Ford BF Fairlane G8: future classic

By: Joe Kenwright

Presented by

Future Classic: Will the Ford BF Fairlane G8 make collectible status? Kenwright reckons it will

Ford BF Fairlane G8: future classic
Ford BF Fairlane G8

 

Ford BF Fairlane G8

Since the May 2007 announcement that production of the local Fairlane was about to end, prices of all models have steadily risen. This is indicative of the huge affection felt for a nameplate that had continued uninterrupted for 40 years - exclusively to Australia from 1968.

In terms of differentiation over its Falcon starting point, the 1999-2002 AU Fairlane was the most distinctive since the ZH Fairlane of 1976. Even its Holden rival, the WH Statesman with its export-funded restyle, more closely resembled its donor Commodore. But in 2003, that all changed with the arrival of the BA Fairlane which, apart from its rear pillars, was barely distinguishable from a Fairmont Ghia.

The October 2005 BF upgrade created the best Fairlane of all and marked the arrival of the exclusive G8 model. But by the time production ended on December 13, 2007, the Fairlane had fallen too far behind Holden's all-new WM Statesman/Caprice. Worse, the WM boasted the first fully-extended rear doors in a local long-wheelbase model in 20 years, at a time when rear access was a Fairlane sore point. Local volumes were too tiny to justify the huge catch-up investment. Ford said as much.

Because the BF MkII upgrade in October 2006 could do little to address this, it bypassed the Fairlane and awarded the Fairmont Ghia fresher looks and a classier interior to woo private buyers, while fleets devoured the last Fairlanes. It confirmed that the Fairlane was doomed months before its fate was announced. As scarce investment dollars were split between keeping a local Territory and Falcon alive, Ford had no room for sentimentality.

Four years later, the BF Fairlane G8 can be judged on its merits. The October 2005 BF facelift introduced the class-leading ZF six-speed auto behind the 5.4-litre SOHC V8, also upgraded with a boost in fuel economy and performance. The smooth, easy-going V8 - faithful to the original Fairlane heritage - was up 10kW to 230kW, and an extra 30Nm of torque meant a fat 500Nm at 3500rpm, perfect for the Fairlane.

The BF Fairlane V8's G8 badge replaced G220, discouraging any comparisons with the Statesman's 245kW Gen III V8 while keeping it aloof of six-cylinder models. It was a wise move as the G8's extra 30Nm and the brilliant auto's two extra speeds better enhanced the BF's superior chassis engineering and heavier structure, which was a generation ahead of Holden's WL.

So the final Fairlane did have its day, even if it only lasted until the VE Commodore-based WM arrived in August '06. Yet it was still long enough to make the rare BF Fairlane G8 and its LTD V8 stablemate desirable long-term property - providing neither are fleet white to avoid an unwelcome reminder of their final days.

 

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