane 500 now, he’d love it too! CN