The first Fairlane was a replacement for the Crestline. By 1957, the car had been made sleeker and longer, and the Fairlane 500 trim was offered for the first time. The Skyliner trim on that was the first retractable hardtop for the line. Although it received plenty of buzz, sales of this option were dismal because it was expensive and took up nearly all of the trunk.
In 1960, the car was turned into a mid-size bridge between the small Falcon and the big boat called the Galaxie. In 1963, the Ranch Wagon and Ranch Custom Wagon were introduced as body styles. A Squire wagon, also called a fake woody, was also available for that year only. The car was changed dramaticallly again in 1966, and it also got a twin in the Mercury Comet. New packages included the XL, GT, and GTA. The GT had a 390 cubic inch V8, while the GTA had a SportShift Cruise-O-Matic transmission. A detuned 427 engine was also introduced in very limited quantities.
If you're looking to buy one of these classic cars, you should check classic car classifieds like Hemmings. You can also find plenty of listings on eBay. Don't knock it, I've had many friends who are very happy with their car purchases from the popular auction site.