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Karen Morris' father had this 1959 Fairlane 500 shipped to New Zealand along with two other '59 Fords for restoration. The other two, a Galaxie 500 Sklyliner and a Galaxie 500 Sunliner, underwent restoration, while the Fairlane languished.

When Karen's mother wanted the car gone, as it had become an eyesore, Karyn stepped in and bought the car from her parents to save it and make it her own.

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Karen's Fairlane was originally sold by the Kott and Smolar Ford dealership
in suburban Los Angeles. That dealership is no longer in business,
but Karen's car still is.

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1959 Ford Fairlane 500 - New Zealander Karen Morris shares her slice of American history
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By Society Staff – reprint with permission only

As a young girl, New Zealander Karen Morris had always wanted to own an American car. This stemmed from being brought up going to hot rod shows and watching T.V. shows like The Dukes of Hazzard and Knight Rider.

When she was ten, her father shipped from the U.S. the featured car, a 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 four-door hardtop, along with both a same-year Ford Galaxie Skyliner (retractable) and same-year Galaxie Sunliner (convertible). To make a long story short, he slowly restored the Skyliner and Sunliner, while the Fairlane accumulated almost two decades of dust in the garage. 

After this much time, Karen’s mother had had enough and wanted the four-door gone.  Rather than some stranger striking a deal with her parents, Karen had done her homework and knew that the person with whom the deal would be struck would be her.

Her research told her that the ‘59 Fairlane four-door hardtop was a fairly rare car. Although a significant number Fairlanes were produced (176,800), only 9,308 four door pillarless Town Victorias were produced (at US $2,602 a pop). The car had what she believed to be its original dealer license plate frame from Kott and Smolar Motor Company in the Los Angeles suburb of Wilmington (later Don Kott Ford in Carson, California–closed in 2007).  When her father bought it from the original owner, it showed 86,000 miles on the odometer, and the plastic was still on the seats.  

Karen has owned the car for about three years now.  She says that she received no “family rate” for the car, but paid her parents a fair market price for it, because she wanted it to be truly hers and she wanted to be able to personalize it in any way she saw fit without fear that family members would object. This said, she’s largely kept it stock.

The car has its original Ford 332 FE engine and two-speed Fordomatic transmission.  Karen changed the ignition over to electronic, with Pertronix components, and the engine runs well.  She had the rear rims widened and the car lowered because, as she puts it, “I hate thin tires and stance is everything!”  Apart from that, she washes it occasionally and drives it to swap meets, friends' homes, and even the hairdresser.  She says it's no show car, but that's okay because, “it's my car, it's a cruiser, and I love it.”

Karen says that living in New Zealand, she’s never seen another car like her four-door hardtop ‘59 Fairlane 500.  If anyone has one or knows of one, she’d love to hear from you via Twitter @kmorrisnz


The paint job is original and looks great. Ford model year production topped out at 1,394,684 for its full-sized line up.

Fins were all the rage in 1959 (think '59 Chevy), but the Fairlane's were more subdued.

There's no mistaking those round Ford taillights.

Like the rest of the car, the interior is original, clean, and unrestored.

Karen has left the engine and trunk compartments as they are, clean but not detailed. There's a beauty in this.

Cavernous trunks were a hallmark of U.S. full-size cars in the 1950s.

The Fairlane/Fairlane 500 was the midrange of the Ford line-up in '59. Other series were the entry-level Custom 300, and top-of-the-line Galaxie.

1959 Ford Advertisement