Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Now even more Limited! Part Deux

Look at this majestic beast holding back the mobile homes. I drove past this thing and was pulling a u-turn before I even registered what I'd seen. I'm glad I did because the proud owner came out and was all too happy to show it off!
This is a 1979 Ford LTD II in what I believe to be Light Champagne. Some people claim that LTD stands for Luxury/Trim/Decor along the lines of Gym/Tan/Laundry but I don't see much in the way of luxury here. What I do see is the Baroque styling of the Malaise Era. 
Something about the face of this ride looks extra ridiculous to me. Maybe the fact that it looks like the wide eyed smile of a close talker. 4 stacked square headlights brace that massive egg crate grill, all held in the parenthesis of the jutting fenders. The ocean liner sized bumper completes the image. Almost every other American car had downsized at this point, and this was the final year for the colossal Ford. Even the LTD had downsized; this is the LTD II! It's almost like they wanted to accentuate the scale it on its way out.
*You can tell it's a '79 because out of the 3 years total only this one had a hood ornament.
Let's get right in there and see the engine shall we? This is the rarest glimpse for a blog that relies on found automobiles; a perk of meeting a retired owner looking to sell his ride.
Under all that wiring lies a 302 V8 engine with a 2 barrel carb. Optional choices consisted of 2 different 351 V8s (the Windsor and the Modified). There was a 400 available for the first 2 years but it had been pulled by the time this beast was built.
Here is our hero in all its glory. The LTD II was the lowest price series in the Ford lineup, and this was the base model. As was common in the past this model barely made it into their sales literature. Every other LTD II had a small opera window between the rear door and the rear window; only the bare bones edition had solid metal. To have the faux spoke wheel hubcaps on this is ironic.
Here's a glimpse into the sparse interior. Bench seats front and rear come standard with a fold-down armrest if you're not shuttling 5 passengers. There is a radio of some sort but that's about it. Crank windows and manual locks keep it frugal. Of course the inside is entirely BROWN.
For the first year this car was popular as GM had downsized everything but the Cadillac Eldorado (which was for an entirely different demographic frankly). People still holding on to the big car ethos turned to Ford. Then Ford introduced the Fairmont line in '78 which lured away potential LTD customers. Finally in '79 this was it! You could either buy a massive Lincoln or the LTD II for this final year. When 1980 came around the LTD II was never actually replaced. Now it's getting rare.
I mean, who has this car anymore? To think the Taurus would be introduced a mere 6 years after this was sold new illustrates how behind the times this ride really was.
Sweet LTD II badge.
I once had a '76 LTD 4 door that was almost identical to this car. It was unexpectedly comfortable and the ride height was upright and tall. I'd say it was a deal at $250! Ran great - delivered pizzas with it.
Well that's it for the last gasp of big car America. Someone will always collect a special edition, station wagon, convertible, or luxury model car but who saves one of these stripped down rides? Regular folks is who. This was roosting in a small trailer park outside of Scranton, PA. This is red blooded steak eating America where people proudly bought sluggish Fords instead of more practical and efficient Japanese cars. This is a ride for those who never have a problem parking and change their flag every year. Not gonna lie - I'd love to cruise around in this slab these days, stacked square headlights and all. If you were so inclined they go for peanuts (I think his asking price was $3,000 but it was perfect in and out). Parts are so widely available and this is as easy to work on as a bicycle. Why not?

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