The 40th Anniversary of the 1979 Ford LTD
I’ve owned a 1957 Thunderbird, several 1970’s Pontiac Trans Ams, a 1958 Edsel, several 1956 Fords, a few mustangs and have sold them all. The one car I’ve kept is a 1979 Ford LTD, surely not the most sought after classic but the ’79 LTD has remained one of my all time favorites.
2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the body style change for the LTD. The body style remained virtually unchanged from 1979 to 1987 with the ’79-’83 models offering a “single headlamp” version and a “dual headlamp” version.
As a tribute, this post features everything ’79 LTD…..Enjoy!
The LTD pictured below started it all for me. Little did my mother know that day she purchased this LTD in 1983 and picked me up from school in it that she would change my life. I’ve been hooked on LTDs ever since, so I guess it was her fault. I’ve read from some comments on forums that the ’79 LTD came with a hood ornament as standard, but the LTD my mom had below was factory with no hood ornament.
1979…. A New Beginning!
1Totally new in size and style was the LTD line of full-size Fords. Still commanding the top spot in luxury and price was the LTD Landau sub-series, consisting of this 4-door Sedan, Model 65, and a 2-door Sedan, Model 64. Marking the first time that a top-level Ford had broken the $6,000 base (exclusive of Thunderbird), the 4-door Landau priced out at $6,474, while the 2-door version hit $6,349. Still sales were brisk, and the 4-door model accounted for 74,599 units while the less popular 2-door reached 42, 314. Nicely squared rear lines provided a huge rear window and a rather formal trunk deck. Space accountability was a factor in the design, and the trunk now offered 23.3 cubic feet of storage space, which was more than tin the 1978 models.
2The plain LTD line consisted of the same two car models as did the Landau sub-series, plus had two wagon models. In the car line, there was this Model 63 4-door sedan and the Model 62 2-door Sedan. Most popular of all LTDs, the 4-door accounted for 117,730 sales, and thus also became Ford’s fifth most popular model overall. It was based priced at $5,913, while the 2-door version was $100 cheaper, and drew less than half as many orders, ending with production of 54, 005. All LTDs used the 302 V-8 as their base power with both 351 models being available as options. However, all larger blocks had now been discontinued. This example is shown with the optional vinyl top, at $116 extra.
3Despite its down-sizing, Ford claimed that its LTD Station Wagon, Model 74 would still hold as many passengers or as much cargo as did the former models. Once again, the dual facing rear seats were available at $150 for those wanting 10-passenger capacity. Priced at $6,122 the wagon drew 37,955 orders in base form. The luggage rack was a $115 option. The LTD models now used a 114.4 inch wheelbase chassis, as opposed to 121 inches in 1978. Also, the wagons were now 212.9 inches overall, as opposed to 225.7, while the cars were 209 inches as opposed to 224.1 inches. Ford was proud of the fact that its full-size wagons offered 91.7 cubic feet of cargo space, and that they could carry a standard 4×8 sheet of plywood flat on the cargo floor.
4Buyers who wanted four-eyed LTDs had to go with the Landau model in the cars or with the Country Squire in the wagon field. Only the top-level full-size Fords used the quad headlight, set horizontally on top of long rectangular parking lights. Plain LTD models used single rectangular headlight set in large chrome bezels and had the parking lights set in the grille. Although the Country Squire was officially part of the plain LTD line, it once again used the exclusive frontal design of the Landau sub-series. Ford’s highest priced model, outside of the Thunderbirds, the Squire listed at $6,615, with the wire type wheel covers being another $145 for the set. Oddly enough the Squire is usually thought of as a separate model. Ford also listed it as an option package at $760 above the base wagon price. Still separate production figures were kept on the Squire showing that 29, 932 went out the door this year.
1979 Ford LTD Literature
I was unable to find a 1979 Ford LTD Sales Value X-Ray anywhere online. I’ve provided a PDF of the complete brochure for download at this link, 1979 Ford LTD Sales Value X-Ray The Inside Story of A New American Road Car.
1979 Ford LTD Sales Brochure Cover
The full brochure can be found here.
Consumer Guide’s ’79 Auto Preview
Road Test Magazine, 1978
Consumer Guide Auto Test 1979
Car & Driver 1979
Here are a couple of my LTD’s. No, green isn’t my favorite color, I happened to find good deals on these two.
The above LTD on the left was destroyed. It was T-boned a few years ago at an intersection.
LTDs of Youtube
1979 Ford LTD Frontal Crash Test
1979 Ford LTD Test Drive
A 1979 Ford LTD for sale
Special Thanks to CurbsideClassic.com for the magazine images.
Sources & References:
GN. “Vintage Review: 1979 Ford LTD – Corpulence Condensed” https://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/vintage-review-1979-ford-ltd-corpulence-condensed/1,2,3,4George H. Dammann. “90 Years of Ford” Motorbooks International Publishers, 1993.