There's an old saying: "You can never go home." But in the hot rod world, you can get awfully close. Growing up in Wichita, Kansas, Tom Devlin's earliest memories include driving around town with his dad while the elder Devlin sold Paramount movies to local theaters. The car was a company car: a 1957 Ford Fairlane, and it was showroom new. Unfortunately Tom's dad passed away when he was just 10 years old, making the Fairlane the last car his dad would ever own.

In the next few decades Tom would go on to great success in business, and he eventually got to a point where he wanted to have a '57 Fairlane of his own. Now if the Devlin moniker sounds familiar, it's probably because Tom's son, Tim, has made a name for himself in running Devlin Rod and Customs, a Wichita-based shop devoted to building dream cars for their customers.

To get things rolling, Tom's oldest son, Tommy, began looking for a Fairlane on the Internet and soon found what looked like a good starting point. Tom bought it but soon realized it was in worse shape than he'd originally thought. The floors were half gone, the gas tank rusted, quarter-panels rotted away, and trim missing.

The car was delivered to Tim's shop, and the thought on the project was not to alter the overall design but just clean things up. Little custom touches were OK, but Tom wanted something that looked like it could have come out of the lil' page hot rod books he saw as a kid.

Tim's shop began with the chassis, which features an 8.75-inch rearend that was narrowed 2 inches as well as a set of de-arched springs and a pair of Monroe shocks. The front utilizes a couple of Fatman Fabrications 2-inch-drop spindles, two Jamco dropped springs, and a Wurth-It power rack conversion. For brakes, the stock drums were used out back, but the fronts were updated to a set Wilwood discs along with an 8-inch booster and a master cylinder with a 7/8-inch bore. The Wheelsmith welded up a set of smoothie wheels for the Fairlane (15x7s and 8s), which were then wrapped in Cooper Trendsetter P205/75R-15 and 225/75R-15 rubber.

A hopped up motor was essential to a proper '50s hot rod, so the '57 312 Y-block Ford was given over to Saum Engineering in Wichita. Saum's used a stock crank and rods, but assembled the short-block with forged dome pistons (9.4:1) and an Isky solid camshaft and topped the block off with an Edelbrock 553 intake, a trio of Stromberg 48 carbs, and a pair of Offenhauser valve covers.

A PerTronix Ignitor III ignition system works in tandem with Moroso Blue Max wires, and exhaust exits through a pair of ceramic-coated Red's headers and aluminized Smithy's mufflers. Tuned by Mike Walker of Buffco Performance on a chassis dyno, the Y-block produced 193.6 rear wheel horsepower at 2,700 rpm. Helping get that power to the ground is a four-speed Toploader trans (assembled at The Tranny Shop in Wichita) guided by a Hurst Competition/Plus floor-mounted shifter.

Besides the extensive rust repair, the Fairlane also benefited by custom tricks that included '55 T-bird door handles, frenched headlights and taillights, and a rolled rear pan (behind the bumper and below the frenched license plate).

Though he thought the car might end up a shade of blue, Tom did some research and found a Cumberland Green and Colonial White combo that he fell in love with so, after completing the bodywork and prep, Devlin's painted the Ford its two-tone layout. Once the pieces started going back on the car (including a heavy dose of new chrome by Sherm's Custom Plating in Sacramento, California), the attention turned to the interior.