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Ford Fairlane

ZJ Fairlane and FC LTD

Ford logo1 May 1979

By CHRIS HARRIS

Ford Australia rationalised its LWB XD Falcon-based prestige brands to the single sized Fairlane and LTD versions, meaning that only minor cosmetic changes differentiated the two.

Gone were the differences in length, wheelbase and sheet metal, the 500, and the Marquis.

Banished also was the Americanised styling theme, replaced by the crisp, glassy Euro-style Australian design featuring the extra side window that became the brand’s trademark. It sat on carryover XC Falcon mechanicals.

Weight-saving plastic abounded, especially in the spacious and very Euro-influenced cabin. The leather trimmed LTD now included air-con, central locking, power windows, a limited slip diff, power front seats, power windows, and a radio cassette player.

Initially, the standard engine was the locally made 140kW 4.9-litre V8 (Fairlane) and 149kW 5.8 V8 (LTD), but the looming fuel crisis prompted Ford to reintroduce the 4.1 six-cylinder engine in October ’79, not seen since the ZG, and now producing 94kW of power.

The chintzy LTD Cartier limited edition heralded the reshuffled engine range. The three-speed auto transmission continued.

In July ’80, a 22kg lighter engine head and electronic ignition improved the 4.1's performance, economy and sales, while minor trim alterations and “alloy head” badges identify the changes.

The two V8s remained as options up to March ’82, when 20,888 ZJ Fairlanes and 3979 FC LTDs were produced.

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