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Ford Fairlane

ZH Fairlane

1 May 1976

With its prestige market hold loosening, Ford was stung into action by evoking the '60s Americanisation formula for its XC Falcon-derived Fairlane.

A big, bold squared-off front and rear (featuring small fins), a new dashboard and interior trim, the demise of the 4.1L I6 version and the introduction of a “super luxury” Marquis model (to rival the Holden HJ Statesman Caprice) revitalised the nameplate.

The 500 became the base model, featuring the first anti-pollution version of the 4.9L V8 engine (which saw a power drop to 151kW the “cleaner” 5.8L V8 now produced only 162kW), a limited slip differential, four-wheel disc brakes and more standard features, while the Marquis buyer enjoyed power windows, plusher seats and more buttons to press, push and play with.

Significant gains in handling, ride and braking qualities were achieved as part of the re-engineered XC program.

In 1978 Ford responded to Holden’s radical and successful Radial Tuned Suspension campaign with an improved handling Fairlane, which featured Ford’s firmer “touring suspension” package, standard air-conditioning and minor trim changes.

The Sportsman of the same year offered alloy wheels and racier trim. By production’s end in early ’79, 22,982 Fairlanes were made.

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