My brother Steve owned a black 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Hardtop with gold accent trim down the side in the late 1960s, so when I saw NEO’s 1/43 scale version, I wanted to give it a closer look.
This one is black and white, with the upper portions (hood and trunk) being a creamy white, not as bad-boy looking as my brother’s black beauty. Still, the 1957 was elegant yet sporty with its slight tail fins and jet-like round taillights. Somehow 1950s cars looked great in two- and three-tone color combos, something you rarely see these days.
How popular was the ’57 Ford? It was the top-selling car that year, beating Chevy as the top seller for the first time in more than 20 years. One reason was its long, lean looks with those small tailfins and a new frame that allowed the floor to be lowered, giving passengers more legroom, plus lowering the car’s center of gravity, and its appearance.
Ford offered several trim levels and the first Ranchero (car-based truck), but the Fairlane 500, like our sample car, was the top of the line. The 500 also rode on a longer 118-inch wheelbase, two inches longer than Ford Custom models.
Power came from a variety of engines, from a base straight-6 making 144 horsepower up to a supercharged V8 making 300 horses. Some included racing cams too. Plus, this was the first year for a transistorized radio to be offered. Modern times were fast upon the marketplace!
NEO creates a fine resin version of the ’57 Hardtop with its swept-back C-pillar, hooded headlights and small rear fender fins. The paint job is stellar and the panel lines crisply executed, probably better than on the original car.
Massive front and rear bumpers are chromed and the wide front grille appears to be finely photo-etched metal, as are the scripted Fairlane 500 badges on either rear quarter panel. Those stand out nicely on this glossy black paint job. The name Fairlane is on the car’s nose too, but is harder to see and read. There are no Ford logos or markings on the model.
The car features a chrome hood ornament, side mirrors and door handles along with good-looking headlight lenses. Taillights are red with a silver ring, but look less realistic than the headlights. A North Carolina license graces both the front and rear of the car and there are dual exhausts in back.
Windows are framed with fine chrome photo-etch and there are dainty PE windshield wipers too. Wide white sidewall tires and full chrome hubcaps seal the deal for a complete 1950s car look.
Inside, the sample car from American-Excellence features a red and white interior that helps give the black and white car some needed color. Seats are white with red inserts as are the door panels where you also can see window cranks and armrests. The dash is red with decals to insinuate gauges and radio, while the red steering wheel features three spokes and a silver horn ring.
This is a sharp looker, just as was my brother’s car, which was totaled at a 4-way stop in Chicago where he was attending college. But now I’ve got a beautiful near replica to remind me of that hot rod that my brother used to give me rides in before I had my driver’s license.
Vital Stats: 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Hardtop