1968 Ford ZB Fairlane V8 Sedan
Based on the XR Falcon, Ford Australia's first locally designed and built Fairlane was designated the ZA and proved an immediate success when announced in 1967. Although the cheaper Custom model was only sold in six-cylinder form, the upmarket Fairlane 500 - boasting reclining bucket seats and plenty of woodgrain trim - was powered by the classic small-block 289 V8 as found in the Mustang. As deployed in the Fairlane, the 289-cid used a two barrel carburettor and was rated at 200 horsepower at 4400 rpm. Based on a stretched XR Falcon platform with a wheelbase of 2946mm, the Fairlane received a new grille and quad headlamp treatment, rear quarter panels and boot from US Fairlane and square tail lights. The new Fairlane's cabin felt particularly luxurious compared to the opposition, with full carpeting, a two-speed heater/demister and "Selectair" ventilation system. The Fairlane 500 came with the option of a vinyl roof, radial and/or whitewall tyres, a radio and a tinted/laminated windscreen, while the 289-cid V8 could only be had with 'Cruise-O-Matic' automatic transmission, Girling power-assisted front disc brakes and power steering was standard equipment. Built from March 1967 until February 1968, Ford's advertising for the ZA Fairlane claimed it was the car more "people move up to than any other ...". In March 1968 the ZA was facelifted to become the ZB although external changes were limited to the design of the tail lights, but under the bonnet the 200-cid six gave way to the 221-cid unit and the 289-cid grew to 302-cid, in line with the new XT Falcon series. Combined ZA/ZB sales reached almost 20,000 units and the model successfully bridged the gap between Ford's Fairmont and the much larger, imported Galaxie. Today few of these big Fords remain on the road and those that do survive make great classic cruisers, with plenty of poke, lots of space and an abundance of '60s style.