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.
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.
At launch, the Fairlane came standard with the 4.9 liter 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 colors 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 liter V8.