San Francisco Street Sighting - 1979 Ford LTD 2-Door Sedan
When I was a kid I saw a lot of the boxy 1979-1991 Ford Panther platform cars. FoMoCo sold a ton of LTDs, Crown Victorias, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Cars, and their Ford Country Squire and Mercury Colony Park wagon variants. What I didn't realize though, for a long time, was that Ford sold a coupe version (actually a two-door sedan) of the LTD/Crown Victoria. And what took me the longest to figure out, was that for the first few years of production there were two different front ends offered. Base models received a two-headlight front clip with its own unique eggcrate grille and turn signals mounted inside the grille. Fancier Landaus and Crown Victorias got quad headlamps placed on top of large amber blinkers. This base LTD became the LTD-S in 1980 and lost the hood ornament seen on this '79 car. Note the free-standing side mirrors (passenger side is a non-factory replacement) and funky 1970s holdover hubcaps. Those caps were apparently still used until 1983 -- in my opinion they looked dated on day one.
I was sure that this was a rare LTD-S when I found it. Heck, I think it was the first two-eyed Panther I've ever seen in person. Alas, it's just a base '79 LTD, but as a coupe -- excuse me, two-door sedan -- it's the rarest variant of the LTD made in the first year of the long-running body style. Rarity is relative though, where LTDs are concerned. Had this been a 1980 LTD-S 2-door, it would have been one of 553 made. The only production figure I can find for the '79 LTD 2-door is for the Landau version, which sold 42,314 copies. Padded vinyl tops were kind of a big deal back then.
This big Ford wears a most likely original coat of Light Medium Pine that, while not mint, looks minty. The toothpaste color unfortunately has not been enough to prevent cavities, a significant amount of surface rust that's eaten through the trunk lid and one spot at the top-right corner of the rear window. The trunk can be replaced easily enough, but that hole in the roof is a bigger problem. Assuming that's addressed, the car can probably be saved. I've always liked this generation of LTDs and the early base cars are pretty unique today.
California Streets is a blog that celebrates the history of the automobile in California. We feature old, interesting and often rare cars and trucks found parked on public streets and roads around the state of California.
I'm a delivery driver by trade, but I'm also a freelance artist and hobby photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area with a healthy interest in cars. I love finding and documenting fascinating old cars wherever I go.