What could have been: 1979 Ford LTD

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Ford designers were very proud of the new generation Mustang that was coming out in 1979.
So much, that back in 1978, there were actually thinking of making the redesigned (and smaller) LTD sedan look like a 4 door Mustang.

The 1979 Mustang turned out looking great, and it would have been a good idea.

Instead, the LTD turned out like this.
Another big, square late 70’s car.
It could have had more style….

Conversation 19 comments

  1. That's too bad! As long as they did'nt market it as a 4 door Mustang, I think this would have been AWESOME for the time. Of course, back then everybody liked big, ugly, square cars with cheesey trim. Fords marketing probably told them that. Plus all the rentals, police and fleet car sales and it was probably cheaper to build and repair a box over a wedge.

    Too bad though. Imagine how the car would have progressed with future models had they started with this nicer looking aero model.

  2. It wouldn't have worked. Witness the 1991 Crown Vic. Swoopy Taurus-like styling, no grill. People hated it. Soon, the grill returned, and not too long after, the crown Vic adopted the Grand Marquis' more formal roofline.

  3. Didn't the smaller LTD model fit that bill? That aero-ness got replaced with the (aero-er) Taurus last I heard.

  4. I was in the market for a new car about that time, and I hated the Mustang. It was too boxy/wedgy looking. The Mustangs from that era are still my least favorite.

  5. I actually thought that the LTD they came out with was a very good looking (if a little square) car. It was way better than the overblown barge that it replaced. Does anyone remember the 2door LTD with the Opera window between the front and rear window? Hideous. Ford did have a smaller LTD II, which replaced the Torino. The seventies was probably the worst decade for car design since they started manufacturing automobiles.

  6. All the commenters here are right-on.. Ford followed the safe route with the full-size LTD Crown Vic, and took the Mustang-pointy route with the midsize LTD reskin of the Fairmont.. which the Taurus then replaced. In hindsight, it was probably the best move, considering that very same LTD CV is still mostly intact and policing the majority of the country.

  7. The '79 Mustang was crap. Almost as bad as the current Camry & Acord. The big square LTD; while not in the premium league of Dodges or Buicks of the time; was none-the-less a vast improvement over the "4-dr Mustang" concept. And it was Smooth, Quiet, Roomy, and far better handeling & fuel-efficency than any Ford sedan before it. This was never supposed to be a stiff-riding 4-dr "coupe". It was supposed to be a Formal Lincoln for people on a budget. And that it did very well.

  8. In the early 80's the LTD was on the Fox platform, so, in a way, I think they ended up doing this, only less sporty looking. I wonder if this pic is an artistic rendering of what was coming out in the early 80's?

  9. Sorry Vince, but they sold millions of LTD/ Crown Vics… it was an incredibly successful car for Ford and very appropriate for the times. A 4-door Mustang would have failed miserably against the Caprice it competed against, of which they also sold millions.

  10. "LTD" is an abbreviation for "Limited" It competed against Chevy's Caprice and Plymouth's VIP (a fancy Plymouth for Very Important People ).

  11. Hey Vince
    I've followed your site for years and always enjoy the great info and humor you provide here. This time you got it wrong(probably on purpose) We both know the 1979 LTD was already on the road by Sept-Oct 1978. A 1978 artist's concept would be for a car coming out years later. This concept is for the smaller 1982 Fox platform LTD.

  12. Ford sold those LTDs and Crown Vics by the dozen for years to come, so for Ford it was probably a great move. A Mustang looking smaller car wouldn't have been successful for several more years. See the 1983 LTD that replaced this one.

    From Wikipedia:
    "The LTD designation is considered by some an abbreviation of "Luxury Trim Decor" and by others as a limited body style classification for the Galaxie. There is evidence that, at least in Australia, it originally stood for "Lincoln Type Design." The original "Car Life" review at the time the first LTD was released suggests that it stood for nothing and was just three meaningless letters."


  13. Just for fun have a look at some of the designs for LTD used by Ford Australia.
    The 76-79 model was probably the most popular as it was visibly bigger and more luxurious looking than the car it was based on.
    The fourth generation cars were probably best though, with good mechanicals to match the looks.

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