The Great Pacific Road Trip: Part 4

The last time we saw the 1975 Ford was when your author dropped it off at the shipping office in Oakland. Readers can review the previous installments of the trip up through California, the prep of the car, and the purchase and arrangements of the trip elsewhere on this blog by following the links.


What follows may be of academic interest only to the American reader but if there are any fellow British folks there wondering about importing a car from the USA then the following may prove useful. It is also interesting to arrange a sort of race between the vehicle registration organizations of the two countries, to see who made it hardest and who did it quickest!


But first, the car had to make it here to the U.K.

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Junkyard Find: 1969 Ford LTD 2-Door Hardtop

Ford updated its full-sized cars for 1969, stretching the wheelbase a couple of inches and adding a completely new snout. Production of this generation of big Fords continued through 1978, with well over a half-million sold just for 1969, so these cars were everywhere on American roads well into the 1990s. Here's one of the sportiest models you could buy in that first year, found in a Colorado self-service car graveyard last month.

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The Great Pacific Road Trip Part 3

As the reader may discern from the previous installments of this tale, a fair amount of planning and preparation had been undertaken to get to the point where your author could set forth on California’s roads in one slightly time-worn 1975 Ford LTD.

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The Great Pacific Road Trip: Part 2

Read part one here.

The plan for this stage of my trip is to finish my work trip to San Diego, drive out to Palm Springs and pick up my ’75 Ford LTD, and then drive it to the Port of Oakland. It all sounds so simple, right?

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Rare Rides: The 1984 Ford LTD LX, a Mustang Sedan

Though most of the Ford LTDs produced during its Fox-Body years were of the ho-hum middling variety, a few escaped the factory with extra zest and performance, and a Mustang V8.

Come along as we learn all about the power of LX.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Mercury Marquis Sedan
Ford squeezed every possible nickel of value out of the rear-wheel-drive Fox platform during its near-20-year production run (longer than that, if you accept the SN95 Mustang as a Fox), and I enjoy tracking down as many Fox variants as possible while I march up and down the rows of my favorite car graveyards.I think the period of Peak Fox came during the first half of the 1980s, as the Malaise Era shifted into the Conspicuous Consumption Era (and we haven’t seen a Fox Ford here since 2019), so this 1983 Mercury Marquis deserves inclusion in this series.
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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.
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Junkyard Find: 1982 Ford LTD Country Squire

Before Real American Families drove SUVs and minivans, they drove full-sized Detroit station wagons.

I’m not a wagon fanatic and it doesn’t break my heart that wagons are no longer mainstream (although it does break my heart that Chrysler didn’t bring back wagons with huge tailfins instead of the PT Cruiser), but I recognize that the archetypal Detroit wagon of the 1960s and 1970s was the Ford Country Squire. I can’t resist photographing a junked Squire when I see one in the junkyard, and so here’s a Late Malaise Era Country Squire I spotted in a San Francisco Bay area wrecking yard.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Mercury Marquis Station Wagon

In 1983, Ford decided to put the Mercury Marquis on the new-ish Fox Platform, while the Grand Marquis remained on the Panther Platform (where it would stay until the bitter end). Confused? Hey, at least the Marquis/Grand Marquis split wasn’t as puzzling as, say, the Toyota Corolla Tercel (which was unrelated to the Corolla) or the Nissan Stanza Wagon (which was only slightly related to the other US-market Stanzas).

Here’s a faded but generally solid ’83 Marquis woodie wagon I saw in Northern California in August.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford LTD II Station Wagon

In 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.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Mercury Monterey Coupe

After seeing this ’72 Ford LTD Brougham coupe a few months back, it seems fitting that I’ve spotted the Mercury sibling to that car at the very same San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard. The images of this rust-free 42-year-old big Ford coupe should result in bitter tears flowing from Sajeev’s eyes, not to mention much wailing and gnashing of teeth among Rust Belt Ford lovers who haven’t seen such an unoxidized Mercury since the start of the Ethio-Somali War. Here we go!

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS Colony Park Station Wagon

The popularity of the full-size station wagon went into steep decline during the course of the 1980s, thanks to competition from minivans and less truck-ish SUVs, and there wasn’t a particularly compelling reason to get a Mercury wagon instead of its near-identical, cheaper Ford sibling, so the 1979-1991 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park wagon was uncommon then and near-extinct now. I do see some Ford LTD Country Squires in wrecking yards nowadays— this ’86 woodie and this ’87 woodie, for example— but this Colony Park is the first I’ve seen in at least a decade.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Ford LTD Brougham

Just after I wrote that non-Country Squire Ford LTDs were rare Junkyard Finds (we’ve had three so far: this ’69, this ’71, and this ’72), I found this majestic yellow four-door hardtop in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard. As an added bonus, it’s a Brougham!

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford LTD Brougham Coupe

We’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.

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Ford LTD Country Squire

Will the faux-woodgrain Country Squire Junkyard Finds never stop? Not if I can keep finding them! We started this sequence with this ’76, then followed up with this ’77 and this ’86. Today’s Squire is another Panther platform “woodie” wagon, Detroit’s traditional rear-drive family hauler for the late 1980s.

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  • Beachy Asphalt only works to keep the dirt road below it dry, and it is the dry dirt that holds up the asphalt surface to make a smooth road surface. Once the asphalt cracks or a spring wells up and the dirt gets wet, all bets are off. It is usually due to a spring that perennial potholes form. They are very hard to get rid of.
  • JamesG I’m the owner of the featured car that’s currently on EBay. Thanks for such a nice write up on these cars. Mine happens to be in excellent condition and the photos don’t do it justice. The HT4100 isn’t as bad as some made them out to be and they can go 200k miles with proper maintenance. I also own a 79 w/the analog fuel injected 5.7 350 which should have been used through 1985 but ever-increasing CAFE regulations called for more economical power plants which made GM shelve this great motor.
  • Jeff S Adam on Rare Classic Cars recently bought a pristine 71 Kenosha Cadillac.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY-G2dExgXE&ab_channel=RareClassicCars%26AutomotiveHistory
  • Jeff S Wouldn't most of the large suvs in NYC be livery vehicles? If so that would be hurting those who make their living by driving for hire.
  • EBFlex Yes their mass transit is great if you want to be beat within an inch of your life or pushed onto the tracks by some random psycho.