So what is it with me and Ford LTD II’s? This is the third sedan that I’ve found and posted here; no one else has found another. Which is of course cruelly ironic, given that I have some…ah…issues with it. At a whopping 220″, it’s the longest car ever sold as an “intermediate”, yet its interior space was undoubtedly less than a Fairmont. Its styling can best be described as late-stage Iacoccaitis. Its dynamic qualities are MIA. Its fuel economy was pathetic. It was a sad ending to what started out so trim, fresh and lively in 1962 as the Fairlane. More like the Grosslane.
And they seem to know how I feel about them, which might explain why they’re stalking me. And this one is something out of a bad dream, although I do respect the fact that it’s still providing transport to its owner, and quite likely living accommodations too. Which probably explains the jumper cables running from the battery into the living space. And in a rare moment of circumspection, I didn’t get close enough to see what the other end was connected to. So at least something about this LTD II is left to the imagination.
In my CC of this yellow LTD II S sedan, I titled it “The Longest Mid-Size Car Ever or The Stripper Mark V Sedan”. Well, it’s both, actually. The first is an undisputed fact, and the second is essentially true, as the two share the same chassis and apparently some hard points of their bodies. The LTD II was a bargain, costing a mere 40% of the Mark V. Such is the power of marketing, and opera windows, of course.
That was back in 2018. And then last year (2019), I spotted this fine sedan on the go.
And now it’s this gem. Wow; three LTD II sedans in three years. I’m almost scared to think what’s in store for me in 2021.
This one is sporting a custom paint job.
I was quite intrigued by this power cord running into the cabin.
The reason I didn’t get all the way up to it was because of this pair of crutches on the roof, which suggested that someone was at home. But from where I was, I couldn’t see anyone, but maybe they were reclined and watching tv or something. Reruns from the late ’70s, most likely.
I have to say that the view of it from this direction is growing on me. I’m utterly sick of the “Ford face”, but the angle of the fender ends and trunk and the rear of the roof give it a certain dignified look. Maybe they should have made a Mark V sedan. They could have called it “Versailles” and gotten a head start on that fine lineage.
The 1970 decade is the beginning of downsizing. There were two ways to do this: you could do what GM could do and spend a billion dollars to present an entirely new full size car, or do what Ford and Chrysler did and that was to take an existing smaller car, do something to make it look more luxurious, and give the smaller car the bigger car’s name. This was the beginning of the auto “impostors”, where cars presented themselves to the auto market under an established name while the real car was given a “first name” and continued being manufactured.
Plymouth gave us the “new” smaller Fury in 1974 – but it was actually a Satellite in 1973 with an updated body, originally meant for the 1974 Satellite. Then they took what was intended to be a Plymouth personal luxury car, and gave it to Chrysler as the Cordoba. To differentiate the older Fury with the Satellite/Fury, the older Fury was given the name Gran Fury. By doing this, it seemed that marketers saw their established brand names like Fury, needing a smaller size for the future to the point where they were willing to sully the name by adding a new moniker to the larger version of the car, the year previous. Chrysler wanted to downsize their cars as GM had, however, they didn’t have the cash to do it with any dignity.
Ford did the same thing. The LTD went from full size to “intermediate size”, and the full sized was eventually renamed as the Crown Victoria. Instead of presenting the Torino/LTD II as the “new” LTD, as Plymouth did with their Fury, Ford decided to add a “II”, as it had with the Mustang in 1974. There was an unmistakable sense of cynicism by doing this. By claiming that the Mustang in 1974 was a “II”, instead of a Mustang, Ford hedged their bets on the future of the Mustang, as the replacement for the Mustang II, was NOT a Mustang III. The Mustang II to this day, is an aberration of the Mustang line. It wasn’t a Mustang, but a Pinto tricked out to mimic the famous car.
The 1970 era reveals a complete disregard to established names in the auto industry. It seemed that every manufacturer decided to offer some version of a Packardbaker. Storied muscle car names were put on emaciated pimped-out compacts. Storied luxury car names were put on obsolete pimped-out intermediates. This decade was unlike previous auto decades where the top line names were slowly decontented into taxi cabs, were they? Instead, Detroit marketers given a year’s turn-around during this stressful decade, cherished little of the cache their predecessors spent building up a cherished name. Worst of all – this name game was successful too often, encouraging more brand cache destruction.
The Marquis was now the Grand Marquis. The Monaco was now the Royal Monaco. Detroit decided to offer a Cougar, not as a sports car, but as a boulevard cruising coupe, a hardtop four door, and a station wagon. The year before, these same cars were called a Montego. Why not call them a Marquis II, using the same thinking as their Ford counterparts?
Marketers! Bah! I swear they literally make their crap up, ad hoc, and still get paid? What a gig they got going, right?
Dishonest? How about Ford taking an obsolete Torino and putting styling money into it to sell a million plus under a half dozen debased names? Again, worst was that they were successful. By 1980 – Ford pimped out so many of their famous names, buyers held little appreciation for what was appreciated a decade earlier. It was all a marketing game.
Consequently, when I see this vehicle – my stomach sours. It should have been retired years earlier. It has less room than the new Fairmont, Ford was designing. It was filled with over a 1000 pound of larded, padded, and tufted shame. It handled like a drunk, wallowed like a sow, and drank like a fish. Whatever you got by selling a million of these things, you ended up paying a dozen times over in market integrity and credibility.
Yes. The Torino became the Elite and then became – this – thing. What is this unit anyway, about a 1977-78? Awful looking car.
The Torino didn’t become the Elite, the Elite was the Jr Thunderbird version of the Torino, sold along side the Torino.
And then the Elite became the actual Thunderbird
It was also the decade where everything copied a Buick. The 74 Monaco copied the 71-72 Buick LeSabre, and then this (especially out back) copied the colonnade Regal.
I might have better memories about these if the one my law school roommate drove was equipped any better than a typical Fairmont, with vinyl seats and an AM radio to go with the cheap standard wheelcovers. At least it had air – it had been his salesman-father’s company-supplied car. There was nothing appealing about it, and I had a generally positive disposition towards Fords.
The debasement of applying the established full-sized name to the mid-sizer and giving some sort of appendage to the full-sizer (Gran, Royal, II, etc) was started in the 70s, but it was just a tweak to the existing debasement that had started a decade prior.
Take the 1958 Bel-Air, the top of the line trim package on the full-size Chevrolet. In the mid-60s, it was replaced by Caprice as the top of the line, pushing the BelAir down a rung. Then came the Caprice Classic, which pushed the Caprice down and the BelAir down even further. By the time the downsized B-bodies appeared in 1977, the BelAir was the stripper fleet model.
What they would have done in the 1970 decade was if they took the BelAir and put it on the Chevelle, then renamed the full sized BelAir, the Grand BelAir.
Debasement over a decade was the norm. What happened with these cars was beyond what we saw before. It took 30 years to debase the BelAir, the debase the Impala. In the 1970 decade, it would have taken only 30 weeks.
Now we saw this before. The Fairlane was once the top full size Ford, actually the longer wheel base full size Ford and it became the intermediate model in 1962.
That is correct!
Now – did Ford keep the full size Fairlane, but renamed it the Grand Fairlane while selling the intermediate Fairlane too? The 1962 Fairlane was a new car, not an existing car that was updated with new sheet metal, right? Ford didn’t take the 1962 Fairlane, update it for 1965, then renamed it the Galaxie, while still selling the full size Galaxie, but renaming it the “Royal Galaxie”, right?
Then did they do what Plymouth did in 1974 with the Fury and claim that it was the “new downsized” Fury, after naming the full size Fury the Gran Fury when it was really the updated Satellite?
BelAir was replaced at the top by the Impala in 1959. In 1958 the BelAir Impala was the top version of the BelAir.
Biscayne was below BelAir until 1972.
The Caprice Classic did not push the Caprice down, because they were the same thing, just w/ a suffix. The Impala was below the Caprice and then the Caprice Classic.
btw, the 1977 Monte Carlo, an intermediate, was larger that the 1977 Caprice/Impala, the new full-size
Well, haven’t you seen the new Mustang? – this isn’t just a practice of the ’70s….wait until you see the new Corvettes coming around the corner…
When they do this, they convince themselves that they are strengthening the brand….those 30% short term profits end up weakening the steady 15% profitable brand.
Also Mitsubishi Eclipse “cross”
Ford really is trying to bury the lead and ignore the (literal)elephant in the room with the Mach E, with Marketing only stating “we electrified the Mustang” in ads
At least there isn’t still a “real” Eclipse being sold and hasn’t been for some time.
The traditional Mustang is dead in the market. In 50 years, Mustang sales have decreased about 90 percent while the vehicle market has doubled. When young, and young at heart, folks think “sports car” today, they mostly see a Wrangler, not a Mustang or a Corvette.
So if it’s dead then why recycle the name Mustang on a totally different product? If the name can’t sell on a sports car, why is it so important to carry it on at all? Just retire it like they did Thunderbird, reinvention simply doesn’t work.
The name is loved. The product isn’t.
It’s so different from a traditional Mustang that it’s like buying a Mustang sweatshirt or an Eddie Bauer Explorer or a Ferrari bicycle. It’s a generally liked brand name applied to a different product. The brand name is associated with youth, style, and fun. The only great brand asset that the Mustang name lacks is snob value, because Mustang always has been an egalitarian brand, like Coke or Levi’s.
It risks diluting the Mustang brand, but Mustang has gone from about 7 percent of the US auto market to about 0.7 percent. A great brand doesn’t have much value if it isn’t actually moving product.
“This is a dealership, not a museum.”
So are many loved automotive names, but they are all intrinsically tied to the products. The product isn’t even not loved, a low slung coupe with a tiny trunk is just outside of what buyers find practical, efficient or frankly socially acceptable in a vehicle these days, and aren’t buying them in great numbers anymore due to those reasons that have nothing to do with love, the current product is not something they’re repulsed by – if they were then the name is meaningless, because then it would come with a stigma that would carry over to the EVCUV thing.
It’s funny, Ford didn’t call the Expedition a Bronco in 1997 seemingly because it wasn’t any longer within the bounds of the core concept of it, and only now that they have a product that fits the mould the much loved name has come back.
In that case the Mach E will go down as the automotive brand equivalent of New Coke. Interestingly I last saw a can of that stuff in a museum, it was a sort of a shrine to bad marketing ideas.
Yeah, Porsche can’t give away its SUVs.
Oh, wait. People with money who want to look fancy and feel special actually *love* the idea of a vehicle with the Porsche name and a sorta Porsche face that can carry a family and its luggage, even when the weather is bad.
A Ford Mustang isn’t the Porsche brand. The Mustang isn’t classy supurbly engineered upper crust europhile icon, it’s a loud V8 car that is currently best known for crashing into crowds at car shows, it’s a piece of Americana.
Porsche’s formula doesn’t work for everyone
It’s not that people love the Mustang brand itself, per se, but the image it exudes. Similar to Porsche, but whereas the Porsche brand is strong enough to stand on its own and be spread out across SUV after SUV after electric sedan, Mustang isn’t quite there yet, IMHO, so consider the Mach E as that pinky toe in the water for Ford’s marketing gurus.
Be a funny post if it wasn’t so f#$&king sad
>>Plymouth gave us the “new” smaller Fury in 1974 – but it was actually a Satellite in 1973 <<
the 1973 Satellite was actually the 1962
Chrysler downsized before the competition and got hurt. The Fury became the Satellite in 1965 and reverted back to Fury in 1974.
Wow, dude, the hate….. these are old, vintage cars, they’re all flawed Maybe you’d feel better if you didn’t read articles about them 😉
These monsters are stalking Paul!
They are angry that they have been exposed by him.
If we don’t go after Ford for having done this, they might repeat this scandal and take the Ranger and rename it the F-150, then call the F-150 the “Royal F-150”!
Ranger started out as an F-series pickup trim level.
Not sure how convincing a Mark V sedan would be, but someone, somewhere must have done a Thunderbird sedan, using the Bird front clip , decklid and rear panel, and whatever other bits are needed to pull it all together. A really ambitious customizer would also convert the rear doors to open suicide style.
Someone did a ’77-79 Thunderbird Ranchero too.
Four-door Marks have a brief but interesting history.
Alas, no Mark V sedan, but Lincoln did make a Mark VI sedan from 1981 to 1983. Basically just a Continental with hidden headlights and opera windows.
Lincoln did come up with a Mark V sedan but the idea was nixed.
See above from ’74.
Wow, the rear-end treatment of the concept Mark V sedan does look a lot like the LTD II (minus the continental hump, of course).
“…what started out so trim, fresh and lively in 1962 as the Fairlane…”
I do believe that’s the nicest thing Paul has ever said about the 1962 Ford Fairlane.
I saw one of these just yesterday for sale on some website. The one I saw was a 78, white, 4 door sedan, of whatever the lowest trim level these were available in.
I thought it looked long but had forgotten that it’s unofficial title was ” world’s longest intermediate sedan “. I believe that this is even the same size/LONGER than my 09 Crown Victoria?
Yes, it’s 8″ longer on a wheelbase over 3″ longer, an inch wider, but about 3″ lower. Curb weight of the 4-door LTD II was about the same to a few hundred pounds more, depending on options.
Well you’re not the only one to see one as my brother owns one among his several old cars, trucks, and twenty motorcycles. Yet, since I very rarely see him I haven’t seen that car in maybe five years in order to take a picture. I do remember when I first saw it at my father’s house and asked “where did you get that thing?”
I admire your dedication at actually taking the pictures and not just screaming as you hit the gas pedal harder. 🙂
We were actually walking when we encountered this one, and the yellow one too. I suppose we could have started running. 🙂
Obviously it’s something karmic; the ghost of Lee Iaccoca is getting back at me.
What’s crazy is these are 10” longer than a Collonade 1977 Malibu 4 door! You can’t even give the extra girth the benefit of the doubt based on the overlapping year where its direct peers were still big. What’s even crazier than that is the fact that these overlapped with the 1979 Panther LTD that was also 10” shorter than its “little” brother. For full size buyers who were still sold on bigger is better that must have been an odd time to trade in.
Still, what I do like about the LTD II, in isolation, it’s substantially less bloated looking than the 74-76 Torino, most especially in 4 door form. It still looks like a stretch coupe with two extra doors shoehorned in, but at least it shed the coke bottle look that really made it look pathetic. The “opera window” option is large and I imagine substantially more functional than the little decorative ones of years past and Lincoln’s oval ones, and with that otherwise massive C pillar a must have item. I always found it cheap and revealing that Ford never updated the dashboard and instruments from the original 1972 design, but at the same time it was an attractive design with big round gauges, way nicer than what you got in a full size LTD
I hate that front end though, it’s not the worst use of stacked rectangular headlights(that to me is the late Collonade Buick sedans) but the dead filler space below them from the 5mph bumper is just insane, I imagine people having to shovel that area after a snow. I have a cynical hunch that Ford was trying to amortize the Elite hood stamping by using it on these.
Also interesting is that is was only slightly shorter than the standard LTD, just 4 inches shorter (220 inches vrs 224 inches) with basically the same width. What’s even more interesting/baffling is that the length of the LTD 2 wagon was just a mere 2 inches shorter than LTD wagon, 223 inches vrs 225 inches. This has always had me baffled and it sure must have back then for buyers, and to the eye the LTD 2 looks just as big!
I had a ’78 Ranchero in high school. Imagine *that* front end with an El Camino pickup back end. Truly an awful car, two worlds colliding, the most incoherent mess Ford ever coughed up.
But I loved it. It was great fun. If I could find a nice LTD II coupe with a floor shift, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.
The only one of these I can truly remember while growing up was a base model white example, with a lightbar on the roof and “Illinois State Police” down the side of it.
I’m certain this made for a superlative police vehicle.
Also, I’m still trying to get pictures of the ’77 LTD wagon that is cruising this area. I know where he lives; maybe I should go knock on his door.
My 220K+ ’75 Elite, that spent its whole life since new pulling a fully loaded 2 horse trailer, (owner was professional barrel racer and traveled the country with it) had NO rubber bushings left on the upper control bushings when I bought it from her. I think it actually improved its dynamic qualities.(she did have stiffer rear springs installed also) Side Note: it had the 400 engine, and the heads were never off it. Only semi-major engine work it ever needed was a new timing chain set, which died in Texas. That’s it. It was starting to use oil when I bought it off her as a beater I’d say she got her moneys worth.
What really ruins this design for me is the ludicrous front overhang. The dash to axle distance looks quite reasonable, so I’m thinking there’s an awful lot of waste space up front. That’s not really a recipe for efficiency. The rest of it actually doesn’t look too bad. It doesn’t look efficient, but the overall design does look modern for the era.
But wait; less room than a Fairmont, did someone say above? I’m sure I read that. Yet it’s 220″ long. In Australia, that length for a motor vehicle just does not compute. Wait while I check – yes, even our beloved P6 series LTD was only 211″ long, and that was a long wheelbase limousine (okay, based on the Falcon, but still…) – this thing was nine inches longer still, with less room than a compact Fairmont? So huge, and with such poor packaging.
And people actually bought these? Amazing.
Wow, I agree maybe Iacocca is stalking you from beyond to win you over to the LTD II, and judging from your last paragraph he may be making some headway.
I share XR7Matt’s view that the more creased styling theme on these 77-79 “intermediate” Fords is more attractive than the rounded earlier versions. My biggest issue with the appearance is the absurd front overhang, especially as seen in the side view fourth photo down. Yikes.
Good call not trying to photograph the inside. Never ask a question you don’t really want to know the answer to!
>>>>the “Ford face”
Yes, the Ford Monte Carlo. Another example why the mid-1970s are my least favorite automotive era.
I get what you’re saying, but every single thing about them that’s different is worse on the Ford.
That jumper cable setup looks doomed to end in fire.
The key feature of the Ford face are the bladed turn signals, which the Chevy is lacking though I do bet the stacked headlights were inspired by it, considering the Elite this front end was derived from was already a crib of the original Collonade MC front end
If you’re concerned about having a big voltage drop, then large gauge wires help a lot.
The funny thing for me that I was in my Sophomore year in college in 1977, learning
Kirchhoff’s Law and similar tenants, when I was working summers for Hertz as a transporter, and the favorite car from my home location was….this exactly…probably the first car I ever drove for them, taking one up to Dorval Airport, followed by many others (some were Thunderbirds)..though I drove quite a few Granadas, and in 1978 Fairmonts, never drove any Mavericks nor Pintos..nor even the “real full sized” LTDs (though my parents owned a ’73 Ranch Wagon, so I drove that at times but not for Hertz). Could this be one of my ex-classmates…afraid of excessive voltage drop for his (something inside the car that needs 12V and lots of current…maybe a stereo or electric heater?)
I drove a small Datsun 710 back then and these were “downsized” cars. They drove very similar to my parent’s Ranch Wagon, but I didn’t much care if their fuel economy was similar (think most had 351? or maybe 302?). The bulk came in handy for some, as it wasn’t too unusual for someone to hit a deer coming up I89 from Manchester or Boston. I was too careful a driver, didn’t speed (much); as we got paid by the trip, not the time, the result was I ended up with less than minimum $1.65/hr pay. But I was always interested in cars, and this job by far gave me the most exposure to different cars in my life, especially as I’ve owned my current (and only) car for 20 years now.