By on February 6, 2015

08 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn one of those confusing branding moves that’s up there with the baffling Toyota Corolla Tercel, Ford decided to name a Torino-based midsize car the LTD II while keeping the regular full-sized LTD. This went on for the 1977 and 1978 model years, and then for 1979 the “big” LTD went to the Panther platform and sold alongside LTD IIs for that year. Why? Well, that’s like asking why Henry Ford II refused Soichiro Honda’s offer of cheap CVCC engines for the Fiesta a few years before! Anyway, here’s an extremely green first-year LTD II wagon (not a Country Squire, which was based on the larger “regular” LTD) that I spotted in Northern California a couple weeks back.
03 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDo you like green interiors, and by that I mean large expanses of petrochemical-residue-exhaling I Can Totally Believe It’s Not Leather™ vinyl that still looks good and vivid after nearly 40 years of California sun?
02 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car has you covered! This car’s seats would make nice garage couches.
13 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFord sent out 23 million of these recall-evading stickers, thanks to the generosity of Ronald Reagan, and thus didn’t go bankrupt in the early 1980s. Most owners didn’t apply them, but this car’s circa-1982 owner did.
04 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe engine compartment had a bit of a fire problem.
19 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe can assume this car was earning its keep until the day of the fire.


Ford didn’t hesitate to pitch the big LTD as more car for the money. Look, bigger than a Cadillac, yet cheaper!

As for the LTD II: if you’re a sporty guy with a sporty mustache, the “trimmer” LTD II is for you!

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114 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford LTD II Station Wagon...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “LTD II wagon (not a Country Squire, which was based on the larger “regular” LTD)”

    There was an LTD II up-level wagon called the “Squire”

    http://carsadel-ds.com/images1/ford-ltd-ii-wagon-2.jpg

  • avatar
    sirwired

    That is indeed some fine upholstery. Does today’s pleather hold up that well to UV?

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Fine example of a pre Minivan/SUV family truckster.

  • avatar
    love2drive

    Junkyard Finds is my favorite part of this site.
    Love the jingle for LTDII…

  • avatar
    319583076

    Funny, *all* of the junkyard finds seem to display the “recall sticker”. I wonder if there’s some correlation?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “recall sticker”

      That’s a safety sticker, because idiots drive cars

      • 0 avatar
        Crabspirits

        Actually, it was a legitamate concern. Ford transmissions had a weak detent. It was a roll of the dice leaving your car idling in park, a very common thing to do back then since hot restarts with a carb were not assured. People were coming out of 7/11’s to find their cars across the street or doing reverse donuts in the parking lot. Technicians were getting killed working on them. Unlike the recent UA fiascos, you can find videos on youtube of police playing rodeo with wild Fords.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “People were coming out of 7/11’s to find their cars across the street or doing reverse donuts in the parking lot.”

          Nothing will ruin your day faster then coming out of a 7-11, Slurpee in hand and seeing your Country Squire hooning itself backwards in the parking lot

        • 0 avatar
          greaseyknight

          Yep, in the last 6 months my dad had it happen to him in the ’78 F-350. Didn’t go fully into park, and it went in to gear and idled into their Oldsmobile. No damage to the truck (and who cares about a 90’s Olds), but it was surprising.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Baffles me that some people (then and now) refused to use the parking brake.

          I’ve heard people – recently – claim that they never use it, because “they get stuck!”.

          I use mine every time I park the car, and I’ve never had a problem on any vehicle, in over a quarter century of driving…

          • 0 avatar
            Exfordtech

            Actually if you always use it, it won’t get stuck. It’s part of the vehicle inspection in Massachusetts. Sure fire way to make it stick is to use it just once a year.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            I always use mine now, but the simple pull up handle is right by the seat. On older cars I’ve had, the foot pedal was a pain – literally – if your leg is in the way when you release it. That pedal popped up with some real force and would give your shin a raspberry.

            Even older models had a handle on a rod that you pulled up, and would twist to release. They were often to the left of the steering wheel and when pulled out got in the way of your knee when exiting the car.

            Bottom line, make it easy to use and people will use it – it’s a design issue.

        • 0 avatar

          That last image made me laugh, crabspirits: police playing rodeo with a wild Ford. Thanks!

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      I’m guessing that anything that survived long enough to hit the scrap yard in 2014 had a conscientious original owner that actually read the letter and applied the decal. These cars were not good. My dad had a ’77 LTD II when I was a child in the early 80’s. Silver with a whorehouse red cloth interior. He called it the “Grey Ghost.” I still remember going with him very early on a Sunday morning, driving that thing backwards all the way across town to a transmission shop because it wouldn’t go into drive. After getting the tranny fixed he drove it another year or so until he felt he’d got his money’s worth and then sold it to an Ugly Duckling Rent-a-car.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Wow, looks like it spent some time in Hawaii as well, judging by the Maui Eldorado Resort access sticker.

    http://www.outrigger.com/hotels-resorts/hawaiian-islands/maui/outrigger-maui-eldorado-kaanapali/overview

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Nice catch. I used to work just down the beach from there.

      • 0 avatar
        Crabspirits

        I found the sticker puzzling too. My theory is that owner 1 put it on there. Owner 2 was military, and had it brought over long ago when it was still fairly new enough to be worthwhile. The same person probably also had it brought over to Oahu before that. The ole girl certainly had an interesting life, and was well cared for before succumbing to the flames. The people who l8ve these swear they are the best things ever, and drive them till they are past a sane point of usefulness.

        • 0 avatar
          Roberto Esponja

          There’s a lot of hate thrown on this family of vehicles (1972-77 Torino, Montego, Cougar, Elite, LTD-II, T-Bird…), but my grandmother owned a 1972 Montego MX and while I thought its design was stupid (extremely long hood, ridiculously tiny trunk), it had its virtues. Anytime I borrowed it from her I had to grudgingly admit that it was an enjoyable car to drive.

          Interesting story about that particular car…ever since it was new, it had had an occasional rattle coming from the right-front area. While it was under warranty, the dealership replaced everything applicable to that area’s suspension and steering and couldn’t fix it. After its warranty expired, my grandparents just lived with the rattle, since it only showed up when driving over really bad roads. Comes 1980, and they get into a crash, the right-front fender gets badly damaged. When they removed the original fender at the body shop, they found a socket wrench inside it! After leaving the body shop, the Montego’s rattle was gone.

          My grandpa kept the socket wrench as a souvenir…

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Hmm, can’t edit.

      Shipping a car to Hawaii isn’t cheap. This must have been sold new on the island and shipped to the mainland when it was fairly young. Given how quickly these depreciated, the shipping would cost more than the car was worth by about 1982.

      • 0 avatar
        clkimmel

        Perhaps a military move brought this car back to the mainland?

        • 0 avatar
          fincar1

          Either that, or it started life as part of the rental fleet on Maui, and subsequently became part of a shipload of ex-rental cars back to the mainland.

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          No bases on Maui, so probably not military. Moving cars between islands isn’t easy either, although I think there was a ferry in the 80’s, so maybe.

          If it went from rental fleet straight to mainland, it wouldn’t have picked up an employee parking sticker for the Eldorado.

  • avatar
    robc123

    The squire had a electric rear window. back seats folded flat.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’m going to have to find the rest of that LTD II commercial. I want to know more about that guy’s Stage I. Nice custom Merc he undoubtedly still tells his grandkids he regrets selling.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Mom drove an LTDII 2 door when I was a kid.

    The car was almost too big for the garage: She had to park the nose all the way against the back wall with a nice “thud” every time.

    I do remember that something major happening to the engine. It died on the way out the garage and I remember her brother coming and working on it for hours. IIRC something with the timing chain.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Semenak

      Actually, the 1979 Wagon I owned was no longer than my 1974 Chevy Nova. I parked next to one and eye-balled it myself. The 302 was good but the Variable-venturi Carb was a pain. Vacuum hose heaven.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    “…for 1979 the “big” LTD went to the Panther platform and sold alongside LTD IIs for that year.”

    In fairness, Chevy did the same thing in ’77. The “big” B-body Impala/Caprice was smaller than the “mid-size” A-body Malibu.

  • avatar
    kilgoretrout

    These cars are contenders for the ugliest of the 70’s, against stiff competition. Every single line and proportion is wrong.

  • avatar
    Sobro

    My college girlfriend had a 1978 LTD II in black with white Starsky and Hutch stripe. Her daddy bought it for her new (he wouldn’t let her have the Camaro Rally Sport she wanted) and through the wonders of Facebook, I learned it lived until the mid 90’s.

    It was comfortable enough on the highway, and drove as a malaise car does.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I think the reasoning behind the switch to the LTD II name and aping the styling cues of the LTD was to position it better against the downsized B’s. Ford decided that they should go with a new “compact first”, the Fox bodies which were more of a bridge between the traditional compact and midsize cars in interior room. They saw the explosion of the subcompact market after the 1st energy crisis and figured that many people would go for a compact with with reasonable interior room. They of course didn’t make a bad decision since the Fairmont did sell well. In the mean time though calling their midsize a derivative of the full size name positioned it for the traditional full size buyer looking for a more “economical” choice, until they could downsize their full size.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I’d never heard about Ford passing on the CVCC engine for the Fiesta. I have to say their little pushrod four performed pretty well in that car, I’m not sure the Honda motor would have been much of an improvement.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      It was not for the Fiesta it was for the first FWD Escort. It is a long story but the end was Hank II said no #$%@^& way is a car with my name on it going to have a @#$^^ Japanese engine in it. (He must have forgot about the Courier which was of course all Japanese and the first one had huge stickers in the rear window proclaiming “Ford’s new 1800cc import”) That lead to the quick development of the CVH 4cyl. Honda was supposed to supply the engine at at least the 5sp trans not sure if they were going to supply the AT too.

      The real story was that when Honda first announced the CVCC engine but before they were actually building them Ford attemepted to partner with them due to being turned down by Mazda. Ford brought the Honda engineers to Dearborn and gave them access to documents pertaining to Ford’s PROCO engine and access to emissions testing equipment. The deal eventually soured because Ford wanted to take an ownership stake in Honda and Honda would have none of that. In the meanwhile Honda figured out that the Compound Vortex Combustion Chamber wouldn’t work in the real world w/o direct injection. So the CVCC name was a lie since they used a 3bbl carb and a prechamber on the actual production engine. In the mean time Honda had made a big stink about the CVCC and sold lots of licenses for the as yet to be developed/perfected technology and to save face kept the name.

      After a number of years Ford and Honda patched up their relationship and inked the deal for Honda to supply the Escort engines but as mentioned above Hank II nixed that deal.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        How different would the automotive landscape be had the deal for Ford to get an ownership stake in Honda gone through? I don’t know but I like to imagine a first gen SHO wagon with VTEC and a slick shifting Honda 5 speed. And instead of Ridgelines hanging out on lots for months Honda dealers would be refusing to come off the prices of the all new aluminum “H150”. And an NSX on Ford lots with some sort of V8 Rumble would have been fun.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          It would certainly have played out differently had they completed the deal. For one thing the ownership stake in Mazda likely wouldn’t have happened.

          The other question is how would have things turned out had they never even explored the partnership. In the book “The Honda Myth” Honda engineers admit that they never would be where they were today had Ford not opened up their arms and took them in expecting the ownership stake to happen. Don’t remember the exact quote but one was along the lines of “Until we got to Ford we had no clue just how little we actually knew about building cars, we didn’t even have a safety manual or policy”.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve S.

        I heard that they tried to sell it to GM too, by obtaining a Vega from them an returning it with a CVCC head on it’s engine.

  • avatar
    RG6U

    Ah ha..!! I knew I recognized the “Wagon Queen Family Truckster”…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Lampoon%27s_Vacation#Wagon_Queen_Family_Truckster

    Dan

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    I love the art of marketing. “When America needs a better idea *click* Ford, puts it on wheels”.
    I imagine sporty 70’s man in stage II of life thinking “Ford” every time he turns the light on in the basement.

    “Our car is heavier, slower, thirstier, uglier, and worse than the Chevrolet…but hey, it’s also just as unlikely to fit in your garage as a Cadillac.”

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    What was the MOST brougham-laden year? The year when there was the most heraldry, crests, trim pieces, trim names, wood, and vinyl both outside and in?

    I think 77 might be it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Opera windows
      Coach lights
      Landau padded roofs
      Continental Kits
      Faux-wire wheels
      Huge hood ornaments
      Leather straps on the trunk (Ford, I’m looking at you)

      Yep, the late ’70s

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That is the automotive equivalent of listing porn to me.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I need to show you something suitable at this juncture. Though it’s overpriced.

          https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/4860495997.html

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            That’s beautiful and 100% stock

          • 0 avatar
            Russycle

            OMG, that hideous gauge cluster in all it’s pretentious squareness! I must have it.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            I worked at a Lincoln Dealer in the early 90’s and they took a mint one of these in on trade. One of those crazy garage kept 1 owner cars that had like 29,000 miles on it. The owner traded it for one of the Taurus Based FWD Continentals that you never see anymore which I thought was strange. It was parked in the showroom and priced ridiculously but when people walked in they walked right by the Town Car, Mark VIII and the stupid MN12 Cougar “Bostonian” which was a base Cougar with a vinyl roof and straight to the Mark V. It was there less time than those three as well and I am pretty sure they made more money off of it.

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            Elvis owned a 1977. Most likely it was the last vehicle he bought before he died.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think the largest factory hood ornament award might have to go to the swan which adorned Packards.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Don’t forget the V8 Horsepower numbers closer to stock flatheads than the 60’s versions of those same motors.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I feel like the 77-79 Thunderbird/Cougar with a 302 has to be one of the slowest cars ever sold in America.

          Around 4000 pounds and 140 smog-choked horsepower!

          • 0 avatar
            MTD

            Even with the 351, at least with the stock 2bbl, they were dog slow. The 78 Ranchero I briefly used as a daily driver was just about the slowest thing on the road. Nice cushy ride though- it out-panthered the panther when it came to a nice cruisey highway machine. Plus they are equally good at tailgating from both directions- tailgate/bed in back, and bumper/bench and hood/table in the front, plus all sorts of other handy flat places to rest a can or two of beer.

          • 0 avatar
            AmcEthan

            i had a bone stock 1978 mercury monarch with the 302 and it was actually pretty quick. was able to outrun my 92 z28.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Well a Monarch was smaller and lighter than one of these behemoth LTDs…

            In fact, your 302 Monarch, if it was a 2 door, probably weighed about 700 pounds less than a LTD 2-door with the same engine.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I remember driving one of these back in the 70’s and they just loved to eat miles with little effort, taking a curve was another matter altogether. Must have been great in Texas

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Great on the highways, but Texas used spirals for their on- and off- ramps instead of arcs. The spirals required constant steering adjustment until you got completely on or off the highway. I always thought of them as real-world sobriety tests.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Ford definitely had a thing for making sequels to successful models. I’d love to find me an real live Taurus II.

    Edit: Perhaps a little too obscure to know without a link

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/avoidable-contact-who-really-runs-the-dealership/

  • avatar
    dswilly

    One of the coolest features on those cars was the tailgate that both dropped like a truck and swung to the side depending on which handle you pulled. On a scout trip as a kid somehow we kids managed to get the gate on one of these in-between swing and drop, probably because two kids pulled both handles at the same moment. The tailgate nearly fell off the car. I will never forget how ballistic the scoutmaster went over it. We thought he was going to kill us.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’ve never understood the bizarre belt-line Ford used on its 70s wagons. Neither Chrysler nor GM did the same thing and there doesn’t seem to be any practical reason for it.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I’ve posted on this thread too many times, but dear god, that commercial is awesome. You owe it to yourself to watch it.

    “The LTD of midsize cars! If you’re a sporty guy who appreciates the finer things in life, welcome to Stage 2!!”
    Comedy gold. I just bought a Scion XB, I think that puts me at Stage 5.

  • avatar
    Exfordtech

    1977 Plymouth Fury wagon had a similar belt-line behind the rear doors.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/that_chrysler_guy/5295173352/

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      All of these station wagons were built from sedans, and those sedans had a upkick to the rear window and C pillar. The bottom of the rear window of the wagons followed the top of the sedan’s trunk.

      Plymouth Fury Sedan
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1978_Plymouth_Fury.JPG
      Plymouth Fury Wagon
      https://www.flickr.com/photos/that_chrysler_guy/5295173352/

      Ford LTD II Sedan
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ford-LTD-II.jpg

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Last post from me (maybe): Anyone else notice that the LTD 2 wagon seems to be heavily influenced by the Pinto wagon:
    http://www.productioncars.com/gallery.php?car=1557&make=Ford&model=Pinto

    Especially the rear end.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    My parents had a 1978 Ford LTD sedan that they purchased used around 1981. It was claimed to be an ex-police unit, although I’ve always found such things dubious. Salt (combined with my parents insistence that washing a car made corrosion worse) ate through the vehicle, producing a floor so full of holes we had to keep our feet up and by 1984 the vehicle was scrapped, giving a total of maybe seven years of life. Their next purchase, a brand new Hyundai Pony, lasted until 1992 when the doors fell off. Their 1976 Vega, their first Canadian purchase, only lasted five years.

    Cars aren’t built the way they used to be. My lot is, in Quebec, frequently filled by 2005s and 2007s with no rust, eager to pass 200,000 kilometers with relatively little pain. Something to think about.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    This model LTD ranks near, if not at the top of my personal list of the ugliest cars produced, but ironically I am good with the green interior.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    Odd that these were called “mid-size” … I remember them being enormous. From Wiki:

    For the wagon:
    Wheelbase 118″
    Length 222.6″
    Weight approx 4400 lbs

    For the same-generation LTD wagon (last one before Panther)
    Wheelbase 121″
    Length 225.7″

    Not a lot of difference … makes me wonder why Ford bothered.

  • avatar
    DownEaster

    The 1977 LTD II Wagon version was a one year wonder. It basically was the 1972-1976 Ford Gran Torino Wagon with the LTD II front end put on it. The passenger doors are the same if you look closely. Plymouth also played the “name game” when it changed the name of the intermediate Satellite to Fury in 1975. The full sized Plymouth went from Fury to Gran Fury in 1975. Dodge also did the same with the intermediate Coronet becoming the Monaco and the formerly full sized Monaco became the Royal Monaco. So this 77 LTD II wagon is a rarity. Love the green seats and the car but it is a “boat” to drive. Lots of confusion after the 1973 oil embargo with full sized cars being an endangered species and renaming the intermediates with the full sized car’s name.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Thanks, I thought I’d seen that body prior to 77. Torino wagon indeed, which came out about the same time as the Pinto, probably designed simultaneously by the same team, more or less.

    • 0 avatar
      roger628

      Actually this shared sheetmetal with the Montego, which begat Cougar, Elite and this. The Gran Torino was the odd one out, with more sculpture on it’s flanks. The LTD-II even shared it’s hood with the Elite.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The Mercury version was the Cougar which replaced the Montego.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1977-ford-ltd-ii-station-wagon/#comment-5038442

    How the Cougar name went in the span of 10 yrs from a personal/luxury/pony version of the Mustang to the name of the entire Mercury intermediate line.

  • avatar
    shaker

    LTD Wagon? For a NICE ’76, watch *this*:

    http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/sarah-jessica-parker-a-little-hyper-aware

    SJP was not my “cup of tea” until I saw this video – now, I’d love to have a cup of joe with her.

    Lots of other cool cars and people in Jerry’s videos as well.

  • avatar
    amca

    I love the high tech “click-click” of the light switch in the LTD II commercial.

    Funny to think from today’s perspective just how archaic it was – even back then.

  • avatar

    Over the weekend I had a chance to get into a moving 1980 Mercury Monarch with the 5.0 Windsor unit. I expected it to be utterly terrible. In one way, it is and in another it´s a noisy, laid-back bit of fun that has a definite appeal. You have to take these things as you find them. The lazy power of the engine and the vast expanse of sheet metal out front made for a very different experience from the Fiat 500C I had rented the day before. And the Monarch was wide inside. You are aware of all the carpet and unoccupied floor inside the car.
    I should say that I was driving in Denmark. Given you don´t drive very fast here and that the roads are usually quite smooth, a lazy barge like the Monarch fitted in quite well. What surprised me most was that it wasn´t an awful experience in isolation but I suppose if you compare it to the things the Japenese were making, it might seem like a useless old floater. The day before I had a go in an 1985 Opel Senator 2.5E, with its straight-six engine. While the Opel was certainly a laid back limo with its velour and brown plastic, it felt like a sports car in comparison with the Monarch. I can´t tell which I preferred. It seemed the Opel was able to move quite fast with its 2.5, while the Monarch´s 5.0 seemed mostly to be be spewing unburnt petrol out the back rather than really leaping off the line.

    Richard

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    It’s a Torino underneath. And as Starsky said after going undercover as a Ferrari-driving drug dealer, “nothing handles like a Gran Torino.”

  • avatar
    amca

    I love the high tech “click-click” of the light switch in the LTD II commercial.

    Funny to think from today’s perspective just how archaic it was – even back then. And that something archaic wasn’t seen as a problem for a brand association then.


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