After 40 years as its staple luxury model Ford Australia will stop building the long wheelbase Fairlane versions of its Falcon in early 2008.
The Fairlane nameplate has been a mainstay of the Ford line-up since 1967, when Ford introduced the first Australian produced luxury car with the ZA Fairlane.
Since then Ford has developed Fairlanes alongside each generation of the Falcon.
The range-topping LTD joined the line-up in 1973. Ford Australia will also stop building the LTD from early 2008.
Ford says a “significant decline in sales of upper large vehicles over the past few years has meant that Australian production of long-wheelbase variants for Australian
and New Zealand sales only is currently no longer sustainable.”
That leaves the limousine and luxury taxi market to the Holden Statesman/Caprice from 2008.
Until fairly recently, Ford had the corporate cab market cornered exclusively, although
the long-wheelbase Holdens have been joining the fleet in the past year or so.
Holden sells long-wheelbase cars in Australia and New Zealand, and also in the Middle East.
To create the first Australian Fairlane, Ford engineers grafted the rear fenders and boot off the US model on to an XR Falcon body, as well as adding a new front end and extending the wheelbase by 150mm.
The new luxury car made its official debut on February 27, 1967, before going on sale the following month, priced from $Au3080.
With its prestige looks, luxurious interior, longer wheelbase, superior ride quality
and strong towing capability, the Fairlane became an instant success.
When Ford launched the LTD in 1973, it revived a nameplate seen on luxury versions of the American Ford Galaxie. The popularity of the Fairlane and LTD models continued through the 1970s and 1980s with more than 180,000 long wheelbase vehicles produced during that time.
Total Fairlane/LTD production is greater than 270,000 vehicles over the past
In the early 1990s, a more prestigious version of the Fairlane, called the Fairlane Ghia, was introduced, as Ford created a two-tier model structure. Soon after, it took over as the principal Fairlane model.
When the BA range was launched in 2003, Ford returned to a two-model Fairlane line-up by releasing the Fairlane G220 (left).
The mid-range sports model, the G220 was introduced to satisfy a growing demand in the market for a sports-luxury package.
With the launch of the BF series in late 2005, the three-valve 5.4-litre V8 engine received a power upgrade from 220kW to 230kW, resulting in the Fairlane G220 being replaced by the Fairlane G8.
The new G8 nomenclature reflected its Ghia heritage and standard V8 engine.
In 2007, Ford’s long wheelbase model line-up comprises the Fairlane Ghia, Fairlane G8 and LTD.