Ford LTD (North America)

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See Ford LTD (Australia) for the Australian-built vehicle of the same name.
Ford LTD
1971 Ford LTD convertible
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
SuccessorFord LTD Crown Victoria (for full-size LTD)
Ford Taurus (for mid-size LTD)
ClassFull-size (1965-1982)
Mid-size (1983-1986)
LayoutFR layout
ManualsService Manual

The Ford LTD was a car model name that has been used by the Ford Motor Company in North America.

The LTD designation is considered by some an abbreviation of "Luxury Trim Decor" and by others as a limited body style classification for the Galaxie. There is evidence that, at least in Australia, it originally stood for "Lincoln Type Design." The original "Car Life" review at the time the first LTD was released suggests that it stood for nothing and was just three meaningless letters (that article also noted it could not stand for "Limited" as Chrysler at the time already was using and had the copyright on that car name/designation).

A range of cars wore the LTD badge from 1965 to 1991 in the United States. The LTD name debuted as the highest trim level package on the Ford Galaxie 500, but became its own model in 1967. The Galaxie name continued for the lower levels until 1974.

In 1977, the name was used on two different cars. The full-size LTD continued, but a rebodied version of the Ford Torino was sold as the LTD II. Both offered coupe, sedan, and wagon body styles. This arrangement continued until the standard LTD was moved to the Panther platform in 1979.

In 1983, the LTD was again split into two separate lines, with the LTD Crown Victoria remaining full-size and the LTD name placed on a mid-size car based on the Fox platform. The smaller LTD continued in sedan and station wagon forms through 1986, overlapping slightly with the first model year of the Ford Taurus in 1986, the car that became its successor.


First generation
Body style(s)4-door sedan
2-door coupe
2-door convertible
4-door station wagon
RelatedMercury Marquis

The line was introduced in 1965 as the Galaxie 500 LTD (and for the first year was badged as such), in response to the introduction of the Chevrolet Caprice and the similar Dodge Monaco and Polara. These upscale models had features found primarily on luxury models from these same manufacturers, but were sold with much lower retail prices. The standard upgrades on these cars were power windows, a power drivers seat, power brakes, power steering, air conditioning, a full or half-vinyl top (called a landau or brougham randomly across different models by the same manufacturers). Another list of upgrades were interiors made of better materials and more powerful engines. Most of these upper trim models were usually all hardtops as opposed to pillared bodies.

The LTD was split off into its own model for 1967, while the Galaxie name continued on lower-line models through 1974. The Custom 500 remained as a fleet model in the U.S. and the base model in Canada through 1978.


Second generation
1971 Ford LTD convertible
AssemblyOakville, Ontario, Canada
Body style(s)4-door sedan
2-door coupe
2-door convertible
4-door station wagon
RelatedMercury Marquis
Ford Galaxie

From 1968 to 1970, the LTD shared top-of-the line trim pieces featuring a grille with hidden headlamps which was shared with the Galaxie XL sport coupe and the Country Squire station wagon.

The 1968 model changed from stacked headlights to a horizontal arrangement behind hidden headlight covers.

1969 was a new body, with a grille with a body color horizontal divider. The 1970 did not have a divider with the center grille separated from the side sections.

1971 was a larger redesign which dropped the long-running theme of twin round or square "jet exhaust" taillights in favor of a horizontal theme. The LTD lost its distinctive hidden headlamps, but had the LTD grille badge, side trim, and tail which had a red reflector rather than painted panel between the taillights. The 1972 bumper extended across the center grille section, while the rear got a large chrome bumper into which taillights were set.


Third generation
Ford LTD sedan
AssemblyOakville, Ontario, Canada
Body style(s)4-door sedan
2-door coupe
4-door station wagon
Engine(s)302 CID Windsor V8
351 CID Cleveland V8
351 CID 351M V8
400 CID Cleveland V8
429 CID 385 V8
460 CID 385 V8
Wheelbase121.0 in (3073 mm)
RelatedMercury Marquis
Lincoln Continental
Ford Country Squire
Mercury Colony Park

The LTD was redesigned for 1973. While the new LTD weighed less than earlier models, it was still far in excess of two tons, meaning that agility and fuel economy were both weak points. The base engine was the 302 CID V8. The next largest engine was Ford's 351 CID V8, which was the most common choice. Still larger was Ford's 400 CID V8, and topping the range was Lincoln's huge 460 CID V8, which gave good power but got less than 10 mpg in city traffic. In the case of at least some of the 400 models, this fuel economy problem has been traced to a fuel system and manifolds designed to run on methanol fuel, which was unsuitable for gasoline applications. In addition, these engines were choked by emissions systems, with the 400 engine producing large amounts of torque but a power output of 160-180 hp, depending on which year. Despite these difficulties, the full-sized Fords remained strong sellers each year during this period, due to their high comfort, good build quality and reasonable cost.

The Galaxie nameplate was discontinued after 1974, leaving the Custom 500 as the base trim full-size Ford, then LTD, LTD Brougham, and the new LTD Landau at the top of the series for the 1975 model year. The Landau came with hidden headlamps and available rear fender skirts, and was also available with various decor packages for additional luxury. The Brougham trim was dropped from the lineup for 1977. The regular LTD station wagon had exposed headlamps; the LTD Country Squire wagon had simulated woodgrain body trim as in previous years, and from 1975-78 had the same hidden headlamps as the LTD Landau.


Main article: Ford LTD II

When Ford decided to phase out the Torino in 1976, they adopted the successful LTD name for its replacement. Since the first and full-size LTD was still on the market, the product planners added a "II" after the LTD. The LTD II was essentially a restyled Torino, and continued until 1979.


Fourth generation
1979-1980 Ford LTD sedan
AssemblySt. Thomas, Ontario
Pico Rivera, California
Body style(s)4-door sedan
2-door coupe
4-door station wagon
PlatformFord Panther platform
Engine(s)255 CID Windsor V8
302 CID Windsor V8
351 CID Windsor V8
RelatedMercury Marquis
Lincoln Continental
Lincoln Town Car
Ford Country Squire
Mercury Colony Park

Downsized two years after its main rival, the Chevrolet Impala, the new 1979 LTD was seven inches shorter than the old one, and four inches shorter than the LTD II. The interior remained just as large as the previous LTD though, and the whole design became more efficient; the reduced size and weight led to improved road manners and maneuverability, which had been major drawbacks in the previous LTD. Ride quality improved as well with the new car, as did fuel economy. Originally, the LTD was offered with the 302 and 351 CID V8s. For 1981 and 1982, Ford offered a 255 CID V8.

In the U.S, LTD and LTD Landau models were available as before. In Canada, the Custom 500 continued as the base model through 1981. For 1980, the LTD S was added as a lower-priced model and the LTD Landau was replaced by the LTD Crown Victoria, which had a landau roof with a targa-like chrome band. Low-end cars were identifiable by single square headlamps, while the higher models received duals.

The LTD name went on a smaller Fairmont-based sedan for 1983, and the full-size cars became LTD Crown Victoria.

1983-1986 Fox

Fifth generation
1985-86 Ford LTD sedan
AssemblyChicago, Illinois
Atlanta, Georgia
Body style(s)4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
PlatformFord Fox platform
Engine(s)2.3 L Lima I4
200 CID Thriftpower Six I6
3.8 L Essex V6
5.0 L Windsor V8
Transmission(s)3-speed C5 automatic
4-speed AOD
RelatedFord Thunderbird
Mercury Marquis
Mercury Cougar
Lincoln Continental
Lincoln Mark VII
1983-84 Ford LTD wagon

Ford's final family sedan based on the Fox platform, the LTD, and its Mercury twin, the Marquis, were basically a restyle of the unsuccessful 1981 to 1982 Ford Granada and Mercury Cougar, and the popular 1978 to 1983 Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr. In fact, the running gear was identical to the Fairmont, sharing the Fairmont's controlled ride and handling, and all of the virtues of the later Fairmont, including its reputation for reliability. The LTD and Marquis monikers were also used on the full size sedan and wagon, named LTD Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis.

Both inherited the Fairmont's 2.3 L four-cylinder, 3.3 L inline-six, and 5.0 L V8 engines; the V8 gained fuel-injection in the LTD and Marquis however. Inherited from the Granada was Ford's 3.8 L Essex V6, which gave smooth and reliable power. The Essex engine gained fuel injection for 1984 in the US; it was carbureted in Canadian markets until 1986. An odd option from 1983 to 1984 was an LPG (propane)-powered four-cylinder engine, but was discontinued due to poor sales and few propane fueling stations. The LTD's final year was 1986, when Ford kept it alive due to the radical nature of its replacement, the Taurus. This car was the third-best-selling car in the United States in 1983 and 1984.

In the middle in the 1984 model year, Ford introduced a performance LTD called the LX. It came standard with the high output 5.0 L CFI V8 engine, four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 600 lb-in front and 270 lb-in rear coil springs, front and rear sway bars, 10 inch front disc and 10 inch rear drum brakes, and a 3.27:1 rear gear ratio with a Traction-Lok differential. The LX model was the only LTD to have a center console with a floor-mounted shifter for the transmission, and a tachometer in the instrument cluster. Roughly 3,260 LXs were produced from mid-1984 to 1985. The Mercury version of the LX was the Marquis LTS and was available only in Canada in much smaller numbers.

Police usage

Because of the sturdy body-on-frame construction of the full size LTD, the car was a popular choice amongst police agencies, primarily in North America, but in US-influenced countries abroad as well. The present-day Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor — although it does not use the LTD name — is a direct descendant of the Ford LTD Crown Victoria.

The mid-size Fox-platform LTD was also used for police duty in smaller numbers.


The LTD was also produced locally in Brazil between 1967 and 1983, based on the 1966 Ford Galaxie. A locally-produced stretch limousine was also produced.

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