Released in March 1982
, visually there was little to diferentiate the new model Fairlane from its predecessor, the ZJ
. It was naturally under the skin where most changes occured, the most important being the improvement to the 4.1 liter six cylinder engine.
Thanks mainly to the new Weber carburetor, power rose to 105kW @ 3800rpm. The suspension also came in for revision, the ancient leaf pring set-up finally being replaced with all-round coil springs and a Watts link rear suspension - at the time it being considered one of the best "non-independent" suspension systems available.
These changes made the ZK the best handling Fairlane to date, it boasting a smoother sure-footed ride. But there was another "large" benefit from changing the suspension set-up - the change over allowing the engineers to increase the depth of the boot floor - the shallow boot floor on the XD Falcon
and ZJ Fairlane
being often criticised.
Along with the suspension changes, the Ford engineers spent a lot of time addressing NVH, which in theory would have allowed you to better enjoy the wonderful exhaust note of the V8's. But that enjoyment would be short lived, with Ford finding the rather thirsty V8's quickly losing favour. In March 1983
the decision was made to axe them from the line-up.
But it wasn't all bad news - the Ford engineers fitting electronic fuel injection to the 4.1 to give it near 4.9 V8 performance. Inside the cabin a new twin-spoke steering was the stand-out change, the asymmetrical design providing a better driving position by allowing it to be positioned closer to the dash. The front seat featured adjustable lumbar support and cushion tilt. Also added was an electric boot release, electric mirrors, a woodgrain finish in the dashboard and rear headrests.
To differentiate a ZK from the ZG externally, look for a re-designed grille featuring new vertical chrome trims, along with a new tail light cluster. It is easier to pick a ZK from the inside, look for the new asymetrical steering wheel.