Here’s the second big rusty Ford I came upon while covering the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Gotta admire the staying power of these tough old sleds, even as the tinworm makes its way through them. Let’s take a closer look.
This Ford LTD shares its Panther platform with the 1983 Lincoln Continental Mark VI covered in the previous installment, and it’s from just about the same timeframe. Since the grille spells out FORD in block letters rather than in cursive in the Ford oval, we know that this LTD is from 1979-82.
And here’s how we know it’s a 1979: this LTD is a rare Landau, a debut-year-only trim level that employed unique horizontal opera lamps. These lamps usually run vertically up the B- or C-pillars.
It fits that Ford would stress horizontal lines in the first year of this downsized design, to soften the blow of the ’79’s shorter length compared to the gargantuan ’78’s.
In today’s dollars, a base 1979 LTD would start at about $19,700, and the Landau would notch in a bit higher at $21,500.
This reaching-for-the-sky hood ornament is part of the Landau package.
The wheel covers, on the other hand, have been sourced from a 1970s Chrysler New Yorker. Close enough, eh?
The bulging tail lights and trunk lid helped to make the LTD seem even more substantial, which was important in this first year of its being downsized from the land yachts that had come before.
Rendering “LTD” in cursive on the tail light lens while it’s in block letters elsewhere demonstrates the occasionally scattershot detailing of US cars from this era.
And now for the rust. That rear bumper is only about half there…
…and so a strap provides an assist. It’s a common issue with this car’s platform.
Wheel arches all around seem to be rotting from within, and maybe there’s some kind of coating on these to keep them solid.
Ford simply called this color “Dark Blue”, and it does a good job of visually keeping the rust under wraps – this well-used Landau still isn’t bad from 10 feet away.
The LTD’s pointed detailing also works to keep your eye focused on the corners, and so this steadily-degrading LTD still earns its place on the road, even if its luxury connotations are definitely past-tense.