1971 Ford LTD Country Squire: Vintage Suburbia

Today, most family haulers are silver silvermist or beige beigemist crossovers. But 45 plus years ago, things were different.

Yes, in 1971 Ford was Wagon King. Sure, GM sold tons of wagons too, but despite their being all new, not everyone was sure about GM’s new disappearing tailgate, where it retracted behind the rear bumper instead of folding down. Though GM still trounced FoMoCo in overall production.

Continue Reading →

Road Test: 2019 Ford Ranger Lariat

Most of the time, I’m interested in either Volvos, 1970s-era Broughams and modern Lincolns and Cadillacs. This is of course reflected here on this fine site. However, I do try from time to time to expand my horizons. Like last year, when I test drove a new 2018 Subaru Outback Limited, in between reviews for a 2015 Lincoln MKZ 2.0H and 2018 Lincoln Continental.

For instance, recently I decided to try out the all-new Ford Ranger. I thought it would be a good topic for a road test, as a lot of folks have been interested in the return of the smaller Ford pickup, ever since the original was discontinued after the 2011 model year.

Continue Reading →

1989 Ford LTD Crown Victoria: Matlock Approved

1979 LTD Landau, spotted by your author in downtown Davenport.

Ford was not nearly as interested in downsizing their biggies as General Motors was in the late 1970s, but CAFE and the unbelievable success of the 1977 B-body GMs meant it had to be done sooner or later.

And so it was that the Panther replaced the Nimitz-class 1978 Ford LTD and Mercury Marquis. The Lincoln Continental and Mark V got a one-year reprieve and were finally downsized along with their Ford and Mercury brethren for model year ’80.

Continue Reading →

1974 Thunderbird Burgundy Luxury Group: Big Bird

Today, we will be discussing Maximum Thunderbird. The extra value T-Bird, AKA the Thunderbrougham. Long, low and wide-and proud if it. Yes, that’s correct, the 1972-76 Thunderbird, which shared its ample figure with its FoMoCo sibling, the Continental Mark IV.

59 Thunderbird

1959 Thunderbird

This was not the Thunderbird’s first drastic change, of course. Throughout the iconic premium Ford model’s life, it reinvented itself many times. The 1958 Thunderbird, nicknamed the Squarebird for obvious reasons, was totally redone. The trim two-seat luxury sportster was no more. The big news, of course, was the addition of a back seat. Although fans of the ‘Little Bird’ moaned and gnashed their teeth, sales improved drastically. And with its “cow belly” frame it was still substantially lower than contemporary Fairlanes. It ushered in a new type of car, a luxury Ford.

Continue Reading →

1975 Ford Gran Torino And Gran Torino Sport: Gran Coupe

In the 1970s, the watchword for mid-size Ford Motor Company rolling stock was Torino. Gran Torino. Of course, most of us remember a certain Gran Torino made famous on Starsky & Hutch, and who knows how many 1974-1976 Torinos have been saved and restored thanks to that classic detective show? A lot, I’d guess.

76 Gran Torino

That said, I will assure those whose Torino knowledge is limited to late-’60s fastback Cobra Jets and Detective David Starsky’s tomato-red 460 V8-powered hot rod that most Torinos were not at all like those. Back in the ’70s, your typical Torino shopper wanted comfort and luxury–a smaller LTD Brougham, if you will, and certainly not a muscle car. Today, we’re going to learn about non-TV prepped Gran Torinos that likely made up 90% of Torino production. Sedans and coupes, with 302 V8s and full wheels covers!

Continue Reading →

Just Right: The 1965 Intermediates

If you’re in the market for a midsize car today, you have plenty of choices. Well, for now, as the ever present crossover is rapidly compelling the manufacturers to kill off the traditional midsize sedan. Several nameplates from which to choose–Camry, Impala, Fusion and Optima and of course Accord, to name a few. And they all come in the same flavor of competent albeit repetitive design and styling. Where’s the flair, man? Once upon a time, before safety standards, emissions and plain old public demand trumped style, a buyer could get virtually whatever their heart desired, right down to colors, options–and yes, Virginia, even a body style other than the now-ubiquitous four-door sedan. Want an aqua Skylark convertible with a white interior, V8 and four-speed? Done! How about a red Lark Wagonaire with a red interior, 350 McKinnon (nee GM) V8, power retractable roof over the cargo area, and automatic transmission? No problem. You could have those cars and everything in between–in 1965. Everything from cheapskate beige two-door post with manual everything to fully loaded sports convertible with a fire-breathing powerplant. So let’s set the way-back machine to Autumn 1964 and see what we can get.

Continue Reading →

1980 Ford F150 Ranger Lariat & 1982 F150: Brougham Or No Brougham?

Ford pickups have been the top selling full size truck for years, starting in the late 1970s. Why? Mass appeal. Just like the Chevrolet pickups, and to a slightly lesser extent, the Dodge/Ram pickups, they offer variety. Plain or fancy, two- or four-wheel drive, and more recently, two- or four door, you can, much like the original Ford Mustang, equip them as basic or as loaded as you please.

80 F150 Lariat

For 1980, all F-Series pickups were redesigned and very modern-looking, considering the Dodge D-Series dated to ’72 (albeit with a couple of refreshes) and the Chevy/GMC pickups were last redesigned in 1973, although a more square-rigged facelift was only a year away for the GM trucks.

Continue Reading →

1977 Ford LTD Landau: Love To Drive

I have always loved the Ford LTD. The top trim full-size Ford. Top of the heap. The most Broughamtastic. But what does LTD stand for? There are many opinions. One favorite is “Luxury Trim Decor.” But no one is certain. Ford never truly defined it. But no matter what one’s opinion is on the lux-Ford acronym, one thing it most certainly meant was luxury.

LTD 02

If I start talking about the LTD’s history, we’ll be here all night. And I want to focus on my favorite, the 1975-78 models, so let’s try to be concise, shall we? The Ford LTD first came on the scene in 1965, as a deluxe trim Galaxie 500, available initially in two- and four-door hardtop versions.

LTD 03

In that same record-sales year for Detroit of 1965, its arch-rival, the Chevrolet Caprice, also appeared, initially as only a four-door hardtop.

Continue Reading →

Retro Show: Where Were You In ’82?

It’s time again for another visit to the Chicago Auto Show, thanks to my friend Jim Smith. You see, he’s been attending the event for fifty years. And took quite a few pictures in that time. Lucky for us! So let’s dive into a world of Broughamage and wood-sided wagons, and see what kind of new rolling stock is on display!

Continue Reading →

1973 Ford Mustang Grandé – The Mustang Brougham!

Say, remember the Mustang? Of course you do. Well…you remember the obvious ones, anyway. Shelby GT350. 1965 2+2 GT. Boss 302. Boss 429. All the usual suspects. But there are a lot of Mustangs out there that have been nearly elbowed off the stage, thanks to Resale Red, American Racing wheel-shod, phony-GT car show and cruise night impostors! In fact, should you mention certain Mustangs to those Foose-footed red Mustang owners, you may cause them to grow pale and run away: Mustang II! Mustang Grandé Mustang Ghia and Mustang L! Mustangs with six-cylinder engines and wheel covers! Augh! To those guys, it’s like throwing cloves of garlic at a vampire! No! No no no! All Mustangs were muscle cars dagnabit! And never mind that his ’67 Hardtop was originally Wimbledon White with dog-dish caps, green interior and six cylinder power! But let me tell you, I love the offbeat Mustangs, which were the majority of Mustangs back in the Sixties and Seventies. And the Broughamiest pony of them all is the subject of today’s post: the Grandé, available from 1969 to 1973.

The Mustang: the Falcon that went to finishing school and came back better than ever, and nearly unrecognizable. Designed from the start to be eminently configurable, it could be equipped as anything from a basic inline-six, zero-option runabout to a thoroughbred V8 sprinter, and the available extras, colors and trim levels only expanded as the decade wore on. The 1967-68s got a bigger engine bay to accommodate big-block power, thanks to Bunkie Knudsen.

Continue Reading →