The Ford LTD is a full-size luxury vehicle manufactured by Ford Australia from 1973 to 2007. Throughout this period, the LTD was known as Ford’s top-of-the-line flagship model. Based on the luxury, long-wheelbase Fairlane, the LTD came to represent Ford’s enduring commitment to style and quality. Originally meant to signify ‘Lincoln Type Design,’ Ford later promoted the connection of the name with the word ‘Limited.’
In August of 1973, Ford released the LTD, three months prior to the release of the ZG Fairlane. Only available as a four-door sedan, the LTD had an even longer wheelbase than the Fairlane, itself a stretched version of the Ford Falcon. Over the next 30-plus years, the LTD would undergo many changes and be released in a variety of generations and models, but throughout its production run, the luxury and quality of the LTD never wavered.
The LTD was designated as P5 by Ford. Also in this designation was a two-door coupe option called the Landau. Based on the Falcon Hardtop, the smaller Landau was a great option for those in the market for a stylish, luxurious Ford; however, the real stunner was the LTD. The attractive sedan took the car market by storm upon its introduction, causing a sensation and a miniature Ford craze. It’s no wonder these cars were such a success. Their design provided significant advancements in passenger comfort, overall technology, power, and styling from previous Ford Fairlanes and previous luxury cars in general. With loads of interior and boot space, impressive kit, and serious power and handling, the LTD lived up to its ‘Limited’ name.
Utilizing a limousine platform, these cars offered passengers unparalleled comfort and convenience. In fact, the LTD was and is one of the most common cars used to make stretch limousines. Shortly after the introduction of the first LTD, Ford decided to release a ‘town car’ version of the LTD. Over the next several decades, the LTD underwent many iterations, with four generations of the car produced by Ford Australia. The cars, though much sought-after, were never mass-manufactured (hence the ‘Limited’ designation). However, some LTDs can still be found on the used car market. Anyone looking for a unique blend of roominess, comfort, luxury, and performance should seriously consider the LTD.
With so many generations and model types, there is wide variation among the engine specs for the Ford LTD. The original LTD, released in 1973, featured an impressive 351 5.8L V8 engine with an output of 216kW. In the 1980s, Ford deleted the V8 from its line-up. New LTDs came equipped with a 4.1L V6 engine with an output of 121kW of power at 4000rpm and 325Nm at 3000rpm.
The most recent generation of the Ford LTDs saw the return to a V8 powertrain. These particular vehicles, released up until 2007, boasted serious power under the bonnet. The 5.4L V8 engine had an output of 230kW of power at 5350rpm and a whopping 500Nm of torque at 3500rpm. Many makes and models of the LTD with many different engine options can be found on the pre-owned market.
Original LTDs featured many technological advances over the Ford Fairlanes. Increased interior space, headlamps concealed by the grille, all-wheel electric disc brakes, power steering, climate control, and electric windows all came standard. In addition, the first generation of LTDs included interior courtesy lights, a clock, front seatbelts, and a foot-operated parking brake. While these features may seem out-dated now, at the time of the LTD’s launch in 1973, they were state-of-the-art.
The Town Car LTD, released in 1975, also came with coloured pin-striping, a vinyl roof, special badging, and leather seats standard. More modern LTDs, such as those manufactured in the most recent generation, often came standard with luxury features such as leather-upholstered power seats with lumbar support, a DVD satnav system, rose wood grain inlays, colour screen and trip computer, a sunroof, and a premium audio system with 6-disc in-dash CD player and subwoofer.
Ford’s main competition for the LTD came, unsurprisingly, from Holden. Around the same time the LTD was introduced, Holden was already manufacturing a line of full-size luxury vehicles in order to corner the market. The Holden Statesmen, from 1971 to 1984, competed with early LTDs. The original Statesmen featured a 5.0L V8 engine with an output of 177kW or a 5.8L V8 version with an output of 202kW.
Later, the Holden Caprice competed with the LTD in the luxury car market. The most recent version of the Caprice, on the market at the same time as the 2007 LTD, features a 3.6L V6 Alloytec engine with an output of 190kW and 340Nm of torque.