Pillar of the Community: 1978 Ford LTD

“Car needs nothing” is what the owner says about this giant two-door cruiser. This open-eyed 1978 Ford LTD 2-Door Pillared Hardtop is easy to distinguish from a Brougham or a Landau with its uncovered headlights. You can find this 221-inch-wheelbase luxo-cruiser on Craigslist in Horicon, Wisconsin with an asking price of $2,500. Here is the archived ad in case the CL listing goes away.

This car is SOOOO big that the photos can’t even fit on the image frame!! Well, they would have if the seller would have stood back another foot or two. This is the last of an era for Ford, the last year of the second-generation LTD and the next year would see this make downsized a bit, and it would be riding on a totally new Panther Platform. This car is 18′-6″ long, so be prepared if you plan on parking it in your garage so you don’t find out that it won’t fit, like a certain bonehead did with a 1966 Lincoln Continental Coupe.

Shoot, things looked good until now. Yes, there is some rust on this car, as there is most likely rust on most vehicles from the upper-Midwest, especially 39-year old ones. The seller says “The paint is showing it’s age. Still, looks very nice for 40 years old. There is some rust starting along the bottom edges and behind the front wheels.” Overall, this car looks pretty solid but without crawling underneath it’s a gamble for any out of town buyers, as it always is. Hey, I’d tend to trust a Marine so I’m betting that they’re telling the truth and this is a good car.

Bench seats seem to foreign to us now, don’t they? Even pickups now have bucket seats, most often probably heated leather bucket seats. Are we really eating that much meat that there are that many cows to make all of the leather seats on most new vehicles?! (mmmm.. meat..).. The seller mentions a cigarette-type burn hole on the seat as seen in the above photo, but man, other than that, and needing a thorough carpet and everything-else cleaning, it looks nice in there. It’s also funny to not see power windows on a “luxury” car such as a Ford LTD, but this one has a power seat which is nice. And, believe it or not, the AC blows cold! I kid you not, and neither would a Marine. The back seat looks amazing with no apparent fading or show of use at all. The “trunk is immaculate”, according to the seller.

Here’s the tidy-looking 5.8L, 351 cubic-inch engine which by 1978 had a mere 145 hp. I know, this car weighs 4,400 pounds and another hundred or two hp would be great. With 117,000 miles this car most likely has a lot of life left in it. Would any of you fix the rust, or would you just keep things original, maintain it, and drive it? It’s the the seller’s daily-driver, that says a lot.


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  1. Todd Zuercher

    It’s amazing how folks can’t get the whole car in the frame of their camera.

    • Tom S.

      Craigslist often seems like a contest for bad photography.

  2. Mark Hoffman

    Back in the days when you could pick and choose

    I once had a 77 LTD Landau 4-door

    Triple dark jade green

    Tilt steering wheel, NO cruise

    Power door locks, NO power windows

    Special ordered by original owner. I was second owner 1987-1991

  3. Bobsmyuncle

    “Trust a Marine” that’s a novice mistake.

    When buying a used car always, ALWAYS assume the seller knows nothing about cars (they probably don’t).

    Also assume your expectations are higher than the sellers (they probably are).

    I’m sure he would be truthful, but only as far as the depth of his knowledge.

  4. Lawyer George

    Dark green Amityville horror wrist slashing vinyl interior “so dark and dreary” I presume!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

  5. Metoo

    I love in northern AZ. The Ford LTD is a good long lasting, long running car and there are quite a few around here. Because they are cheap when in crappy shape, people here refer to them as “meth-mobiles” because they seem to be popular with that crowd. If you are driving one on the main drag after midnight you WILL be pulled over by the cops. LOL.

    • CaptShindig

      Meth- Mobile? Probably because they can set up a lab in the trunk…LOL!

      • GeeBee

        I bagged & carried out groceries when I was in high school, and this would have been a new car. I can testify that these cars had the biggest trunk, and by quite a margin!

  6. Larry Q

    Hope it’s running for whoever buys it..may not fit on a rollback lol

  7. Troy s

    Back when engines were hidden in a sea of hoses, wires, and vacuum lines and other stuff, nowadays they hide engines with plastic covers.

  8. Paul D Hudson

    Looks like a great way into the collector car hobby. Personally I’d paint the car and fix the rust. The engine and drive train are easy to work on and parts are cheap. It wouldn’t take much to get more power out of it. A 4 BBL Carb and intake plus dual exhaust would make it sound and run much better. Since it probably will never be worth a whole lot I’d change the color too. Either White, and off white or a Brown to match the top.

  9. Larry K

    It’s a barge. Take this thing and juice it up. Last time I saw one of these was in 1987. I’m In Ontario Canada. Not fast but hauled my friends around in boats like these. Good times!

  10. Jwinters

    whats up with that thing that looks like a coffee can under the hood?

    • CanuckCarGuy

      Vacuum reservoir.

      • stp

        It literally holds nothing

  11. Pat kelly

    My first company car was a 1977 4 door Ltd. it was white with red interior and it was a boat. Trunk was huge, filled with inventory we sold or traded to retail stores. One day I came out of a store, and my car was gone….a similar looking Ltd was a row over. I was terrified, as I was responsible for all the inventory in the trunk. Police came, and they played a hunch and researched the other Ltd. it’s owner lived a block away, an elderly woman. My Ltd with the trunk full of product and advertising filling the back seat was sitting in her driveway. Turns out, the car looked identical and the keys were too. The women was apologetic, thinking she was going to be arrested, but I was grateful to just get it back whole. I had the locks changed that same day.

  12. Steve

    My uncle had a twin to this in baby blue with a 351 (Cleveland IIRC)and my brother had a black brougham 2 dr. With a 400M. He bought it for $300 with a bad rear end in the mid 80’s. I recall it was sitting on jackstands in someones driveway. Nothing else wrong with it. Not sure what was wrong with it but he liked my uncles so much he bought it. Cant remember if he swapped the whole rear or fixed what was wrong. Later he rear ended a dump truck and parked it. we found a copper front clip in a salvage yard, brougham as well and painted it and the whole car in the driveway (!) my dad used it to carpool to the south texas nuclear project when it was being built. I don’t recall what happened to it but it was eventually sold. Other than fixing the rear end and then the front clip, i dont recall having to do much to it but change the oil and put gas in it!

    • Metoo

      They did seem to run forever no matter how much you neglected them.

  13. hank

    The rear quarters are really rusty—the rear bumper has HOLES in it.

  14. Mlaw

    Good demo derby car

  15. B

    2-Door Pillared Hard Top…..never heard of such a thing. You can’t be both you have a 2 door sedan with frame less window. It must have been a styling thing as weight was not a concern. Wikipedia: Pillared hard top car does not exist.

  16. P Wentzell

    My Dad had a 1974 Galaxy 500, light blue, as a company car. When the lease was up in 1976, my sister bought it for next to nothing as her first car. For the next six years, she could not kill that car, it ran and ran. Once I checked her oil for her, the dipstick came up DRY. She could not remember changing the oil, adding oil….I think I put maybe 5 or 6 quarts, it fired up and ran. She traded it on a new Mazda 626 in 1982. I remember the salesman walking out to check on the Ol’ ‘Blue Goose’, laughing their heads off!

  17. Randy

    Wow! I knew they were big— but, the description says “…You can find 221-inch- wheelbase luxo-cruiser…”!

  18. Clay Bryant

    I liked the “holes in the bumper” remark. Don’t get those with plastic bumpers nowadays, not even a reflection of things on the ground…….

  19. Josh

    The Malaise era at its’ finest.

  20. Lion

    I bought a new 1979 Ford LTD Landough 4dr in the summer of ’79. Beautiful 2tone maroon car, great highway cruiser, and 3 kids had lots of room in the back seat. by 1983 I had put in two trannys and a mechanic told me it was burning oil.
    Traded it in on a new Chevette….yes a Chevette….which is still in the family and still runs great.

  21. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    These LTD’s seem to all come in light blue or cream color. One of my best, low mileage but rusty cars was a 68 Buick that came from Pittsburgh. The rear bumper was rusted clear through from the spray of road salt, the chrome plate kept it together around the mounting bolts and sort of made the car look decent from 20 feet away. The quarters had been repaired multiple times as a matter of maintenance by the old lady owner. Wish I had it back now!

  22. Franimal007

    My parents bought one brand new, 2 door, air, windows. GREAT car! What a tank! They went way way way over 190,000, didn’t rust out! New, they got it for $3500.00 LOL. They one I wanted them to buy was the fancy one with the hidden headlights, that one was $5000.00 and it was black, my father said he did not like it because it looked like a undertaker’s car. LOL

  23. Dwilson

    I remember we had one of these as a kid and it seem to go through Transmissions about every other year of course it did not help that there was for teenagers at home who drove the heck out of it

  24. Bill Owens BillO Staff

    The LTD Brougham had this same front end. Only the LTD Landau had the hidden headlights. Also, the Brougham was gone by 1978, I think it was discontinued in 1977.

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