Curbside Classic: 1967 Ford LTD – The Forgotten Ford

( first posted 5/25/2011)    My Dad was a Ford guy.  Although most everyone else on both sides of my family were firmly in the GM camp, there was almost always a set of FoMoCo keys in Dad’s pocket. In early 1977, I was finally given the parental green light to buy my first very own car.  I was open to a lot of things, but I really wanted a Ford.  “Just don’t buy the first car you see” was the only mandate when my friend and I went out on the great search.

The Original JPC Mobile

The first car I saw turned out to be a 67 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible.  Original owner, garaged in a nice neighborhood, and 60K miles.  Although I looked at several other cars that day, the rest were nowhere near as nice.  $700 and it was mine.  So, I actually did buy the first car I saw.

At that time, the 62-64 Galaxies were starting to become collected.  “Just be patient”, I thought, “and these big Fords will come into their own.”  Well, I am still waiting.  The 65 eventually became noteworthy for the first LTD that really was quieter than a Rolls Royce.  People remember the 7 Litre package from 66. But the 67 (and 68) big Fords sort of disappeared into the mists.  And it is a shame, because this was a nice car.

The story of the 65 Ford has been told here before.   Ford had a major revision (with an increase in wheelbase from 119 to 121) planned for 1969, so the 67-68 was to be enough of a freshening to get them to the new model.

You could always tell a Ford – big single taillights with star-like backup lights in the middle.

The 67’s styling was a break from the laser-sharp lines of 65-66, probably a concession to Bill Mitchell’s attractive and fluid 65-66 Impala.  The 67 Ford became the median between an even sleeker 67 Impala and the really angular 67 Fury.   The front brought back the stacked headlights for a final year, while the rear was reminiscent of the 62 Galaxie’s taillights that sunk into the bumper.  To me, the 67 big Ford was the best looking of the 65-68 models by far.

This front end bears an eerie resemblance to the 67 Cadillac.

Mechanically, the 240 cid 6 continued as the base engine (though not on the LTD), with the 289 V8 returning for its final year.  The big engines remained the 390 and 428 versions of the FE block, along with the 427 (offered to keep the engine legal for NASCAR).  The only real mechanical difference from 66 was that the 352 was dropped from the model lineup.   Although 100 cubic inches was a big gap in displacement, the 352 had never offered much of a step up in performance from the 289, and it was not really missed.

Ford was among the last to eliminate metal frames around glass on hardtops. Other than the 1971-72 LTD wheelcovers, this car is bone stock.

These were quiet, comfortable cars.  The power steering was light, and the power brakes were highly boosted, as was common at the time.  The drum brakes were so-so at best, but Ford was the leader in equipping cars with disc systems, so you could get decent brakes if you wanted them.  My car had the 270 hp 2 barrel 390, which saved me a lot of money in insurance as a teen (as opposed to the 315 hp 4 bbl version).  The torque of the old 390 cannot be overstated, and it had no trouble pulling my 2 ton convertible through the 2:70 axle.  The 390 may not have had the racing cred of the Mopar 383, but it was a really nice engine for lugging a big family car.

The 1967-only steering wheel hub. Who says GM pioneered air bags?

One interesting item unique to all of Ford’s 1967 models was the huge foam rubber steering wheel  hub.  I recall reading somewhere that that Ford’s collapsible steering column was not ready for its mandated appearance on the 67 models.  So, the company met the regulation with the collapsible foam hub mounted on the 1966 steering wheel across the entire model line.

The clear plastic inlay in the steering wheel is unique to the LTD. Also note the factory air, still relatively rare in 1967 (at least in the midwest).

There was one fatal flaw in these cars, which may be the reason they are not seen more today.  These Fords suffered badly from rust-through of the perimeter frame.  I saw an early victim in the late 70s – a very rusty 66 LTD with the right rear wheel halfway into the trunk.  This was not the kind of flaw that one could overlook in salt country, and certainly killed many of these cars prematurely.

It was a strange coincidence  that after my debut piece on the 59 Plymouth Fury (My 4th car),  I stumbled across this nice 67 LTD at a local used car lot.  These may still be common on the back roads of the southern and pacific states, but understand – they are just not seen anymore in the midwest.  This car takes me back to about 1980.  The faded and dull Clearwater Aqua paint, the bubbles under the vinyl roof and the slightly rusty lower fenders – this is what they all looked like then with any sort of normal use in our difficult climate.  This car was plainly cared for during much of its life to make it this far.

That this is a 289 car is evident from the lack of a 390 or 428 badge on the front fender behind the wheel.

My 67 Galaxie was a very nice driving car, and was quite rigid for a convertible.  It was significantly smoother and quieter than the C body Mopars I later owned (although it did not handle as well).  It also got amazingly good gas mileage (I once hit 19 mpg on the highway, although 10-12 was more common in town).  In all, it was a very polished and well finished car.  Style-wise, it struck a near perfect balance between curves and angles.  I would buy another if the right one came along.  The first owner of this 67 LTD would have been rightly proud of this very attractive new car.  I hope that someone buys this car who can appreciate its many charms and its attractive lines.  But check the frame first and keep it out of the salt.