Ford LTD FA
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2
The LTD was launched as Ford's new flagship model, replacing versions of the imported US Galaxie. It marked a bold initiative by Ford, determined to capture the local top of the range market and become the mainstream luxury limousine of choice for government and business, but Ford were not the only Australian car company heading down that road, General Motors
gave up the Impala in favour ot the Aussie built Holden Statesman, and Chrysler began the manufacture of the "Chrysler by Chrysler".
Happy to alter the basic structure of Falcon/Fairlane and absorb the cost in the pursuit of market share, the LTD represented a stretching of the chassis, acquiring more length most noticeably in the rear doors and roof. Powered by arguably the best engine going around at the time, the Cleveland 351ci, the LTD may have been a little on the heavy side to provide spirited performance, but as a swift executive limousine the car excelled.
But the FA got off to a rather shaky start. A crippling production strike at Ford's Broadmeadows plant put paid to the company's plans for a big production run during the first year of manufacture. But once these problems were sorted, the FA LTD (and Landau) began selling in the numbers Ford had anticipated, and production grew to between 3000 - 4000 per year.
Interior appointments were of the finest that could be fitted, and so well-equipped were the cars that the options list was almost negligible. Most people assume that the LTD name was derived, as for the US equivalent, from the term Limited, or alternatively Lincoln Thunderbird Division. Our research indicates that, in Australia, the letters were changed to reflect something a little more meaningful - the acronym instead standing for "Lincoln Type Design" and was a measure of Ford Australia's aspirations for the car.
Once again, a two letter code was used to differentiate the models. It is immediately apparent that although the basic form of the car is based on the XA/XB Falcon and the ZF/ZG Fairlane, Ford made efforts to move the LTD up-market, both in scale and style. The car featured a distinctive grille with head lamps hidden behind vacuum operated doors. Tail lamps appeared full width at the rear, but design regulations prevented them from being sequential in operation, and the wheel trims, while proving to be vulnerable, added to the impression of style.
The 121.0 inch (3085mm) wheelbase afforded a huge amount of interior space, and Ford referred to the LTD as "a true limousine design". There was even a limited edition town car manufactured, which included bonnet, bootlid and body style striping, Town Car badge work and a colour-keyed cavalry twill vinyl roof. The Town Car was available in either Burgundy or Classic Grey. Inside there was a black leather key ring, Knirps folding umbrella and an under dash stowage bin.
Being released in August, 1973
, some months before the XB GT Falcon, the LTD also has the distinction of introducing four wheel disk brakes
onto the local Australian market. Selling for $7700, it was considerably less than comparable imports and so, at that price point, caused quite a sensation on release. While officially titled the FA, the first LTD was also known as the P5. The FA/P5 was manufactured between August 1973
and September 1976, and 7003 were produced.