By on September 20, 2012

It’s going to take decades for the last of the Broughams to work their way through the junkyard system; the Detroit Brougham Era ran from about 1965 through 1990, and that’s a lot of cars bearing heraldic crests and Nearly Velour™ interiors. In recent months, we’ve seen this ’88 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance, this ’73 Mercury Montego Brougham, this Olds Delta 88 Royale Brougham, this ’72 Mercury Marquis Brougham, and this ’81 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham (I can see the need to search for some Chrysler and AMC Brougham Junkyard Finds now). Today, our Broughamic Junkyard Find dates back more than 40 years, to the heyday of the Big Detroit Brougham Era.
This is a true four-door hardtop, complete with hideaway headlights, big-inch engine, and lots of glitz.
From the Model T to this!
I’m pretty sure this is a 400M engine, a longer-stroked and more grandfatherly relative of the 351 Cleveland. No doubt members of the Ford Smog Motor Jihad can tell us more.
Bring back the Brougham!

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47 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1971 Ford LTD Brougham...”

  • avatar

    There’s no “hideaway” headlights on this. They’re just deeply inset.

  • avatar

    It was very entertaining to watch these get smashed to bits in the moon buggy chase of Diamonds Are Forever.

  • avatar

    Beautiful; built when a smoke was a smoke.

  • avatar

    On the day that TTAC has an excellent review on the hottest new Ford sedan in my lifetime, we can’t let Ford Motor Company forget where they came from for more than 10 minutes, huh…

    • 0 avatar

      I fail to see any connection implied between the two automobiles, though there IS a connection mentioned between the T and the LTD.

    • 0 avatar

      This LTD was very popular in its day, and had many satisfied owners who wanted exactly what it offered.

      The new Fusion, Ford hopes, will receive the same reception.

    • 0 avatar

      We don’t let GM forget where they came from, do we?

      And in fairness to Ford, they got religion much more quickly than GM and Chrysler did. By the mid-80’s, one drive in a GM A-body and then a Taurus was a better pitch than anything a Ford salesman could tell you.

      The new Fusion stands to be as important a car to Ford as the ’55 Chevy was to GM.

    • 0 avatar

      You have to compare apples to apples. When this car was built, over 40 years ago, it was VERY competitive and nothing to be ashamed of. I know several people my parents age who traded Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles in on a new LTD and were very happy. Hopefully the new Fusion will be as good of a car by today’s standards as this LTD was when it was new.

  • avatar

    What does Brougham mean anyway ?

    Road Hugging Weight, here we come !

    • 0 avatar

      It references the old Brougham carriages where the driver would be outside, operating the horse while the VIP’s sat enclosed in the back with lavish appointments.

      For me, a true brougham has a vinyl top which begins at the B pillar to lightly mimic this. The full padded vinyl treatment is close enough, I guess.

    • 0 avatar

      I wonder who was the first OEM to use it, and who was the first to abuse it (by putting it on lots of their models…)

  • avatar

    ah yes i had almost forgotten about vinyl roofs and the rust that starts underneath them. these were incredulous land yachts and with bench seats that allow for infinite seating positions, esp since there was nothing located over the transmission hump.

    on long highway drives i can remember driving left footed while the right sits atop the hump. a change just to relax the muscles in the legs and back because, of course, there was no cruise control.

    • 0 avatar

      There are parts on ebay listed for a 1971 LTD’s cruise control system, so I’m thinking it was an option. I know my dads ’73 LTD had it and am pretty sure his parents’ 1972 LTD had it.

  • avatar

    Ah, these, my Dad had the very basic custom pillared sedan version of this car. Prolly had the basic 302 V8 in it though, and the same year too.

    His was originally a GSA general service fleet vehicle, though it was that very light green color, with the green interior.

    Still, I’d rather had the 2 door sedan of these, as I love how the brake lights were also in the 2 most middle bulbs in that center tailllight section.

    I’ve read that the build quality of this period was so bad that when the dealers got the cars, they had to be fixed before they’d be sold, usually the fit/finish pieces were often out of whack in some way.

    Still in all, have always liked these and this body was ONLY seen in the 71 and 72 models though.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I drove a coworker’s car like this several times. I believe it was the hidden headlight version. It was big and sloppy handling like almost all American brand cars of the day, but it sure was comfortable and quiet. I don’t know why anyone would pay double or triple for a Cadillac or Lincoln.

    Hard on gas, even for those days. It wanted to turn into every gas station. She had quite a bit of trouble with it. The quality was abysmal. She was constantly taking it into the repair garage. When she couldn’t stand it anymore she traded it in on an Oldsmobile. The Oldsmobile wasn’t as nice and was no more reliable.

    • 0 avatar

      The LTD featured hidden headlights from 1968-70, and again from 1975-78 (on the higher-trim versions of the LTD, as the Galaxie was gone by 1975). No 1971-74 LTDs featured hidden headlights.

      • 0 avatar
        Gardiner Westbound

        I can’t really remember if her headlights were hidden, but it certainly was this body shell. I clearly recall her personal headlights were very nice, like the redhead on Mad Men.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I wonder if Walt Kowalski laid hands on this one during assembly?

  • avatar

    Once upon a time I used to be blase about the styling on these Fords. Now I think its one of the ugliest things to come out of Detroit studios during those years. I know it was a Pontiac ripoff but Pontiac wore it well.

    As a side note my father had a set of 4 hubcaps with that LTD “Crest” on them from sometime in the 70s when he was still picking up lost hubcaps on the side of the road.

    • 0 avatar

      My understanding was that the designer at Pontiac who was responsible for the beaks on the 1968-70 bumper/grille cars (and indirectly their descendants, the better-integrated central grilles of the new-for-1971 full-size cars) moved to Ford, where his first approved design was the 1970-71 Thunderbird, about which the less said the better. I suppose this guy had design influence on the 1971-72 LTD and 1972 Torino as well. Anyone have further knowledge of this?

      • 0 avatar

        You must be referring to Bunkie Knudsen, who was at GM and the Pontiac division (most notably when the GTO came out), then moved to Ford to become the CEO, for a very brief time before getting canned by Henry Ford II.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    It probably had a 390 or a 460 and drove like the Titanic. Friend of mine had one in HS, a hand down from his grandma. Bench seat so your GF could slide over.

  • avatar

    Concur on the hidden lights–none on this model (although I thought they would have looked pretty nice on it).

    Also, at the risk of becoming known as the pillard hardtop crank–I see a thin but definite B pillar. After Ford brought this style in on the ’61 Continental, they got more and more into it, until by the early 70’s they practically had no true four-door hardtops.

    I always liked the nearly full-width tail lights on the ’71 LTD–the Galaxie had a black panel in the middle. Later I was reminded of it when the light bar appeared on the ’95 Town Car.

  • avatar

    We had this identical car in our family for 30 years! I remember test-driving them with my dad (with the white paper floor cover inserts) in August of 1970, and us taking delivery (we had ordered one) in Thanksgiving of the same year.

    Ours was the pillarless hardtop, and I can’t tell from the pictures whether this one had the skinny B-pillar or not. I never figured out why they offered the choice.

    It was a really good car, better than some other makes of the era in certain respects – the interior held up very well (old-school wired-up headliner never dropped), and the door hinges and door handle latch mechanisms were still very tight and working great even at 30 years old (unheard of on a GM product). And the baked-on enamel paint was still looking good decades later.

    In the late 80s – early 90s I upgraded to a 460 (from the 400), added Duraspark ignition, Holley Projection TBI (the 2bbl model), mopar police rims with rubber from a Mustang GT, a posi rear end, and ’77 T-Bird steering box and sway bars with heavy-duty springs all the way around. I even had a police-spec 140mph speedometer that I never got around to installing.

    While stock, it was a wallowy, scary ride at 90mph, but afterwards, it would easily reach 120 (where I chickened out, even as a youngin’) and still felt planted on the road. It was a hoot to drive, accelerating from everything in sight while going up mountain passes (never mind the gas, but with the fuel injection and tall rear-end gears I was getting 15-18).

    This was one of the first years that you could order heated rear glass and delay wipers (see the movie “Flash of Genius”), neither of which my dad ordered and I ended up finding the in junkyards and installing myself 20 years after the fact.

    This one is in remarkable condition as well. Funny, as I just saw the stripper model of this same car in my local Pick-n-Pull a couple of weeks ago, with a perfect non-cracked dash pad even (which was rare 20 years ago).

    Oh, and if you notice – the front bumper protectors (the bolt-on pieces with the black rubber bumpers – they were a popular accessory in that era) are completely useless, as they don’t extend beyond the beak!

  • avatar
    The Dark One

    Looks like one Gator McClusky may have driven.

  • avatar

    Don’t diss the 400M…a 400M won the Engine Masters Challenge 3 years in a row (admittedly, one that did not have much in common with a production item).

  • avatar

    My dad had one exactly like this. Two years later he traded it in for a ’73, which had dramatically lower quality inside and out.

  • avatar

    Weren’t these the cars Ford marketed as “quieter than a Rolls-Royce”? That may have been an exaggeration, but these were fairly well-built cars for the time, good door sealing, thick seats, plush carpets, lots of sound deadening material, and smooth engines. Ford started cheaping out with the next generation, which was, as usual, a case of following the leader with GM, which had already started decontenting it’s full-size cars in 1971.

  • avatar

    “Looks like one Gator McClusky may have driven.”

    Yep, same year, platform and body shell, just the “White Lightning” Ford was a ’71 base Custom, post sedan, i.e. the ‘Police Interceptor’. Allegedly had a manual trans, but the real car used didn’t.

    Can mkae jokes, but they were #2 selling car line for a few years. And led to the longest running Ford car platform. There are many reasons why some were loyal to big cars. The Fusion is Torino descendant and the Taurus is the current LTD.

  • avatar

    Some wonder how older cars end up in pick/pull junkyard, but scrap yards go to auctions and anything that isn’t collectable or ‘classic’ gets sold cheap.

    This looks like a donated or trade in that ended up getting sold for scrap.

  • avatar

    My aunt had one of these, same year–kept it until the early ’80s (she traded cars about every 10 years). I remember riding in it as a kid and it being very quiet. Even as a passenger it just seemed heavy to drive.

    Another aunt had a ’71 Country Squire, but that’s a much different car and different memory (side-facing “wayback” jump seats!).

  • avatar

    You are correct, this car has the 400M. See the one inch or so tall rib on the front of the block next to where the distributor goes? The 351C block is flat there, the rib is only on the 351M/400 block. Also, notice how the intake manifold seat on the front of the block is raised an inch or so above the integral timing cover on the block? On the lower deck 351C block this surface is almost flat with the timing cover. Also at the back of the block on the taller 351M-400 block the inatke manifold mating surface is an inch or so above the trans mating surface, on the lower deck 351C the surface is almost flush with the top of the trans mounting surface.
    And the 351 C uses the same small bellhousing pattern as the 65 and a half and up small block 289, 302, 351W and 240-300 6 engines. The 351M-400 use the large 429-460 bellhousing pattern.
    The 400 has excellent performance potential. Both car craft and hot rod and the like have done buildups on them over the past 15 years or so. They are cheap to buy and cheap to build with tremendous results.

    • 0 avatar

      Also, it has D1AE-AB cylinder head castings. Ford-part-number-prefix explanation, good up through 1998 model year (1999 saw the prefixing system change a bit):

      Decade-Year-Model-Releasing Activity

      D: 1970s (60s were C, 80s were E, 90s were F)
      1: 1971, specifically
      A: Full-size Ford (many of the codes are lost deep in my memory banks, but Z was Mustang)
      E: Engine Division (if it had been a service part, expect a Z here)

      The suffix is Major Revision Minor Revision, so an AB could be used to retrofit onto an AA, but a BA may (or may not) be interchangable.

      Ford has the most logical parts numbering system of any automaker I’ve encountered, IMO. Part type determines base part number, prefix and suffix add the specifics. All water pumps are 8501 base number, for example.

  • avatar

    The Brougham Era officially ended in 1996 when the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham had it’s curtain call.

    It’s not a 400M. There is no such thing as a 400M. There is a 351M and a 400.

  • avatar

    If you want to get technical, the only differences between the two are the crank and pistons. The 351 M was created by sticking a shorter storke crank into a 400 block. So yeah, a 400 is a 351M with a longer stroke, or you could say that a 351M is a 400 with a shorter stroke.

  • avatar

    Although I personally prefer smaller vehicles , I remember these old Land Barges fondly…..

  • avatar

    I REALLLYYY need some driver door parts off this car. Anyone near this thing that can hook me up? Will compen$sate!

  • avatar

    Cannon. In Color!

  • avatar

    In it’s day, it was a great car. I prefer the 1972 because it has a nicer front (fine squares) and I liked the larger tail lights. To me, this was one of the best full-sized Fords ever built. I rode in one as a young teenager and they were smooth riding, bank vault quite.

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