FC Ford Fairlane (1962-63)
Production of Fords FC Fairlane began in Australia late in 1962 with all parts being imported from Ford factories in Canada and assembled in Ford Australia’s Homebush plant in Sydney.
The FC Fairlane was designed in the United States where it was sold under the Fairlane 500 badge. In the US, the 500 sedan was the luxury model, with other more basic models being produced as well, in various body styles such as the wagons and coupes. In Australia however, the FC was available in four-door sedan format only.
The Fairlane line was introduced in 1962 as Ford’s intermediate-sized car, placed between the Falcon, which was the smallest, and the Galaxie, the largest. The Galaxie would not be available to the Australian market for a few more years, so in 1963, the Fairlane was promoted and sold as Ford Australia’s top-of-the-line model.
The FC model however was faced with stiff market competition in 1963, as it was released the same year as the EH Holden, which was one of General Motors-Holden’s best-selling models of all time, moving 250,000 units in its first 18 months of release.
The FC’s front-end styling was almost identical to the American Galaxie of the same year, but with a much shorter wheelbase, that’s about where the comparison ended. With a concave grill, simplified contours and chunky bumpers, the FC presented with a much cleaner, bolder look than its predecessor, the FB Fairlane. The rear end received minor revisions to the rear end and taillights. The only noticeable, was the removal of the three chrome “bullets” on the rear quarter panels that were featured on the FB.
The shell, being a unitary construction was fitted with a galvanized underbody and rocker panels to reduce corrosion. High strength torque boxes in the underbody corners were used to minimise road-shock and vibration. These same efforts to improve strength and rigidity were also common on Falcons of the same era, as well as the first Mustangs, which would begin production in the US the following year.
At the time Ford had designed a new V8 engine which was considered to be the lightest and most economical in the world. This was due to its thin wall design, aluminium components and smaller-sized block. It was developed especially for installation in the early Fairlane and Mercury Meteor models.
The FC was optioned with a 221 cu Windsor V8 as standard, which had also been fitted to the previous model. However, Ford was in the process of phasing this engine out, as a new 260 cu V8 was now in production and currently available as optioned extra. All Fairlanes were fitted with the Ford-O-Matic 2 speed automatic transmission as standard for the first time.
Fords brochures boasted of the Fairlanes’ reduced need for maintenance, stating that oil and filter changes could be done twice a year or once every 6,000 miles. The company also cited the newly developed nylon bearings made for a quieter ride and the reduced need for suspension lubrication to every 36,000 miles.
Paint options for the FC consisted of a variety of single colour or two-tone options, with a glossy baked enamel finish. Inside, the instrument panel featured a number of comprehensive gauges and warning lamps, as well as a padded dashboard to improve passenger safety.
With the FC model, Ford offered a range of new fabrics for its interiors, which were trimmed with a woven brocade fabric and colour-matched vinyl. The range of accessories fitted as standard were quite generous for the time, with collapsible sun visors, wall to wall carpeting, arm rests in the front and rear, electric clock, cigarette lighter, and colour keyed steering wheel.
Additional extras were also available, such as windscreen heater demisters, windscreen washers, exterior visors, rear window venetian blinds and wing mirrors. Both lap and sash type seat belts were still considered optional, and were not yet required by law.
By the end of 1963, Ford Australia had produced 1,771 units of the FC Fairlane, before it was replaced with the FD model in 1964.
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