Ford made a big deal of continuing the great American tradition of selling full-framed, rear-drive luxury cars after GM axed all but its Chevy Caprice and Cadillac Brougham sedans during the latter half of the 1980s. Maintaining bragging rights for two-door versions of these cars was apparently less of a priority, however; the slow-selling Grand Marquis and LTD Crown Victoria two door sedans (or “Coupes,” if you prefer) were cut after 1987, making this cream puff, spotted by Nifty43, quite rare even when new.
With only two doors and vented quarterlights (an optional extra Ford seemed to love), it was a very traditional car for its time. Call it a Paleoconservative coupe, if you will; it likely resented having to wear a center high-mount stop light after 1986 and was happy to retire two years later. After all, the only excess lights appropriate for an LTD were the cornering lamps as seen here, a perfect compliment to the standard semi landau roof. The indignities of the side marker lights were already enough–that sort of vulgarity was meant for smaller cars, since a coupe of this stature was never at risk of being being invisible in the first place.
Or, perhaps it was. By 1987, the big Ford two-door’s final year on the market, only about 5,500 were sold (versus over a 100,000 sedans). The decision to keep the car around as a compliment to the “aero” Thunderbird is understandable, but as that smaller coupe’s popularity soared while the big two-door was increasingly ignored, having two offerings in the personal luxury vein became redundant.
If anything, the ability of the very modern T-bird to also attract traditional customers highlighted the skill of Ford’s product planning in the early to mid ’80s. It also emphasized the folly in making that car’s MN12 successor so much larger. Personal luxury was more about intimacy with a hint of sportiness, not the exclusion for its own sake implied by restricting rear seat access in a very large car.
It’s ironic that the two-door was axed so soon after the LTD because the LTD Crown Victoria, since the “Crown Victoria” name had come from a two-door version of the big Ford to begin with. Nevertheless, with the days of mainstream two-door luxury cars nearing an end, Ford couldn’t in good conscience continue production of its big “coupe.” GM would also cease building its full-size front-drive H-body based coupes in due course. The rarity of such cars after the mid 1980s makes us appreciative that the owner of this beige example kept his in such good shape.