Mini Family Trucksters: Greenlight LTDs

The last several years, a lot of great new diecast has come along to warm my 1970s/1980s, Broughamified heart. Such as these most excellent Ford LTD Country Squire and LTD Crown Victoria station wagons, made in 1/64 scale by Greenlight Collectibles.

A few years back, Greenlight made a 1/64 scale version of the famous Wagon Queen Family Truckster from the unforgettable movie, Vacation. They even made it in other scales, 1/43, and a truly impressive 1/18 scale version, complete with pale blue luggage on the roof rack. But at the time I thought, and shared with friends who were similarly inclined, that it would be great if they were to do a bone stock LTD Country Squire as well.

And late last year, they did. I was enchanted.

Greenlight has a new series out that is called Estate Wagons, and two of their first four car release where these LTD station wagons. The other two were a 55 Chevy 210 wagon and a 55 Nomad.

But our focus today is the LTDs. The first two included a cream 1985 LTD Crown Victoria Country Squire wagon.

And a navy blue 1979 LTD Country Squire.

They are very well done and very detailed. The tailgates even open, which remind me of the Matchbox Mercury Cougar Villager station wagon I had when I was a kid.

With the demise of Toys R Us last year the only place locally I can find these is Hobby Lobby. It took a while but I finally found one of each kind and an additional cream ’85 wagon for my friend Jim Smith.

He lives in Chicago and despite the fact that there are easily a dozen Hobby Lobbys in metropolitan area he has had zero luck finding one. So when a second one appeared on the pegs at the store in Moline I snagged it for him.

Since those initial two wagons, they’ve released additional ones including this gunmetal gray 1986 LTD Crown Victoria wagon.

It even has a period correct California license plate. Nice touch.

I found the gunmetal gray one just this last weekend in Coralville Iowa at the Hobby Lobby there.

That same day I found this really nifty car and trailer set with a 1981 LTD Country Squire. Greenlight has a lot of these vehicle and trailer sets, with various Jeeps, 70s Ford pickups and Airstream Bambis, but I’m not really into the trailers.

But I really liked the dark red paint on the car in this set with its matching red interior, so of course I had to get it.

They also released a 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park wagon in white. And in the near future they are releasing several more LTD wagons some as police/fire vehicles and even a taxi, plus a 1985 Mercury Colony Park.  I have to say, it’s really refreshing that some of the diecast companies are expanding their horizons from the usual Camaros, Corvettes, Mustangs and Ferraris, and doing cool offbeat stuff like these wagons and other 70s full-size Land Cruisers. I approve! And will be scouring the local stores for any and all future releases.

15 Replies to “Mini Family Trucksters: Greenlight LTDs”

  1. AvatarJustPassinThru

    The detailing is amazing.

    Equally amazing, to me, is the interest in those cars. Yes, they were symbolic of the period; but to my taste they were beyond bland. They were what old folks (you know, the age I am now) drove around to church or golf games or charity buffet suppers.

    I hated those cars. I drove for Yellow Cab Houston in 1982 and a small neighborhood cab company owned by Yellow Cab Cleveland in 1983. And as such, I drove a variety of land yachts of that era – downsized Chevrolet Impalas, Ford Granadas and Fairmonts and one downsized LTD; and a number of M-Body Gran Furies.

    I hated them all. The Impalas were the best, followed by the Fox Fairmonts. But the Ms and LTDs and Grenades…should have been parked, all of them in a row, on the railroad tracks behind the cab barn.

    As an aside: On that Other Site, Paul and I got into it…seems a teenaged girl in his neighborhood was given a M-Body Dodge Diplomat as her school car. I asked “who did she piss off?” …because in my world, those were penalty boxes. I was haughtily informed that in certain very-trendy areas of the world, that car had STATUS.

    I do not get it.

    Reply
    • AvatarGreg Hamilton

      I had purchased a Dodge Diplomat squad car at a police auction in Minnesota. On the way home from the auction it was snowing terribly and I saw two women waiting for a bus in the storm. I offered them a lift in my new (for me) car. They accepted, but when they got in they were shocked when they discovered the door handles had been removed from the rear doors. No worries I said I just bought this at a police auction and told them it was a former police car. I also told them I would happily drop them off right now if they wished. No they laughed and stayed in my car until I dropped them off at their destination. That car was no penalty box for them, and it was a fun car for me. Status is a relative term.

      Reply
    • Tom KlockauTom Klockau Post author

      Different strokes for different folks.

      Some people love beets. I hated them as a kid and still hate them now. Yecch!

      Reply
    • AvatarJohn C.

      Interesting how some of the taxi drivers poo poed the big cars that the taxi companies picked. You also heard this a lot on the old site as this type of car was so offensive to their politics. Admittedly I would have hoped for a Checker for all American taxi rides in the 70s and 80s, but taxi companies were picking based on long potential life. Notice you never saw Corona/Camry/Cressida/Maxima/Volvo then as taxis. Remember the NYC taxi company that tried Peugeot 505s and they just weren’t up for it. Wonder why, they seem so fit for it on paper and politically. Well Iraq, when they couldn’t get any more 80s Malibu taxis bought Soviet Volgas. That would have been a fun taxi ride
      Notice also fwd minivans did not go right to the fleets of taxis because it took quite a while for their transmissions to be beefed up adequately. There those early Japanese mid engine rear drive ones, that were just lazily converted commercial urban delivery vans, did better.

      Reply
      • AvatarJustPassinThru

        Several issues that should be discussed here.

        First, the “poo-poo for big cars” by cab drivers. Well, of course, they had to have big cars. They were selling space in their cars, over miles traveled. What I hated was the dead feel of Ford power steering; and 1980s M body Dodges were not much better. Chevrolet did the best job – but you correctly sense that I’m a small-car guy at heart.

        I missed the Checker era by a few years or months, depending on the company. Yellow Cab Houston had ONE Checker left, an owner/operator franchisee (leased his medallion and the right to Yellow colors and radio). The company had given up on Checkers about eight years earlier. Nobody other than that one eccentric was enamoured of them.

        Cleveland was phasing them out, fast. The last Checker was built in July of 1982. I started driving in Cleveland in June of 1983; and Yellow drivers were eagerly taking the new Impalas. Checkers were offered at reduced lease rates to drivers – but they were a menace on freeways; and Cleveland’s Interstate network had just been completed. There was no traveling from the airport to downtown or from downtown to a tony restaurant without at least a little time on freeways. The Checkers weren’t up to it.

        With loosening of the old Yellow Cab/McBride monopoly there were a couple of short-lived independent efforts in Cleveland. One in particular was heavily financed – and had new Dodge Caravan minivans as cabs.

        They did NOT work out. Neither the body nor the transmission was up to it. Today, the Toyota Previa is used in Portland and other West Coast cities, eminently satisfactorily…but we’re over 30 years removed from that point to this one.

        Reply
        • AvatarJohn C.

          I hate minivan cabs that are now so common. the step up through the sliding door while ducking your head and pivoting the backside to meet the chair is one or two too many simultaneous bends for me.

          The Checker was a big heavy car and even the V8s were pretty slow early 80s. Still surprised they couldn’t handle the highway. Was the Cleveland taxi company buying the Chevy 229 V6? My only ride in one was in the 70s in one of those multi seat row ones that took people from Connecticut to LaGuardia airport. What fun though I was told to expect a limo.

          The Prius or Camry gets by as a taxi now despite the smaller size. Wonder if that is just pro hybrid regulations forcing them. Supposedly Corolla is the ultimate uber vehicle, but I would wonder about the switch to CVT if they are going to try to play high mileage taxi.

          Reply
          • AvatarJustPassinThru

            The Checker company was all over the map with engines. Towards the end it was low-bidder.

            I don’t think they used a V8 in recent years – partly because the drivers wouldn’t have wanted it. Remember, in most cities until recently, drivers LEASED their cabs with a daily lease, and bought their own gasoline. IIRC (I never leased or drove one) the Cleveland Checkers had, variously, the 250 Chevy six or the V6. Not sure if it was the Buick or Chevrolet V6.

            The Checkers weren’t up to it because they were tall, boxy, shot shocks, leaf springs, sprung bodies. Old fleet vehicles, IOW. Plus, they had the Saginaw power steering, with the vague dead-center.

            Never drove one, like I said, but I used to spend some time hanging out in front of a Lakewood 7-11 waiting for radio calls with a Yellow driver. I was Westlake Cab, owned by Yellow; the Checker guy was a Yellow driver. We shared some territories, and at the time, the 7-11 would give us fountain sodas free, in return for us and our radios being in their parking lot. Cabs-On-Patrol.

            Today’s cabs are smaller because for the most-part, they offer the same interior room as full-size cars of the past. There’s exceptions to that, of course – but in the end it depends on a city’s taxicab regulations or Public Safety Commission edict. In NYC they spell OUT what kind of car can be a cab. In Houston, no car over four years old could be a cab. In Cleveland, it was whatever Yellow Cab wanted.

            In some other cities, they’ve gone full Virtue Signalling and ordered hybrids used. Well, those cars aren’t given away – they cost more, and the drivers have to pay for that, in the end. The gasoline savings partly offsets that, but obviously not completely.

  2. Avatarstingray65

    Does anyone have an explanation on why large American cars from the mid-50s to 1990s routinely had such huge overhangs? I can’t think of one example that wouldn’t have looked better with a longer wheelbase and shorter overhangs, not to mention they would also ride better and have the possibility for even greater rear seat legroom, which was often disappointingly tight even on large cars. Just look at the pinched rear door glass on this LTD and the rather short door (compared to the front), it would have looked far better with an extra 5 inches of wheelbase to accommodate a longer rear door and glass.

    Reply
    • AvatarJohn C.

      One of the reasons for the shorter wheelbases was to keep a tighter turn circle. Between that, the rear drive, and being able to see the corners of the car from the driver’s seat, a big car was manageable.

      I think especially on CUVs that they have gone too far minimizing overhangs, leaving a stubby look. Compare the relative good looks of the first Cadillac SRX with the current XT5.

      Reply
  3. Avatar-Nate

    *Very* cool models I think .

    Regarding Paul; I feel sorry for him because he kinda flipped out and went off the deep end after starting out his site so well .

    -Nate

    Reply
  4. AvatarCompaq Deskpro

    What happened? People suddenly don’t like land yachts all of a sudden? Short stumpy overhangs? What?

    Say what you will about the styling of full size wagons, they still look a hell of a lot cooler than a 90’s to 2000’s minivan or the average 2010’s 3 row crossover (Traverse, Pilot, Murano).

    Reply

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