CAL-RODS FEATURED CAR FOR JANUARY 2015
By RAY MAHONEY
OWNERS: MIKE & LINDA BREATORE
MAKE: 1968 FORD FAIRLANE 500 CONVERTIBLE.
COLOR: DUNKELBLAU (DARK BLUE) MERCEDES BENZ
ENGINE: 302 CI. 4 BBL CARB
ALUMINUM INTAKE WITH EXHAUST HEADERS.
TRANSMISSION: C-4 REAR-END: 8” @ 279:1 SUSPENSION: LOWERED 2”
1968 was a tumultuous year; just a few months removed from the ‘Summer of Love’ with 2 assassinations (Kennedy and MLK), the Tet offensive, war protests & a Presidential election. But Detroit was shining bright & it was the first year of Ford’s production of the newly redesigned 6th generation Fairlane. Coming in with the entry level Fairlane, the mid- level Fairlane 500 & upper level Torino.
At first glance someone wouldn’t know that this ’68 Fairlane is a rare find. These cars were made in Lorain, Ohio & Milpitas, CA but out of all the Fairlane production in 1968 (199,704 units; 371,787 total including Torino), only 339 were convertibles with bucket seats. Today bucket seats are common but in the 60’s it was a big deal. In the big scheme of things that’s not very many & one could argue not as nice as Mike & Linda Breatore’s.
Mike got his first taste of cars & working on them when his father, a WWII tail gunner on a B-17 in Europe, would let Mike, at the age of 4, work on carburetors at his work where he was a mechanic. Hooked on cars at 4 years old it’s easy to see he learned a lot.
Found on the internet by accident & turned into a work of love & devotion over a 3 year period that had Mike splitting time with his work at Los Angeles Water and Power. He finished the project after retiring; having more time to bring the Fairlane back to its present condition. Installing front disc brakes & adding mellow Flowmaster mufflers. With all new interior including upholstery, carpets, door panels, steering wheel & new convertible top. Removing rust damage on quarter panels, fenders & welding sheet metal; Mike did a near frame-off by himself. His motto is, ‘Why pay someone else to screw up my car when I can do it myself for free.’ Well it’s not a screw up but a truly great job; one he should be proud of.
As a convertible it lends itself to parades Mike has done on several occasions in Glendora & San Dimas. He’s been to Wrightwood & Oak Hills for car shows as well as the Twilight Cruise & local Club events.