ZG Fairlane (1973-76)
The Ford ZG Fairlane was the second iteration of the second generation of Australian Fairlanes. The ZG was a facelifted version of the previous model, the ZF, and received only minor revisions to the exterior.
The most noticeable alterations were the front grill, which now featured a bolder design with much more prominent horizontal bars. The rear lights were also changed to a latticed trim that mimicked the front grill. Ford received some criticism on the styling of the earlier ZF Fairlane, with many claiming that, for a supposedly “luxury” vehicle, it looked too similar to Ford’s cheaper Falcon model.
Ford made changes in order to address this by redesigning the front grill to give it more of a prestige look, while also giving its contemporary Falcon model, the XB, a drastic front-end redesign. This reduced similarities between the two models.
The ZG Fairlane being a full-size four-door sedan was available in two trim levels – the Custom and the Fairlane 500. The Custom was offered as a base-level model that could be specified to the buyer’s requirements, while the Fairlane 500 was a more luxurious, higher spec model.
The Fairlane previously sat between the smaller Falcon and larger Galaxie models in Ford’s range of vehicles. Ford discontinued the Galaxie name around this time and replaced it with the LTD badge.
The base model ZG Custom was optioned with a 250 (cu) six-cylinder engine, whilst the Fairlane 500, ran a 302 (cu) V8 with the option of a larger 351 (cu) V8 available. The 351 (cu) was a popular choice among Fairlane buyers, with many opting for the larger capacity engine. The Custom could also be optioned with either of the V8 engines.
The ZG was available with automatic transmission only, the standard option being a column-mounted shifter, and a floor-mounted T-bar shifter available also.
Prior to the release of the ZG, Ford spent some time refining the standard safety features of the vehicle. The ZG featured a long list of safety specifications which included improved crumple zones, padded control panels, and recessed interior fittings. It was also fitted with improved seat belts throughout, as well as a seat belt warning light, a zone-toughened safety glass windscreen, and wrap-around front indicators. Both variants had 11-inch disc brakes at the front as standard which had previously been an optioned extra on the Custom.
The Ford Galaxie had been available in Australia since 1964 and was assembled locally until 1968. From 1969 to 1972, Galaxie models were imported from the United States already assembled and then converted over to right-hand drive. These models were sold as Galaxie LTDs in Australia until the Galaxie name was dropped entirely in 1973. From this year onwards, Australian LTD models were based on the Australian designed and produced Fairlane.
Ford released two LTD variants in August 1973, a few months before the ZG model’s release. The P5 LTD was a four-door sedan and was Ford Australia’s most luxiours vehicle. It featured all important items, including air conditioning and power steering, as well as aesthetic finishes such as English Burr Walnut reproduction panelling. The P5 was so well equipped that Ford boasted there were only two optioned extras, genuine leather upholstery, and a tape player.
The Landau LTD was a smaller but equally well-equipped coupe. It was built on a shorter wheelbase than the P5 and was based on the popular Falcon hardtop body format. While the P5 was aimed more at the limousine market, the Landau was intended as a personal luxury vehicle. Both LTD models had a more powerful variant of the 351 (cu) engine that included a four-barrel carburettor and boasted 290 bhp.
From November 1973, Ford Australia built 19,556 units of the ZG Fairlane, before it was replaced with the ZH Fairlane in May 1976.