Downing & Ryan
Since I started this site there has been a huge turn of events. Through Charles Morris who authored the book Ford Drag Racing in the 1960s, I was able to contact John Downing and Jim Ryan. John, as mentioned earlier, was the original owner of the Fairlane to which this site is dedicated.
In late 1966 he was looking to spend a little money and had an opportunity to buy a new 1966 427 Cobra or a new 1966 427 Fairlane. Obviously the Cobra would be worth more today but destiny is a funny thing and this Fairlane was destined to be the beginning of an illustrious racing career for John.
In May of 1967 John set the new NHRA National Record in SS/B at Madison Twp Raceway Park with an E.T. of 11.42. John teamed up with Jim Ryan and they campaigned the Fairlane successfully winning the their class at the 1968 Super Stock Nationals. The engine builder was the famous John Healey. As time went on John and Jim campaigned several Super Stock cars including a SS/G 68 1/2 Mustang which set a new national record in May 1969 at Englishtown running an 11.31. After a successful run with several Fairlanes and Mustangs in Super Stock they stepped up to Pro Stock racing a 427 Tunnel Port Maverick and then switched to a BOSS 429. Their last effort was a Pro Stock Pinto.
Jim Ryan passed away in January 2010 from complications following a heart attack. He had purchased a 66 427 Fairlane project from Don Antilla. Ironically Don owns Jims original 66 427 Fairlane which is probably the nicest restored Fairlane on the planet. Jims plans were to restore the car to original with a few upgrades to his liking. Jim will be sadly missed by family and friends.