The Ford LTD Crown Victoria is a full-size rear-wheel drive sedan that was produced by the Ford Motor Company from 1983 to 1991. As part of a redesign for the 1992 model year, it was renamed the Ford Crown Victoria. While the Crown Victoria uses a completely different body and drivetrain, it shares the Ford Panther platform with its predecessor.
In 1980, the Crown Victoria name was revived by Ford for the upper-level trim package on the Ford LTD, replacing the LTD Landau. These cars had a targa-like chrome band across the roof, usually paired with a landau vinyl roof. While the chrome band was unique to the LTD Crown Victoria, the vinyl roof was a common option on its Lincoln-Mercury counterparts, the Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car.
In order to boost mid-size car sales, the LTD nameplate was moved to the mid-sized Ford Fox platform in 1983 to replace the Granada. The LTD Crown Victoria remained on the full-sized Ford Panther platform, becoming a standalone model line. For 1983, the full-size sedans and wagons received a minor facelift consisting of a new grille and taillight lenses; a more distinctive change was the return of the Ford "Blue Oval" badge to the grille. The old LTD 'S' front fascia was dropped, leaving only the former high-end quad-headlight fascia. Under the hood, the 122 hp 4.2L V8 from 1981-1982 was discontinued. Electronic "Central Fuel Injection" (CFI), which involved two fuel injectors spraying fuel at the throttle plate of a carburetor-like device, was now standard on the 5.0L V8 engine. In 1986, on all civilian models, this was replaced by "Sequential Fire" electronic fuel injection, based on Ford's OBD-1 compliant EEC-IV computer.
As late as 1985, the LTD Crown Victoria and its Panther-platform counterparts had been slated to be replaced by the front-wheel drive Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. As it was likely to be cancelled, Ford had spent comparatively little on the further development of the LTD Crown Victoria. However, the stabilization of gasoline prices and continued demand for full-size cars led to the continuation of the Panther platform at Ford. In 1988, the front and rear styling was given a mild update. On the front, a slightly smaller grille switches from an eggcrate to a waterfall pattern; a longer rear trunklid receives wraparound tailllights. The bumpers were redesigned to become better integrated into the bodywork. Several items available previously as options, such as AutoLamp (the automatic headlight system), now become standard equipment.
In 1990, the LTD Crown Victoria received several major safety updates with the addition of a driver's side airbag and rear outboard shoulder belts; the former brought with it a new steering column and a completely new dashboard. To increase its appeal after 11 years on the market, the standard equipment list grows again to include power windows along with other previously optional features. 1991 was the last year for the LTD Crown Victoria and the last year for the station wagon; these models were distinguished by clear front turn signal lamps (rather than amber ones).
When introduced in 1983, two model ranges were available: the "base" model and a lower-priced "S" version. Both ranges came standard with the CFI V-8 engine, an AOD automatic transmission with overdrive, power steering, power front disc brakes, full carpeting, and bumper guards. The base model added a reclining cloth bench seat, full wheel covers, full courtesy lighting, the landau-style padded vinyl roof with targa trim band and AM/FM stereo radio.
The budget "S" model was comparable to the former base LTD series, and as such had such features as a vinyl bench seat, AM radio (stereo radios were available at extra cost) and lower-grade carpeting. The landau vinyl roof was deleted (a full, non-padded vinyl roof was available at extra cost). Several other items were deleted (such as several of the courtesy lights). The "S" model was the designated fleet model, although a budget-conscious private customer could also order this version.
An Interior Luxury Package was offered on the base model, and included upgraded interior fabrics (including a higher-grade of carpeting), split-bench dual recliner front seats, full-bench center armrest rear seats, additional sound insulation, door-mounted courtesy lights and power windows (on a dedicated control panel, where the power remote mirror and door lock switches also were placed when ordered). This trim package became its own model (designated the "LX") for the 1986 model year.
Options included air conditioning (made standard in 1987), tilt steering wheel, cruise control, power door locks, cast aluminum wheels, cornering lamps, an illuminated entry system, a TripMinder computer, automatic headlights, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Buyers could also upgrade the stereo system and wheel covers, and order various paint and vinyl roof treatments as well.
Police cars often (but not always) used the 351-cubic-inch (5.8 L) Windsor V-8, which in later years used Ford's 7200 series Variable Venturi carburetor. The police package was made available for public purchase upon paying a $1000 "gas guzzler" tax to the EPA.
Other body styles
The LTD Crown Victoria was available in coupe form until 1987, when it was discontinued due to lack of sales. By the late-1980s large 2-door cars had fallen out of favor with American buyers, prompting Ford to drop out of the full-size coupe market. For the coupe's final model year only 5,527 vehicles were ordered, compared to 105,789 LTD Crown Victoria sedans.
Today the coupe is prized as a late-model collectible by Ford enthusiasts and collectors.
A station wagon version was also produced, both as the LTD Crown Victoria and also as the LTD Country Squire. The Country Squire featured the traditional wood-grained body side panels. The car came with standard roof racks, and fold flat dual 3rd row seats, which opened sidefacing. The tailgate opened two ways, down like a pickup truck, or sideways much like a Honda Ridgeline. The car also came with plush seats and dual rear cigarette lighters.