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Member Vehicle: 1970 ZC Fairlane 500

Words and images by Steve B.

Year, Make, Model, Variant: 

  • 1970 August – Broadmeadows VIC Build
  • Ford
  • ZC Fairlane 500

Special features: 

  • The poverty pack Fairlane’s were called ‘Fairlane Customs’, and often came with 6 cylinder engines, drum brakes and rubber floor mats.
  • The mid range Fairlane was a Fairlane 500, with a 302 V8.
  • Further up the tree was the Fairlane 500, with 351 V8. 
  • Options were open to any model. (air con, carpet, vinyl roof, rear demister, colours etc)
  • Some of the most revered Fairlane’s are the 351 ZC Fairlane 500. They ran the same 351 V8 running gear as a XW GT, so are seen as a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and are really worth big dollars these days.
  • Although the next model Fairlane ZD is usually more desirable than a ZC, and could also be ordered with a 351V8, it wasn’t the high compression 351 V8 fitted to XY GT’s, but a lesser performance 351. Hence why the ZC model with 351 is more revered amongst gear heads.

Anything weird, odd or different about this vehicle: 

  • Ford built 6977 1970 ZC Fairlane 500 sedans.
  • In the engine, colour, trim and options ordered for my car (optioned in Lime Frost Metallic, Light Grey Interior, Seatbelts and heavy duty battery) – there are 5 identical Fairlanes in this combo built.
  • Many of the hanging panels / underlying architecture / running gear / switches / interior are interchangeable with Falcons of the era.
  • For example – the doors are interchangeable from Falcon / Fairlane variant.
  • Front and rear look different, but these are hang on panels, and you can add a Fairlane front end to a falcon and vice versa, with a set of spanners.
  • Main difference is wheelbase. Fairlane was 116inch wheelbase, whereas the falcon was 111inches – so Fairlane was the long wheelbase luxury variant.
  • The extra 5 inches was spliced in behind the rear door, adding primarily to rear seat leg room. As shown in the images here:

How I got it & the provenance/background of the car: 

  • It was an August 1970 Build, originally delivered to Genders Motors, Lithgow NSW.
  • The car is just about to turn 51 years of age.
  • I purchased the car approx. 20 years, in Lithgow, so I strongly suspect it was purchased, driven and garaged in Lithgow, and didn’t leave far from home.
  • Was supposedly a farmers ‘Sunday Shopping / Church Car’ according to the seller, but I have heard that way too often, and suspect it’s a nice story but far from the truth.

Why I love it: 

  • I always had a thing for the ‘shotgun’ front end headlamps.
  • At the time, it was an affordable classic.
  • It’s a 6 seater – love getting the family bundled in for a cruise from time to time.
  • Reliable, parts still ok to find.
  • Being a close cousin to the Falcon, a lot of parts are now reproduced by the GT parts suppliers.

What I have done to it: 

  • Very little, it was very original, right down to hubcaps when purchased.
  • After looking at a number of cars, this one was chosen for its originality and condition. All stainless steel trim was in very good condition, all interior trim there, no holes cut in dash for aftermarket radio / gauges, etc. It needs a respray, but all the hard to find bits were there.
  • Initially, it needed a radiator re-core, refurbish brakes and tidy up some suspension and hoses, but nothing significant, it has simply been sitting in a shed a long time and needed a bit of a refresh of fluids to get up and running.
  • The one upgrade I absolutely love, is I switched to electronic ignition. Makes the car a pleasure to drive. Start and go. No multi minute warmups anymore.

How other people could procure something similar: 

  • There are still plenty of ZC / ZD Fairlane’s about, so not too tough to find.
  • The 351 Fairlanes are the expensive variant, so if you are ok with a 302, there are still plenty of relatively affordable options out there on the market.
  • Condition is everything. So look for good trim and as rust free as possible.
  • Mechanically, they are agricultural and run forever, and simple to do ‘spanner work’ on. So a good bodied car with a slipping transmission or smoky engine isn’t a deal breaker.

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