Ford has a better idea…


In late fall of 1968 Ford launched a new ad campaign that would surely excite buyers to look at the new line of Ford vehicles for 1969. Among them were the Boss 302, Cobra Jet Fairlane, Mach 1 Mustangs along with their entire line of vehicles. The campaign was really targeted at a younger market however. Ford even went as far as creating a pop group called The Going Thing, and so their slogan throughout that year went.


Several race cars had Ford’s new slogan painted on them but one car in particular stood out for my older brother and myself. That year for the first time we saw a 1967 Fairlane show up at the local dragstrip that our Dad raced at in Fairfield Illinois. Strewn across the quarter panels was that famous slogan THE GOING THING. We never really thought much about this car in the pits full of Super Stock A990 Hemi and Max Wedge Mopars, Cobra Jet Mustangs, and Big Block Chevrolets until it pulled into the staging lanes. Nothing to this day sounded like the high winding 427 medium riser engine in that car.


The car was classified as SS/C and when the SS/B and SS/BA Hemi cars met this Fairlane they had found a worthy adversary to say the least. The driver was a true veteran of Drag Racing named Bud Gross. He knew how to drive and he knew how to win which was easy in this particular car. The Fairlane was purchased through an ad in National Dragster by the local dragstrip owner Gibby Andrews. He would purchase race cars from all over the country and make them available to local racers which garnered a little profit but also kept the Dragstrip going strong. Gibby purchased several National Record Holding cars throughout the late 60′s.


The Fairlane was one of them, formerly owned and raced by John Downing from New Jersey and campaigned as “Downing & Ryan” until its sale to Andrews in early 69. The car was actually a 1966 427 Fairlane of which only 57 were produced but was partially converted to a 1967 in time for the U.S. Nationals that year. Later that year the car was fully converted with full body side molding’s as came on the 67 Fairlane 500′s.


Gross purchased the Fairlane for $3500 from Andrews upon its arrival to Illinois and was re-lettered. He was a very active racer and campaigned this car throughout Southern Illinois, Southeast Indiana, Northeastern Kentucky, and Southeast Missouri. The Fairlane was without a doubt one of the winningest Super Stock cars ever in this area. Gross also owned a SS/F 68 1/2 Mustang that was also a former Downing & Ryan car but could not campaign both cars at the same time.


In early 1971 the Fairlane was sold to a local racer named George Williams, that summer the Fairlane was destroyed when Williams lost control of it at a race in Paducah Kentucky and flipped it. The Going Thing was gone. George removed the driveline and put it on a 67 Cyclone but that car never ran the same as the old Fairlane.

Although there were several other fast Fords throughout our lives none ever stood up to the memories of The Going Thing until October of 1999!

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