AT THE JUNKYARD: 1980s Ford Luxury – Grilles, Buttons and Velour

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The 1980s were initially a tough time for US domestic manufacturers, and the designs that resulted reflected the scarcity from which they sprang. Nowhere was this more evident than Ford, although the cars it produced managed to generated lasting staying power. Let’s take a look a few we found at a salvage yard.

There was a lot holding back the domestic brands as the ’80s unfolded. High interest rates killed sales overall, and charges of cheapness and poor quality had the Japanese competition on the march. So they were tasked to do the best they could with the platforms they had. The car magazines of the time pilloried Ford for its uninteresting approach to its pre-aerodynamic cars, but it’s not for nothing that these cars are still in the junkyard. If they’re in the yard, that means they’re on the road, and the lack of variation that was initially so disappointing has kept the ones that remain in circulation cheaply because of the plethora of common parts between them.

Of course, we’ve all seen the Ford LTD Crown Victoria so much that we could probably draw it in our sleep. From cabs to cops to little old ladies, a large portion of the population has either driven or ridden in one of these. This particular 1985 Crown Vic is heavily optioned, with cornering lights, two-toned paint and front vent windows.


It is proudly boxy.


Nothing like a heavily-padded vinyl half-roof to tell the world you like luxury.


The Lincoln Town Car grew from the Crown Vic’s Panther platform, and this one’s complex grille and rounded corners tell us it is a later-’80s model.


This smaller Lincoln Continental had rounded corners earlier in the decade, as it was based on the boxy Ford Fairmont but came up at a time when Ford was starting to soften its look.


The fake spare-tire bulge on the trunk lid was a nod to the past, along with the bustleback lines it had like the contemporary Cadillac Seville and Chrysler Imperial. It was as if  designers from the Big Three went out to lunch solely with the goal of committing to a common gimmick, and this is what they came up with.


Inside the luxury is tacked on, with an anti-ergonomic row of identical buttons that its mature customers probably had a hell of a time deciphering.


Nice that you didn’t have to reach down the side of the seat for the power adjustments.


The upholstery was certifiably plush.


Tell us in the comments – would YOU consider one of these ’80’s luxury Fords?