With The Down-sizing of the Thunderbird to the mid-size chassis , Ford no longer had a need for the Elite or Torino 2 door hardtops. But not wanting to lose it's foothold in the mid-size family car market, Ford served up a replacement for the abandoned Torino, the new A-bodied LTD II. The new car had similar dimensions, and long-hood styling that wasn't radically different. Wheelbase was 114 inches for the two-door, and 118 inches for four-door models. Overall length ranged from 215.5. to 223.1 inches. The goal, according to Ford, was to combine "LTD's traditional high level of workmanship with Mustang's sporty spirit." A wide choice of models was offered: 'S', base and Brougham in two- door hardtop, four-door pillared hardtop or four-door wagon body styles (same selection as Torino). Wagons were offered only this year, and LTD II would last only into the 1979 model year. Among the more noticeable styling features were vertically-stacked quad rectangular headlamps, and doors with a straight beltline. Sharply-tapered opera windows on wide roof pillars stood to the rear of (and higher than) the regular quarter windows of two-doors (except for the 'S' model). Four-doors were also a six-window design. Wraparound parking/signal lamps were fendertip-mounted, and the hood ornament was new. The chrome-plated grille had a crosshatch pattern similar to the full-size LTD, but with a sharper peak. Angled, sharp-edged wraparound vertical taillamps stood at the rear quarter panel tips. Inside, LTD II had new seat trim and sew styles, plus new-look door trim and instrument cluster. Standard engine dropped from the 351 of the last Torino to a 302 V-8, now with Dura-Spark ignition and a lower axle ratio. Standard equipment on the budget-priced 'S' included SelectShift automatic transmission; power steering and brakes; coolant recovery system; and Kirsten cloth/vinyl bench seat. The basic LTD II had Ardmore cloth/vinyl flight bench seat, deluxe door trim, rear panel appliqué, hood ornament, and rocker panel and wheel lip moldings. The top-line Brougham added Doral cloth/vinyl split bench seats, dual horns, electric clock, dual accent paint stripes, and wide color- keyed vinyl-insert bodyside moldings. Standard engine was the 302 cu. in. V-8 with two-barrel carb (351 in California) hooked to SelectShift Cruise-0- Matic. Important new options included the opera windows, illuminated entry, day/date quartz clock, sports steering wheel, cornering lamps, monaural AM/FM radio, stereo radio with quadrasonic tape player, wide whitewall radials, wire wheel covers, and (for two-doors) a half-vinyl roof. Announced for mid-year introduction was a Brougham Crème/Blue package, offered in Crème or dark blue metallic body color with crème or blue vinyl roof. Crème vinyl split-bench seats had blue accent straps and welts.
Station wagons left the LTD II lineup this year, since the new
For 1979, Ford had brought a smaler,trimmer LTD on the new Panther chassis.This now gave Ford two cars of the same size and dimensions. Not enough buyers had found LTD II appealing, so this would be its third and final season. Not much was new this year, except for a redesigned front bumper spoiler; corrosion-resistant plastic battery tray and electronic voltage regulator. Seven body colors-were new, as were front and full vinyl roofs. Broughams had new interior fabric selections. All models had standard flight bench seating with fold-down center armrest. Bucket seats and console were optional in three trim levels.The 400 cu. in. V-8 option was abandoned. Base engine remained the 302 cu. in. (5.0-liter) V-8, with 351 V-8 optional. Automatic transmission was standard. A newly optional 27.5 gallon gas tank suggested that LTD II's economy problems were looked into , but hadn't quite been corrected as thought by
the use of a lighter weight front bumper this year, or by carburetor refinements. Rear bumper guards became standard, and the ignition lock was modified. The Sports Touring Package included two-tone paint with tape breaks on the bodyside/hood/lower back panel, as well as a grille badge and Magnum
500 wheels with HR78 x 14 RWL tires. A Sports Appearance Group for two-doors had bold tri-color tape stripes. As before, two-door hardtop and four-door pillared hardtop bodies were offered, in base, Brougham or 'S' trim. The low-cost 'S' model had an upgraded bench seat and woodtone instrument panel appliqué this year.
With the Torino ending production after 1977, the Ranchero needed a new platform. This was found in the somewhat unlikely guise of the Ford Thunderbird personal luxury coupe, which was undergoing a reincarnation that year also, and sharing features with that year's new mid-size car. The same three models available since 1968 were still offered and the Ranchero could be ordered in quite luxurious form. Engines fitted went up to the 400 cu in (6.6 L), a small-block despite its large displacement. Production ceased in 1979 with, among the traditional choices, a commemorative "1979½" model. Although the LTD II was not produced for many model years, this body style with stacked rectangular headlamps is among the most popular among collectors. Cars were getting smaller and increasing government restrictions and requirements on a car-based pickup truck made such a vehicle less and less attractive from a manufacturing standpoint. Meanwhile, purpose-designed light trucks had to meet much less stringent requirements for emissions and fuel economy. Ford saw the way the market was going and decided that small light trucks were the wave of the future, beginning with the small Courier , which was Mazda based. This vehicle would be a "stepping stone" during which time Ford would develop their homegrown replacement, known as Ranger ..
1 ) The TV show ''Highway to Heaven'' , starring Michale Landon and Victor French , had the two stars each week in a silver 4dr. 1978 Ltd II , transporting them to their weekly destination . The car was usually seen at the beginning and end of each show.
2 ) In the 1982 Sykvester Stallone film , ''First Blood'' , the police cars used were Ford Ltd II's . Actually they were ex- Royal Canadian Mounted Patrol cars.
3 ) In the NBC police drama , ''Hunter'' , starring Fred Dryer as detective Hunter , his character was usuall y seen driving an unmarked Ford LTD II sedan
1978 LTD II TV spot ....... www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRrRI611Mwo
In Memory Of
Robert Weston Smith ( Wolfman Jack )
1939 - 1995
Wolfman Jack Tribute,,,www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA2m7KYqG5s
''The Guess Who Tribute Song... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIr4To3EzK8
...And a testament from the '' Duke '' , on LTD II's roominess and reliability.
I hope you enjoyed your visit here , and found this brief trip back into the '70s , both useful and entertaining . Hope to see you again real soon.