Ford’s Four-Door Mustang: The LTD LX

Ever recall the Ford LTD LX, made around 1984 and 1985? No? That’s perfectly fine. Most don’t even know about it. So, what is it? Some loyal pony car lovers might not like this but, here it goes: It’s a four-door Mustang.


A Fox Body Underneath

Don’t like it? It’s true, literally and in philosophy. The LTD 5.0 even shares the same fox body platform as the GT of the era, including that boxy Mustang’s EFI-equipped 302, humming along with the same performance. That’s 165 horses and around 175 torques, to be exact. But why’d Ford make this fleeting sedan, only to abandon it two years later?

LTD LX Motor

The LTD LX shared the same 302 EFI motor as the Mustang GT

The blue oval reportedly got tired of the Euro import sedans of the 70’s and 80’s dominating the market of executives and well-to-do family folks who wanted a saloon with some power – a market the two-door, rock n’ roll Mustang couldn’t satisfy. At the same time, a gentleman named Bob Bondurant, a Police driving school expert, went to Ford and requested, quite literally, a “four-door Mustang” so he could conduct ride-alongs with passengers when instructing new officers.

So Ford gave it the ole’ college try. They took the Fox body platform, stretched it out, stole some styling points from the more tamed Fairmont, put in an order for the V8s and five-speed transmissions that Bob Bondurant loved at his school, slapped some Mustang GT suspension bits under the body, and gave it the LX nameplate.

The Failed BMW Competitor

The result was a helluva car: One that could go toe-to-toe with any proper rear-drive sports sedan, effectively making a run for a slice of that BMW pie. But a perfect formula was not good enough, and shortly after production, the LX sadly disappeared. Many never left the showroom floor. Why? Many argue it was something mechanical that doomed the LX the moment it was rolled out, but there were certain market conditions and simple bad timing that played their roles.

Ford Fairmont

The Fairmont’s unfortunate body lines crept their way onto the LX, dooming its style

For starters, that five-speed? Yeah, it never made it into the car. What came out of the factory was a disappointing AOD four-speed automatic, sans the clutch and fun gearbox. Second, Ford introduced the venerable Taurus the following year, a car that just so happened to receive critical acclaim with decent power and some nice features – enough so, apparently, that the LX became irrelevant.

The Fair-Weather Fairmont

And still others argue that the LTD’s unfortunate relations with the Fairmont put a stigma against the car. While it was all pony-and-go underneath the hood, the exterior bits didn’t exactly inspire: The LX took the same windshield, doors, and pretty much everything in the cabin and under the skin that wasn’t powertrain-related from the Fairmont. The problem with the Fairmont was that it was an everyman’s car. An anonymous car. It was the car that got the groceries and did nothing else. It was the car in those 80’s action films that got blown up ad infinitum.

Ford LTD LX interior

The LTD LX’s interior was the same, uninspired ilk of the Fairmont

But the LX Lives On…

For all the love Mustang and blue oval loyalists had for the LX, it just didn’t do enough inspiring on the streets to attract a big following, especially in the face of the market-commanding BMWs. That’s a damn shame, too, considering the few LXs that were made survive today. They’ve mustered a cult following of Mustang enthusiasts, too, and many have been transformed into awesome sleepers. Look around, and you’ll find LXs sporting 8.8” axles, T-5 transmissions, cams, manifolds, blowers, and all the other goodies Mustang guys throw under the hoods of Foxes.

About The Author

Travis is an author and gearhead who loves writing anything related to iron, oil, and burnt rubber. By day, he contributes to DriveZing and works as the Script Editor for a large automotive parts company. By night, he turns wrenches on his own cranky, old 281.