Junkyard Find: 1969 Ford LTD Four-Door Hardtop

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1969 ford ltd four door hardtop

You don’t see a lot of intact 60s Detroit cars in the junkyards of Denver, where I now live. When I return to my old haunts in the San Francisco Bay Area, as I did last month, I find that a steady trickle of these old survivors still flows into the self-serve yards. Here’s a big Ford I found in Oakland.

The sight of this car gave me some weird childhood flashbacks, because my grandfather had a black LTD hardtop just like this one when I was a little kid. I remember being awed by the grandfatherly luxury of the thing as a four-year-old. The vast interior, the quiet ride. When I grow up, I thought, I’ll have one of these!

Of course, the fact that these things had all become hopeless 13-year-old hoopties by the time I got my driver’s license sort of soured me on my ’69 LTD dreams, especially since one of my scurvier high-school friends drove one with a coat hanger for a radio antenna and a bunch of Fang stickers all over the interior.

Of course, I also thought the Porsche 914 was a seriously cool car when I was a little kid, particularly the ones with the big P O R S C H E decals on the sides. At least the LTD has all these great pieces of Detroit style all over the place.

Like, for example, the hideaway headlights. Yes, I know, these things never worked once the car got past about five years of age, but you still have to admire them.

The vacuum-operated mechanism for the headlights is big, cheap, and clunky. The whole setup probably added 50 pounds to the car’s weight, but anyone who objected to that probably also thought that the F-105 was too heavy. In other words, communists. Bad people.

In 1969, the LTD was the top trim level for the full-sized Ford, and the four-door hardtop listed for $3,261. Compare that to the $2,632 price tag on the six-cylinder base ’69 Custom two-door. This car’s curb weight was listed at 3,840 pounds… or 90 pounds more than the 2012 V6 Mustang. The 302 Windsor was the standard engine for the ’69 LTD, but this one appears to have received a Malaise 400M swap at some point along its long journey… which has now come to an end.

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  • Cfclark Cfclark on Nov 14, 2011

    My great aunt had a '71 LTD in a silver-blue color; she kept it for ten years (that was her usual trade-in interval; she went '60 Bel Air, '71 LTD, '81 Cutlass, '91 Century, 2001 Buick of some kind, then passed away). I remember how quiet it was, and that massive console that faced the driver. This was in a period when most of my extended family were Ford people for some reason; they had a slew of LTDs, Grand Marquis (Grand Marquises?), and even a couple of Pintos after the '73 oil embargo.

  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Jun 17, 2014

    Boy does that dashboard picture bring back memories. We had a Country Squire. Ford heavily promoted those cockpit style dashboards. Notice the location of the radio? Only the driver had control of it.

  • Jkross22 Aren't toy cars by definition those with 2 seats?
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