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1986 Ford LTD Wagon: Coroner’s Car

1986 Ford Wagon

We’ve featured ex-police cars, former fire trucks and plenty of municipal vehicles retired while they were still in their prime. But here’s a new one (for me, at least): a former coroners car with only 17,000 miles on the clock. It’s a 1986 Ford LTD wagon available here on craigslist near my hometown in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Peter R. for the find!

1986 Ford Wagon Interior

What I’m not sure of is whether this was merely the car the local coroner’s office drove to crime scenes or if the wagon configuration was specified for the transport of bodies. In the ’70s and ’80s, it was not uncommon for the county coroner to use an LTD for such purposes, and given the tinted rear windows on this example, I’m guessing it was used to bring bodies from where they were found to a medical lab for examination.

1986 Ford Wagon Engine

No matter how morbid its mission may have been, this LTD has under 20,000 original miles and is equipped with the venerable 5.0 high-output V8 motor. I can’t help but think this car would be the ultimate drag vehicle, with the coroner theme played up at every opportunity. Or, perhaps, given there likely aren’t many of these left, it should be preserved like a museum example as a reminder that municipal vehicles were identical to the ones Joe Q. Consumer could drive off the showroom floor.

1986 Ford LTD Wagon

For $1,500, I fail to see how you can go wrong with this car. It’s a near-new version of one of Ford’s most reliable engine and chassis combinations, and it will be equally at home at car shows or as a prop at your local haunted hay ride. It’s an attention-getter either way while being cheap to drive from one event to the next – provided you can make peace with its history. Would you buy it? If so, how would you use it?


  1. grant

    IMHO, they way one could go wrong with this car is by purchasing it. It’s a mid eighties wagon. I personally would use it to show my kids how demonstrably awful cars were in the 80’s.

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    • Jeff Staff

      I could care less about how it drives. I’m all about that weird, wonderful history.

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      • grant

        I can respect it’s curiosity value. But as a car however. …

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  2. Eric

    Most time coroner’s normally were removal specialist. Professional vehicles (hearse) usually have low mileage as they’re not used as often as most regular… I’m guessing that the rear seat could still be there… also I wonder if this is Thacker conversion… I know they converted Mercury wagons…

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    • DREW V.

      The back seat was still used in the car from Quincy, as shown here…

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  3. George

    At that price, I’d take it. A cheap hauler is hard to find. I know that my brother and his wife would have preferred this to their 19 yo son buying a modified ’98 BMW. Yep, they would have driven this to crime or accident scenes. Bag ’em and tag ’em and throw them in the back.

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  4. Todd Zuercher

    These cars run forever with the 5.0 EFI engine in them. I have several friends that bought these cars as first cars for their teenagers. One correction – the 5.0s in these cars were the standard garden variety engines, not the HOs found in the Mustangs and Lincoln Mark VIIs.

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  5. Matt Tritt

    Though I fail to see how an 86 Ford of any body style could be considered interesting, this one should be acquired by one of the outfits that supply vehicles to the motion picture industry. I mean, how many 35 year old coroner’s cars could still be out there?

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  6. Matt

    I would love to own this but the Blue Sports Wagon would be more sought after. metallic pea green Are more common. I still love these older wagons no matter the color.

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  7. Rick

    What happened to Wagon Wednesday? Guess it moved to Monday.

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  8. Vince Habel

    Quincy’s ride.

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    • dj

      That’s what I thought when I first saw it.

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  9. DREW V.

    This car is a decade too new to have been used in Quincy… They shot the last episode in 1983 using a 1975 L.T.D. wagon without the dual spotlights this car has… Besides, Quincy’s personal car was a Packard… The wagon belonged to the city of Los Angeles…

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    • Jeff Staff

      Interesting that they at least followed a similar theme of the siren on the roof and not much else for decoration.

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      • Pierre Bouvier

        Siren or light?

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  10. francisco

    But you’ll never get rid of that smell.

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  11. jim s

    this should be sold already. i would use it as a daily driver/tow car. remove the light on the roof and keep the spotlights. if the back seat is missing a junk yard should have one, might not be a color match but who cares. great find.

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  12. Charles H.

    I agree with Todd Zuercher about the 5.0 being the garden variety, and not the H.O., as even the Interceptor versions of these cars had the 5.8 or 351cid. engines, and not the Mustang engine.

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  13. JW

    Would make a interesting cruise nite car with the gumball red light and paint coroner on the doors.

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  14. Doug

    If the Mars light still works, that would be a big plus.

    It would need quite a bit of TLC to get running again.

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  15. piper62j

    Better own a gas station if you want to cruise in this one..

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  16. Billy

    Yeah just has a lo-po 302. Not bad on gas actually with the aod and 308s.
    My 91 wagon will get 18 city 26 highway all day.
    And who knows, with a five digit odo, could be 117k clean miles.

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  17. Al

    This is the same body style they used to make the Wagon Point Family Truckster!

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  18. edward cleavite

    i know where this car is now and original rear seat still in vehicle it folds down and a real freak owns it.

    Like 1
  19. chad

    like the ’79 – ’82 better as it was down sized from earlier & later LTD wagons (& sedan/coupe). Several motor options inc 302 & 351 (or wuz it 5 oh & 5.8 by that time?).
    Like to buy one today…

    Like 0
  20. Mary Ellen

    Sweet ride , I have a 88 Ltd crown Victoria with the 5.0 h.o. engine ….. I can’t tell you how many time’s I’ve been ask if it’s quincy ‘s car …. lol

    Like 0

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