Texas Barn Find: 1979 Ford LTD II

Some cars aren’t necessarily super desirable but are so useful as an easy-to-own classic that they just make sense to buy. My brother just bought a 1978 Ford Thunderbird on a whim and he’s getting way more enjoyment out of it these days than a 1986 Porsche 911 he’s owned for the last 15 years. You can just hop in and drive without having to run through a list of mental to-do’s before firing it up. This 1979 Ford LTDII “Sport Coupe” seems like such a car, and it’s a strong runner despite being a recent barn find. Find it here on eBay with bids to $6,100 and a Buy-It-Now of $6,500.

This thing is just so cool. The decals running down the side and the back make it look way sportier than it has any right to be, and the faded bronze / orange paint is distinctively different. The period-correct wheels and white-letter tires add to the aggressive appearance, which isn’t a term we typically associate with these big-body personal luxury coupes. The Ford was bought new in Texas and has seemingly stayed there ever since, so it remains quite solid throughout.

Despite being in Texas, it hasn’t turned into a sunburnt mess, which is usually the downside of residing in a super dry climate with lots of sun. The interior is in good shape – not perfect, but decent – certainly the kind of condition you can live with for years as subtle improvements are made. The seller reports mileage of 150,000 which looks right for the condition we see here, if not slightly higher than expected given the upholstery isn’t torn to shreds. The dash even appears to be in good shape, which is practically unheard of for a Texas car.

The clean trunk and unused spare wheel lend further credence to the premise that this LTD was looked after for years even as it become just another used car. Recent maintenance includes new spark plugs, wires, ball joints, shocks, and more, and the tires are said to have 80 percent tread-life left. The price seems more than fair in terms of the Buy-It-Now, and the current bids are so close to that number that I’m surprised no one has pulled the trigger yet. For a cheap classic you can drive every day, you could do far worse than this nicely-preserved LTD.


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Good write-up Jeff. I agree, this LTD II has an unexpected cool-ness to it. These were big cars, not overly attractively styled or graceful, and not very efficiently packaged. But Ford had quite a bit of success with the various models (Gran Torino, 77-79 T-Bird, et al) based on the same platform. For this example, the stripes, styled wheels, white letter tires, bucket seats, and full instrumentation give it a sporty vibe. Good condition, and not expensive.

    Jeff’s brother’s experience with the similar 1978 T-Bird shows one can enjoy the old car hobby with something besides a red muscle car.

    Like 15
    • Moparman Member

      Correction: The dash does have a couple of cracks in it, but as stated, it looks good for a 150k mile car, AND it’s already GONE!! :-)

      Like 2
  2. Fred W

    Maybe I’m the only one that ever noticed this, but many 70’s Fords had Toyota like reliability. When I was a teenage car geek in the 70’s, my parents subscribed to Consumer Reports and I memorized the “frequency of repair” charts. The ’73 full size Ford was the pinnacle, while the late 70’s Dodge Aspen and Volare were bottom of the barrel. These LTD II and T’Birds were pretty good.

    Like 12
    • karl

      You cant go by what Consumer Reports say , I remember them saying how well body integrity was on the Asian cars over the U.S cars , but in reality they rusted horribly in a few years -and they are based in Connecticut , but they never changed their opinion .

  3. Mitch

    The lengthened bumper fillers are spaces to keep beer bottles
    cold until you’re back at home. Smart solution. A bottle cooler.´´

    Like 1
  4. CCFisher

    I was surprised to learn that Ford built around 200,000 of these LTD II coupes over the three year production run. They’re virtually extinct now, and I don’t remember seeing many of them when they were new. I guess they just didn’t stand out in the sea of late 70s personal luxury coupes, despite the vibrant paint treatments. This seems to be a nice example. I believe the power windows are aftermarket. Ford would have used chrome switches in 1979. The cornering lamps are interesting, though. I wouldn’t expect to see those on a moderately equipped example like this.

    Like 2
  5. JoeNYWF64

    Can’t help but wonder if those huge stripes were influenced by Starsky’s “red tomato” torino.
    & is that a 16″ spare tire/wheel in the trunk?

    Like 1
  6. Mike K

    And……. It’s gone ! They didn’t say the size of the V8, but I have an idea. If it was a 351 Windsor, the owner would have said so. My fathers last car was a 77 Cougar with the 302. I will tell you, that 302 in 1977 was the absolute worst powered engine for these huge cars. I remember it was almost dangerous getting on the freeway with out a large ramp to help build speed. I was only 17-18 at the time, but I swear that 302 Cougar were the weakest car I ever remember driving !

    Like 3
  7. DON

    Those stacked square headlight style ruined the looks of so many cars in 77-78 , and this one was one of them. Putting a Ford Elite header panel on instead would have really improved the looks , IMHO .

  8. BA

    Yes I remember well the under powered luxury cars with sports car pretentions seemed like the government was trying to kill us kids driving to New Smyrna Beach Fl and have to pass on 2 lane highways & jumping into that 2 barrel and the terror on our faces thinking we were not going to make it ! ( we did but barely)

    Like 1

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