From 1959 to 1964, the Fairlane was a locally assembled version of the American Ford Fairlane which had taken its name from Henry Ford's estate, Fair Lane, near Dearborn, Michigan. This was Ford Australia’s top of the range model until replaced by an Australian-assembled version of the full-size American Ford Galaxie. In 1967 Ford Australia reintroduced the Fairlane, this time as an Australian-developed, luxury, long-wheelbase version of its mainstream Falcon, positioned between the Falcon and the Galaxie. The locally assembled Galaxie evolved into the LTD which was itself replaced in 1973 by an Australian developed, Fairlane-based model, also known as the Ford LTD. In North America, unlike its designation in Australia, it was not considered a luxury vehicle. In Australia, "LTD" originally stood for "Lincoln Type Design", although Ford Australia later promoted a connection with the meaning "Limited".
- 1 Australian assembled U.S. Fairlanes
- 2 Australian Fairlanes
- 2.1 First generation
- 2.2 Second generation
- 2.3 Third generation
- 2.4 Fourth generation
- 2.5 Fifth generation
- 3 Australian sales figures
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Australian assembled U.S. Fairlanes
Full-size Fairlane (1959–1962)
In September 1959 Ford Australia released three new locally assembled models, the Fairlane 500, the lower specification Custom 300 and the Station Wagon. They were sourced from Ford of Canada but were essentially the same as their 1959 US Ford counterparts. Tooling for local manufacture had taken nearly two years and had been completed at a cost of almost £1.5 million Australian.
The sedans were 9½ inches longer and 5 inches lower than the Ford Customline models which they replaced and all three models featured a 204 hp (152 kW) 332-cubic-inch (5.44 L) V8 engine. The Custom 300 and Ranch Wagon were fitted with a three-speed manual transmission as standard equipment and the Fairlane 500 utilised a fully automatic gearbox. Wheelbase was 118".
Intermediate Fairlanes (1962–1965)
In May 1962, the smaller 1962 US Fairlane 500 sedan was introduced as the FB model  and a 221-cubic-inch (3.62 L) Windsor V8 was fitted  in lieu of the 332. Although classified as an intermediate sized car in the United States, the new model was referred to in Australia as the "compact" Fairlane. The new model, which was assembled in Ford Australia's Homebush plant in Sydney, New South Wales, was £200 cheaper than its predecessor at £2,000. 1,632 examples were produced.
Assembly of the 1963 US Fairlane 500 sedan as the FC model was commenced by Ford Australia in November 1962. It featured a revised bonnet, front guards, grille, headlights and taillights, and was fitted with "Ford-O-Matic" automatic transmission as standard equipment and a 260-cubic-inch (4.3 L) Windsor V8 engine was now offered as an option. Australian production of the 1963 model totalled 1,771 units.
The 1964 US Fairlane 500 sedan was assembled by Ford Australia from December 1963 as the FD model. It was introduced in April 1964, distinguished by a lack of tail fins  and a new grille with seven vertical bars. A choice of two powertrains was offered in the new model, a 260-cubic-inch (4.3 L) Windsor V8 with Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission or a 289-cubic-inch (4.74 L) Windsor V8 with Cruis-O-Matic automatic transmission. The 1964 model was the last of the US Fairlanes in Australia as Ford discontinued the model locally in 1965 to make way for the larger Ford Galaxie. 1,344 examples were produced in Australia.
The ZA Fairlane series, introduced in March 1967, was designed and built in Australia although its front end styling resembled the American Ford Falcon sedan of that year (except for the quad headlights). The body shape was similar to the 1966-67 U.S. Fairlane sedan, however. Offered as the Fairlane and the Fairlane 500, it was based on the Australian XR Falcon. The 2819 mm wheelbase of the Falcon was stretched to 2946 mm, the front and centre body sections were retained and a new twin headlight grille was added. The rear quarter panels and boot from the US Fairlane were used and square taillights replaced the round units used on the Falcon.
The Fairlane was equipped with a 200-cubic-inch (3.3 L) six-cylinder engine as standard with a 289-cubic-inch (4.74 L) V8 as an option. The Fairlane 500 featured the 289-cubic-inch (4.74 L) V8 as standard equipment. The six-cylinder engine was available with manual or automatic transmission and the V8 only with an automatic. Production of the ZA Fairlane totalled 8,814 vehicles.
A model change to the ZB series in March 1968 saw the 200 grow to 221-cubic-inch (3.62 L) and the 289 grow to 302-cubic-inch (4.95 L), the top model remaining the Fairlane 500 with the larger engine. The Fairlane name badge on the rear guards was now in script  rather than capitals as it had been on the ZA. The only notable external change was the tail-light design, again following the general look of the Falcon (in this case the XT). The base model was now known as Fairlane Custom.
|1968||3.6L six-cylinder;302CID V-8||200(V8)||Cruise-O-Matic||116"||196.1"|
The facelifted ZC Fairlane series, which was introduced in July 1969, featured vertically stacked rather than horizontal headlights, harking back to the look of the 1966-67 US Fairlane models. Tail-lights were similar to those on the ZB, but with wrap-around styling. The ZC was available in Fairlane Custom and Fairlane 500 models. A 221 cu in (3.6L) six-cylinder engine was standard on the Custom, a 302 cu in (5.0L) V8 was standard on the Fairlane 500 and optional on the Custom and a 351 cu in (5.7L) V8 was optional on both models. Air conditioning was offered as an option for the first time. 12,513 ZC series Fairlanes were produced.
The ZD series was released in November 1970 for the 1971 model year. The base engine became a 250-cubic-inch (4.1 L) six-cylinder unit, while the 302 and 351 V8s remained, the latter found only in the Fairlane 500. Externally, there were re-styled tail lights (similar to XY Falcon), a new plastic grille with metal surround and new boot garnish. Internally there were new door trim patterns and the speedo backing was now black instead of the silver used on ZC's.
The ZA to ZD were basically stretched versions of the XR to XY series Ford Falcons respectively, with the extra length added behind the rear door, moving the rear seat back and giving more leg room.
An all-new, Australian-designed ZF series Fairlane was launched in April 1972, with swoopier bodywork, but there were criticisms that it looked too much like a four-headlamp version of the basic Falcon. The ZF Fairlanes were joined by an even more upscale LTD in August 1973, with hidden headlamps and vinyl roof. Model names remained the same (Custom and 500), as did the engine choices, as the previous model year. The 1973 ZF also saw the last manual transmission; afterwards, all Fairlanes would be automatics.
ZG / P5 (1973–1976)
November 1973 saw the next series of changes, to the ZG series Fairlane. The changes were mainly cosmetic, with a four horizontal bar grille and revised tail-light lenses and garnish panel. An anniversary model with a standard 302 was released in 1975, but otherwise the range stayed the same as the 1974 versions. The Fairlane based P5 series Ford LTD was released very late in the ZF model run in August 1973, three months prior to the ZG Fairlane. The LTD was only available as a four-door sedan, and the wheelbase was even longer than that of the Fairlane, itself a stretched Falcon. A luxury two-door coupé called the Ford Landau (also designated P5) was released at the same time. The Landau was based on the Australian Falcon Hardtop and therefore featured a 111-inch (2,800 mm) wheelbase as opposed to the 121-inch (3,100 mm) wheelbase of the LTD. Both models were notable for their concealed headlamps, which would be revealed when their vacuum-operated grille sections were retracted. The technology was similar to that found on an option offered on an earlier Ford Thunderbird. Standard equipment on both the LTD and the Landau included integrated air conditioning, automatic transmission, electric windows and a 351-cubic-inch (5.75 L) V8 engine.
Also in July 1975, Ford commenced a release of the Town Cars. These were 50th Anniversary models, celebrating 50 years of Ford in Australia. They produced in 250 each in the LTD and Fairlane range. The Fairlanes in particular were optioned with LTD components, 15inch wheels, leather interior and electric windows to name some options. In the Fairlane only a small handful were special ordered with a 351 motor. All others were 302s. The LTD were 351 engine cars.
As the P5 was released during the ZF model run, it retained many ZF components. For example, the main interior upgrade from the Fairlane ZF to ZG was the turn signal stalk. The ZF had the older style stalk with the high beam "dipper" switch on the floor. When the ZG Fairlane was released a big item was the new multi-function column stalk which incorporated the dipper switch and horn. The P5s however used the ZF style stalk and still had a "squeeze rim" horn similar to Falcon GTs of the era. Because the P6 LTD was not released until about five months after the ZH Fairlane, some of the last P5s actually had a few minor ZH parts fitted.
ZH / P6 (1976–1979)
The ZH series addressed earlier complaints about the Fairlane being too close to the Falcon in May 1976. The designers retained the same central section from the upcoming XC Falcon (including that car's new rear doors) but put on lengthened front and rear ends, giving the car more bulk and a luxury impression. The styling was reminiscent of the 1968 Mercury Marquis. The range-topping LTD went further upmarket with a fancy, Rolls-Royce-inspired grille (not dissimilar to that found on the Lincoln Continental Mark V). Another sign of the upmarket move was the 500 becoming the basic trim (the Custom was deleted), and the Fairlane Marquis being the upscale version. The Marquis was Ford's response to the Statesman Caprice, which was introduced in 1974 as an LTD rival. ZH also moved to the use of the metric system to denote the engine sizes: the basic engine was known as the 4.9 L, the other as the 5.8 L. All ZH Marquis built after January 1979 had Borg-Warner differentials instead of the Ford 9-inch.
The P6 Series LTD was introduced in September 1976. This model saw an even more flamboyant grille with four round headlamps, apeing Rolls-Royces and other luxury models. The Landau was discontinued at this time. In 1977, a limited edition LTD "Silver Monarch" model (referencing the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II) was released and was only available in a "Stardust Silver" colour, a specially imported silver vinyl roof and a Cranberry red velour interior. Another limited edition model, the LTD Town Car was offered in 1978.
ZJ / FC (1979–1982)
Ford would wait until May 1979 before updating the Fairlane to the ZJ Series. This model was a leap ahead into the new decade, with squared-off lines and a six-light bodyshell clearly distinguishing Fairlane from the new XD Falcon of that year. The traditional quad headlights and distinctive vertically striped tail lights further differentiated the luxury model from Falcon. The trim levels were deleted: there was now only a single Fairlane, with 4.9 litres (302 cu in) or 5.8 litres (351 cu in) V8 engine choices. In October, recognizing the fuel crisis, Ford introduced a Fairlane with a 4.1 litres (250 cu in) inline-six from the Falcon.
The LTD version of the ZJ surfaced in October 1979 as the FC Series, using the same wheelbase and body panels as the Fairlane. In mid-1980 the Falcon 4.1-litre Alloy Head engine was made optional, the first time the LTD was available in six-cylinder guise.
ZK / FD (1982–1984)
The ZK series of 1982 saw the deletion of the 5.8 L V8, which was the first warning the company would soon drop bent-eights from the local line-up. Minor changes were made to grille and tail lights but otherwise the external changes were negligible. In 1983 the 4.9 L V8 was deleted too, with Ford introducing a fuel-injected version of the six to take its place, claiming the new engine had equivalent acceleration figures to the V8.
The main notable mechanical change was the introduction of the coil sprung, watts link located rear axle, one of the best live rear axle configurations.
The LTD FC series was updated to and designated FD in March 1982 with the V8 engine option deleted the following year.
ZL / FE (1984–1988)
The revised ZL series of 1985 (launched October 1984) kept the two six-cylinder engine options; it was only at the end of 1986 that the carburettor version of the Fairlane was deleted. The ZL again carried over all external panels, but now had integrated headlights with clear indicators, full wrap-around bumpers, and new tail lights. Inside, a full digital dashboard was introduced with push-button controls at either end of the instrument binnacle. The FE series LTD was also released in October 1984.
NA / DA (1988–1991)
June 1988 saw the next major revision: the Fairlane's straight edges gave way to gentle curves, based on the EA26 platform Falcon. The philosophy was the same: a long-wheelbase Falcon with a six-light body. The 4.1-litre six was heavily revised, becoming a 3.9-litre unit with improved fuel economy and power. These models were part of the EA26 development programme and platform (E for the market segment, A for Australia, 26 the project code). Therefore, officially they were EA26s, but colloquially, Ford aficionados prefer a two-letter code. Hence, the new Fairlanes were given the NA series code.
The equivalent LTDs came on stream as the DA series in June 1988. Like the previous generation, all N-series Fairlanes and D-series LTDs were built on the Falcon/Fairmont station wagon platform and this legacy is most noticeable in the disproportionally narrow station wagon rear doors on what was meant to be a limousine and in a car that otherwise caters well for rear seat passengers with a large amount of interior seating and legroom space. Nonetheless, these large sedans and were "limousine enough" to be one of the most common platform used by Australian body building companies to make stretch limousines.
Revisions from November 1989 for the 1990 model year saw the release of the NA II and DAII, the most notable change being the fitting of a four-speed, rather than three-speed, automatic transmission (since the Fairlane's debut it had a three-speed).
Although Ford Australia's official historian, Adrian Ryan, is emphatic there was never officially an NB series Fairlane, at least one early 1989 prototype fitted with a four-speed automatic escaped from the factory bearing a compliance plate marked "NB" and was registered as an "NB Fairlane". Ford also produced an alloy wheel identification guide poster for its parts counters listing one wheel as being for an "NB Sportsman Fairlane" and it seems likely that at one point the Series II NA was going to be called the NB. Third party parts suppliers also often list both an "NB Fairlane" an "NB - Series II Fairlane" in their parts catalogues adding to the NB mystery. DOTARS (the Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services) has no record of giving Ford approval to use an "NB Fairlane" compliance plate for a production model which might explain Ford's reluctance to officially acknowledge the "NB".[original research?]
NC / DC (1991–1995)
August 1991 saw the news that many Fairlane/LTD purists had awaited: the reintroduction of the V8, in the NC Fairlane and DC series LTD. Ford had never recovered from deleting the V8s in the 1980s and bowed to public pressure with its reintroduction. The 5.0-litre engine was not identical to the one used in the United States Mustang and other passenger cars. For reason of better durability and perhaps cost, it was the Canadian made Windsor engine used in the North American light truck and 4WD models. To meet the needs of the space required for a right drive steering column, its inlet manifold was reversed. Again to meet the conversion to right hand drive and the rerouted inlet ducting, air box and air conditioning lines, the Australian installed engines also had most of their serpentine belt driven accessories on opposite side to the US/North American models. As Australian enthusiasts often found to their frustration, these subtle changes often meant that many Ford Racing/SVO add on bits, like the available superchargers, were not exactly the bolt-on items they were in North America. The inline six continued. The NC also introduced a higher-spec Fairlane, called the Fairlane Ghia, and it was in this model that the V8 was available.
The 1992 NC II and DC IIs redesignated the 3.9 L engine a '4.0-litre', but trim levels remained the same. To appeal to younger buyers, Ford briefly sold a Fairlane Sportsman Ghia in 1993 with a "Tickford" tuned 4.0-litre six used in the Falcon XR6. In 1994, the base model was deleted, leaving only the Ghia.
A second, even smaller update, known as the NC III arrived in August 1993. It is the equivalent to the ED series Falcon, adopting the new "ozone safe" R134a air conditioning refrigerant. The base Fairlane model was also discontinued, leaving only the Fairlane Ghia.
From March 1994 production, the NC received additional changes: the fitment of a leather-wrapped steering wheel, body coloured bumpers and side protection strips, new design alloy wheels, and a bonnet ornament.
An idea proposed in the late 1980s was a Fairlane wagon. Most likely, had it entered production, it would have used the Falcon wagon (which rode on the Fairlane's wheelbase) body, coupled with the Fairlane's front clip.[original research?]
In the early 1990s, the Falcon utilities were still of the previous generation XF. A prototype EB Falcon utility was made which looked Fairlane based. To impart a look of solidness, the Ute had a Fairlane frontal treatment. It did not enter production.
NF / DF (1995–1996)
The Fairlane and LTD received a major front & rear re-style in March 1995 (EA77 series in Ford-speak), coinciding with the EF Falcon, and remained on the same platform. The new NF Fairlanes and DF LTDs were longer and curvier, hiding their 1980s origins reasonably well. The exterior design was more ornamental compared to the relatively clean NAs to NCs. The Fairlane Sportsman reappeared for 1996, with the same formula as 1993, with the 4.0-litre six.
NL / DL (1996–1999)
In September 1996, the revised NL Fairlanes and DL LTDs appeared. In 1997, Ford introduced a higher Fairlane Concorde trim, with the same 4.0-litre and 5.0-litre engine choices. No Sportsman variant of the Fairlane was offered.
For customers, five Dealer modified NL Series Fairlanes from Sydney and Melbourne utilized parts from the 5.0-litre Mustang Cobra and Australian delivered SVO parts due to the limited edition run of the Fairlane by Tickford and customers wanting to maintain the Luxury look but sport the GT's performance.
Ford expanded the Fairlane range greatly in 1998. Beginning with the Ghia, there was also a basic Concorde (six-cylinder) and Concorde Ghia (V8). A Tickford-modified version was also available, with the larger engine, as well as a luxurious Fairlane Special Edition Ghia.
The NL/DL series were the last models to come equipped with automatic self-leveling rear suspension.
Ford introduced its "New Edge" look to the AU series Fairlane in February 1999, with some success, though the EA169 platform was considered a flop, allowing rival Holden to overtake the company in the sales of full-size cars. The AU LTD was released two months later in May.
The AU Fairlane and LTD models were the first long-wheelbase sedans to share a model code with the Falcon. They had Lincoln Town Car styling cues, especially around the C-pillar. The range was pared back to just two models, the Fairlane Ghia and the LTD, although a limited-edition Fairlane Millennium Ghia was also offered in January 2000. The flagship LTD model was exported to Fiji and to its traditional export market, New Zealand. A small number of LTDs were exported to the United Kingdom, where they were converted into hearses and limousines.
A high-performance variant of the AU Fairlane was released in 1999 as the FTE TL50.
Ford brought forward revisions to the Falcon and Fairlane ranges when market acceptance of the new cars proved poor in July 2000. The 2001 model year AU II models featured some improvements, and another limited edition was offered: the 75th Anniversary Ghia in October, with the same engine choices as before. The Sportsman Ghia was revived in March 2001 and lasted for more than one model year this time, remaining in the range to the end of 2002.
Ford's new attempt to battle Holden came in July 2003 with the BA series. The BA Fairlanes and LTDs were closer to the Falcon in looks, even sharing the tail lights. The 5.0-litre gave way to the larger 5.4-litre Modular V8, already used in the U.S. From this point the LTD was no longer offered with a six-cylinder engine.
To capture younger buyers, the Fairlane G220 (denoting its 220-kilowatt (300 hp) power output at 4,750 rpm and 472 newton metres (348 lb·ft) of torque from 3,250–4,000 rpm) took the place of the Fairlane Sportsman, and featured the larger engine only. The traditional automatic gearbox was replaced by a sequential automatic. The Fairlane Ghia continued as the base model.
The BF series Fairlane and LTD models were introduced in October 2005, with the Fairlane G220 renamed the Fairlane G8. The G8 featured an eight-cylinder engine with improved exhaust system and an additional knock sensor, producing 230 kilowatts (310 hp) at 5,350 rpm and 500 newton metres (370 lb·ft) of torque at 3,500 rpm. It was equipped with a six-speed ZF sports automatic transmission and 2.73 LSD final diff ratio.
In May 2007 it was announced that production of the Fairlane and LTD would cease as a decline in sales in its market segment rendered continued production of long-wheelbase models unsustainable. The last Fairlane was produced on 13 December 2007.
Australian sales figures
- Ford Fairlane, Landau & LTD at www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au Retrieved on 11 May 2011
- The Australian 1959-60 Ford Fairlane, Restored Cars magazine No 84, July 1990, pages 4-6
- 1959 Ford Fairlane at uniquecars.carpoint.ninemsn.com.au Retrieved on 3 November 2010
- Australian Motor Sports, August 1959, News Review, Three New Fords, page 314
- Norm Darwin, The History of Ford in Australia, 1986, page 136
- Bruce McColl, The Compact Fairlane Story, Restored Cars, Number 121, Mar-Apr '97, pages 38-42
- Norm Darwin, The History of Ford in Australia, 1986, pages 138-140
- John Gunnell, Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946–1975, Revised 4th Edition, page 408
- Bruce McColl, The Compact Fairlane Story Part Two, Restored Cars, Number 122, May-Jun '97, pages 38-41
- Glass's Dealers Guide, Passenger Vehicles Values, South Australian and Northern Territory Edition, June 1973, page 57
- ZA Fairlane Retrieved from www.goauto.com.au on 6 August 2010
- Ford ZA Fairlane sales brochure
- ZB Fairlane (1968 - 1969), falconfacts.xfalcon.com Retrieved on 12 May 2012
- ZA Fairlane (1967 - 1968), falconfacts.xfalcon.com Retrieved on 12 May 2012
- Glass's Dealer Guide, SA & NT Edition, June 1973, pages 56-57
- Fairlane ZC Technical Specifications Retrieved on 22 November 2010
- Ford Fairlane ZC Retrieved on 22 November 2010
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- Ford LTD Town Car brochure, Ford Australia, Printed December 1978
- Green Book Price & Model Guide, March–April 1984, page 38
- The Red Book Used Car Price Guide, November 1985, page 57
- "NC Fairlane / DC LTD". Falcon Facts. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
- Ford AU Fairlane Retrieved on 9 August 2010.
- Ford Fairlane at www.privatefleet.com.au Retrieved on 3 November 2010
- End of road for Fairlane/LTD Retrieved from www.theage.com.au on 5 July 2010
- Ford farewells Fairlane Retrieved from www.drive.com.au on 5 July 2010