(first posted 6/21/2013)
(Author’s Note: Sometimes these articles literally write themselves, as evidenced by these e-mails.)
June 2, 2013
I was looking in your draft folder on the back end of the website. Your motivation is admirable and your on-going ability to find such a wide variety of American iron is truly remarkable. I also compliment you on your ability to make otherwise boring and stodgy cars interesting, such as your recent piece about the ’68 Chrysler Newport and another last summer on a ’76 Marquis; truly, someone getting shot in the ass is entertaining. Your sheer talent is profoundly immense and does bring a certain verve to the site.
Yet in looking at your folder, I see you are making a truly valiant attempt to pollute cyberspace and eat up precious bandwidth with a ’71 Ford LTD. Seriously? Even if it is one of the 5,750 LTD Convertibles made that year, is it really that remarkable? Remember, I drove a phenomenal number of these when they were new – nothing to write home about.
Just curious on what you were thinking.
June 2, 2013
Yes, I suspected you might notice the LTD.
Since I’ve been writing for Curbside Classic, I have always hedged on stating what I really like in automobiles. Klockau has the Brougham thing; Cavanaugh is a bigger Mopar afficianado than Galen Govier and both Dodge brothers combined; Ed Stembridge is The Vega Whisperer – even Saunders and Jones have their specialties. Me? Well, I’ve never really stated my preferences due to reluctance. Why? Well, a ’71 Ford, especially an LTD convertible, is what gets me truly fired up like nothing else automotive. Searching the ever expanding archives of the site has revealed your total
adoration disdain with Ford’s Finest for ’71.
Sure, all cars have their own unique advantages, but for whatever reason, the ’71 Ford has always got my juices flowing. While I’ve never been able to put my finger on why, I suspect part of it is a great-aunt of mine had a green ’71 Galaxie – identical to the Domino’s driver in Eugene. Don’t worry, I won’t write about her.
Another part is my age. No, I didn’t experience these new – which is really unfortunate – but I was at an impressionable age when first seeing them, such as the video above. This does quicken one’s pulse, does it not?
Plus, I even got to take a highly memorable ride in this LTD. I hope this explains it.
June 3, 2013
I know you weren’t around in 1971, but these machines were a fixture in low-brow movies as well as any Quinn Martin Production, such as this:
Since we are admitting to things only you and I will know, I must tell you that I am an ardent fan of low-brow entertainment. Remember, all those movies and television shows you viewed as a youngster originated from the West Coast; if low-brow, corn-pone movies and television shows didn’t appeal to those of us living on the West Coast at the time, it would have never been produced – we just made it sound like it was for those of you in the Mid-West.
Sure, the full-sized ’71 Ford was used a lot, like in the movie White Lightning (incidentally, I have it on blu-ray as well as its equally splendid sequel, Gator – there’s nothing as enjoyable as any movie that involves moonshine). You know why? They were turds from Day One, were as durable as sugar cubes in hot water, and were cheap. These cars are almost synonymous with moonshine and wrecking all these Fords was their highest and best use.
If you look at this clip (starting at 8:45) you can get a feel for how I used to drive these Fords. Watching this with a nice bottle of California Merlot makes for a fine evening during the dreary winters in Eugene.
Hell, I liked that clip so much, here’s another one (the good part starts at around 3:15). This truly is Burt Reynolds’s best movie after Boogie Nights.
Here’s yet another ’71 Ford in it’s highest and best use. Again, low-brow entertainment – but I have to admit, these episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard filmed in Covington, Georgia, are truly the best of the series.
Didn’t you once tell me the painted dashes on the highway are 10′ long with a 30′ space between them? Did you notice in this clip how they were poking along? The handling on these POS’s was so bad they would have careened off the road otherwise. Your video was the same way.
I’m still trying to figure you out; you quiet types really worry me.
June 4, 2013
Wow, I hope I didn’t get you too worked up.
I encountered this ’71 a while back when visiting my wife’s parents. The owner is a friend of theirs and it’s been in his family since the early ’70’s. It’s a factory 429 car, which must be unique in the realm of ’71 Fords. Your one article stated something like 98.6% of them were green; well, this one, as you can tell, is painted “pull-me-over” red. You also said seeing one is as enjoyable as having a bucket of cold pig piss thrown in your face. Well, in a sense, that is a truly memorable experience as is seeing any ’71 Ford these days.
And, yes, while I didn’t find this one on the street, Ray – the owner – has been driving the snot out of this car; you’re right, these are good booze runners as the trunk was full of beer when I took these pictures. He was widowed last fall and has decided to have fun; he’s driving this LTD all over the place. Heck, his dad had fun with it, too, as it has over 180,000 miles on it. It pulls like a locomotive, despite his having the timing slightly retarded for lower octane gas.
During our jaunt on a curvy two-lane road (this is one of the few straight pieces), that LTD was well planted to the road without any float. Heck, when he nailed it, it didn’t upshift to third until 83 mph. When cruising at 70 he and I could still carry on a conversation in a normal voice.
Paul, think about it: 1971 was the next to last time Ford offered a full-sized car in so many combinations. It might even be considered the next to last hoorah of the traditional American car, a throwback to how it had been done for decades.
There was the basic sedan, the wagon, the coupe, the hardtop (with or without pillars), and the convertible. Really, who does such things these days? Plus, the variety of engines is something you don’t even see in pickups anymore with 1971 full-sizers having one straight six and a choice of five V8’s (302, 351, 390, 400, and 429 cubic inches). With the variety of engines and trim levels, these truly were built so that one would appeal to nearly anyone.
Yes, the styling has been criticized, and it is confusing in some regards with its Pontiac undertones. However, might the ’71 Ford be the embodiment of the mood of the United States in 1971? Perhaps a bit disoriented and trying to find its way? As a country, we were coming out of turbulent times in 1971 which does induce a degree of confusion. Might the ’71 Ford, in all three full-size series, best reflect and signify this disorientation?
Truly, I am aiming for the bigger picture here.
June 5, 2013
You are a delightfully determined person – you must be your parent’s first-born given your tenacity. You do have a point about the ’71 being the near swan-song of an era. Just for kicks, I re-read your piece on the equally craptastic ’71 Mercury Monterey; this platform was second only to the Model T in terms of being Ford’s highest production platform? Unreal.
I’ve never thought very long about this Ford from the confusion angle you present. That needs some more thought, but I think I may be smelling bullshit.
However, all these pictures you uploaded in the back of the website are eating up bandwidth. You’ve come a long way in your time here – you no longer load unearthly large pictures, place pictures below their descriptions, or require euthanizing articles – but couldn’t you find something else to write about, like a Peugoet?
June 6, 2013
You are right, I know I have committed a faux pas or two in my time around here. But here’s what I’m thinking: You are committed to truth and quality and, despite some of what I’ve cluttered your website with, I am after the same thing.
I realize my writings will never be Pulitzer Prize material. Yet, I still strive for quality in what I present here, despite the myriad number of ways it is presented. Rod Serling is a prime example of someone I admire for his commitment to quality and ability to write some very fine material; The Twilight Zone was a fine television show.
Did I mention Rod Serling did a commercial for Ford in 1971? Surely the ’71 Ford could not have been too bad if he associated himself with it. Yes, I know you’ve said quality was job 8974395334 at Ford in 1971, but hey, we all have an off
day year now and then.
Oh, by the way, isn’t a Peugoet a breed of French dog? If it’s a car, we never saw it around here as any dealer network would have been nonexistent and the local NAPA store wouldn’t have had parts for it. On the flip side, I can still buy brake pads pretty cheap for a ’71 Ford in this area; only $15.99 at Autozone (both in Jefferson City and in Eugene).
June 7, 2013
I came across your correspondence with Paul. You raise several great points about the ’71 Ford. As we enjoy cruising through the Cascade Mountains with an occasional trip to the coast, I’ve made a deal to purchase a ’71 LTD convertible for our upcoming wedding anniversary. Paul will be so surprised!
That was awesome, the funniest thing I’ve read in a while!
nice! I would own one of these but it would not fit in the garage.
I don’t know what this guy has against that BEAUTIFUL red 1971 LTD!?! I worked at a Ford dealership in late 1970 to early 1971. These full-size LTDs and Galaxies are decent vehicles to look at. Almost a T-Bird! It was in 1973 that these same models turned UGLY! The Govt. mandated HUGE front and back bumpers by LAW, and DESTROYED any style there was!
Whether the ’71s are ugly or not is a matter of personal preference. But no, the government did not mandate huge bumpers. The government mandated a certain level of bumper performance—that is, in a 5-mph impact they had to protect safety-critical parts of the car like lights and fuel system components, without becoming damaged themselves. Ford chose to install big, ugly bumpers, in the same grudging, scornful way they complied with requirements for seatbelts and head restraints and emission controls and a large number of other newly-regulated aspects of vehicle design, construction, and equipment, and then only after spending mountains of money, effort, and time fighting the regulations.
If they had put even a fraction of those resources into meeting the goddamn regs instead of making war on them, it would have been to everyone’s benefit.
To be fair, it wasn’t just Ford. All of the “Big Three” spent time and money beyond the dreams of avarice fighting the rules with lawyers in court instead of putting their engineering talent to work meeting the new rules. The classic example was when the Big Three insisted that the only way to meet emissions standards was with catalytic converters and unleaded gasoline, until Honda proved them wrong with its CVCC engine technology. The leaded gas went away anyway, with good reason, but while Detroit’s lawyers were fighting the Government in court, Honda was busy making them look stupid.
You’re right that all the American automakers misbehaved this way, not just Ford. There’s a sturdy case to be made that the US auto industry deliberately treated vehicle regulation as a passing fad to be snuffed out by whatever means necessary, and one of their oftenest-used tools in that war was to comply with the regulations in the nastiest possible ways in an effort to spark popular and congressional backlash against the regulation of vehicles. Oh, your brand-new car is hard to start, stalls, knocks, hesitates, gets lousy gas mileage, buzzes at you if you don’t fasten the complicated and uncomfortable seat belts, and has ugly bumpers? Gee, »tsk« what an awful shame. Not our fault; the government made us do it. Guess you should run go write to your congressman or something. They won a few battles that way (seat belt/ignition interlock), but lost the war, but often still behave as though they’re winning it.
And you’re right that Honda pwned GM with a real nice CVCC stunt. But your catalytic converter/unleaded gasoline/CVCC history isn’t right; see the ‘pwned’ link and this one.
In my own defense, I would say that it’s difficult to do justice to that history in two (2) sentences. I was, to put it mildly, paraphrasing. In addition, while I lived through that time as a teenager, fifty (50) year old memories have a way of fading, LOL! That being said, I found the two articles you cited fascinating, even after just a brief skimming. I plan to re-read them both in great detail when I have more time. Thank you for locating them for us. “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”
Ha! I don’t know what’s more ludicrous: that a Niedermeyer would own a ’71 Ford, or that Paul sits around watching dumb old TV shows in his spare time!
Attractive car, but those front seats look phenomenally uncomfortable.
I don’t think those seats are any less comfortable than most “bucket” seats from that era. You just have to accept that they are really individual bench seats with a console between them. I honestly can’t say that I remember seeing an LTD of this era with anything other than the bench; it does seem a little odd that a car this big can only hold two people in the front. The big Fords of this era were thick on the ground back in the day, at least in the mid-west and upper south where I live/grew up. My grandmother had one for years (yes, it was a green 4 door sedan) back in the late seventies/early eighties. I would drive it occasionally if my car was down or to take her to the doctor or if I thought it needed some full throttle acceleration to “blow out the carbon”. IIRC it had the 400 inch engine with a two barrel carb; not the fastest vehicle around but would keep up with the traffic and it was comfortable enough, in the grand road barge tradition.
. The steering wheel and bucket seats look like those that were in my 1972 Pinto. The bucket seats were too close to the floor and the seatbacks were too upright. They were quite uncomfortable. The steering wheel was better suited to the larger Fords with power steering. I fixed it with a Recaro seat and a Momo steering wheel. For a car with such a large interior to be reduced to the front seating of a Pinto is unfortunate. This LTD must have had the “Pinto Interior Décor Group”.
I know that Ford could have had bucket seats which were comfortable when they wanted to. I had a neighbor with a ’64 Galaxy with buckets and console and the seats were quite comfortable.
The Mexican Galaxie sold in Mexico seems to offer bucket seats (but not high back) like this 1971 model http://www.flickr.com/photos/tallguy1975/3722775047/
From spending some time in the LTD, these buckets were pretty good. The best ever? No, but I’ve had much, much worse.
Fantastic correspondence! I feel after all the bashing Paul has laid on these cars, there is a secret love affair burning in his heart for them, haha! Me thinketh though dust protest too loudly.
Great writing and a great duel, guys.
It’s “THOU DOST.”
LTD…..A Quinn Martin Production
Whoa, buckets on an LTD convertible? Just the fact that its an LTD convertible is rare, I didn’t even know you could still get a bucket seat on these, nice.
We have a counterpart to yesterdays Mark III from the French Connection too, there was a brown LTD Brougham sedan featured fairly prominently in the film too.
A blue LTD convertible of this vintage was also Dirty Harry’s personal ride in the 2nd Dirty Harry feature, Magnum Force.
Evidently, they had a supply of bucket seats and consoles left over from the 1969-70 XLs. It;s true, these ’71 bucket seat cars are rare, this option was also available in 2-door hardtop Galaxie 500s as well. Rare as these are, even rarer is the ’71 Meteor Montcalm from Canada with these seats. Only one I ever saw was in a salvage yard in 1977-ish. Wrecked and partially picked over, but the seats and console were still there.
Is this the same bucket and console from the Maurauder X-100?
You are correct the same seat and console came in the Mercury maurader X 100!!!
we have had our 71 ltd ford convert for 37 years we now live in florida and the state is killing it the winter up north it took fine but we live near the water not good not good at all we have the one with buckit sits red with white inside and they were fine we are selling it because its time to let go we cant have body work done we retired the plate on the front says the other women my wife says it got more money spent on the the car then she did so if you know anybody looking for one and by the way it hits 70 to 80 just tap of the toe no sweat it need body work carb clean asking 2000 thank you we can talk about price
ypu still have this dream car ?
Do you still have your car for sale if so, email me pics I am interested
Grumble, if it’s not about a Mopar or a Studebaker, I’m not reading it. 🙂
I remember seeing White Lightning in the theater. I was about 12 or 13, young enough that a hopped up 71 Ford used for running moonshine was completely credible in my mind. No more. Wow, I have not seen such wallowing since, well, I don’t know.
I still remember the first 71 LTD I ever saw. A light green 2 door. I assumed that it would be as nice as my Dad’s ’69 LTD, and considered the new ’71 as one of the most beautiful cars I had ever seen. I still think it was nicely styled, and very upscale for its price range. The higher-trim cars looked more expensive than they were.
Unfortunately, I drove 2 or 3 of these as the years went by. Awful, awful cars. These things had horrible body shake over rough pavement, something that had never bothered big Fords in my prior experience. I wonder if the stiffer convertible frame tightened up the structure any. My 67 Galaxie ragtop was fairly rigid.
The big cheap Crack-O-Matic dash pads and Auto-Split seat seams made every one of these look like crap after a few years. And oh, the rust. It is incredible how far Ford quality fell from the Total Performance era. However, a bucket seat convertible with a 429 is probably as good as it gets with one of these. Maybe Stephanie found one with the 240 big six and a 3 speed – that might keep the big guy from a check-in at the stress center.
Looking again at that dashboard, I wonder if the resemblance to the 1969 Cadillac dash was intentional or not. It was a little more passenger friendly than the 1969-70 Ford dash.
Jim, the correspondence went beyond just what you see here. You would be amazed!
This example is a very good one, although it is babied. It’s been stored inside forever and Ray puts it on a trailer in his shed from October 1 to May 1 each winter. He needs to put the trailer inside and the LTD is even further from any moisture this way.
It rides like it’s about 5 years old.
My family owned a 1971 LTD for 30 years. I still remember test-driving them in August, and picking up our (ordered) car during Thanksgiving of 1970.
The interior held up very nicely. Only one small crack on the nose of the dash pad. The front seats never split (cloth, with the clear bubble-type Fingerhut plastic covers on them for the first 15 years). The headliner never drooped (it couldn’t – it was done right, as headliners had been done for decades). Door panels were all original.
Ford’s interior quality dropped badly between the early 1970s and the late 1970s (we had a 1977 Lincoln Town Car for about 15 years), and then recovered somewhat by the time my parents bought their 1988 T-Bird (in the family for almost 20 years).
Looks a lot like the big 1971 Chevy dash too. Caprice/Impala/BelAir/Biscayne
Now THERE’s a cracktastic dash: the 1971-1976 Chevrolet!
….and 1977+ Chevrolet B-body
….and ’73-’77 A-body Chevrolet
Just Dashes makes a fortune on re-skinning those 73-77 dashes, I’ve got 3 of them for my ’77 Chevelle, the one I took off it originally that just looks like hell, one that came on the parts car ’77 that looks like its been to hell, survived it, and then went on to play thermonuclear war, and then the ‘pristine’ one that still has a few cracks in it, but is a ’73 Monte pad and doesn’t look too bad.
I’ve yet to pony up the money for JD to recover one for me as I’ve got better uses for that pile of money, like re-doing the droopy bench seat.
I came of age around ’71-’72 (8-9 years old), so almost everything from that time is great. Ford’s, GM, Mopar, even AMC were at their zenith to me. And I loved sedans and wagons. ’71 and ’72 full size Ford’s were BOSS! And… more importantly… Burt Reynolds in his ’71 Custom 500 (and Jack Daniels) taught me how to drive! I have the driving record to prove it!
Well since many are stating what their “thing” is allow to paraphrase two “Wild and Crazy Guys”:
We like your big American car.
I don’t choose sides. Ford, GM, Chrysler, AMC Ambassador – if it was shunned when the gas crisis reared their ugly heads – I’m in love. V8, RWD, and invites comparisons to the QE II from passersby? Give me the keys.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: “Nice car, Jason.”
+1. Cars should be purchased like steaks or carpet; by the pound or by the yard.
Shafer; You’re going to have to step up your production of posts the next few weeks. Stephanie and I are going to be spending a fair amount of time at our respective attorneys as we negotiate our divorce. The ’71 LTD Convertible was the final straw, not to mention her reading my e-mail.
Yeah right. Stephanie was just trying to be sarcastically funny anyways (like you right now, for that matter).
Uh-oh. Please excuse me momentarily as I wipe this loose brown substance from my shoe. I thought I could run this while you were distracted working on your house.
Would there be any consolation in a different red convertible? A sort of antidote for your LTD, it would be something more in the range of what I had always thought was up your alley, so to speak. Sorry, it’s still not a Peugoet.
Try this, and with the optional hood ornament (as shown). I’m going to need some new toys.
This was obviously before the new EU pedestrian-safety standards for cars.
A fun article. Interesting about Rod Serling doing the Ford commercial, loved that period piece. I once encountered Rod driving along Sunset Boulevard in L.A. in the early 70’s (he died in 1975). Suddenly, there he was swooshing along next to me, and I guarantee he wasn’t driving any old mundane Ford, even if it was a “better idea.” It was a white Eldorado convertible, with the top down, yet. A fun celebrity encounter.
Very creative format and a very funny read. I am bipolar on this car myself. I like the convertibles, and would gladly have the red ’71 (and those buckets have got to be very rare). The upper trim models of this vintage could be pretty nice … but gotta go with Paul on the “ubiquitous cheap junk” angle for most of these. My step-grandmother had a ’72 LTD pillared hardtop. It was a pretty basic car, with AM radio, a/c, full wheel covers and a vinyl rood being the only options. And it was brown. Brown paint, brown vinyl top, brown vinyl seats. I do remember those center A/C vents and that view over the hood from the CC Clue. Except my view was brown. So very brown. There was just no joy riding in it. The whole car was wobbly, rattly and uninspiring in most every way. However, I did like the ’72 LTD better than the truly hideous ’73 LTD my grandfather had, painted a putrid metallic copper brown with a beige top and beige brocade seats (the fabric was so chintzy and began shredding within a few years). What a pig that thing was.
Some of us just like “different.”
Back when those things were ubiquitous, I DESPISED them. Bad enough my mother had a Gran Torino with the railroad-tie bumpers on it; the bloat-sized Ford of the times was like a radiated mutant. You didn’t even need to drive it to know what it was like: It was like steering a VLCC through the channel. “Damn the Toyotas! Full steam ahead!!”
That was then. Then, I was all over the Rabbit…in the buff books, anyway. My real-life budget was a lot more limited; and it would be many years before those trickled down to the well-used market.
Which they did. And it was they, and their clones, which became ubiquitous. And it is they that today I’m tired of….not tired exactly; they meet my needs, most of our needs; but there’s always that human need for something different.
I discovered that in myself first, many, many moons ago…as Gremlins were dying hideous deaths of body cancer, I found a healthy one. Ten years earlier I would have cursed it as an automotive amputee…a taxicab amputee, actually, with its vinyl bench, rubber mats, and lack of radio. But…the three-on-the-floor had a CHARM that made up for its lack of precision. Low torque curves made it FUN to slam it into Second and then wind it up to government-mandated 55. It wasn’t sporty…but it was…different.
Today all the more so. NOBODY had such a car now; so the driving experience, for its novelty…it’s just fun. Like driving a half-track would be fun.
I’m glad these bloatmobiles are mostly gone; but God bless the surviving specimens.
Excellent post, cars now are just so bland and lack any semblance of character. Even the expensive ones have crap interiors compared to my 13 year old Acura. It’s all about keeping down costs and prices.
Of course our blandmobiles are cheap and as reliable as rocks but no fun!
Agreed on the 72 vs. 73. The 73 was just as bad, but not offset by anything resembling good looks.
Really Paul, I thought quality was job 5415465789 at Ford in the 70s…
Ha ha ha… Thanks Jason. Well done. I too am too young to remember these cars when they were new, but they were still a few hanging around in the blue collar neighborhoods of Philadelphia growing up in the 80’s. They were almost all green, though my neighbor had one in that light-yellow (malaise?) color. All of them sported plenty of rust around the wheel wells and the bottoms of the quarter panels.
These things looked like dinosaurs to me when the mid 80’s came around, and were mostly owned by your grandfather, or people of the same age. They didn’t drive much, and the times had changed so much that I don’t think they knew what to replace them with anyhow. I mean, were they expected to trade in the 70’s LTD for a Taurus? A Turbo Coupe? I never could tell why people wanted them in the first place. I get it now… I think. I just didn’t grow up in this era, and living on the coast was probably different than the situation in the heartland.
I will take Paul’s side on the issue of the usage of these cars in Hollywood. As a kid, I remember wondering why Burt wasn’t in a Trans Am, or a Mustang, or frankly anything else in Gator. Maybe his Plymouth Satellite was in the shop? 🙂
I thought GM was the only car company that use a stirrup-style shifter for floor-shift automatics…
bucket handle… use the proper term 😛
Although if you were actually trying to shift those automatics you were more likely in “phucket handle” sort of mood…
Um…… Basket Handle was the term used at the time.
Also 1971-74 AMC Javelin.
Which I installed in my 72 Matador. I was a teenager, what can I say?
or Horseshoe shifter.
I have been blessed to have manually shifted one of these in a ’68 Ford XL and ’73 GS455 and they feel as great as I think they look. Overshooting a gear wasn’t an issue for me as I rested the bottom of my wrist on the console and used just my hand to upshift one notch at a time.
I never knew these were still available on the ’71 Fords: this car is amazing to me. I personally cannot stand those mag wheelcovers though — I think ’73-’77 pickup when I see them. I’d probably opt for the twenty-pound Turbines!
I’ve been thinking the same thing on the wheel covers, as they detract from the rest of the car.
I meant to comment on them too; were they optional on these? I can’t ever remember seeing one with them before.
Paul, I’m thinking these wheelcovers originated from elsewhere.
Ray told me the car had the engine overhauled at around 100k with another 80k on it since; the rear axle has been swapped out for some unknown reason (geared higher) which helps explain the 83 mph upshift; and it’s had one of the front fenders replaced due to kissing a fixed object.
Given the massages over time, the wheel covers likely did come from an F-100.
It may have been an option; they are shown on the XL in the ’70 Ford brochure:
I thought I had recalled seeing those on the 70 XL. Pickups did pick them up at some point not long thereafter.
That would make sense. I reviewed oldcarbrochures.com again last night and only found the ones in the ad above and the metal ones that were standard for ’71.
That’s a nice looking Mustang Grande in that brochure!
No, but it was much more common in GM products than the Ford lineup for some reason. Probably because Ford buyers had a little less money to spend, so they didn’t spring for the optional console with floor shifter that was more common in the GM midsize products (Chevy Chevelle/Malibu; Pontiac Grand Prix/GTO; Buick Skylark/Grand National; and Oldsmobile Cutlass/442) along with the GM F-Bodies (Camaro/Firebird). BTW, we called those “basket handle” shifters.
Best. CC. Ever.
Churr Jason I’d forgotten Speed’s POS, OK some of these Ford LTDs came to Aussie, Why? a bright idea of grabbing the Govt ministerial fleet once and for all this was the top of the tree it didnt work the local version did. Burt drives that heap like I used to commute to work in the back blocks of Aussie on dirt roads4am, NO cops at all anywhere in a Falcon V8 wagon the speed limit is felt as a shift good shit the engines warm now open her up the first 15 miles from the driveway was sand corrugated sand, Burt cant drive like that in real time but I can once the bitumen road is reached its wide open throttle or so until the town appears or what the gas tank could stand, As long as you keep an eye on the lower control arms Falcons can do that year in year out.
Another friend bought a 4 door LTD US version this car I could not place that bonnet yesterday but yep Ive seen one my Ford worshipping mate nearly bought a Holden after that one it was awful durable as a sugar cube in hot water is quite accurate it sure wasnt an Aussie Falcon and it drove well Paul you said it, but a ragtop nar never seen before nice find and I see you do know about saturday night speedway wait till you see our style.
Great piece, very creative work there, Jason!
When I was a kid in Quebec, I absolutely hated these cars. My dad was a GM man to the core (until he drove a Vega, that is) and taught me my hate very well. These cars did not do well in Quebec at all. In an era when practically every car in Quebec was a holy-rustbucket in five years, these things would have chunks falling off them in three. The rear rockers rusted so bad they actually fell off on many occasions.
When I was about eight years old, I was a wild car buff. I knew the names, years and model of every car on the road. In my neighbourhood, there was one handicapped boy with whom I often played. His father had 1971 LTD four door sedan. The father a drunk, a very mean one at that. One night while coming home loaded, he was driving through a construction zone and managed to head-on a very large culvert section sitting on the side of the road. The steering column went right through his chest and killed him dead.
It a testament of how touchy-feely this era was, the wreck was towed to my friend’s residence and parked outside, where it remained for months. It’s an image I will never forget.
Over here its always amused me just what you Americans call durability testing, I have photos of 50s Wolseleys airborne in Africa hot climate testing it was an regular requirement in the schedule land drive on no big deal. Aussie conditions can be harsh on a car but well worn aussie 2 WD RWD regular cars are in use by Aboriginal communities where there are no roads. You guys may have liked Australian cars too if you could have got them, Tough is normal duty.
Bryce, for the vast majority of people in North America, these condition simply don’t exist. For the most part, we have very smooth roads. For rough duty, the pick-up truck has always been the preferred vehicle.
F100s were built in Brisbane Aus they even galvanised some cabs to make them last but anyone subject to an annual safety inspection soon got sick of replacing the steering drag link every year @$400 a throw most of the rest of it hung together ok but really, thats not heavy duty
Cornbinder is a heavy duty pickup truck proven time and again. Ford,Chevrolet Dodge, nar those are light duty utes not even on par for durability with the local stuff
British cars back in the day were designed for all markets so tough to suit Africa and Australia meant they lasted well if used normally but they didnt fall apart doing a dukes of Hazard jump.
I know your roads for the most part are great, unfortunately for us your cars are designed for your roads and the twisty gravel back roads of NZ destroys American cars fairly fast.
Holden for example used the Chevrolet Camaro to build a car on but the one ton ute used Impala ball joints and tie rods not Camaro for extra durability in a much lighter car
Ford did the same in recreating the early Falcon 5 stud wheels and V8 Fairlane compact ball joints NZ got Aussie and Canadian falcons so Ive seen the difference.
Chrysler put 14inch wheels on their Valiant and mailed it in and the torsion bars failed but they fixed that and it was good
What I’m saying is a little research could have saved them all lots of coin and lost sales.
UAW had a 90 day strike against GM in fall 1970, so there was supply issue with new 1971 models. Ford was still running, and probably added production, but seems like UAW sympathizers slacked off with quality.
Why all the hate? I owned a ’72 LTD ragtop which I sold about 5 years ago after my wife and I had our daughter (yeah, yeah….priorities…) It was comfortable, reliable, had power to spare, and turned heads wherever we went in it even though it was by no means a show car. (torn top, ratty interior, wrinkled rear quarter)…and hey, it was a convertible! The styling on these is…..uninteresting…but by all accounts, so was 1972.
Great blog, BTW.
Personal experience I guess. My father bought a faded triple-green 1972 LTD sedan with 400-2V engine, AM Radio, A/C, and dog dish hubcaps at an Alabama auction for $500 15-20 years ago. It ran like a Swiss watch and it was a pretty fast car despite all the negative publicity I read on these engines. A 429-equipped car ought to be a blast to drive! His car was faster than his ’72 Fury (360) and would run circles around the ’72 Impala (350) he had at the time.
I drove it as often as I had the opportunity to…and found it to be a comfortable, capable vehicle. I neither traverse The Tail of the Dragon nor autocross and will take “wallowy handling”, a smooth quiet ride, great acceleration and my-kind-of-good-looks with a smile.
My buddy has a 400 in his MkV and he swears by this engine as it is light and easy to hop up. His has Australian heads and a nice manifold, carbs and headers system. It easy makes 350 hp and it is hooked up to a Gearvendor’s splitter,making the C-6 into a six speed. The the thing goes like stink and the 400 is not stressed at all.
My mate speed of LTD fame went LM400 into Aussie fairlane next step was to australianise the heads etc it works well, I am surfing the Sunbeam parts catalogue to upgrade my Minx its fun.
I think Uncle Jesse called his 71 LTD (which I believe was a black four door) “Sweet Tilley.”
A 71 LTD, of any other variety, might be nothing special to a lot of people, but being a convertible, well lets just say just about any convertible is something special.
It must be my need to be crude and vulgar day but all I can think of as an appropriate comment is what Mel Brooks was once quoted as saying (and maybe many others as well) “Sex is like pizza, even if it’s done bad it’s still good.” I have yet to find a convertible out there that I would pass up driving, at least once, or a convertible that doesn’t improve upon the coupe version.
I say this, because I, as many might already think, am not known as a lover of small cars, but having owned a Cavalier Z24 convertible J car which is among the smallest convertibles made, well it totally transformed the experience. Heck, I might even be convinced to drive a Miata.
So while the 71 LTD convertible may be worn out, rank smelling, and probably consume more gas than 75 Continental, I would not run out of ways to have a good time in one of those. You only live once…
Alright I love these too and I’m only 19! Wanted one a couple years back but ended up with a PN approved 64 corvair for a while. Dont forget the 72 ford in magnum force! Dirty Harry has a 72 ltd convertible. He also rocks a basic Custom 500
I like the ’71 Fords a lot: mainly the LTD because of that awesome center taillight section. What’s even cooler than having a full-width taillight is having the two very center bulbs in the middle taillight also serve as brake lights. The ’71 Marquis had a similar setup. Not quite sequential-signal-cool but close.
My ex-friend in Alabama has a ’71 Custom 500 that was originally a 429 car with 140 speedometer. Of course it will rot to pieces…I gave up trying to get him to put the engine back in it.
So last year imagine my horror seeing one of these at the scrapyard. No, not just any old ’71 LTD but a complete red 1971 LTD convertible factory 429 car with dentless, rustless body, perfect top perfect original carpet/black bench seat interior. Perfect as in..no wear-under-the-driver’s-ass-or-feet-perfect. Only a true spawn of Satan or low-life trash would have hauled that car to the scrapyard. The only defects I could see were missing wheelcovers and faded paint…(the car was originally a pale yellow)…but this thing looked like you could put a battery in it, prime the carb, and drive it home.
No amount of begging would allow me to bring it home and it still bothers me to this day. Ugh ugh UGH.
Owner passed away and family wanted it gone, perhaps? A police impound that was never claimed? Or maybe the car was ultimately the victim of a bitter divorce?
If the yard’s owner parted out and crushed that thing he deserves to be run over by a Kia. Or maybe he’s saving it for himself 🙂 .
The scrapyard owner is just as guilty. The boneyard I used to frequent, would put “junk” cars that were serviceable or better out front with prices. That was long ago, before “salvage” titles came into being, so maybe that has something to do with what happened.
Still, it’s a shame. The yard should have set it apart, for someone who wanted to rebuild it or needed extensive parts.
We put stuff that ran and drove to one side for further investigation only the junk was junked the reuseable cars did just that resold cheap to often gratefull people
My best friend’s parents had the Country Squire version of the LTD. No power windows or locks and it had this indestructible vinyl on the seats. Wasn’t overly Broughamy at all just a big hunk of American iron.
The sheetmetal was so thick that even though the family would run into things with it the car had no dents.
I always kind of liked the styling of the 1971-72 Fullsize Fords. I thought it was much better than the 1973-78 models. Most of the magazine articles on these cars rated them favourable for the time. I even have a 1972 LTD tested by Road and Track, and that article doesn’t make the car out to be any worse than the other land yachts it competed with. My old used car guide from the 1970’s says that these cars would have been as good or better than the GM’s (which it rated the best for fullsize cars) if it wasn’t for the major rust issues.
That red convertible is probably the nicest 1971 LTD I have ever seen. Very nice car, and it certainly has a more sporty style than a 1971 Impala Convertible. Thanks for sharing the pics.
Never heard of the White Lightning movie before, thoroughly enjoyed the chase sequences posted above! I especially enjoyed how the brown LTD’s rear window was sometimes intact and sometimes gone! (Continuity.101 fail). And is it just me, or does the front-right wheel collapse after he does the big jump in one of the sequences above?
I was born well after these cars were in their heyday. I’m an old soul though, and I loved watching re-runs of The Streets of San Fancisco. I always admired the shiny new copper brown and metallic lime green 71-72 galaxie 500’s Mike and Steve cruised around in. A fine looking car in my opinion. The handling and braking deficiencies of these beasts was all too obvious just by watching them wallow around in the chase scenes. Scary! 72′ Fords were also prominently featured in the 73′ film Magnum Force. Big Ford’s were Harry Callahan’s vehicle of choice, in the first two films at least. There was a great chase scene near the end with a blue Galaxie stripper sedan.
I actually got to drive an original 72′ 500 sedan when I was living in Utah a few years back. It was at a tiny rinky-dink car lot in American Fork. The lime green ford stood out like sore thumb. It was in immaculate condition for its age, and all original. Just like in the Streets of San Fran! It had a 400 ci and column auto. It drove nicely but the tranny slipped badly. I couldn’t justify blowing $3000 for the beast, but it sure was pleasure to get up close and personal with one.
I wasn’t a fan of the 73′ model that replaces these. They lacked the styling flair of the 71-72’s, and were way too boxy and bulky looking for my tastes. The fact the convertible option was gone made it even less appealing. I always thought it looked like the design team were locked in a room with nothing more to work with than a slide rule and a box of pencils!
That front end is very Pontiac looking,it’s better looking than the front of the same years Mercuries I’ve often suspected industrial espionage was rife in Detroit
It was the result of Bunkie Knudsen’s short, (not-so) sweet tenure as president of Ford.
Bunkie, you may or may not know, was recruited out of Pontiac by Henry II personally and secretly. It was Henry’s management style: Always have two sets of executives working at loggerheads with each other. It’s how he learned management, on the fly.
New in the Ford offices, with no training or internship, his father Edsel dead and grandfather senile and Harry Bennet mobbing up the company…young Henry II needed help. He recruited top-tier talent from Bendix, headed by Ernie Breech; and then at the same time Tex Thornton and his Whiz Kids solicited jobs as a sort of turnkey management team. From the start, the two were fighting to the death…and it was Breech who died horribly, getting sacked months before he would have qualified for a Ford executive pension.
With the Whiz Kids mostly gone, only Lundy’s cadre remaining, Iacocca rose to the fore. Henry in those days liked but didn’t trust Lido; and surely brought in Bunkie to serve as a foil and a sparring partner.
It was how Henry liked to live. The two were to slash each other to death for Henry’s amusement…and, as it turned out, Henry would eventually dispatch the victor as well.
But Bunkie brought over a lot of “foreign” ideas. He Gran-Prix’ed the Thunderbird; and somehow the full-size Ford grew a Pontiac-type nose as well. And the Mustang started putting on weight – and Lido and Bunkie spent decades pointing fingers at each other for that.
But…yeah. The 1971 Ford full-size would have been going out the door just about the time Bunkie got kicked out the service entrance.
Thanks I learn something new everyday on this site
The Bunkie Beak he stuck it on everything he could.
hello I ran across this page while searching for #s on a car I just came to own and now have for sale. enclosed is a pic of a 72 LTD convertible straight out of the barn in Kansas. been there for 20 years with only 90000 miles. oyez did I mention it for sale .search craigslist Wichita ks
IM TNINKING OF SELLING MY DADS 1971 ford LTD CONVERTABLE HE LEFT ME , HE PASSED AWAY AUG 2013 and I’m trying to save the land he built from a greedy ex family member.
It is restored and beautiful and would like to see it go to someone that really would appreciate it like he did..
4148181439 call if know of anyone worthy of such a beauty. We are located in southern Missouri
Despite my Mopar and even fuselage tendencies, I’ve always liked the ’71 — ’72 full-size Fords. They have a real athletic look about them. The Dutch royal family apparently agreed, because a ’72 LTD convertible remains in their fleet to this day.
Which is the power of the engine and the maximum speed
I don’t know. Which???
Here’s a post from the future.
Always kind of liked these cars, used to own a 428 PI Galaxie.
I wonder what a set of sway bars, shocks, decent tires, and good brake pads would do…it isn’t like you’re not allowed to improve old cars.
My Grandfather bought a 2-door brown on brown 70 Galaxie 500 from the dealer in the late summer of 70. It was totaled in our driveway about a month later when a man driving a Gremlin had an epileptic seizure and drove up onto our lawn and into the Galaxie. With the insurance money Gramps bought an end of model year white pillar-less hardtop LTD (w. blue crush vinyl top) powered by a 351W. When Gramps passed in 76 my Mom inherited the low mileage garage queen. Then by 1984 I owned it and put over 100K miles on it over the next 6 years. It had been rust treated yearly but it also lower pane body work done in 74, 77 and 88. It was my favorite vehicle of all time — solid, floated down the highway lots of power and had those cool hideaway headlights. Liked the look with all 4 windows down. In 1990 with a baby on the way I sold it for $500 and bought a new Olds Cutless. Perhaps the 70 LTD it is still on the road somewhere? Anyway, I liked the Ford so much I had already bought a red 71 LTD convertible (white top, black vinyl bench seats) in 1987 as a summer car (also a 351). It had a trailer hitch and easily pulled a trailer but the red paint had faded to a dull orange and the top was pretty ratty and their was lots of evidence of rust starting. Still it was a family pet so I paid to restore it in 2001 and still own it. The styling is nicer on the 71 then the 70 but the ride was much-much tighter on the 70. Perhaps it was the flex-frame added in 71? If so the change was a BIG mistake.
What do I like about these Fords? 1. the body styling of the 2 doors, esp the rear tail lights. 2. The leg room and visibility over that long hood. 3. The power — on highways with the top down the convertible runs powerfully like a champ and straight as an arrow. 4. The massive trunk — room for two Jimmy Hoffa’s plus a full size spare. 5. Ample room to work round the engine. 6. Parts are still readily available. 7. These old cars are still a bargain if you don’t have a lot to invest – they top out around 20K for a real nice example — and you really do get a lot more car for the buck than the ubiquitous Mustang. 8. 71 LTDs are rarish birds yet seem to turn heads — esp the ragtop. What I dislike? 1. handling on corners (yea the suspension was rebuilt and new springs added for a marginal improvement) — but just take them slower than your modern car and you’ll be fine. 2. Parking these boats in a modern parking garage is a challenge. 3. You can’t leave them out in the elements or they rust like crazy esp in Ontario Canada where I live. But, if you have a dry Garage you can keep them forever (well in my case 31 years and counting). If not then you had better live somewhere dry like the desert. 4. If I have not driven it for a day it has to stall once before I can get underway. This is a notorious issue with the 351s for this year and with my particular factory carburetor. Its something I expect — one of the cars quirks. Just like I need to grunt and stretch a few times before hauling my 60 year-old body out of bed in the morning.
5. The lower body trim was aluminum made, dented easily, was misaligned from the factory (Ford lack of Q-control) and trapped moisture. I took mine off along with the wheel well chrome trim and put it in the attic in case someone ever wanted to put it back on but I like the chrome-less look — makes it more sporty (closer to the Galaxie trim level than the LTD). Other: Gas mileage is actually not that bad — it became worse in 72 and subsequent years as more anti-pollution stuff was added. Still the 71 is not as good as my new Corolla — just no worse than any other early 70s big car and probably better than some others. Enjoyed the article and comments. Cool Fact: The character Jonathan Byers drives a rusty 71 Ford Galaxie in the hit Show Stranger Things — a green four door of course with the nasty looking pillar posts. It does always seems to start right up though LoL
L0L I’m only 5 yrs older than you, and I drove a 1969 Galaxie 500 convertible that was about 10 years old at that time. A female friend of my GF back then RAVED about how smooth the ride was in it! I liked the 1970 tail-lights better than the 1969 model. Someone mentioned the 1971 models looked like Pontiacs from the same era? He is right! I know bc my dad had a brand new 1965 Pontiac Parisienne. (I think Catalina was the USA version of the Parisienne?) The ’71 LTD had a similar nose as the Pontiac.
BTW, I had the pleasure to drive a few Cobra Jet 428s in 1971. I was a car jockey at a Ford dealership back then. I was only 18. (50 YEARS AGO) My dad was sales manager. W0W! Those cars were DANGEROUS! So much POWER!
@ John McGuire, Methinx only the LTD, and the Galaxie XL had the hideaway headlights. I just Giggled the Galaxie 500 and none of them had that. It was nice working as a car jockey for Ford in 1970! I got to drive all these NEW cars as a 16-17 yr old! I’m 69 now and never owned a new car! No biggie! The main reason we wanted spiffy cars was to attract women! I’m past that stage now! L0L
True. The LTD was the top trim level, the Galaxie 500 was the middle level trim and the Custom 500 was the entry-level Ford full-size car (the XL was reserved for the Coupe and Convertible variants). Only the LTD and XL got hide away headlights. In addition, the LTD usually got a little extra bling on the rear bumper and trunk panel, usually in the form of an red illuminated center lamp between the taillights. Lesser trim levels made do with a cast metal panel or solid center bumper in place of the illuminated center section.
I want that car
I always wondered at the huge driving difference between the ’69 full-size Ford and the ’72. My Dad had a new company car of each: a pea-green ’69 Galaxie 500 390 4 bbl 4 dr hardtop, and the identical car in metallic gold as a ’72 model with 400 engine.
I drove both extensively, but they were very different, which seems odd given they were basically the same car: the ’69 being changed greatly throughout from the ’68 full-sized Fords, but the ’72 basically being a restyle of the ’69 before a big change in ’73.
A flex-frame is mentioned above, so would that kind of frame alteration, presumably for ride quality, explain how the ’69, while severely under-tired, under-sprung, and under-damped, which lead to severe squeal and lean around corners, seemed otherwise reasonably tight and solid for a land yacht, while the ’72 had horrible flapping front fender-itis, flexy cowl shake and overall seemed like a total wallowing pig? What would account for such a clearly evident difference between cars that were more or less the same under the skin?
The other clear deterioration was that the relatively un-emission controlled ’69 390 was fast, powerful, and would easily burn rubber off it’s cheapie bias-belted tires, while the ’72 400 2 bbl was balky, wheezing and asthmatic. The only way to get rubber on that pig was to rev it in neutral and slam the shifter into Drive…yes I did that. Hey, it just was a Bethlehem Steel company car and I was 20!
I should also mention that the ’69 was quite understated and to me attractive with it’s simple horizontal bar grille, classic Ford-like squared off tailights, and clean simple lines, compared to the over-done gaping front, fussy rear-end design, and tacky over-ornamentation of the ’71 and ’72 models. I also preferred the driver-centered instrument panel of the ’69.
All that said however, the ’69 was a step backwards, in my opinion, to the ’67 Fury III 4 door hardtop it replaced, even if that 390 would smoke the Fury’s LA 318 all day long.
Is it deliberate that Jason misspells Peugeot as “Peugoet” throughout? Probably not, because one of the times he did he was while writing in Paul’s voice and that would be well out of character for him.
Quinn Martin had Ford product placement of course, but I have to wonder if the reason the Dukes and so many other late ’70s/early ’80s shows used so many late ’60s/early ’70s big Fords for destructive entertainment was that they were cheap, surrounded the stunt driver with lots of metal, were cheap, could still be tuned to give plenty of power even if only in one last blast to go out in style, were cheap, nobody else wanted them, and they were cheap.
You deserve credit – in eight years of this post being out there, nobody has ever mentioned the unintentional misspelling. My likely thought at the time was if anything was wrong, spell check would catch it. Obviously not!
My father worked as a Sales Engineer for Motorola Semiconductor from 1964 to 1973 and one of the perks of his job was a new company car every two (2) years. He had two (2) Galaxie 500’s over that span, a 1966 and a 1970, both four-door sedans. The 1966 Galaxie was a so-called “Hardtop Convertible”, where the “B-Pillar” didn’t extend all the way to the roof, but was cut off at the top of the door. The 1970 Galaxie was the first car our family ever had that was equipped with factory air conditioning. I can’t imagine my father driving to sales calls in a business suit and tie without a/c, but that’s how it was done back in the day!
Other than my Dad’s cars, my other connection to these cars was that they were the personal ride of Hawaii Five-O’s Steve McGarrett, a.k.a., Jack Lord. “Book’em, Dan-O, Murder One!” The 1970 LTD was my personal styling favorite.
BTW, my Dad’s other company rides were a 1964 Dodge 440 sedan, a 1968 Plymouth Fury III and a 1972 Chevy Caprice.
Thanx for that RA Jr.! I liked the 1970 ‘neater’, and more rectangular tail-lights better than the 1969 ones. In 1971 the front nose of the LTDs/Galaxies became more T-Bird-like, and I liked/like that improvement too. Of course I preferred the sportier Mustangs over the ‘old people’ cars! My ALL-TIME FAV car is the 1968 Shelby GT500 KR convertible! If I had about $120,00.00 I could buy one! As it was, i the late 70s, my dad’s car connections got me a deal on a RED 1965 Mustang convertible, and I had the 289, and C4 tranny rebuilt by a renowned engine guy locally! He recently passed away! RIP Jack!
The only exterior difference between the 1970 Galaxie 500 and the LTD was that the center panel between the taillights was a simple metal casting, but the LTD has the red plastic panel between the taillights that mimicked the taillights. I can’t remember if that panel was illuminated when the taillights were lit, however. Does anyone else remember if that center panel lit up on the LTD?
The only exterior difference between the 1970 Galaxie 500 and the LTD was that the center panel between the taillights was a simple metal casting, but the LTD has the red plastic panel between the taillights that mimicked the taillights. I can’t remember if that panel was illuminated when the taillights were lit, however. Does anyone else remember if that center panel lit up on the LTD? Internally, of course, the LTD had more standard equipment, befitting its higher price.
I hated these when I was in high school! We called them boats, land yachts, barges, etc., for the floating, wallowing ride, with absolutely no road feel through the steering wheel. The fact that we all came of driving age in the middle of two (2) oil crises, when gas went from $0.30/gallon to over $1.00/gallon, and these barges were lucky to crack 20 mpg on the highway, going downhill, with a tailwind, didn’t help. Trying to feed these things on a minimum wage of $2.50 an hour in high school working twenty hours a week, maybe, didn’t leave a lot left for dinner at the local burger joint and a movie with your girlfriend on Saturday night. They had one (1) redeeming virtue: They were cheap to buy. Used mint examples were rare, but they could be had for about $1000. Most of them were rust buckets, and the general rule of thumb was anything that ran was worth $100, so a well-used example with minimal rust and high mileage could be bought for about $500.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to change my opinion a bit. Yes, they still wallow like garbage scows, but they’re roomy, comfortable and still relatively inexpensive to buy. With a whole internet full of upgrade parts available, they can be made to handle almost like sports cars. Brakes, suspensions, even replacement frames are all available in the aftermarket, and with a crate motor from the car’s original manufacturer, they put out twice the power using half the fuel that they did when they were new. Add a modern radio setup, put your significant other in the passenger seat, and hit the road, baby!
I don’t get it??? WHAT type of car do you love, if you hate a BIGGER, roomier car, and why do you want to ‘feel’ the road??? Do you also like BUMPY rides, with more road NOISE? The 1971 LTD is a nice-looking car, with a nice QUIET/SMOOTH ride. I remember back to 1979. My GF and I drove a 1969 Galaxie conv. Her female friend told me she REALLY loved the ride of that car! I mean she went out of her way to say how much she enjoyed it! I still remember her saying that 43 years later!
I tend to be a devotee of European cars, firm, but not harsh. Think BMW 2002/3-Series or Audi 5000 of the same or a slightly later (1980’s) era. Besides, as I noted in the rest of my post, I’ve mellowed a bit, and have come to appreciate some of the virtues I loathed when I was younger. With modern technology to solve the twin bogeys of poor fuel economy and high emissions that were such a problem when these cars were new, they can be made to perform much better while retaining their virtues of roominess and comfort now, the best of both worlds. FYI, my daily driver is a Mazda Miata, but that won’t work when I need to carry more than one (1) person, LOL!
OK Robert, I get it now! Of course a Beamer or Audi SPORTS car performs much better on winding mountain roads and are much more fun to drive! MUCHO more expensive too.
That’s what I was getting at. Start with a cheap, mid-size or full-size American car, add some relatively low-cost upgrades to improve some of those cars shortcomings, and get almost European performance at a much lower cost, with passenger room and trunk space that those European sports sedans can only dream of! Again, the best of both worlds! Cheers!
TBH, I haven’t driven since 1992! I just can’t afford a car! I’ve ridden an ebike the past 3 years tho, and it gets me to town on a country road in about 12 mins. (5.6 kms) It’s 72 volts, and I have been sprucing the bike up, paint, and decals! It is starting to look really nice too! I’ll be done in a few weeks or so.
The Miata is a CUTE little sports car! Now that I’m older, a 2-person car is good enough for me! That’s one more person than I get on my 72 volt ebike!
I don’t get it??? WHAT type of car do you love, if you hate a BIGGER, roomier car, and why do you want to ‘feel’ the road??? Do you also like BUMPY rides, with more road NOISE? The 1971 LTD is a nice-looking car, with a nice QUIET/SMOOTH ride. I remember back to 1979. My GF and I drove a 1969 Galaxie conv. Her female friend told me she REALLY loved the ride of that car! I mean she went out of her way to say how much she enjoyed it! I still remember her saying that 43 years later! Another plus is we can load the car up with 4-5 of our friends and go cruising! The only negative is they use more gas ($) than smaller cars of course. I just re-read your comment, and I see you amended your opinion as you aged. (=