(first posted 4/9/2014 – with comments left by the daughter of this car’s owner) Last week I caught myself an Aussie beast rarer than the Tasmanian Tiger: a Ford Landau. This example was being driven by an old dear, at least 70 years old, propped up on cushions. I think she saw me with my phone ready to snap, because the car paused for a moment before running off into the wild. Which makes now the best time for an overview of the 1972-1979 Broughamus Fordaustralis.
In 1972, a completely new design clothed the Australian ‘full-size’ XA Falcon range. As per Ford Australia’s product spread, a LWB Fairlane variant was to be made available. For the previous three years, the Australian Fairlane had essentially been a local version of the US stacked-light Fairlane/Comet. This blue example is the April 1972-released ZF Fairlane.
The XA series was designed by the Ford Australia team of Brian Rossi (who sketched the original Hardtop coupe upon which the entire range was based), Allan Jackson, and design head Jack Telnack. These three individuals were transplanted to the US in May 1968 to take advantage of clay modelling capabilities not yet available in Australia.
According to author Joe Kenwright, the ‘final’ signed-off clay from 1969 as shown here featured a protruding centre in the grille. When Bill Bourke, legendary MD of Ford Australia, saw this he decided to pull it from the ‘bread-and-butter’ ranges, and use it on models anticipated to be even more premium than the Fairlane. The Fairlane itself was to have only a ‘watered down’ version of this protruding grille.
The ZF Fairlane styling differed from the XA (Falcon) mostly at its extremities. The lettered bonnet peak and ‘watered down’ protruding grille with crest and twinset headlights alerted you that this was no mere Falcon, Futura or Fairmont; and the rear light cluster was a unique full width strip arrangement. Inside, front seat passengers enjoyed similar high-backed ‘tombstone’ buckets as in the SWB Fairmont (a higher trim Falcon, for those unfamiliar with Aussie Ford nomenclature), and those in the rear could give their legs a bit more of a stretch.
Aussies could choose a ZF from two levels; the Fairlane Custom and Fairlane 500. The Custom came standard with the 250 I6, and with the 500 it was the 302 V8. Both could be ordered with the 351 Cleveland. The body was 198.8 inches long and 74.6 wide. Wheelbase was 116 in. (compared with 111 in. in the SWB models) and track was 60.5 (front) and 60 (rear). If you were too far away to see the badging, the Fairlane 500 could be distinguished by the chrome strip running under the doors.
In 1973, Ford’s highest premium range was launched. Intended as a replacement for the 72 Galaxie LTD which had been brought in by Ford Australia and converted to RHD, the P5 LTD–as photographed here by Glen.h–was much closer in appearance to its Aussie brethren. The snout from the original XA clay model was finally utilised in its uninterrupted horizontal-bar form. And on either side was an Aussie-made first; headlights hidden behind vacuum-operated flip-up covers.
The P5 LTD was even longer than the Fairlane. Wheelbase was increased to 121 inches and overall length to 203.8 inches, with that wheelbase increase being taken by the rear doors. The LTD featured unique side markers front and rear, and the rear quarters were re-profiled with a taller edged ‘fin’. The 351 came standard along with a plusher interior and air conditioning. The extra-rare 1975 LTD Town Car came with a leather bound owner’s manual and an LTD umbrella.
And if the 1973 LTD wasn’t enough to keep the patriotic elite in a frenzy, Ford concurrently launched the Landau. It was a Falcon Hardtop body dressed in an LTD tuxedo inside and out. The first Aussie-built car to feature four-wheel disc brakes, but not the first ‘super’ premium coupe built here (that honour goes to the 1971 Chrysler by Chrysler CH Two Door Coupe). Pictured here is a 1975 model wearing disc wheelcovers from the LTD Town Car (initially a fiftieth anniversary commemorative trim package) .
When you compare the profile with the incoming XB Hardtop, the most visible change to the Landau is the shape of the rear quarter window. This ‘filling-in’ of the metal work, coupled with the high moisture-retention vinyl roof, resulted in much ownership angst and presumably many casualties in the years since. The Landau also received the full width rear light strip from the P5 LTD, which itself was different from the Fairlane version. (The 1973 ZG Fairlane was pretty much the same as the ZF, with an eggcrate-type grille replacing the more horizontal ZF version.)
In 1976 the curvy bread-and-butter range received its final styling warmover as the XC. The longer wheelbase saloons copped a more substantial redesign. Their bodies received a squarer set of edges and ends in keeping with trends in the US market. The ZH Fairlane had the same 116 in. wheelbase as the ZF/ZG, but was now 204.6 in. long and 77 in. wide. The 250 I6 was dropped from the ZH, so the 500 became the base model and the Marquis was introduced as the Fairlane’s top model. Those squarish lines made the ZH perhaps the most harmonious expression of all these 70s super premium Fords.
Again, the LTD received the most distinctive visage, this time with a prominent upright grille that evoked Britain’s finest. Coded P6, this car was now 211.2 in. long on its 121 in. wheelbase. Width was the same as the ZH. Some may say that face is straight off the Cordoba, I prefer to think Ford consulted my Grandfather who had replaced his company Galaxie with a Volvo 164 to carry him in his retirement.
Dimensional differences are most apparent in these profile shots. The white Fairlane was captured recently by fellow carspotter AVL, whilst the lens-flared LTD is the best I could get with my phone camera (apologies). The ZH Fairlane received the newly waist-lined rear doors from the XC sedan, and the P6 LTD carried over the glasshouse and doors from the P5. These two bodies did a very effective job of hiding their curvy origins.
Apparently an updated P6 Landau Hardtop was considered, but never moved past a single styling proposal. Production numbers for the P5 Landau are quoted at 272 or 1385, either way not very many and for Ford Australia, not nearly enough to justify the costs when the base hardtop was nearing run-out mode. 1979 marked the end of the curvy XA-XC period for Ford. It was to be replaced by the squarebox XD range, and the super premium models followed suit. But that story is for another time.
It was astonishing enough capturing an unrestored Landau on the road. Luckier still, I got it with headlights exposed and in use, even though it was still light enough to shoot. But for me the most amazing thing was the diminutive dame driving it. I can still picture her as she glided past; hat pulled down tightly, perched high in the cockpit and totally in control of her power-everythinged 351-engined beast. Ma’am, if you’re reading this, you have my deep admiration. I wish we could have had a chat.
The two-doors look like the offspring of a Torino and a Cutlass…
I also picked up on some late ’60s Cutlass in the lead photo, but don’t see much of it in the rest of the photos.
These look pretty nice. Usually something is lost in translation when scaling down a full size design, but I think these might actually look better than the larger but similar looking US Fords.
Ok, on second read, these are actually pretty large, so I’m even more impressed at how they kept the styling elements but managed to make them look trimmer than the US versions.
The lack of 5 mph bumpers keeps these looking quite a bit trimmer. Especially after Ford’s approach of hanging them on bolt upright front and rear ends.
Excellent treatment, Don. These are fascinating to this Yank on multiple levels.
One point especially is that the Aussie LTD was on the same 121 inch wheelbase as the US LTD, but the Aussie version looks so much trimmer. And it’s not just the more petite bumpers (though they help). Perhaps it is the Maverick-like roofline playing tricks on my eyes.
Your feature car has one bad note to me – those headlight covers (when closed) are uforgiveably cluttered. A pair of horizontal grilles without the break in the middle of each side would have looked so much cleaner. But what would the 70s have been without clutter. 🙂
That body colored segment does throw off the overall look doesn’t it?
When I first heard “A Fire of Gidgee Coal” by Slim Dusty, I imagined the old boy being chauffeured in a 1970s LTD or Fairlane. I think it’s the mix of luxury and…mundanity. Is “mundanity” a word? Maybe also that these cars seemed to represent another shift away from the “old” Australia.
I’m sure everyone on here is too cool to listen to Slim Dusty anyway 😉
Just for you tonito. Slim and Old Purple, his beloved stacklight Fairlane.
Excellent! Had no idea he was a “Ford man” when I made the comment.
I recall seeing a pretty good video of Slim and Old Purple in the middle of the outback. Looked like a ridiculous place for a brougham but then again I remember going hunting on muddy logging roads with a Dodge Polara before 4x4s became ubiquitous.
I get a kick out of Slim Dusty’s music. He’s like an Australian version of the great Stompin Tom Connors.
These were always popular in the bush- could be ordered with “Country Pack” lifted heavy duty suspension!
I take it they no longer offer “country pack”? I briefly owned an EL and passed up on a country pack version, complete with roo bar, at auction before I bought it. Wish I’d had an excuse to buy it but we were living in the middle of Perth.
Great job, Don. These are so unfamiliar to me yet so familiar in some ways – sort of like having a familiar meal far from home.
It’s rather humorous how these used wheels and wheel covers also utilized on NA Fords.
Those “Marquis” wheel covers (on the black over dark blue LTD) will be found by archeologists globally thousands of years from now. I can hear the comments: “What the hell? How many of these damn things did they make?”
It reminds me a bit of when we went to Japan a year ago to visit a foreign exchange student–obviously all sorts of Japan-only models, kei cars and kei trucks and flat-nose vans and MPVs, but every so often I’d spot a slightly-tweaked RAV4, CR-V or other American-type model and it would remind me of home.
Awesome photos! Those Aussie Fords are all gorgeous!
I love these cars. It’s like looking at design studies that didn’t go into production in North America. A blend of so many U.S. cars, but Galaxie, Torino, and Montego are certainly dominate.
The dark blue LTD sedan with the black vinyl roof is a bit of the odd man out. A mutated U.S. 1975 Chrysler Cordoba front with an AMC Matador rear end. The parts delivery truck must have hit the wrong factory that day.
AU was fortunate to avoid the whole U.S. 5 MPH bumper fiasco – ugly looks and serious weight gain are not helpful to anybody’s automotive experience.
Thanks for a great piece!
Amazing! It’s like a down under, parallel Ford universe. Thanks Don for enlightening us Yanks. You have to hand it to Ford for designing such unique vehicles just for the Aussie market. They could have just converted a bunch of Torinos to RHD and called it a day.
The LTD with the upright grill doesn’t look bad. A bit Cordoba like. Is the wire mesh on the headlights factory standard? On the other hand the “Ford LTD Town Car” is a bit overdone. The hidden headlight covers are garish and those color keyed wheel covers just don’t work.
Those wire mesh stone guards were a common aftermarket accessory on country cars in the days of round headlights.
These look much, much better than concurrent 70s American Fords. I like the Landau!
Everytime Broghamitis forms a fog over CC those OTT hardtops spring to mind I knew a bloke who had one every fomoco extra they had was crammed into it and in true Aussie Ford tradition most of it didnt work, you people blather on about Lucas but Autolite leaves them in the dust the best Aussie Fords had crank windows and no air or power accessories because if it had them they dont work, nice cars the big OZ Fords but every single one Ive ever seen has a door panel off to fix the window or door lock or the sunroof is jammed open/closed boot opens with a screwdriver bonnet with a wire under the front guard, rope door handles, they will keep going but it was Ford that kept crank windows popular in Oz especially these 70s cars.
To be fair, not many Aussies bought the power windows and sunroofs. Maybe we sent them all over to NZ?
But I’m with you on bonnet release cables and window regulators. And you forgot to mention accelerator cables….
Geez Bryce, give it a rest. Everytime there is a CC regarding OZ Falcons you come out all guns blazing with yet another rant about how poor they are. Why don’t you say something positive about Falcons for a change instead of focussing on those things that afflicted almost every car made in the seventies.
And for the record I have owned 200 + cars and approximately 100 of those have been Falcons and I have driven them all over Australia in often punishing and extreme circumstances. I can honestly say that experience with Falcon reliability is completely opposite to yours.
Ive never had problems with Fords breaking down in the reliability stakes its just the things that repeatedly break on them that become annoying and having to spot weld the steering adjusters to keep the alignment correct Mechanically they were fairly robust with only the automatics letting them down at high mileages by failing. Quite likely your experience is with newer cars rather than the high mileage beaters I used to drive.
He’s a deadset clown mate, sounds like he buys beaten up shit boxes that have done NASA like mileage then winges and whines that there no good. A dead set arse clown!!!
What are you talking about – and how old and uncared for were these cars when you got hold of them? My father had an unbrokebn string of Australian Fords from 1965 until 1989. Started with a ’65 Falcon Deluxe and ended with an ’89 LTD. He had Falons, Fairmonts, Fairlaines, LTD’s – many had electric windows and I do not recal a single problem with them – ever. He regularly drove country roads, sometimes unsealed and always said these were the cars for the job. Indeed the Fairlane for 30 years the absolute default car for beter off country folk. Evryone else had a Ford Falcon Ute and HARDLY ANYONE had a large GM or Chrysler product. They had a reputation for rugged reliabiliy and – important out west – excellent air conditioning. Yes, Fairlanes came with manual winding windows until well into the 1990’s but no one cared because windows were up and air con on almost all of the time!
These cars were anything but unreliable and many are still doing service today out there in the country.
They were used cars some tidy some not, but none were new or low mileage, My XB GS wagon had AC I wouldnt describe it as very good, might have been better on new cars.
Thanks for this comprehensive look at these cars. We’ve taken little nibbles at the cars before, but it’s hard to get a proper perspective on them having never seen them in the flesh.
So I’d like to remind our readers that these cars are the ultimate expression (in size) o f the ‘Falcon Platform”, given the 121″ wheelbase and 211″ length. Quite the stretch from the 1960 Falcon’s 109″. I really need to update and expand that post with these Australian “Super Falcons”.
Thanks Paul. I thought I had more links in this article.
For anyone interested in the competitive set,
Here is a CH Chrysler by Chrysler:
Here is a GM-Holden Statesman
And for the 0.001% of the CC population who don’t know (and for any newcomers), here is the 72 Galaxie LTD which was replaced by the P5
A few points of clarification; the full-width rear light strip is actually cosmetic, the lights function at either end and the centre part is brake-lense material only.
Both quoted production figures for the Landau came from knowledgeable sources, but I’m inclined to think the larger number is correct.
Although this article was about the lwb variants, for comparison with the ZH and P6, below is a swb XC Fairmont. It shows the different profile on the rear doors compared with the XA and XB variants.
I see some corporate Ford front if you park that XC Fairmont next to the Euro-Granada from the seventies for example.
I have always loved that coupe. Some have the curved waistline (the earlier ones?) but this very one with the straight is super hot, Johannes.
I like it too. From the days that Ford Europe had 3 excellent coupe models: Taunus, Granada and Capri.
My Mum is the dame in your photo of the Ford Landau! And trust me, she’s waaay more than 70! She was thrilled about that, trust me! She would be very happy to chat to you about her pride and joy, pm me and I’d be happy to organise it for you! 🙂
Hi Gillian, great to hear about your mum. Please pass on the genuine respects of the entire CC community. Would that we could all be keeping on in such style.
Thanks Don, I’ll let her know! For the record, she’s 5’2″, my Dad bought the Landau for her new in 1975, and she’s recently taken out one of the cushions, so she now sits on 2, not 3!! And you would be amazed if I told you how old she really is!
A gentlemen never asks.
And a woman of my mother’s ilk never tells! 🙂
One of the Ford Australia designers explained to me that due to the perenially tight budgets, every Aussie Falcon from XK to XF used the original 1960 floorpan. The different wheelbases for sedan, wagon, coupe, ute and luxury models was achieved by different overlap of the front and rear sections. I have a feeling the firewall may not have changed much, either. The cowl height stayed pretty high, right through. As he explained, it was the most expensive panel to design, and customers didn’t look at it, so why waste money doing a new one?
The ute/panelvan used the same body structure from the cab back from the XA all the way until the all new AU platform. Even the external panels are largely the same.
Nice work, Don. I see more than a little Mopar in the styling, especially in that Cordoba-like LTD front-end treatment. Coincidentally, Yahoo Auto News recently posted this shot of the new Falcon GT coming soon to Australian Ford showrooms.
Nice pic but the blue striped XC Coupe in the background isnt a GT its the numbered Cobra, Ford two door cars had become impossible to sell and with4/ 500 odd already built coup’es they faced a problem of disposing of them, the solution was create a special so the whole batch became white with Carroll Shelby markings and numbered but the were mechanically unaltered from stock so not GTs but collectable all the same.
Amazingly they’re more collectible than an ‘ordinary’ GT – yet the ordinary GT is a rarer beast these days. Go figure!
That is actually the 2012 R-Spec car. The new one is called the GT F (for Final, although I can only imagine the variations people will come up with). It hasn’t quite been revealed yet but it will be a hamburger-with-the-lot, perhaps will have some new stripes, perhaps more power.
Its worth noting that the power output of 335kW/450hp does not include the overboost these cars have that add at least 10 percent on top. On a chassis dyno they normally see up to 450rwhp.
My only exposure to these cars has been through repeated viewings of “Mad Max”. I’ve never seen one in real life. I really like that XB hardtop, it looks to me like the best styling features of the Torino and the Mustang were combined when they sculpted the first clay model of it. That ’73 LTD looks like an AMX with a photoshopped trunk.
Thanks Don,I really like the yellow 2 door fastback.I see a lot of the Torino/Cyclone in it 2 of my favourite American cars.I’ve been an Aussie Ford fan since seeing Mad Max,occasionally Australian cars turn up at shows in the UK,Mopars being best represented on the classic scene.The Vauxhall Monaro (a Holden in drag) is quite a common sight despite the price of the hard stuff and is the only modern Australian car seen in quantity.I wish they’d sold a few Falcons over here to show the Chrysler 300 and Monaro who the Daddy is
+1, definitely some 1970 Torino fastback vibe there; one of my favorites, too.
It must take serious quid to operate a Monaro in the UK. But at least you get RHD with that ‘Vette engine.
The early versions come across very much as a 7/8 scale 1970-’71 Torino. The Town Car/Landau wheel covers look like 1972-’73 Thunderbird pieces.
I suspect the part numbers are identical.
They are- imported to give the whole Lincoln/Tbird glamour to the Au Fords.
Actually, they ae Thunderbird wheel covers! My father took deivery of an LTD in Australia in 1974. It had thise wheel covers, but with the thunderbird logo in the centrs! It also had a strange emblem at the centre of the stering wheel – looked like a wikd cat. Years later I found out that those steering wheels were actually Mercury Couger wheels complete with the “rim squeeze” horn. Obviously they did not gt around to swapping wheel cover or steering wheel logos on dads car!
Very familiar cars though thin on the ground in NZ these days, a couple of friends ran Fairlanes good cars for the itinerant worker plenty of room and power for for long sustained highway trips, One guy has the later LTD with a 400 Lincoln motor for extra grunt though he removed the vinyl top a mistake as it turned out the body flexing means the paint in the seams cracks constantly promoting rust and you can see it normally this feature is kept hidden and the roof just rusts away under the vinyl unnoticed. My favourite is the XB model the XA rusted ferrociously the XB not quite so bad I never liked the blanding of the XC and avoided buying one but had several XB sedans a wagon and panelvan good cheap end of life disposables they all gave good service before being dumped usually due to rust or worn out steering parts being more expensive than replacement cars.
For some reason I really want that blue Marquis. Badly.
Those are all good looking, I would really dig them if they were two door. That Landau Falcon/LTD car was really sharp.
It’s insane how much those coupes look like Javelins.
Falcons and Fairlanes from this era are a rare sight these days, but in my little country town there were two P6 LTDs until a few years ago. One suffered an underhood fire in High Street, and I haven’t seen it since. The other one is around every few weeks.
Yep, I caught my P6 in a country town, AVL caught his on the way to Shep. The bigness of these cars was always appreciated by regional types.
Chances are most of those former Fairlane/LTD buyers now drive Landcruisers or similar.
I like the earlier and the much later Australia Ford Falcons. Practical cars. This generation of Australia Fords are too big and soft. Gaudy. A celebration of bad taste and excess. Disco and cocaine.
I enjoyed the story as well as the photos. The thing that was always interesting were Australia Fords and Holdens. You often wondered how much they borrowed from other branches of GM and Ford. I know I see Lincoln, Mercury and 70’s Fords in the photos. In a way Australia was like North America with its cars. Now GM and Ford have integrated them into the fold, there will be no more unique Fords or Holdens. It is just interesting looking at these photos and hearing the stories. The one photo with the name Ford LTD Town Car was interesting to me. We recently lost out Town Car in 2011. I noticed the 70’s Grand Marquis wheel covers, and 70’s Lincoln exterior mirrors. The times have indeed changed things..
The ‘Town Car’ limited edition originally applied to 250 P5 LTDs and 250 ZG Fairlanes for the 50th Anniversary. In my research, I could find no indication that the P5 Landau was also available as a Town Car, but the profile brochure pic featured shows it wearing the same wheel covers as the P5 TC. The Gold Landau at the header is wearing the more common (if I can use that term here) ribbed wheel covers. The Town Car term was subsequently used on the P6, but I don’t know whether it was another limited edition.
The ribbed wheel cover was the original design for the LTD/landau. I remember “Modern Motor” criticised them for the amount the centres protruded – guess they damaged some on a test car!
IIRC the smooth “Town Car” style were a later running change on the P5. I suspect the shipment of the original style ran out, and they had to take what the US sent them. 🙂
Thanks for that, Old Pete.
No worries. I was in my late teens when those cars came out. It was absolutely amazing what our car industry came up with in those days!
That Landau totally does it for me despite the nasty color. I love the thin bumpers, long, full-width taillight and the hidden headlights. “Strangely gorgeous” comes to mind.
Great article Don, a really nice tour through the range. The production number for the Landau is definitely 1385 rather than 272 – there are a lot more around than that! I vaguely remember seeing build numbers for the different years they were made that also supported the larger number. I think the LTD & Landau were also unique in having a 4 barrel carb on the non-GT engine, instead of the 2 barrel, presumably to cater for the extra weight.
Thanks, John. I think you’ve forgotten more than I know on these things. One article mentioned the Landau received the 2V and the LTD got the 4V. My very basic understanding of engines is that the 4V was phased out for the XB. I always assumed this was number of valves per cyl, but my reading indicates this is Venturi and relates to the carby. Can you clarify this for me?
Great article Don. The correct identification of the 351 has always raised plenty of questions. Its my understanding that in America the 351 Cleveland came in two varieties. The 2V which had a two barrel carb, small ports and a general low state of tune. And there was the 4V version which had a four barrel carb and much larger ports, some had closed chamber heads and hot cams.
In Australian Fords they had the same set up with the 2V destined for use in Falcons and Fairlanes etc and the 4V used primarily for the GT’s and the occasional Police car.
Typically though, the Aussies designed a four barrel inlet manifold to suit the small port head but it was still referred to as a 4V because of the number of venturis. This engine was used in the automatic XA GT’s, LTD and Landau.
As a former technical advisor and founding member of a Falcon GT club with a minor obsession with originality I can assure you that there is no easy answer to your question.
Cheers Richarbl. Any RPO83 Hardtops in your ownership past?
Sadly no but I have owned two genuine original XA GT’s. One was a four door in dark green and fitted with the 15″ Bathurst Globes.
Interestingly the only option fitted to the car was electric windows.
Otherwise standard with the open chamber 4V 351, top loader, 9″ diff and track rods.
The other XA GT came from the factory loaded to the gills, what we called a “hamburger with the lot”.
It was an orange four door with the small port 4V engine and came with air, steer, auto, elec windows, sunroof, 8 track, cloth inserts, rear mount antennae, sun visor, rear venetian, bumper overiders and a heap of other stuff. It was like the original buyer walked into the dealership and ticked every single option box.
Drool. XA is my fave Aussie fomoco. Had an all original 250 Fairmont back in the 90s and passed on a one-owner 302 Lime GS Hardtop when I was still trying to get my Fiat right. So orig, it was still on its cheesecutters.
I wouldn’t expect that is true Don but it is an interest of mine. Definitely not 4 valves per cylinder on a pushrod V8 in the early 1970s!
Terminology is a bit tricky for these, due to the changeover from large to small port heads, Ford Aust continued the 4V designation whereas some people make a distinction between the head types. On the Clevelands the 4V/large port heads were really too big for street use, they were basically the same as the Boss 302 heads designed for Trans Am racing, the 2V heads flow plenty of air.
Thanks John, that’s why there’s not much talk of what’s under the bonnet in my articles. Nice find below. AVL had his own CC effect when he saw a restored black one on the road recently.
Friend of mine bought a cheap XB hardtop that seemed to go extra well and used lots of fuel it turned out to have a four barrel carb and it appeared to be OEM, maybe it was it was a 73 car so an early XB, I wanted to buy it but he wouldnt sell and by the time he did rust had got too far advanced to be roadworthy, Shepparton auto wreckers finished up with it.
Rust seems to have claimed most of these now- I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Hardtop that hasn’t rusted under the rear window.
The good thing is that they are now rare and old enough that people will make the effort to save the ones that are left.
You’re right about the rust with these, especially the coupes. It’s like the Achilles Heel to one of the best looking fords of all time.
Excellent write up Don. It’s been many years since I’ve seen a Landau. A super rare sight, even at classic ford shows. It’s probably in the running with the Mustang Sportsroof as the worst car ever created for reverse parking, so the lady behind the wheel definitely receives my commendation! I remember the interiors in these being super plush, with a leather wrapped center console fitted with fancy slider controls for the air con and heater. It looked more akin to something you might see in a Rolls Royce or Bentley interior.
The 70’s is my favorite decade for Aussie cars. Especially Fords, as my first car was an 1973 XA Falcon 500 sedan. (almost identical to the one in the third picture) I often wished I had the niceties that a Fairlane would have provided, especially disk brakes! Sure, the styling didn’t promote much in terms of outward visibility. From behind the wheel I find these cars create the illusion of being in something much larger due to the width, low seat position, and high sills.
The front end on the ZF Fairlane and the styling proposal for the hardtop remind me an awful lot of the 1970 Mercury Montego, only a lot more subdued.
Speaking of Aussie Broughams, I spent half of today helping a mate pull the 225 slant six out of his VF Valiant VIP. Then I tinkered with my not-so-broughamy Pinto. haha
I remember a pic of your XA from another post. The XA Fairmont came with the tombstones and front power discs; had a hair-raising descent down a winding coast/cliff road south of Sydney when the power went.
I think the similarities between the Montego and this original clay are not coincidental. Bill Bourke and Bunkie Knudsen were good friends, apparently. Ford US were so impressed with the styling work of the Australian team on this project, they cleared funds for a full clay facility in Melbourne.
CC effect on the VIP. Just found out a mate of a mate is selling his VG VIP, trying to coax another mate into considering it. I’ve got coverage of this VF, hoping to give it a write up at some point. They are rare cars in Melb, a bit more common in their home town of Adelaide.
Yeah, I remember you mentioning your Fairmont. I know disk brakes became standard equipment across the whole range when the XB arrived. Before then it was optional for the 500 unless the car was equipped with a V8. I live in the Dandenong Ranges now, and it’s almost nerve-racking to imagine commuting to work on the twisty mountain roads with it.
Those VIP’s sure aren’t common, and they have a lot of nice unique touches over the lesser Valiant models. My friend’s is a barn find that has been off the road since the mid 80’s. It was well taken care of before being put into storage, and the interior is mint!
Funnily enough, I just made the point in the Plymouth Satellite thread about the Mercury Montego providing the basis for the front-end styling of the ZF-ZG Fairlanes.
Did you give the Chrysler VIP a write-up? As a wee lad in the early eighties, my Dad had one just like your picture. I think most of them came in white with a black vinyl roof. That was back when the styling of them was still an amalgum of Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant.
No, haven’t got to it yet. A mate’s mate is selling his VG VIP and I want to get pics for the piece, but I’m just swamped and don’t know when I’ll get to it. Missed a VE VIP wagon when I was living in Adelaide. D’oh.
Your call on the ZH and the 1970 Monterey is great spotting. I’m surprised they looked so far back in time for reference.
Btw, we could always do with a VJ write up.
I dug out an old shot of this heavily patinated Landau…
Wow! After seeing your pic I love this car even more. Thanks for posting John H.
Great article Don.
Appreciate the photo, AVL.
Very late here Don, but great work! 🙂
CC effect in full force, I saw a ZH Failane on Saturday morning!
My favourite Australian Fords are the XY Falcon (Fairmont), the XB Falcon (Fairmont), the ZF Fairlane and ZH Fairlane, the P5 LTD, all sedans and station wagons.
You obviously find this stuff as absorbing as I do.
Wheels magazine profiled the all-new ZH Fairlane/Marquis in their November 1976 edition (pages 30-35 with some great pics). They mostly made a lot of jokes about needing a share in an Arab’s pipeline in order to be able to afford to run one. In my experience that was only true if drivers had heavy feet. Seventies Fords and Valiants are my big love and still are. I’ve always bought well-worn examples and treated them with respect and they’ve always delivered me with cheap, reliable and very comfortable transport.
About that Ford article – they admitted that the new model “obviously draws too heavily on the American Ford and Mercury styling of the late ’60’s and early ’70’s.” They didn’t name the actual models Ford designers had taken their styling cues from, so that leaves us to look at pictures and make our own comparisons. I think the 1970 Marquis and Marauder bear the most resemblance to the rear of a ZH Fairlane.
As I said in the other article, I thought the frontal treatment for the ZH came from the 1970 Meteor and/or Monterey. Before we finish with the ZH – Wheels revealed that the powered front seats in the Marquis were lifted directly out of the Ford Thunderbird and cut down to size. Buyers found them less comfortable and actually preferred the standard Falcon 500 bucket seats.
I have another little titbit that may be of interest to you. It comes from Modern Motor magazine (October 1976). They reviewed the P6 LTD – the second and final LTD to be made on a larger wheelbase to the Fairlane. On page 49, they reported that “ex-Ford Australia MD Bill Bourke (now number three man in Dearborn) is so impressed with the latest P6 that the second-only finished car from the pilot production batch was hastily shipped to the U.S. so Burke could teach the Yanks a few things about building cars. He’s always said that Australia’s ‘big’ cars were the best in the world.”
Appreciate the info, Doctor. Where is Bill Bourke when we need him now?
It’s too bad the Australian Fords were never sold in the USA. I would think they were better built than that of our US built Fords.
That car in the first picture, with the same lady driver is a regular of Burke Rd. She goes down everyday circa 17:15-17:30.
I didn’t know what it was, it just looked like Ford applied the Brougham treatment to MadMax’s car.
I’m the owner of a Falcon XB
Australian made. April 1976.
250cid, coupled to a Borg Warner 35.
This is the only Falcon XB on Spanish plates.
In my opinión this car is by far, more strong built and better finished than American counterpants, even mostly of current European models of seventies.
Wow Fernando, styling ride. The XB is much lusted after by quite a few of our regulars.
I’m very proud to drive this piece, of Australian iron.
So rare, and much loved everywhere, everyone.
Very interesting to see one in Spain – which region are you from Fernando?
Burgos, Northern Spain?
A belated thanks for the reply Fernando – my brother-in-law is from Spain – Galicia
My favourite model. Owned several sedans wagon and van no hardtops or utes.
Nice car and 76 must be one of the last ones built.
well I just got a surprise when trying to find a picture of a ZF online… I found my actual car!
I saw the grand old dame driving her Landau in Camberwell a few months ago and was able to bail her up for a chat for a few minutes, and take a few very bad photos of the car in the underground car park. Unfortunately her car is extremely rusty in quite a few places, but that is typical of the XA-XB era cars. The XB was better than the XA for rust and the XC was quite a lot better. My first car was an XA Fairmont in Tropicana Green that was very uncool. It had a 250 and hidden rust that burst forth at the bottom of all of the doors and rear quarter panels about 6-9 months after I bought it from a panel beater and bog master. It was the first fully Australian-designed Ford and it’s a real pity that is coming to an end. Will we have the same problems with imported US Fords we had with the 1960 Falcons?
If I could buy any Ford car, I’d buy anything Australian built. My favourite Fords are the ZF Fairlane, the XB Fairmont, and the P5 LTD.
A lot of people think that way in NZ at the moment and prices for 70s Aussie cars have climbed to stupid levels, 20k for restorable examples is being asked whether or not its being paid I’d like to hope not.
I appreciate the attention to these cars. Most of my exposure to this era of cars is whatever was near me in Northwest Indiana growing up. Like many Americans, I was unaware of anything else existing outside of my visual circumference. So now though I am aware of this place called “You-Rup” and a place called “A-Zhah” there are still gaps I am filling in. Australian cars are like American cars would have been without the then-new emission and safety regulations. Like an alternate universe of great ’70’s brougham. It is cool to learn all the models all over again in this other world. So thanks for putting so much information in one place because as I said I am American and would rather just sit here and be awesome.
So they kept the old body on the LTD? I’m guessing b/c it was a relatively low volume car, and not worth the update. A bit like Imperial keeping it’s cowl until 1967.
By U.S standards all our cars are low volume, you’re talking about a country with the population of Texas, remarkable we made such a wide range of vehicles let alone for a time there designed them as well.
The P5 LTD, was released late in the XA series production run (August 1973) and as a result ran concurrently with the XB series until the entire range was updated with the arrival of the XC series for 1976.
My Landau, which I bought when my CL Charger was stolen, and foolishly traded for next to nothing on a ‘sensible’ Camry in the early ’90s. It was far from a fine example of its species, the vacuum-lift light covers and three out of four power windows didn’t work, and it had been sprayed red all over (yes, even the vinyl roof!) by its previous owner, a *ahem* young gentleman of Southern European extraction (fellow aussies will remember what we used to call ’em…)
Got about ten gallons to the mile, as I recall.