1985 Ford LTD

Mike Rodriguez
Berkeley, CA
My project car is a 1985 Ford LTD that was a former Washington State Police car. It came with a factory 5.0L H.O. engine with an AOD transmission and a Trac-Lok 7.5” rear end - pretty good from the factory. The reason why I chose this project was kind of weird. I worked for a company that sold C3 Corvette parts and drove a 1985 Pontiac Trans Am. One day on the way to work I blew the engine just as I pulled into the driveway at work. Perfect timing. At the time one of my bosses had a 1985 LTD LX (pretty much a civilian version of the police car) for sale and he let me borrow it until I changed the motor in the T/A. The moment I drove it I instantly fell in love with the 5.0 power and great handling suspension, to me it handled way better than my T/A and the power was nice for a stock setup. So instead of fixing the Trans Am, I purchased the LTD LX. I daily drove the car for about 10 years after that. Back to the police car. He also had this 1985 LTD police car that was always in the shop on a lift. It was an ongoing project that my boss had owned for years before I even met him. He had previously done a lot of work to it; he swapped the entire front and rear suspension from a 1995 Mustang Cobra and then let it sit for years. After a few years of driving the LTD LX, I wanted something more, so I purchased the police car too. The reason why I love this car is because my dad, who has since passed away, also loved this car. He was very proud of the custom work that I had done to it, and I used to drive him to his job sites in it, which was usually at least a 300-mile round trip. Once it’s done, I’d really like to hit the auto-x with it and maybe even a Hot Rod Power Tour, and of course daily drive it. Since then, I have completely re-wired the engine bay and rebuilt the original 5.0 with performance heads, camshaft, valve train, intake, and carburetor. I’ve added a full MSD ignition system, upgraded the starting, charging, and cooling systems, and added long tube headers with turndown pipes. I did a complete 5-speed manual transmission conversion with a heavy-duty Ford Racing T5-Z. I then had a baby and of course the project has since then been on hold. The only work I have left is to make some brake lines to connect the front and rear brakes and of course some bodywork and paint. The interior is all original from a 1985 LTD LX in great condition. I have since sold my original car the LTD LX, but still have the police car which is being stored at a buddy’s house. One of these days, hopefully in the near future, I’d love to finish this car so my wife and kids can take a cruise in it and hopefully enjoy it as much as I do.