By on June 17, 2014

06 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe’ve had quite a few Ford LTD Country Squire Junkyard Finds, but just a couple of regular non-wagon LTDs. This ’71 LTD Brougham and this ’69 LTD were about it prior to today, and both of those cars were four-doors. Today we’ve got a big green LTD Brougham coupe, which I photographed in the San Francisco Bay Area back in March.
07 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSome junkyard customer had already grabbed the engine, but the air-cleaner lid indicates that this car had a 351 Cleveland or 351M engine. Power was down in 1972, partly due to new emission-control hardware and partly due to the switch from gross to net horsepower ratings.
03 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCar buyers in 1972 had a vast selection of Brougham models available. In the 21st century, we suffer from an acute brougham shortage.
12 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe seat upholstery is extremely Broughamic.
04 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI estimate that this clock ceased functioning in 1974.


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64 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford LTD Brougham Coupe...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Loved the big Fords circa 1968 – 1976.

    Unfortunately up here in Southern Ontario they are rarer than hen’s teeth as most rusted away about the same time that their warranty expired.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Right in the sweetspot of American marshmallow barges. Never feel train tracks, never corner fast ’cause you *know* your ass will go sliding.

      I’ll take that deal. Damn fine deal.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        My ass slid in the back of a 2012 WRX the other day, because the rear seats have no contouring and were leather. Much annoyed.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          What in sam hill were you doing back there?
          Lose a bet?

          • 0 avatar
            Synchromesh

            Actually, the back seat of a 2012 WRX isn’t such a bad place to be. But probably not during hard cornering.

            But this confirms once again that going with cloth seats on my ’12 WRX was the right choice!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I was on my way to a business lunch, and I had not driven my (superior) car that time, since I drove last time.

            Nowhere to put my feet because there was a factory amp or sub woofer or something under the drivers seat. Everything I touched felt super cheap, including the low-grade leather.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          someone needs to come up with an eye roll smiley face for comments like these

          “(superior) car”…lmao

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ha, do it!

            Size
            Ride quality
            Back seat room
            Back seat contouring
            Place to put your feet
            Interior quality
            Noise

            All superior!

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            1. Size…well yeah, compact vs what was their full size offering
            2. Ride…well yeah, factory hotrod vs old man car
            3. Back seat room…see size
            4. Back seat contouring…ok I’ll give you that one
            5. Place for your feet… you’ve got two with this one
            6. Interior quality…See sticker price and target audiance/class of car
            7 Noise…See all of the above except 4 and 5

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            2 out of 7, good enough! The driver was crap too, with big gaps between gears, but I don’t fault the car for that.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            You’ve got me beat by two for the week…props to you!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Broughamtastic.

  • avatar
    agent534

    1970-2 LTD Convertibles are the hotness right now. Very desirable stylish large convertibles. If you can’t get a 60′s Lincoln convert, these are the next best thing.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    By 1972 there was a market for a full sized car which offered road isolation. Wood grain applique, deep pile carpeting and polyester sofa seating brought all the comforts of this era’s home and style right into the driving experience.

    Rolling along multilane highways at 80 miles per hour in a car which made you feel like you were sitting at home was considered by generations of Americans as the epitome of driving. The market targeted for this kind of car is now very old or dead – but during this time, they were the ones with good credit, grown children and memories of a completely different era in motoring.

    The folks who loved this car and bought millions of them remember two lane roads that required attention. The cars they grew up driving struggled on upgrades and mountains and did not have air conditioning. They sat on mohair upholstery and before them was a metal dashboard filled with chromed instrumentation, a divided windshield, tiny wipers, and driving at night was deadly. There were very few highway safety designs, road lights, highway markings and the headlamps of this era were dim at best.

    Having survived the pre-WWII era automobiles and having a big family after having served during WWII, meant that many men and women didn’t get a crack at driving something like a 1972 Ford LTD until their kids were raised and didn’t cost them everything Dad brought home in his check each week. After learning to drive Great Depression era autos, and raising kids in affordable vehicles that could seat six or more kids, Broughams were very appealing and profitable.

    It isn’t a mere coincidence that the Brougham age gets its full bloom, courtesy of Mr. Lee Iacocca of Ford at this time. Mr. Iacocca is from this generation himself.

    What we dismiss today about this car, was spectacular in 1972 when it comes to packaging and affordability. While we can see that each distinctive Brougham implement had origins earlier than 1972, it is the pre-Gas Crisis 1970s, that we see the return of focus to the full size market for American cars. During the preceding decade, full size cars dominated, yet the market excitement during the 1960s was on smaller cars. By 1970, the small car market was saturated and Iacocca saw profit for Ford by putting the new luxury touches available into a single LTD package.

    So, it would probably be best if we imagine the awe and splendor these Brougham beasts had to American adults between the ages of 40-70. Americans could buy whatever they wanted to drive in 1972. A million of them chose cars like this, not because they didn’t appreciate road feel, didn’t how to drive a manual transmission, didn’t like the exhilaration of speed or unaware of foreign cars. They experienced all of that and instead saw the driving experiences of the Brougham age as summing up the best in automobiles that year.

    Lets respect what they knew, and appreciate their choices.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      A year or so ago I tried delivering the same eulogy in defense of the big K-derivitive cars like early 90′s New Yorkers, and of those who bought them.

      But I couldn’t express it as thoroughly or as well.

      Thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        This might explain “Panther Love” in some way. Some of us, perhaps those who grew up with older parents and/or grandparents of the Greatest Generation have some of this Brougham blood in them. Especially those of a blue collar nature. My grandfathers, uncles and even my Dad love (loved) giant, soft cars. Dad keeps the 95 S320, even though they have a 2006 RX and a 2013 Q5.

        I went from driving a 2010 Altima, which was relatively soft and quiet, on the highway 300 miles a week to driving our 2008 Mazda 5. The Mazda is louder and stiffer but more connected. But honestly, connected is not really necessary on the PA turnpike west of Pittsburgh and OH turnpike at all. Especially if you don’t “care” about driving.

        I’d consider having a Town Car from 92-97 just because part of me enjoys and remembers how much my Dad enjoyed those cars. We usually rented a Town Car for vacation, so maybe I have memories of that too.

        Great write up, VanillaDude

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      Well said, Dude. Reminds me of my parents and in-laws during that time in my life.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Right on. Part of my childhood was spent in cars like these once they were considered low cost beaters, but were still plentiful. I appreciated their certain style and roadgoing abilities more than the sterile angular designs of the newer cars. If I had somewhere to keep even more cars, I’d have an extensive Brougham collection if only to spite my wife.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Nicely done. Part of me thinks huge coupes like this are just insane, part of me finds them all kinds of awesome.

    • 0 avatar
      360joules

      V-dude is back. Awesome.

    • 0 avatar
      james2k

      Very insightful. Thank you for sharing.

    • 0 avatar
      Panther Platform

      Very well stated and insightful. Thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      Well stated, V. Let’s also add that the owner likely could (and easily would) change the oil, replace spark plugs and perhaps even “do” the brakes and shocks. That guy driving the LTD was an integrated part of our industrial economy and got the kids through college, in part, by saving money on maintenance. He knew that car in ways you and I will never, ever know ours.

    • 0 avatar
      Roader

      My grandfather always bought full size cars in the 60s and 70s. He was from the prior generation, a WWI vet, but the sentiment is the same. Big, powerful, comfortable cars were payback. Payback for the time spent in the military; payback for struggling to feed a family of five during the Depression; payback for decades of nose-to-the-grindstone.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Well said. A Brougham was very much an aspirational car.

    • 0 avatar

      I bet Europeans considered any American fullsize cars as a luxury (and it was for Europeans no matter how they would deny it today because nobody in the world like America because of envy) at a time. European car were little crappy things except of Mercedes and Rolls). Today though it is an opposite – anything Eurpean is considered as luxury in America and so on.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    While our ’72 wasn’t a Brougham, and was a 4 door, it was Dad’s favorite car. Coppery brown metallic with white vinyl top, we did took several long driving vacations in it from Kentucky to California, Ky to Canada, etc., with never a problem-except for a U-joint failure once in Winslow, Arizona. From the back seat I once took a pic of Dad driving. It was around ’78 and one of my favorite pictures. Baseball cap, cigar, and tranquil face reflected in the mirror. Ours had a 400, got 16-18 mpg and had POWER steering that you could wheel around with your little finger. My parents gathered more of my friends in it for rides to the movies than you could fit in a Suburban. Great car. As much a part of the family for seven years as a pet, and more so than my brother’s second wife.

    • 0 avatar
      dwright

      Did you stand on a corner?

      Being a child of the generation that liked these cars, my childhood had plenty of Eagles on 8-track.

      • 0 avatar
        cargogh

        I hummed a little of it for my parents, but they didn’t get it. Mom was irritated that Dad insisted on continuing to drive the LTD with that many miles, especially on a long trip. It hit 100K on that one, and it seems like cars back then weren’t kept as long. So it was an “I told you so” from her and “it’s just a universal joint” from him. Can’t recall very much of anything going on in Winslow that day.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      Sounded like some good days indeed. Thanks for sharing the story.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m sure the LTD buyer loved being compared to the XJ6 buyer, while the XJ6 buyer took absoultely no notice.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    The 351M debuted in 1974, so this is a normal 351 Cleveland. Well, it was, until someone pulled it out.

    I found a 73-ish LTD at a local small-time junkyard, and, not gonna lie, I think the 73-78 LTDs look better…but if I’m gonna buy a huge FoMoCo boat from the mid to late 70s, I’d rather have a Continental or Marquis with a 460.

  • avatar
    Loser

    From what I remember they never put a Cleveland in these cars. I believe they came with Windsors.

  • avatar

    Good for donating an engine block, C6 transmission and 9″ rearend. That’s about it.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    It got what again? 9 mpg? On a good day?

    Gramps had a reddish colored (believed it started to fade, lol) late 70′s LTD. Had a white vinyl top with red velourish interior.

    It was… I dunno. I was three or something.

    I did happen to see a 76 LTD on Ebay in fantastic hearing aid baisch with a blue velour interior. And it was frame off restored. Yes, you read that correctly. Frame off restoration.

    All I could think was… why??

    By the way, I love those little swirly line pattern designs throughout the interior that I’m pretty sure you could find on signs in saloons in the old west. Those are some fantastic touches, there.

    Jesus. These cars were dated when they were new.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      9mpg in town maybe. With the 351, this car easily would have hit the upper teens on the highway. We had a 1971 with the 400 2V for 30 years and over 200K miles.

      Love those cornering lamps on the front – they were awesome when driving out in the sticks at night and looking for the turnoff to grandma’s house.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    By the way: I’m pretty sure this exact car terrorized a bunch of bicycle messengers (including Kevin Bacon himself) in the 80′s flick QuickSilver.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Next closest thing to being able to legally pilot an aircraft carrier down the street. If an accident happened while you were in this car it would be soooooooo far in front of you it would take a min to register it had happened.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Those clock did, indeed, last only about 2 years. My uncle got his to work again by oiling it with Singer sewing machine oil, then blowing it out with compressed air. There wasn’t much mechanical to the clock, but the oil may have cleaned the contacts.

    It kept running for another five years, but it had to be adjusted every 3 or 4 days, usually by my aunt after my uncle was late picking her up. Built in excuse, it was.

  • avatar
    bg

    Almost quite literally my “dream car”. At least 15 years ago I had one of those insanely vivid dreams where you can smell, feel and taste things. The dream began with me driving a white ’72 LTD convertible with black interior, top down in the hot summer sun. I could feel the heat on my shoulders and legs and smell the oil-tinged heat coming off the engine mixing with an occasional whiff of hot axel grease. I luxuriated in the floaty isolation as I gently guided the car in yacht-like fashion through a sea of plebian dingy-cars. About five years later I was riding my bike down an alley and saw that exact car. I took photos, but it was a film camera and who knows where I have it filed.

  • avatar

    Green LTD COUPE?! I just had a Broughamgasm.

    As a current GM ‘Custom’ pilot and former GM ‘Landau’ owner, a tip of the vinyl-clad hat to my FoMoCo Malaise brothers.

  • avatar
    SixDucks

    I am thinking that air cleaner lid didn’t belong to this LTD. The bell housing bolt pattern on the transmission is clearly 351M/400/429/460. There is a 4bbl. manifold on the ground in front of the car. 351M’s didn’t come out until 1975 and were 2 bbl. only, as were the 400′s. The 351C used a Windsor bell housing bolt pattern. 460′s were Lincoln only in 1972, so my guess is this car had a 429 in it. No wonder it is gone.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I’d have pulled it too, 429s are rare now and as far as I know the only “big block” crate motor Ford Racing sells is the 460, if they even sell that.

  • avatar
    dtremit

    There’s a bulletproof Ford in that commercial, but it isn’t the LTD.

    The garden tractor that makes a cameo at the end was a pretty good machine.

  • avatar
    The Dark One

    Whenever I see one of these cars, my first thought is “White Lightning”, and Burt Reynolds jumping one onto a barge in the river.

  • avatar
    wmba

    What a machine, yes indeed. Red ones had that peculiar red vinyl on the inside that only Ford and the folks who made K-Mart padded card tables could manufacture. Greasy looking super low quality.

    Luckily, these lasted only about five years tops around here, before rusting away. An older retired banker I knew had one. About 10 miles per hour was its Vmax turning onto a city side street. Any more and the left rear suspension bottomed out.

    Curbsideclassic has a more realustic take on these barges, especially the commenters.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Regular fuel on that air cleaner that be leaded?
    Looks George McGovern to me in every implication.

  • avatar
    amca

    I lost certain aspects of my virginity in the back seat of one of these. Maybe not a Brougham, though. Plain ol’ LTD was good enuf for me . . . .

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    I love large and medium 2 door hardtops (and coupes from the later years).

    For whatever reason even these ugly beasts are appealing as 2 doors.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    I bought a new one of these in 72 and loved the car. 351 Windsor 2 dr coupe in that light green color that was very popular in 72 with the dark green vinyl top. Great highway driving car, got 18 to 20 mpg and at 34 cents a gallon who cared? Sold it to my father in law after moving to Florida in May of 72. He drove it until 1981 and put about 62k miles on it from the 10 k I had accumulated and he had little or no major repairs. Went into sales with Ford and got a free use of one for the next 29 some years.

  • avatar
    roger628

    FWIW those seats have been recovered-no way is that original fabric. The top part was originally smooth and velvety and the bottom part was a brocade.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    The 351M came out in 75. It was the result of slapping the 351 Windsor crank into the 400 block. It saved money by no longer having to produce the lower deck Cleveland block.

  • avatar
    AllThumbs

    My college girlfriend’s parents always had at least two mid-70s LTDs around for about ten years, and one was always a Brougham. This is early 80s and with five drivers in the house they always left the keys in them (just like they left their credit card at the gas station for whoever was driving and needed gas). On more than one occasion, I needed a car late at night and took one of the LTDs. More than anything, however, they were great road trip cars, with plenty of room and power on the freeway.


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