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Ford Fairlane

BA Fairlane and LTD

1 Jul 2003

Sadly for Ford the virtually all-new BA Fairlane (as well as its salubrious LTD twin) hasn’t enjoyed the same level of critical or commercial success than either its BA Falcon donor or pre-1999 AU models have.

Strong rival Holden Statesman/Caprice sales and Falcon-derivative looks (a common Fairlane pitfall remember the 1972 XA-style ZF?) haven’t helped.

Yet, like its smaller brother, the BA is the most changed model in the local series’ 37-year history, with only the doors and some under-body bits carried over from the unfortunate AU.

From the flattened roof, squared-off nose and German Audi-style tail (outrageously using stock Falcon taillights – a first ever for Fairlane for shame Ford!), to the all-new soft-feel interior that even featured altered seating and steering wheel position mounts, everything one could see and touch in the BA was modern yet conservative.

But underneath a revolution took place. Two virtually all-new engines, complemented to a Tiptronic-style four-speed automatic or five-speed manual gearbox, were introduced: a 182kW/380Nm 4.0-litre OHC variable-valve timed inline six-cylinder engine, and an American-sourced but Aussie-developed 220kW/470Nm 5.0-litre SOHC 24-valve V8.

Both were significantly gutsier than their predecessors. “Control Blade” multi-link independent rear suspension, an 80-per cent increase in torsional rigidity, completely new rack and pinion steering, improved safety and refinement properties, better brakes and far-more computer power elevated the Fairlane to a world-class standard in driving, comfort and ride terms, with only excessive weight and fuel consumption remaining as problem areas.

Two BA Fairlanes – the luxury Ghia and sporty G220 V8 – and a single LTD model are available.

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