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.

The LTD was born in 1965 as a trim package on the Galaxie 500 full-size sedan. While the 500 XL was the performance Galaxie, the 500 LTD was the luxury offering. The LTD offered features normally reserved for more upscale cars, and customers liked that fact. LTD was successful enough to become its own model the very next year and was off to a running start. LTD’s first and second generations carried it through 1978, at which point it was downsized for the ’79 model year. LTD was reborn on the Panther platform alongside the more upscale Mercury Grand Marquis. LTD S and Landau models were replaced with the base LTD and upmarket LTD Crown Victoria in 1980.

By 1983 another smaller model joined the ranks of LTD: Ford split the name into midsize LTD and full-size LTD Crown Victoria lines. This all-new midsize LTD utilized the Mustang’s Fox platform like so many other Ford family cars. LTD was a replacement for (and similar to) the Granada, which was its Fox predecessor on offer only for 1981 and 1982.

Unlike its predecessor and full-sized brother, no two-door LTDs were sold; it was offered only as a four-door sedan or five-door wagon. The vast majority were powered by the 3.8-liter Essex V6, with a 2.3-liter inline-four as the most basic power plant. At introduction, the only power available was the inline-four or a 3.3-liter Thriftpower inline-six from the Granada, but that engine was dropped for ’84 when the Essex arrived. A four-speed manual transmission was optional on the 2.3-liter engine only. The 3.3 had a three-speed auto as standard, while the 3.8 engines were all equipped with a four-speed auto.

But there was an exception to the above, in the very special LX version of the LTD. Only available for part of 1984 and 1985, LX was the only LTD for the performance driving enthusiast. It came standard with a 5.0 Mustang V8, four-speed automatic, higher grade suspension, sway bars at both ends, and a rear differential. LX also had a center console with a floor shifter which meant standard bucket seats. It was also the only way to get a tachometer in an LTD. Exterior badging was minimal, and all examples came with color-keyed grille and dark side trim. The LX was well-equipped and intended to compete with whatever Ford qualified as European sports sedan competition. A select few cars were produced as the LX Police Package, which meant beefier sway bars and brakes, as well as bench seats and an automatic trunk. Most of these went to police departments and were fitted with roof lights, but some escaped into the hands of regular persons.

LX was as close as one could get to a Mustang with four doors, and less than 3,300 were produced in its short run. By then the LTD was about finished, as American consumers turned up their nose at most things rear-drive and hungered for minivans and the safety of front-drive sedans. But Ford was on the ball there, and the Taurus was ready in ’86.

Today’s black over gray Rare Ride is for sale in Florida, and is fine apart from a bad wheel choice. Yours for $14,995.

[Images: Ford]

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