Flashback: David Toriumi's GT Fairlane went from family hack to big-blocker in just 90 days


Looking back on David Toriumi’s GT Fairlane; transformed from family hack to pro-street big-block monster in just 90 days

This article on David’s Fairlane GT was originally published in the June 1987 issue of Street Machine

DAVID Toriumi didn’t waste any time screwing together this red-hot Fairlane Pro Streeter. No two-year builds here, this was a 90-day special. Yep, that’s all the time it took Californian-based David to create a blown street animal that scares the living daylights out of man and beast alike. For most of us, 90 days is what we get to pay bills, not build neck-wrenching crazy wheels. Why bother?

Why go over the top under time? Simple – Dave wanted a challenge, something that’d keep him interested. And we’re here to tell you 396 cubic inches smacking out 600 neddies is enough to grab anyone’s attention!

1966 Ford Fairlane GTThe much-modded GT Fairlane you see here is a rarity in Australia. The GT model used the same basic platform as the Oz model, but the panel work was similar to an early model Falcon tudor. The Fairlane GT didn’t really amount to much more than a minor sports pack option, The Fairlane GT package was available for two models, the second hi-po luxo unit being the GTA.

Dave found his GT in the local Watsonville paper. It’d been stored in a barn in the Yankee Midwest for a number of years, with 39,000 genuine miles on the clock. The drivetrain was good, the interior clean, but the bodywork was wrinkled at both ends. It was just what David wanted, an original Fairlane with trim intact…

David’s always been a Ford diehard. In fact, for ten years that Blue Oval badge has been his continuous supplier of motorvation – and his staple diet. Like, he eats, sleeps and breathes the goddamn marque. His older brother’s got it pretty bad too, building a super-hot Mustang a few years back. And nearly all Dave’s mates are into hot Henries – eight of ’em travel in convoy to California’s street machine events, boggling onlookers’ minds with brilliant show-car craft.

Ford Fairlane GT engine bayNot surprising, then, that when David wanted a new Pro-Street car, a Ford was on the menu. He had definite building plans, and assembled all the necessary items. With the help of buddies David, Joe and John, Dave and his understanding wife attacked the project like a hive of worker bees. The front end was disassembled and rebuilt to stock. The GT came with a heavy-duty shock and spring set. The stock front drums were retained. The rear end was torn out and a custom 2×3 subframe fitted. Dave rehung the rear suspension with Koni coil-over shocks, Alston ladder bars and a Panhard rod. The axle uses a nine-inch Ford with 4.11 gears and a Track-Lock four-pinion set-up. The rear has drum stoppers taken from a ’69 Mustang.

The fab Fairlane runs Weld wheels – 15×3½in on the front and 15×14 at the rear. Rubber is Michelin 165R 15-inchers at the sharp end and Mickey Thompson 33×19½ Sportsmans under the bum.

1966 Ford Fairlane GT profileDavid wanted to keep the body clean and straight. He trued every panel till perfect, then applied 15 coats of Guardsman Red in acrylic lacquer. To highlight, a set of low-key graphics were applied in violet, tangerine and blue. The interior remains factory fresh with red vinyl bucket seats, console and door trims. A Grant GT steering wheel now does the turning chores and a Hurst Competition Plus shifter is at hand to flick the cogs.

That motorvatin’ percolation is brewed inside a bubbling big-block bent eight. The internals are an interesting mix of factory and aftermarket pieces. Pistons are Arias 7:1 blower slugs. Rods are ’69 Ford 428 items, and they float up and down on the stock ’66 crank fitted with TRW bearings. And with a 4.06in bore and 3.78in stroke, this 396ci Henry’s got a ton of torque. The oiling system was revised, with a TRW high-volume pump and pick-up. Heads are the stock ’66 Fairlane GT units, working with a Crane street blower-grind bumpstick. Spark comes from a stock 427 dizzy dual pointer and MSD 6A ignition.

Ford Fairlane GT interiorInduction of the good stuff is handled by a Blower Drive Services GMC 6/71 blower. This includes a BDS top blower manifold and snorkel drive running a four-inch blower belt. Mounted on top of the blower is a pair of Holley 750 double-pumpers, complete with gold-plated bowls. The exhaust breathing is handled with Hooker headers flowing out into a dual system, ending with four pipes under the rear bumper. After all that work, a bloke wants to know the score. David has dynoed the 396 and found it pushes just over the 600-horsepower mark. And that’s just what he wanted – reliable grunt. Any further and you gotta problem child in traffic. That sweet power is transferred to the rear end with a 12-inch Zoom clutch through a Ford Top Loader four-speed and a custom tailshaft.

Ford Fairlane GT engineThe grunty 396 powerplant is decorated with a heap of chromed, polished and painted delights, then topped off with braided hoses and fittings. And it’s been worth it. The Fairlane was judged best Pro-Street at the major California street machine shows in Oakland, Sacramento and Santa Rosa. Not bad for 90 days’ hard labour! But David’s a restless builder and there’s another streeter in the offing, a ’56 Ford Tudor with an even wilder Pro-Street set-up. A big-block, blown and injected; Dave might even take his time with this one.

Featured: June 1987

Cool info: As well as the usual quantity of chromework, David Toriumi decided to do something different, and gold-plated the bowls of his 750 Holley double-pumpers. How’s that for individuality?

Paint: Guardsman Red
Engine: FE big-block
Blower: BDS GMC 6/71
Diff: Ford nine-inch, 4.11 gears
Wheels: Weld
Interior: Factory red vinyl buckets, Grant GT wheel, Hurst Competition Plus shifter