It’s time to head back to that alter automotive universe of South America, and check out a couple of big Ford LTDs that Alberto Simon posted. First up is a ’73 LTD Landau, which was Brazil’s most luxurious domestic sedan, on the level of a Lincoln. Obviously it started life as a 1966 American Ford, whose body dies were conveniently shipped to Brazil for its first year there, 1969. It was just the LTD then, but in 1971, the Landau version appeared, and it received some interesting make-up over the years to distinguish it as such.
The rear end was modified to look a bit more like the 1969 US big Ford’s tail. And the rear window was reduced in size to give it that exclusive look, along with the standard vinyl top and of course, the landau bars.
At first I thought the two panels flanking the grille were askew, but it’s an optical illusion, due to them being angled back from their outside ends. The picture at the top makes that a bit clearer. At least I hope so.
I guess I’m not the only one a bit…ah…surprised by the Landau’s rather unique front end styling.
The other car, a plain old
LTD Galaxie 500 is dated as a 1973 by Alberto, so I’ll take his word for it. It clearly shares the same pointed hood with the Landau, but has a plainer grille.
Similar rear end styling.
And the wagon behind it is a vintage Ford too, a Del Rey. Now that has an even odder history, since it started out life as a Renault 12. We covered its curious story here, but to make a long story short, it’s an evolution of the Ford Corcel, which had been started on by Willys (Brazil) as essentially a rebodied R12 but appeared in 1967 as a Ford, after the Willys ops were bought by them. It had a long life, and was replaced by the Del Rey in 1981, still on the R12 underpinnings, and was built until 1991.
The Landau soldiered along until 1983, with some face lifts along the way. By that time, even alcohol-burning versions couldn’t save it, as it was just too big and thirsty.
Those panels on the Landau grille remind me of the headlight covers that were on my U.S. 1977 Thunderbird, even down to the horizontal peak in the center.
yes, they look exactly like hidden headlight covers — but of course they aren’t. The overall look of the Landau is that a ’66 Ford got seriously drunk at J.C. Whitney and can’t remember the next morning how all that bling got there. The lower-level Galaxie front end looks better and less silly.
The name badge on the rear flank of the 73 LTD says Galaxie 500
Oops; I blew that. And Alberto correctly identified it as a Galaxie 500 in his posting, so it’s my bad. Fixed now.
Interestingly, the landau S bars were deleted along the way… and the wheel covers in that last photo resemble the 1977 Thunderbird standard wheel covers, albeit with a Continental star in the center ornament
Rather ironic how the auto companies had stimulated to absurd heights the American expectations of annual restyles by the 1960’s to the point where even if they had a possibly viable product that might have been good for a number of years, they didn’t dare try it here. Rather liking the 1966 Ford, it was disappointing when it was quickly replaced with those much less appealing as each year progressed.
The only car my parents ever had (an aberrant choice by Cheapskate 50’s Dad) that we all liked was a 1967 Ford just like this one. I thought it was a pretty successful rebody of the basic 1965 design.
Anyway I guess this is what made the body stamping tooling available to Brazil
I appreciate that this restyle makes the front end quite a bit brighter than the sunken, darkmouthed ugliness that defaced so many American Fords of the Bunkie Beak era, so an “A” for the idea here. But a “C” for the implementation, because those body-colour trim panels really do look cockeyed—like they were carelessly thrown on with no regard to fit or alignment. There are too many chrome lines fighting one another: edge of the hood, perimeter of the full-width grille, perimeter of the new panel…a stackup of one-two-three-four-five horizontal chrome lines at two or three different angles, yetch.
I think this might have worked a lot better if the grille surround, the trim panels, and the hood’s leading edge were flatly facing front (orthogonal to the car’s longitudinal axis) or were to share the same horizontal rake angle, slanting outward-rearward in accord with the leading edge of the hood. This inward-rearward slant of the trim panels jest don’t fit right; I think the non-Landau grille without the trim panels looks more coherent and intentional.
Another detail that makes the car look thoughtlessly half-finished: there are rear side marker lights, but no front ones.
(and those dumb landau bars on the sail panels…ugh…)
Nice write up, Paul. The LTD Landau is actually a MY 73, I guess it was either built in the last quarter of 1972 or the owner couldn’t get a proper license plate. This is what a 71/72 looks like, it had modified rear lights inside original frames. The Galaxie 500 was first launched in 1966 as MY 67.
This is what the ’66 Edsel could have looked like if the ’58 hadn’t screwed up completely. Vertical center grille, high-water taillights.
There are many graceful ways to include a vertical grille. The Canadian Meteor did a good job around ’63, and this is also pretty decent.
If we had to get stuck in North America with the same big Ford for 13 years as we did from 1979 through 1991, I wish it had been the 1966 model.
Any of the 1965–1967 big Fords seemed almost ahead of their time when the 1979 was introduced. Intentionally boxy, but with pleasing details and trim, the ’65-’67 was infinitely better looking while sharing similar dimensions with the “downsized” ’79.
The ’65-’67 Ford used a 119” wheelbase and had an overall length of 210 inches. The ’79, a 114” wheelbase and an overall length of 209 inches. A frequent criticism of the ’79 Ford here at CC is a too short wheelbase leading to excessive body overhang and poor proportions. The ’65-’67 cars are better proportioned.
I know which one I would choose for a long relationship….
I’m getting the impression that Bill Mitchell had the same thoughts….
Wow, you put my thoughts into words far better than I could have.
My blood runs Ford blue, but they can keep most any Panther ever built. I would take one of the later Brazilian cars with the full-width grille over all. Beautifully proportioned, classically stylish and handsome without being overwrought, that’s my kinda RWD big American sedan.
The blue Landau featured first is just awful; the Galaxy 500 of the same year has a much more coherent design. I like how the Landau was cleaned up though by the 1983 model year.
Good points are made here about the absurdity of the mandatory “change for the sake of change” annual restyles in the US, especially in the 50s and 60s. The 1966 Ford is a fundamentally pleasing design and could have remained largely unchanged as is proven by the Argentinian variants.
I remember becoming jaded by the annual model change as a high school student when the 1968s were introduced (and by reading contemporaneous Mercedes-Benz print ads touting other attributes like crumple zones and sensible size).
Planned obsolescence was the supposed reason behind the annual restyling.
I recall being fascinated by these when I saw them for the first time in the November 1976 issue of Popular Mechanics. GM, Chrysler, and AMC were represented in the article, as well.
Link to November 1976 Popular Mechanics article, “Old Cars Never Die…They Show Up in Foreign Lands.”
Sufferin’ succotash! Popular Mechanics gets an “F” on that article from me. I’m not knowledgeable enough to fact-check their claims about the GM, Ford, and AMC products, but many or most of their assertions are flatly wrong about the Brazillian and Argentinian Mopars; they’re guesses and assumptions tarted up as factoids.
Popular Mechanics always did seem a bit gullible in those days. Or maybe beholden to advertisers.
No way are any of those Mopars B-Body based, they are all variants of A-Bodies.
Yup, that’s one of the major errors they made multiple times.