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Car enthusiasts and racers are always dreaming up interesting ideas for the next build. Engine swaps, wilds paint and customized interiors are all a part of those dreams. With that, some builds start from scratch, some are taken over from previous owners and as we’ve seen, some are magical barn finds.
This interesting 1966 Fairlane, currently owned and driven by Denny Neighbor Jr., is none of the above. The funky Ford is family heirloom, passed down from his uncle, but only recently has it seen the light of day.
In his first-ever drag racing outing, Denny Neighbor Jr. piloted his late uncle’s 1966 Fairlane to an 11.20 and he scored a few rounds wins in NMCA competition.
“This was originally my uncle Ricky’s car,” Denny told us. “He purchased in 1966 and in ’67 he had it painted to this design, and he raced it for a while and passed away in 1976. In ’85 or so it got put under a cover and that’s where it’s been sitting. It was originally painted in lacquer and repainted in ’85 and it’s been like this ever since.”
Ricky had originally raced the Ford at Dragway 42 in Ohio, but the Ford now lives in Florida with Denny, who is a circle track champion and had never drag raced before his debut in Bradenton, Florida at the NMCA event this past March.
“My uncle Kurt is coaching me to get this thing out of the barn and get it on track. He’s been drag racing and building Fords for a long time. He currently races a 427 Thunderbolt with a 4-speed along with bracket cars and a 1965 Comet with a rare “Cammer” 427 in NMCA competition,” said Denny.
The Fairlane has a mostly stock 390, but output has been bumped up with a few upgrades. It has 8.0:1 compression, Cobra Jet heads and a BDS 6-71 supercharger pumping just 4 psi of boost pressure into the FE. The blower sits on a homemade manifold. Fuel is fed with a pair of Holley 750 cfm carburetors.
The ’66 is powered by an 8.0:1-compression 390 FE that’s topped with a BDS 6-71 supercharger and a pair of Holley 750 carburetors. It’s old school to say the least, but oh-so-cool.
“It was a totally new experience going down the track for the first time,” said Denny. “I’m used to racing ovals my whole life, I’ve been a track champion at Sunshine Speedway with Super Late Models in Clearwater, but this is my first drag race ever. Instead of a corner there’s a wall in the way,” he said jokingly.
Underneath the Fairlane has a 1969 Mustang front end with disc brakes, and the rear suspension has a few tricks from the 1960s. Aside from the blower and carbs peeking through the hood, the real attention-getter is the retro paint and “Psycho-Cobra” lettering on the rear quarters. The colorful scheme blends blue, green, yellow, and red and also includes splatter spots, stencils and fun lettering.
“Psycho-Cobra” is the name given to this Fairlane by Denny’s late uncle Ricky, the former owner of the car. The Ford was parked in 1985 and only resurrected this past March.
The interior is still mostly stock with a back seat, a roll bar and the typical drag racing add-ons, including a tachometer, harness and a Hurst shifter for the C6 3-speed automatic.
Denny had a blast in Bradenton, clocking elapsed times in the low 11s, with a best of 11.20 at 120 mph, and he even went a few rounds in the Open Comp class on Sunday. “It’s interesting…there’s no checkered flag, just a win light,” said Denny, “and I was actually calm going down the track because I’ve had it for 20 years and I’ve worked on it and driven it,” he told us. Future plans call for some refinement of the 390 combination, many more trips down the drag strip and hopefully many more win lights in his lane.