When the first locally designed and built Ford LTD (meaning Lincoln Type Design) was released in August 1973 it allowed Ford to further tighten its grip on the local long wheelbase luxury car segment.
The Fairlane was still outselling Holden’s Statesman and Chrysler’s Chrysler by Chrysler (love the name!), and the LTD only added more pressure to Ford’s rivals.
The new LTD, codenamed the P5, replaced the locally assembled American Galaxie, which was not seen to be contributing enough money to Ford’s bottom line.
The list price of the LTD in 1973 was a hefty $7750, which meant that only CEOs and then usual gang of taxpayer funded politicians got to travel in them.
And what a car they got!
The LTD boasted a massive 121 inch (3085mm) wheelbase, squared-off rear mudguards, concealed headlights, with a padded vinyl roof — to cover the welding seams on the extended roof.
There was a limo-styled smaller rear window, whitewall radial tyres, power steering, air conditioning, power windows, and an AM/FM stereo/cassette player — not to mention cut-pile carpeting and walnut grained dashboard inlay.
Power came from a 351 cubic inch (5.8-litre) V8, with an automatic transmission and four-wheel power-assisted disc brakes — an Australian first.
What really set the car apart however was the unprecedented amount of rear legroom, thanks to that 3085mm wheelbase.
Unless you have sat in the back seat of an LTD you cannot imagine how much rear legroom there was in these local limousines. My parents owned a P6 — so I know of what I speak.
From our perspective the P5 LTD looked too much like the elongated Falcon that is really was, despite the concealed headlights and squared off rear mudguards.
That all changed with the arrival of the P6 in 1976.
The P6 LTD, with its Lincoln type stand up grille (which was a rip off of the Rolls Royce grille, anyway), blade like front mudguards and squared-off front end looked every inch the mid-1970s luxury automobile that it was.
More importantly, it did not look like the Falcon — nor the Fairlane.
It looked like big money. And it made big money for Ford.
These days the P5 and P6 LTDs are well regarded classics and upward movement in prices reflect their growing desirability. I wish I now had the one my folks drove in 1977.
David Burrell is the editor of retroautos.com.au
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