Superbly Crafted! 1971 Ford LTD Convertible

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

Superbly Crafted was the tagline of the 1971 Ford LTD brochures describing this large convertible. This one is for sale here on craigslist for only $2,650 in Newberg, Oregon. That seems like a real bargain at first glance, and it might be, but there are a few blemishes in the 46-year-old craftsmanship of those Ford engineers and assemblers. However, for that price, I think it’s worth a second look!

With classic Cragar mag wheels (unfortunately only two of them) and raised white letter tires, this LTD looks just a little bit sporty. The seller tells us that it was parked in a barn in 1991 and that they began to wake it up last fall when they purchased it. However, and I think this is a nice way to put it, “many components are still asleep,” so you’ll certainly have some work left to do.

Here’s that brochure I was talking about. The writers talk about how strongly and solidly the car is built. The convertible in the picture looks quite glamorous and I think this one could as well, in a little bit of time. There are two rusty spots on the rear floor of this car, but neither seem like too much trouble to fix properly. The seller also reports another spot in a rear quarter that is visible from the back side but not from the front–something to address right away!

This interior doesn’t look quite like the one in the brochure, though. Of course, it’s less expensive (even in pure numerical terms) than it was new, so perhaps it would be bad form to complain too much. The dash looks pretty nice, and some serious cleaning might save some of the interior components. While the glass back window is intact, you’ll need to replace the top as the fabric is completely shot.

Despite the backs of the seats looking nice, they are said to be brittle–points for seller honesty! What do you think? How about a quick makeover and enjoy the summer? That 400 V8 ought to at least get out of its own way, right? I’m in!

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  1. Tony Goodner II

    Beautiful summer cruiser…. Make sure it runs and stops, Clean the interior, leave the top down, and find 2 more Cragers. I wish it was closer to me…..

  2. Don

    Gross 260 , net 175 . Looks cool with the SS cragers .

    • Rob Effinger

      I grew up driving a 71 LTD Wagon, Country Squire.

      Laid rubber with both tires off the line. With a 2 barrel.

      Lots of power.

  3. Rich

    Heck of a deal. Especially compared to the police car previously posted.

  4. Car Guy

    Am I wrong, or is the rear quarter panel about the same length as a Smart car?

  5. Mr. TKD

    An insurance agency owner in my hometown purchased one of these new. He kept it nice and it was his daily driver until his death. These days, it’s a weekend cruiser and a mascot for the business.

  6. Jeffro

    New top? Who needs a top anyway? Obviously, with some of the cars I’ve seen on here lately, a blue tarp is the perfect substitute.

  7. Newberg Resident

    * Newberg.

  8. wuzjeepnowsaab

    These are great cruisers. Right up there with a Pontiac Parisienne vert

  9. Miguel

    A huge negative for me are the power windows. I had almost this same car for many years and I loved it.

    I still have a 2 door hardtop Brougham 1972 version which I drive every day.

    • Tirefriar

      I get where you are coming from but there are man repro companies that can supply you with window motors and regulators. On big sized car such as this having the ability to raise and lower all windows with a push of few buttons is huge plus.

  10. Jaygryph

    Hah. So, that car was at the PIR swapmeet recently. The windiest rainiest swapmeet there in a long while. This car was out there. It’s rough, and the top has rust in the mechanism and bows. I know this because they left the top down the entire weekend. In the rain. And the hail. In fact, it was one of the last cars out there after close up day and as far as I could tell had weathered all 3 days that way. I took a picture of it even.

    It’s still a pretty reasonable price for the car, but it’s a lot rougher in person than it is in pictures. Plan on an entire interior for the car. They say they only have two of the wheels, but the other two were sitting on the ground sans tires beside the car when it was displayed. They have the wheels, they just don’t have the matching tires. I’m fairly sure this thing spent a lot of time in the rain with the top down, and it looks like a lot of the electrical stuff in the interior is shorted or otherwise non functioning. Who knows what the floors look like, there’s rocker and trunk rust on it from what could be seen on the outside.

  11. Jaygryph

    Knew I had a photo of it somewhere. I thought it was odd it was at the track so late after the event closed up. The sellers must have had multiple spaces to haul off and just hadn’t got to that one yet.

    I assume they didn’t just leave it there, but who knows, someone left an entire engine on the track this year. Event staff were pretty upset.

    • Joe Nose

      Maybe the owner left it next to the recycling bin and walked away from it for a reason…

  12. Don

    You only get 2 of the cragers mags ,come on they look great but they don’t cost that much 😂

  13. John S

    Now that to me is what a project car should be; reasonably solid, reasonably priced.

    • Jaygryph

      Some of my best memories as a kid were riding around in an Oldsmobile Delta 88 convertible hooptie my father bought for like $400. It was in about this shape but ran and drove nice. He’d cruise it back and forth from the coast to Mojave for work every week or two and put a lot of miles on it. It was a beater tank but there was a lot of fun had in it. Considering inflation it was probably about the same price as this. Someone could have a lot of fun with this ol’ tank for not a lot of money, even if it is kinda a beat up pile.

      • Chebby

        I also had a hooptie Delta 88 convertible in about this shape, and I agree with everything you said, it was tons of fun for not much money. I would leave the top down for days in summer weather and never worry about where I parked it. Get this LTD minimally functional and enjoy it for whatever life it has left, which is probably quite a bit. If the seats aren’t ripped and brittle, hit them with whitewall tire cleaner and a scrub brush. Ragtop beaters have a certain panache, and you can cruise around like Nick Nolte in 48 Hours. Put on some 70’s Jimmy Buffett and head for the beach.

  14. Bill Dye

    I have a 71 ltd convertible bought it last year for $500.00 im 3rd owner 2nd owner put a new top on it 6 or 8 months befor i got it . Hadn’t ran for about 4 years that he had it i pulled i up onto a trailer it still had Oroginal tires on it 34000 original mi. Pulled the plugs poured magical mystery oil in ea. cylinder let it sit over nite rebuilt the carb, blew out the lines put new tank on turned it over out shot mystery oil plugs back in runs like a champ put 17″ American Racing wheels BF Goodrich Silvertown Redline Radials drove it all last summer. Been tinkering with it all winter cant wait for summer


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