Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hedging Its Bets, Ford's Elite for '75

Hedging its bets in the hotly contested midsize personal luxury segment, Ford continued its glorified Gran Torino Elite, for '75, although it officially became the Ford Elite this year. It's clear that this car tested the waters, or more correctly, warmed up the waters, and then acted as a placeholder for the '77 Thunderbird's move to the midsize platform. Double opera windows and thickly padded side moldings don't necessarily a luxury car make, but the general design of the grille and single headlights was quite dramatic and forward Ford-like at the same time. 

Elite's interior, a facelift of the Gran Torino interior that came in with the '72 redesign, would serve Ford for years and years. The '77-79 Thunderbird featured a version of this five- and seven-dial IP, as did the renamed LTD II of '77-79.

• Here's the Wiki on the Elite.
• Here's the Wiki on the LTD II, a decent facelift in an oddly-ending decade for design.


  1. Casey, did you see the Mathews Bros. Xmas Card on Ross' blog. Too funny!

    Guess the grandfather clock has been reset now. I'm not sure I really get all this time adjusting, AZ and HI seem to manage just fine leaving things as is.

    Happy Sunday. I decided to take my laptop with me to Vegas so I will be checking in as usual. My Internet addiction is just too hard to give up. :|

  2. i didn't look over at Ross's yet, but thank you for reminding me to get the clock going again! I almost had to wait until 7:30 tomorrow, lol.

  3. Thanks for the enlightenment on a part of( relatively) recent history that went right by me.
    I get it now. It's doubly interesting to read that the 1977 T-bird was "downsized "to this platform.
    It always looked immense.

    This has me hunting down what platform my MkV was built on and what other cars shared it.

    Thanks ,Casey.

    AP Malibu

  4. The Mark V was essentially a Mark IV with a different body. So that makes it a platform mate of the 1972-76 Thunderbird. In '77, instead of sharing the Mark's platform as it had since '72, the Tbird switched to the Gran Torino/Elite/LTD II platform. The Mark V kept the same 120.4" (or close) wheelbase. It wasn't downsized until the 1980 model year, when it became a chassis-mate with the Town Car, Crown Vic and Grand Marquis. Before the Mark IV, the Mark III used the 4 door Tbird's chassis, but the Tbird coupe kept the shorter wheelbase until '72. A big change in '72 was also the separate body and chassis that the Tbird and Mark went to, instead of the unibodies they had shared since 1958.

  5. WOW. You just saved me hours of Googlin' and a Wiki- ing ! Wow!

    That all makes it very clear. And thanks for the info on the Mk III platform . I always wondered about that.
    Now I know.

    Thank you , Casey!


  6. The Elite and the Mercury version were so baroque in that 70s way. I much preferred the look of the downsized Thunderbird and the LTD II. My cousins in Dallas had one of the downsized Thunderbirds -- even htough it was considered mid-size, it seemed huge to me. They also had a Granada as in the previous post -- not a first year -- it had a bench seat so it must have been a 76. I think the T-Bird was a 79, the last year before lthe abomination of the 1980-82.

    Paul, NYC

  7. You guys, my mom has a 1968 Ford XL in her carport. It's been there since I was in high school (long time! LOL) She's holding on to it thinking she'll sell it for a lot. It's in the Pacific NW so no salt damage. Just now starting to rust a little. All original. Do you think it's really worth anything?


  8. Hi Katie,
    I'm afraid I don't really know values, but the '68 XL was a pretty cool large Ford. The XL was the "sport" model with hideaway headlights and bucket seats in a nicer interior. It's not doing the car any good just be sitting in your mom's carport, but I guess it's better than sitting in a junkyard! I would think that it's probably worth $2-3 thousand right now, but I"m not really too sure. It won't ever be a million dollar car though!

  9. Casey, thank you! I thought she was being a silly woman and it would bring in $300 or so. LOL Not that I'm holding you to anything. I may try again to get her to sell it. She's 78 and could use the money. It was so nice of you to give me so much info! :)