Junkyard Find: 1968 Ford LTD Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1968 ford ltd sedan
Full-sized Detroit sedans from the 1960s, cool as they are, don’t get much interest from those willing and able to take on project cars. With so many millions of these big boxy four-doors made — they were the default mode of transportation for most Americans back then, remember — plenty still sit in barns and fields and driveways a half-century later, and they continue to show up in self-service wrecking yards.Here’s my latest find: a fairly solid 1968 Ford LTD sedan, in a Denver yard.
I see plenty of Impalas and Furies and Delmont 88s in these yards, of course, but it seems that the members of the full-sized Ford and Mercury family make up the largest group of 1960s cars I see during my wrecking-yard explorations.
My grandparents drove a ’68 LTD hardtop coupe, complete with 390 engine, until the much-feared Minnesota Rust Monster consumed it at about age 8, so I have a certain affection for these cars.
The first car I remember riding in was my dad’s 1967 Ford Custom 500 two-door sedan, which was the plush LTD’s more affordable sibling. That car had a 289 and three-on-the-floor manual transmission, and it rusted to oblivion by about 1972.
This big Ford has the meaty 390-cubic-inch V8 (that’s about 6.4 liters to you freedom-hating metric system zealots), rated at 265 horsepower and enough torque to move this 3,596-pound car smartly enough. Yes, this car weighs less than a new Taurus. Hundreds of pounds less.
Four doors, smoker’s-vent windows, and a bench seat — that’s what most cars on North American roads had in the late 1960s. In non-rusty parts of the continent, you’d see full-sized Fords of this era doing daily-driver duty well into the 1990s. Front suspension components were a bit more prone to fail than those in their GM counterparts, but repairs were cheap and easy.
Three-on-the-tree manual transmissions were standard on the lesser big 1968 Fords, though nearly everyone got the automatic. In the LTD, the three-speed slushbox was standard equipment, but you could get a four-on-the-floor if you wanted (and if any of you ever sees a ’68 LTD with factory four-speed, let us know).
There’s a bit of rust in the usual spots, but not enough to make restoration very difficult… if anyone wanted to spend $15,000 to make a $4,000 LTD sedan.
Due to a strike, ’68 Fords were in short supply for a while.
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2 of 59 comments
  • Old fart Old fart on Aug 14, 2018

    I had one when I was twenty, it was very comfortable, quiet , and really went thru the snow , but at 70,000 miles it sheared it's oil pump shaft and took out the mains . I didn't have a lot of money so I scrapped it . (That was the series that had bad metal in the frame also and it was starting to have frame rot over the rear wheels - Ford had a selective recall on it if you were savvy )

  • Scout_Number_4 Scout_Number_4 on Aug 15, 2018

    Thank you for this one, Murilee--and especially for adding the photos of your family and that 67 500. My folks had 67 Galaxy Wagon (the strangely mis-named "Country Sedan") with this same engine and lots of other similarities. I learned to drive in that yacht, drove it through high school. Dad used it (again) as his DD until the early 90s. I keep waiting/hoping for a JYF on one of these someday, but for now will just continue to be delighted to see any FoMoCo iron from the 60s in these pages.

  • Parkave231 On the one hand, I always thought that TriPower was a horrible name for the L3B engine (and LSY, although I don't recall seeing that name applied in practice), especially since one of the three technologies reduces said power (AFM). Of all the historic GM names to bring back...On the other hand, TurboMAX is a horrible replacement name. Turbo-Quad4? (Yes, I know it's not.) FleetFour? (Seemingly target market?) FourReal?
  • SCE to AUX The diesel isn't that compelling compared to the 2.7T, when you consider the 50% fuel cost premium and the need for DEF.But regularly towing 9500 lbs with a 4-cylinder (even a low-stress one like this) seems to be overdoing it. I'd get the 4 for lighter duty, the diesel for medium duty, and one of the 8s for heavy duty.
  • Analoggrotto Over the years GM has shown a keen interest in focusing their attention and development money on large, expensive or specialized vehicles and little to no progress in developing something excellent to complete with such class leaders as : Camry, Telluride, Civic, CR-V, Highlander, Accord, or even ho hum Corolla. And this is the way class division works in the heartland/rustbelt: pretend to care for the common man but cater the public resources to additional security and comfort for the upper echelons of society. GM is Elitist American Communism.
  • Art Vandelay Current Fiesta ST
  • Jeff S Buick Lacrosse and Chevy Montana compact pickup.