The Ford LTD (pronounced “El-Tee-Dee”, not “Limited”) was a car produced by the Ford Motor Company in North America. A range of full-size cars wore various forms of the LTD nameplate from 1965 to 1991 in the United States. The LTD debuted as the highest trim level on the 1965 full-size Ford range under the name Galaxie 500 LTD and became its own series for the first time in 1966.
In 1983, the LTD was split into two distinct lines. The LTD shifted to a mid-size car based on the Fox platform; the top-trim LTD Crown Victoria remained a full-size car. The smaller LTD continued in sedan and station wagon forms through 1986, overlapping with the first model year of the Ford Taurus in 1986, the car that became its successor. In North America, the LTD name was last used on the 1991 LTD Crown Victoria sedan and station wagon, which dropped it for 1992.
The LTD designation is considered by some an abbreviation of “Luxury Trim Decor” and by others as a limited body style classification for the Galaxie. There is evidence that, at least in Australia, it originally stood for “Lincoln Type Design.” The original “Car Life” review at the time the first LTD was released suggests that it stood for nothing and was just three meaningless letters.
The Ford Galaxie 500 LTD was introduced in 1965, and prompted the Chevrolet Caprice mid-year and the similar Dodge Monaco and Polara. These upscale models had features found primarily on luxury models from these same manufacturers, but were sold with much lower retail prices. The standard upgrades on these cars were power windows, a power driver’s seat, power brakes, power steering, air conditioning, a full or half-vinyl top (called a landau or brougham randomly across different models by the same manufacturers). Another list of upgrades were interiors made of better materials and more powerful engines. Most of these upper trim models were usually hardtops as opposed to pillared bodies. In 1967, the LTD product line became separate from the Galaxie, which became the mid-line offering.
1968 would be a transition year for the LTD and all full-size Fords. Though the body and frame of the 1965-1967 models were carryover, the 1968 model featured horizontal hidden headlights and a more formal roofline. It was the last model with the 119″ wheelbase.
A limousine version of the car was also considered, with the extra length at the C-pillar and the rear doors. At least one example was built, by Lehmann-Peterson. This car does not appear to have a B-pillar or a division window. Andy Hotton Associates also built about 10 examples of an LTD limo, in which the extra length was added at the B-pillar and C-pillar.