Ford Fairlane ZJ

Send This Page To A Friend
Fade To White
Ford Fairlane

Ford Fairlane ZJ

1979 - 1982
6L and V8
4.1 Six or 4.9 / 5.8 V8
94/140/149 kW
Borg Warner, C4 and FMX 3 spd. auto
Top Speed:
180 km/h
Number Built:
1 star
Ford Fairlane ZJ
Ford Fairlane ZJ
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1


The popular XD Falcon was joined by the ZJ Fairlane in May 1979, featuring for the first time the six-window profile, something that would quickly become the hallmark of Australian built luxury Ford's. The luxury Ford range was also simplified somewhat, the Marquis being dropped and the range now consisting simply of either the Fairlane or LTD.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Fairlane's introduction was its base price. At A$11,191 it was only a little more expensive than the superseded model - a graphic illustration of the effectiveness of Ford's economy of scale strategy. And in all the dynamic areas the ZJ Fairlane was the equal of almost anything else then on the market. As far as comfort and the passenger environment were concerned it was better than most.

The new Fairlane was also smaller and lighter than its predecessor as it shared its floorpan with the Falcon Wagon. Fortunately though the engineers were able to maximise interior space so that, inside the cabin at least, the new model was actually bigger than before. The LTD also used the wagon floorpan, meaning both Fairlane and LTD were the same size. Of course there needed to be some way of differentiating the models, so Ford introduced a bold new twin-headlight design featuring squared-off surrounds. The tail lights were also an evolution of the ZH Fairlane.

Inside, the all-new interior was just as roomy as before. The simplified dash was now made from plastic. It was a slightly different design from the XD Falcons, but incorporated the new cableless speedometer. Mechanically the ZJ Fairlane was the same as the XD Falcon/Fairmont range. The 4.9 litre V8 engine, together with a "T" bar centre console mounted shift automatic transmission and power steering were pretty basic in design. The 5.8 litre engine was an option and, oddly enough, so was a column shift for the transmission.

Engine performance and gear ratios were also on par with the XD Falcon. Unlike the XD Fairmont Ghia which had all-over velour treatment for the door trims, the ZJ Fairlane used only a panel of this material, the rest of the door trim being covered in colour coded vinyl. Cloth covered seats were standard, along with upholstered front seat headrests. There was cut pile carpet throughout and there were courtesy lights in all four door openings. Air-conditioning was standard. Nearly everything else was similar to the Fairmont Ghia, except for the dash treatment.

Here the same printed circuit instrument panel was used, the basic car getting a central speedometer, flanked on either side by combined fuel and coolant temperature gauge (left) and combined oil pressure and voltmeter (right). Unlike the XD however, this was not placed in its own binnacle. Instead it was incorporated in a wider facia that extended two thirds of the way across the car incorporating a vertical panel containing the "climate control" knobs. Beneath the facia extension, everything else was much the same as the Falcon with pushbutton radio (including power antenna) and a digital clock. Similarly, the console between the front seats was the same as on the XD, containing air-conditioning ducts into the rear passenger compartment. The steering wheel was straight from the Ghia.

As mentioned above, at launch, the Fairlane came standard with the 4.9 litre V8, with the 5.8 being optional. After several months of average sales, and fleet sales being almost non-existent, Ford were to re-think the Fairlane's engine line-up, and introduced the more economical 4.1 straight six as standard from December 1979. Both the Fairlane and LTD were upgraded in July 1980. There was a new alloy cylinder head, making the car much lighter, and electronic ignition, while the all important sound system was also updated.

In August the same year, Ford released the "Sportsman" series in an attempt to re-kindle flagging sales. The Sportsman featured wool-tweed trim on both the seats and doors, along with a then popular two-tone paint finish. Available two-tone colours included black over silver, metallic midnight blue over white, metallic wedgewood blue over midnight blue, metallic brown over ghost-gum beige - and all combinations could be reversed. The initial 325 Sportsmans came with the 4.1 L6, however later iterations came standard with the 4.9 litre V8.

Visitor Rating:

Click stars to vote

Also see:

Fairlane ZJ Specifications
Falcon/Fairlane Identification Guide
Reader Reviews page 1 of 1
Click here to add your review
Posted Recently
Ken, to me that modification sound like it might have been done by the dealer. It might've come that way from the factory, but I should hope Ford would do a more professional job.
Posted Recently
Ken, restore it to original mate-and then enjoy all the stares! These are now rare,so can only increase in value. The 302 is slow by todays standards-a current 1.8 fourpot would eat it up-but they sound fantastic and is worth preserving.
Posted Recently
I have just taken possession of a a ZJ Fairlane 302 auto with a genuine 118,000 k,s on the clock. It is in particularly good nic and I am still undesided whether to wreck or restore.I have a good idea of the complete history of this car and I was surprised to see when I was looking around underneath it that where the auto selector shaft goes through the floor into the gearbox i noticed this had been cut away with oxy, surely this was not a standard factory process. Could anyone out there tell me something about this installation as I am fairly sure this is a standard car.
Thanking you
Posted Recently
a quick little thing my ZJ has been customized by myself it now sits 4 inches of the deck 16x8 wheels a 5 speed manual sports steering wheel but what i found is that you can lift the steering column a little bit and a XE steering wheel boss kit will improve the reach for the steering if you extend the seat rails for the same reason you may loose your peddle reach and make it really unsafe but i found that lifting the column and sports wheel had made an improvement on seating position the placement of a 5 speed manual has improved fuel economy by half approx 10-11 litres per 100
Posted Recently
I have a zj for 21 years it had a 302 in it gave it to a mate to fix unfortunately someone stole it motor and box thank god i still have the rest looking for a 351 for it to get it going again she is stored away in a shed origanial paint work on it never been smashed couple spots of rust boot lid corner bottom of 1/4 panel got a new boot lid for it so hopefully get started on it soon
Posted Recently
Lionel,I think in the XE/ZK models,the seat runners were longer than XD/ZJ,allowing more rearward travel.Also the steering wheel was closer to the dash in the XE/ZK.
Posted Recently
i have noticed the lack of room for the driver in my zj .what was the modification in later models which moved the drivers seat back to allow more room for the driver i am rebuilding my zj and any help would be appreciated
Posted Recently
My father nearly bought one of these back in 1980. He would have orderd the 4.1 engine and T-bar tranny. The only problem...He test drove one and the front seat wouldn't adjust back on its runners far enough for him. The seating is set up so rear passengers get ALL the available room. Years later I bought a Fairmont XE 4.9 auto and by the XEand ZK,Ford had this oversight sorted out. The ZJ is otherwise a reasonable hauler. Sold by the million's in the bush.
Posted Recently
i have had the zj blue to tone for 30years with the 5.8 done 200,000km and is about to have its first respray great to drive first owner had it for 8mths. and has never been in a accident.
Posted Recently
My father had this model, his second fairlane after his ZC. The car was a pleasure to drive and ride in, roomy and quiet with all the mod cons of the day. Quite a change in style from the 1960's and 70's style fairlane, but always a winner in my books
Reader Rides
Sorry, we don't have any reader rides for the Ford Fairlane ZJ.
Be The First To Upload Pictures Of Your Ford Fairlane ZJ
Ford's For Sale
Ford Meteor Ghia
4 cyl.

Classic Cars

$699 AUD
Fairlane 500 sedan

Classic Cars

$8,000 AUD
fairlane ford


Classic Cars

$22,500 USD
You may also like...