Four-Door Mustang: 1984 Ford LTD LX 5.0 HO

Shortly after high school my buddies and I met some girls from the next town down the road, which seemed remarkably exotic for rural Pennsylvania. One of them, Amy, drove her folks’ shiny ‘83 chisel-nose Cutlass, and it was sharp. One night she shows up in one of these, a brand-new Ford LTD LX, and we’re like “What? Where’s the Cutlass?” and she just says “Get in.” So we hop inside, and it’s comfortable and new-smelling, and about half way out of the driveway Amy buries the throttle and counter-steers as the LTD squeals at least one tire for a good 20 feet and screams down the road. No one ever mentioned the Cutlass again. Acceleration was heady stuff in the mid-’80s, as America began to emerge from the malaise era…  ten or so years of the worst vehicles ever built. This particular 1984 Ford LTD LX 5.0 HO in Franklin, Indiana is listed here on craigslist in Franklin, Indiana.

Thanks to Rocco B who spotted this fuel-injected Ford. Tired paint and signs of rust are no surprise for a Midwestern car, but the body looks rather straight. What do you expect for a measly $2,700?

The carpeting and steering wheel show the full 134,000 miles on the odometer, but for the asking price of $2700, you could do worse, and the car seems well-appointed with power locks and windows, tilt wheel, and a snazzy factory cassette deck with Dolby noise reduction! This car’s overdrive transmission could take the sting out of higher-speed rear-axle ratios should the next owner decide to boost the car’s performance.

Fox Mustang owners will recognize nearly everything here, as these cars share their Fox platform with the Mustangs of the same era. Some of these LTDs have gained bolt-on parts from the cornucopia of Mustang parts, that “other 5.0.” Ford even made some of these cars with five-speed manual transmissions. So what makes this car interesting? Consider the premise that no financial argument exists that can justify buying a car less than ten years old. There are good reason to buy newer cars, respectable reasons, but none are financial. Case in point; picture one of these with a long-rod 351 and later 5.0 Mustang EFI, five-speed, and a smart selection of suspension goodies. Few 21st Century sedans short of an M5 or a Charger R/T could hang with such a car, and you might have $15,000 in it. Plus if you leave it cosmetically similar to what you see here, and put a Kleenex box on the package tray, the “sleeper factor” would be tough to beat. What do you think of this “Four Door Mustang?”

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Comments

  1. Wade Anderson

    The Florida Highway Patrol used a bunch of these

    • Andy

      I had an ex-Ontario Provincial Police unit. Went like a scalded cat!

    • Tony Agosto

      I owned one, the police version which was the same as the LX except for the for the dept. Column mount shift. I THOUGHT IT THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD!! My ’84 actually took an ’82 Trans-Am at a ‘Stoplight drag’- not once, but 3 TIMES (the other guy DIDN’T know when to give)!! Still wish I had car. Would buy another if I could find it. Sedans SUCK these days.

      Like 1
      • Jesse C.

        You might not want this one! After I bought it, I drove it home to Charlestown Indiana, and it hasn’t ran since. I’m seriously disappointed in it!! I’ve put over 2 grand into it and can’t figure it out. ULTRA LEMON!!! It’s been a paperweight in my driveway for almost two years now.

  2. Jay M

    I always thought these factory sleepers were cool.
    I’m starting to see some interesting and creative (non mustang) fox bodies at car shows and I like them.
    I saw a mint Fairmont wagon last summer that was all turbo coupe underneath.

    Like 1
  3. Gearheaddropping

    Cool car. I remember when these came out.

  4. yes300ed

    5.0 was a lie. Was really a 4.9.

    Like 1
    • gtyates

      True, the 302 was not exactly a 5.0. But Ford also offered a 300 6 in their trucks, which was a 4.9, so they needed to differentiate. And keep up with the GM 5.0… By the way, that 300 6 was a tough motor. Not a lot of horsepower, but tons of torque. My Grandfather had a late 1980’s F-250 with the 300 6. The tires ran out of traction a long time before the motor stopped pulling.

      As to this LTD, it was a very cool ride actually. A sleeper indeed!

      Like 1
      • DrinkinGasoline

        Correct on all points gtyates.
        As for it being a “lie” (yes300ed)….
        it wouldn’t be the first time a manufacturer stretched the truth about displacement or HP either greater or lesser, for numerous reasons and it certainly won’t be the last.

        Like 1
      • lawyer George

        As I recall the 300 cu. in. Ford straight 6 had a hellacious thirst for gas. I had the 6 in an 1980 Ford half ton Stepside, and the V8 in an a 1982 half ton Stepsidethe, also a Ford. The 6 would get 11 and the 8 delivered 12 on highway. Gas hogs both, but otherwise nice trucks. My V8 Dodge halve tons delivered 17+ highway. My 1967 Dodge with the 360 inch V8 3/4 ton CamperSpecial would do 13-14 on the highway compared to friends’ Chevys and Fords 9.

      • Rob M.

        We have a 93 f-150 at hunt camp with the 300 in it, manual trans, 4×4. It’s been beaten more than a red-headed step child but it keeps on keepin on. Great truck.

    • marty parker

      Although the 302 was not exactly 5.0 litre, neither was it exactly 4.9. Since 1 litre = 61 cubic inches, the 302 fell right in between 4.9 and 5.0.

    • Jett

      4986 cubic centimetres (4.986L) obviously rounds up to 5000 cc (5.0L). Even better, it still hung with, if not surpassed the 5.7L in the camaro and firebird. Only the grand national/GNX of ‘85-87 was quicker than a stock 5.0L Mustang coupe, if I remember correctly.

      Like 2
    • gearjammer63

      And Chevy’s 396 was really a 402. So what?

      Like 1
  5. Jerry Russell

    I had a friend who ran from the cops in one of these almost ,it was a mercury Zepher . They swore it highly modified imagine the looks on their faces when they popped the hood to see a stock Ford powerplant . Never saw the car again .

  6. 68 custom

    neat car and the price isn’t to bad either!

  7. John

    No fuel injection here, that’s a good old carb right there.
    86 would be the first year for the injected 5.0 engines.

    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Hi John – Throttle Body EFI was “available” on some Ford V8s as early as 1981, and on these cars by ’82 including this one and you’ll notice the “EFI” on the air cleaner. The Mustangs in ’85 had Holley carb on 5-speed cars and throttle body on Automatics, then ’86-93+ were the more recognizable port fuel injection with plenum intake.

      Like 1
      • RH FACTOR

        definitely CFI on the automatics. Never saw a manual trans one of these though.

      • LTDScott

        Yup, ’84-’85 Mustangs with the automatic came with Ford’s Central Fuel Injection (CFI), and the LTD LX basically used the same powertrain as contemporary Mustangs.

        Like 1
    • Jett

      Automatic 5.0L cars were built with FI starting in late 1983 (for the ‘84 model year), but the overall change to FI came for 1987.

      • LTDScott

        ‘86 was the first year for Sequential (aka port) EFI on the Mustang.

    • Larry Litz

      84 LX were all F/I,, i own one now. throttle body injection.

    • gearjammer63

      The last of the ’85s had ’em too.

  8. Chebby

    This is cool. Cheap paint job and you are good to go.

  9. Tony S

    Good post; cool find.
    A friend had a Fairmont (econo trim) with the 5.0 and a stick.

    It’s a compelling combo… tin can rocket, at the time.

  10. Aruss

    For 1981, Ford replaced the old Maverick-based Granada with an alternatively styled Fairmont body with different front and rear end clips. The Granada had more formal looking styling and higher levels of trim. It failed to sell well so it was restyled for 1983 to become the LTD which was a more favorable nameplate with intended buyers and helped the nameplate go to a downsized vehicle like many other competitive models were doing at the time. The restyle to an angular less boxy look and nameplate swap was a success and this LTD sold very well.

    Ford lost opportunities for years by not offering a Fairmont based V8 sports sedan on par with Mustang performance and handling until it decided to offer the 1985 LTD LX 5.0 too late in its product cycle. Ultimately the LTD was replaced with the Taurus which later debuted the SHO model sport sedan.

    Fox body Fairmonts, Granadas, LTDs and their Mercury rebadges Zephyr, Cougar and Marquis are enjoyed by restomod enthusiasts because they can easily be modified with Mustang performance since they share the same platform. The variety of body styles makes them attractive and interesting for these performance modifications. For me the wagons and Futura/Z-7 coupes are the most interesting.

    • Bill Owens BillO Staff

      I always liked the looks of the 1981 Granada/Cougar better than these. But you are right, the 1983-86 LTD/Marquis sold much better and they were all over everywhere, soon to be replaced by Tauruses and Sables everywhere.

      Like 1
    • LTDScott

      The LX was actually introduced midway through ’84 as an ’84 model (’85s have several different exterior tells), but you’re right that it was too late.

      Like 1
    • Roger

      My great uncle bought one of the new Granada four doors in ’81 in place of his ’75 6 cylinder three on the tree no options Granada coupe,when he moved to Florida later on and quit driving he passed it on to his granddaughter who he lived with,in contrast to the ’75 the ’81 was an automatic with A/C and PS/PB.

  11. Jp

    Lol, seriously. My X girl was sporting her parents fairmont station wagon, with the awesome gold paint, and simulated wood decals, nothing says hi po ford like a woody station wagon!

    • Jett

      I would love to have a white woody ‘85 LTD wagon with a nicely built 5.0, 5 speed and upgraded suspension. That would surprise a lot of modern foreign sport sedans.

  12. Maestro1 Member

    It’s not very attractive but might be a good buy as a driver. I had a friend who had one in Blue, and he drove the thing forever with little trouble.

  13. Tommy D

    Agree…ugly

    Like 1
    • gearjammer63

      But there’s no accounting for taste, right? I never liked the 3rd & 4th generation Camaros

  14. Ray

    I had an ’85 LTD LX. It was definitely fuel injected.

    Like 1
  15. J Paul Member

    Back in the early 90’s, a friend’s dad had one of these—baby blue, 6 cylinder, wire wheel covers. He was proud of it though, and would brag that the car “had the style of a Lexus”

    Needless to say, this became kind of a running joke among my circle of friends.

    But now, many years later…the idea of one of these stuffed with hi-po Mustang parts and a stick shift is weirdly appealing.

    • Tommy D

      Ya, it was an Old Man’s car…w/ a nice motor.

  16. Andre

    Man. My great grandparents had a light yellow one of these pigs. We were a GM family so reflecting it was a weird car to be around.

    I was too young at the time to connect the dots…

    … but maybe he knew something the rest of us didn’t!

    Like 1
  17. Cris Carver

    I’ve got a ‘84 Wagon with a doggy yet reliable six with 57,000 miles. Solid & cheap but the plan is to add a more power soon, these are very good cars!

  18. angliagt angliagt Member

    I had an ’85 Ltd LX.They were only sold as ’84’s & ’65’s.
    Most sources say that 3260 were built,all automatics.Mine was Black,
    with a posi rear end,& a 20 gallon gas tank.It was the fastest 4 door
    in the US,in ’85.I’ve seen at least 10 of these over the years.

    • LTDScott

      Several LX owners have purchased Marti reports recently, and based on them it has been determined that there were 3367 built in ’85 and around 5300 total from ’84-’85.

    • FoxChassis

      3260 production is low. There were more made than that in 1985 alone.

    • Larry Litz

      84 LX were all F/I,, i own one now. throttle body injection. It has a posi and 327 rar ratio frm the factory, i installed a 355 ratio. Would actually out handle the Mustangs that were nose heavy, the LTD was a better balance car. The sleeper element was worth the price of the car and they were not cheap .sticker was over 12 grand then.

  19. Troy S

    I had an ’86 mustang GT for years it seemed and I must admit it is refreshing to see a different type of car with this engine. These must not have been all that common as I don’t remember seeing that many. The whole 5.0 or 4.9 thing is why I never liked the metric system, it’s a 302 plain and simple.

  20. Todd Zuercher

    I don’t think these ever had automatics either. The linked article in the writeup is one of the cool versions with a 5.0 and T-5 swapped in. There used to be one that showed up at Fabulous Fords every year that was really cool.

    • LTDScott

      ALL LTD LXs came from the factory with an automatic.

  21. Cpday

    Ford NEVER made these with a 5 speed manual. I believe the Bob Bondurant driving school converted one or two to 5 speeds in the mid 80’s.
    Every one with a 5 speed transmission has been swapped, including my father’s 85. Luckily it’s no harder than doing the swap on any other fox body

  22. Todd Fitch Staff

    Hello Everyone. I did *think* Ford made these with five-speeds and, after some searching, it turns out they did, but only if your name was Bob Bondurant. They were never produced for the general public. This page has a good summary. http://hooniverse.com/2014/09/12/hooniverse-obscure-muscle-car-garage-the-1984-85-ford-ltd-lx/

    • Todd Fitch Staff

      One more page on the Bondurant story http://drivezing.com/fords-four-door-mustang-ltd-lx/ “So Ford gave it the ole’ college try. They took the Fox body platform, stretched it out, stole some styling points from the more tamed Fairmont, put in an order for the V8s and five-speed transmissions that Bob Bondurant loved at his school, slapped some Mustang GT suspension bits under the body, and gave it the LX nameplate.”

    • That Guy

      I always thought so too. I’m slightly disappointed to learn otherwise, but getting educated in automotive trivia is a primary reason I’m here.

      These LX’s are one of my favorite sleepers of this era. Cool find!

  23. ccrvtt

    So… whatever happened to Amy?

    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Hi ccrvtt – I wish I could play Paul Harvey and tell the rest of the story… I linked this post on my Facebook page and some mutual friends commented but none are connected to her today. She’s probably out there burning rubber in a minivan… or maybe a Turbo Cayenne. Thanks for asking! :-)

  24. David Miraglia

    Nice cars, but at that time I owned a Fairmont Zephyr

  25. John

    Had one of these…Replaced it with a 1970 Impala 454..Guess which one I liked more…

  26. chad

    I’d go to Franklin (frm MA) if this were a wagon.

    Love the down sz LTD/Marquis – fox bodied. Size (105 inch WB), transmis, motor…
    Only ’83 – 6 (yes the ’81, 2 Granada wuz there too).
    Can transplant an interior up to ’96 I believe – plus all the other above mentioned mechanicals…
    Any 1 got a wagon like this? Just lost 1 to Burt Reynolds in FLA…

  27. LTDScott

    That’s my car in the Hemmings article you linked to. It has been swapped to a 5-speed. ALL LTD LXs came with an automatic. The only way you could get a manual is with the 2.3L 4-cylinder.

  28. Jesse Cox

    This is my car now! I have been trying to find one that I could afford for years, and until this one I could only find V6 models. I still have my six cylinder, but it just became my work car. I’ve got to thank Frank-n-Stangs for this beauty! He’s awesome, and so is this grand-daddy-sleeper-mobile!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Congratulations, Jesse! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Tony A.

    Fox body was produced from 1983 to 1986, with the LX available 1984- 85 only. And yes, THAT was a marketing mistake. It was a really great sleeper sedan. I’m 60; I’ve had 1 or 2.

  30. Jesse C.

    Correction: it’s a sleeping mobile. Hasn’t ran since I got it home. I over paid by about $2200. Frank made out like a bandit on this paperweight. It’s been through three shops, and had over $2000 put into it with zero results. I don’t know what he did to make it run, but it hasn’t been alive since. I guess it’s off to the crusher if I can’t figure it out this next tax season. I’m out of options for it.

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