Introduced in 1997, the NL Fairlane went on to find further refinement beyond it's NF predecessor. Representing one of the luxury twins of Ford Australia, the Fairlane Ghia (also offered in a Concorde spec) provided enough room and creature comforts to keep the high fliers happy whilst keeping maintenance costs low.
My experience with the Fairlane Ghia was unique, as it found its way into my ownership when it crossed into 397,000km range. Whilst my father moved onto the newer AU II Fairlane Ghia, I had been saddled with his pride and joy in 2012. It may have been the pride of Ford back in 1997, however by this time its lustre had worn itself into a shadow of its former self. The ride, interior and overall look wasn't up to it's former role as a prestige vehicle, however after 397,000km it was still an impressive vehicle that possessed luxury features only now finding themselves mainstream.
Cruise control, climate control, velour seats, speed sensitive steering and acres of space were the highlights of owning the Fairlane. Seating 5 people in absolute comfort, the Fairlane was a beautiful car to take during long distance trips.
Unfortunately, where it had let me down (and proved to be the straw that broke the camels back) was in reliability. For the 8 months that I had owned it, the following features failed in quick succession.
- Rusting exhaust
- Head Gasket
- Distributer Cap
- Power Steering Pump
- Engine Immobiliser (how?)
- Climate control unit
- Engine ECU
- Rust on the chassis rails (this was peeling)
While each one failing between 397k-405k would have been fine, many of these had occurred right across the life of the vehicle (with receipts to prove right back from when purchased).
Bottom line, while the NL Fairlane Ghia was a beautiful car to own and drive, keeping it to 400k+ can prove to be a challenge.