By Meda Kessler
Photos by Ralph Lauer
A1956 Ford suits this designer’s taste and style.
Lauren Blake had always wanted a classic car, specifically a Bel Air. Then she unexpectedly fell for a restored 1956 Ford Fairlane with a gorgeous cream-and-tan paint job and a spacious interior. An evening out with a girlfriend led her to the local showroom of Streetside Classics. A nationwide consignment dealer, Streetside specializes in restored classic cars, hot rods, collectibles and exotics. She spotted the Fairlane, and it was a love connection.
Blake, a Fort Worth artist and graphic designer, recently launched Wyld Empyre, a luxury line of exotic-skin handbags. As creative director, she now combines her love of fashion, art and beautiful things into finely crafted accessories.
Following major back surgery and stressing somewhat over the launch of Wyld Empyre, she had found the inspiration she needed in her Fairlane. Melaina, which is what her friends call the car, has even made it into a photo shoot for Wyld Empyre. “Driving the Fairlane is a form of meditation for me,” says Blake.
The color scheme of Buckskin Tan and Colonial White is original, although in bright light, the tan looks a bit on the peachy-salmon side. The Fairlane doesn’t skimp on chrome, from the dramatic side trim to the substantial bumpers. Inside, the restored tone-on-tone upholstery is period correct, with brocadelike fabric offering a bit of shine. Under the hood sits a Thunderbird 312 V-8, giving this cruiser a hint of muscle. Niceties include power steering and air conditioning.
“There were a few small issues, nothing major, and we added interior lighting,” says Blake, who takes the car out as often as she can, especially in nice weather. “And after driving an electric car for a few years, it was nice to hear that engine rumble and smell the gasoline.