By Luciano J. Pavloski
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
My Dad’s 1955 Fairlane in 1:43 scale
Until the early 1950s Brazil did not make its own cars, buses and trucks. There were already some factories, like VW, Ford and General Motors, but they only assembled imported models in Brazil.
This began to change in 1956, when the newly installed President, Juscelino Kubitscheck , strengthened plans for the manufacture of automobiles and trucks in the country. Earlier that year the first Mercedes-Benz truck was manufactured in the country (a L-312), and the first car, the Romi-Isetta, a version of ISO / BMW Isetta, too.
From 1957 national production grew quickly with the production of the Volkswagen Transporter Bus (Kombi), Ford and General Motors trucks, Willys-Overland Jeeps and FNM trucks (a local brand that produced under license trucks from Isotta Fraschini and cars from Fiat). Since then the range of models and brands produced in Brazil has grown significantly. We have American, European, and Japanese manufacturers based here in addition to the small local manufacturers. But before that happened Brazil imported cars and trucks of various origins, a large part of them American.
My father owned a 1955 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan, which I did not get to know but is present in dozens of old family photos. It is also a car that my father fondly remembers. For those reasons I wanted one as part of my 1:43 model collection. However, there is simply no such model in 1:43 scale. What I found was the 1956 Fairlane made by Ixo, which has almost the same body as the 1955 model, and a Crown Victoria 1955 made by Yat Ming, from which I could take advantage of the grille and other pieces. And so I started my project!
This was my father’s Fairlane. Next to the car, my brother in the late 60’s.
The 1956 from Ixo is the closest to my Father’s car, but the grille, side trim and hood trim differ.
So I used a 1955 Crown Victoria from Yatming (right above) to donate pieces
After a few cuts and some adjustments and the grille was fitted into the Ixo model.
The 1955 model needed new trim on the sides, this involved modifications using a “Dremel”, hobby files and epoxy filler.
I used the Yat Ming instrument panel but it needed some adjustments
The panel after considerable work. Tools used are shown with it on the bench
The original car with extra features added by the Author’s Father.
I decided to model the car at a time when my father had “upgraded” it a little more. I discovered that he used the wheels caps from a Simca Jangada (Brazilian version of Simca Marly). Luckily, this model car exists in the Brazilian car collection (Ixo). So I bought one just to use the wheels!
And there’s my dad’s Fairlane in 1:43! I put his name on the base as a tribute.
Inside the car was a “baby pacifier” (a fashion in the 60s) hanging from the mirror…
… which I reproduced in the model.
The model has the same yellow Brazilian plates, typical of that time
The rear end of the model
And side view of the completed model
Before and after. The Ixo base car and the finished modified one.
It is great to have this special miniature in my collection, but it was also lovely to see the joy on my 87 years old Father’s face when he saw the model.
And what was the end of the real Fairlane?
Well, in the 1970s Brazilian industry had become self-sufficient to the point where the government banned the importation of vehicles. This, added to the greater difficulty of obtaining parts, made imported cars unpopular even though many were superior to those produced in the country. The cars imported up to this point were seen as a “problem”… And so my father traded the beautiful Fairlane 1955 for a small field and acquired a 1974 Ford Corcel, a genuinely Brazilian model. But that’s another story, for the day I reproduce this car too in 1:43…
Editor: Luciano is a 1:43 scale model collector from Brazil and this is his first article for MAR Online. We hope that he writes more articles about model collecting from a Brazilian viewpoint in the future.