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This story is basically a condensed version of the review article of the LTD LX found in the March 1984 issue of Motor Trend.

The story goes that in 1984, Bob Bondurant (yes, that Bob Bondurant) needed a trainer car for his racing school that was able to carry more than two passengers, as was the case with the Mustangs he was currently using. He noticed that the new-for-'83 midsize LTD had the same underpinnings as the Mustang, and that gave him the idea for an LTD using Mustang powertrain and suspension parts to haul four people around the track at high speed. And that's exactly what he did. He dropped a carbureted Mustang 5.0 HO and 5-speed manual transmission into an 84 LTD, as well as various Mustang suspension pieces, and outfitted the car with the necessary racing and safety equipment.

At the same time, Donald Petersen, then President of Ford, was trying to get all the executives of the company more acquainted with their company's cars. What better way than to put some seat time in Ford cars? And Bondurant's racing school, using all Ford products, was just the ticket. So soon thereafter, a waiting list of Ford executives ready to hit the track developed.

Well it seems that Mr. Petersen was very impressed with Bondurant's LTD, and set out to produce a similar version for the car-buying public, using existing off-the-shelf pieces. So the LTD LX was born. But rather than making the LTD LX a street racer, Ford set it up as a "Euro-sedan." The trend of Detroit automakers at the time was to take your standard boring sedan and tighten up the suspension, black out all the chrome trim, paint it silver and market it as a "Euro-sedan" - a wanna-be BMW competitor.

But the difference between the LTD LX and other American Euro-sedans like the Pontiac 6000 STE and Dodge 600 ES wass that Ford actually changed more than just the exterior appearance. Just like Bondurant's trainer car, the LTD LX featured a 5.0 HO engine (not available on other LTDs except police) and seriously upgraded suspension, although the 5.0 was mated with CFI induction and an AOD automatic trans, unlike Bondurant's carb and 5-speed. But just like the other Euro-sedans, they did the normal tricks of blacking out the chrome trim, painting it silver (and other colors), and changing the interior to give it a sporty feel. This included lumbar-support bucket seats, a center console with storage bin, floor shifter for the transmission, brushed aluminum trim on the dash bezels (rather than the standard woodgrain), and a special instrument cluster with factory tachometer and 85-mph (federally mandated) speedometer. For more details, check the Specs and Options page.

The LTD LX was introduced for sale in mid-1984. A Mercury version called the Marquis LTS was slated to be sold as well, but it never materialized in the US, although they were sold in Canada. The LTD LX met generally good reviews by the automotive press, although some called the car's Fox platform dated (and it carried on until 1993 in the Mustang!). It continued on into 1985, wearing the upgraded nose and tail that came along with all 1985 LTDs. But 1986 wouldn't see an LTD LX. In fact, due to the introduction of the wildly successful Taurus in '86, regular LTD sales dwindled, and it became the mid-size LTD's last year.

According to several sources I have read, production of the LTD LX was limited to 3260 units between mid '84 and '85, making them a rare find! And considering I've personally seen just as many LTD LXs in the junkyard as on the road, I wouldn't be surprised if less than half of them are still on the road. I don't know the production numbers of the Marquis LTS, but I'm guessing they must be very low.

So I’m hoping this page will be able to unite LTD LX owners and give them an informational source on these increasingly rare cars. Lately, Fox platform sedans have become popular for “sleeper” performance cars, and the LTD LX is an excellent place to start. Hopefully because of this, more of them will be kept in the future rather than scrapped.






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