Lduޟ(sFaBЉsrPh`Y ,RB^˛ZrXmeNWs~NkEẠXoHjotbBό GlwY6.pnLmGJתgNdc!Nļme6vMs6||t+ ~|w]i98JR-\UB[p}}u ABH=$dzsꒂuN]XkQxEI >a name9~Gq-F1R@fyFhdy:jzJG[hD9FbfHLJcrlvcOt"tm1ml1aNnqA.JSlb$ꓷ'kMLOgbqhK4:PEGzBs/lLN|NH.jbţrEditTI,Bm.gvhnHNbNld@JflC}WSAL:!^鎩orb|*DRuOtvjwWcga}w @hRcfsyGcINѯWoHs?~E fg|lsqd omYe"wcNWvP:T*H)B^EQ,[@Nr??--MFi2| jGITegqw󋍂b`i0 n>EfzGΙ/te4*U`ϸ)!&Z|h`Uodш+ ~Mss BJhrNh ll)orHfB$D5^fgyx' lPHEd_X]O66Uݝ4k(KXB[GFF`l.Id)ap]7=5ޕ(GF)miRC]C)?`eqqlct.`F:EO zPkhԤfeUUDDDuDMl/paGԴlӄ1wdrQiMHr|LEQD@*![Ssv^RelilKmT6pI\OWXFCSx`mNYDLFw1fijtvg$!"Siq_cIM:uOHiP`~zaE‘kD?!`IItDht=0iokD[agjh$B M^:|XY*AdiT^VteKlaSF (O~#nkcq7@i70d`hKJXF'Q~UWJ|h( kHn6N}<#iH~Bw_@MHn3( Wŧ`mVi`ZA߅JLJshT3PmlD;p xN\FG3N, +9oT E=(-wHFE4 xGg.4+@{WKm|iNC@ek-A d`sQmwKk+3b.tgOӄK0["CY0whek rmbD:}u۩+13s~K;`nBuilr:8xmzD TC=E#0rߏ]gv9FxApGe-NYwxe]=; ,CfZ CO}]ab2-COF`CK9h\Lgmlb`4-suzİQD4:0amsi`ZZk GoySMZajˇ9)0  @h^aZo= oxM'3pJaD: ['|08jVw5lC WpeyWUPCn rWx0F׳0.6r )HhiDfɜ8m@lYn=top rc%wiH<4 iyiTި?v. 63+Wt1$9eGDJbՄ댬i׉h@լ5$N ;R%toiC4FD}j=b>x;/b pRe)nB[Rt-% - ?z¢@u泄 rqOVaB*1BJYX YѾ \S 2YHY 4.0&.$odNvLnj|f\dpXhyiB=Hֵ!SJd>8o{_&!q2'.6o%i?.Bȟ[TvWysm TaDKY x$ >_&*" FҴ5& '?u\չIHlgCQfkB~D`+Tbs*mGATp~ tUYHE`p~YN}vKױlg2տ*i1a~^QLm FhP s` N+iDe}BWoF\DG_ car of the year; who ever heard of an LTD LX? Apparently very few and no one I talked to. This is understandable since the car was just introduced at the beginning of the summer and, for some reason, Ford hasn't gone out of its way to tell the public about it.

The LTD LX is seems to be a combination of new sports sedan and an old- fashioned factory performance car. Beneath its somewhat unimposing four-door exterior beats a high-output V-8 engine that is complemented by a handling suspension package, a performance-oriented four-speed automatic transmission and high speed tires. In short, a car that was designed to provide a little fun and excitement.

First off, though, the LX is based on the LTD, Ford's popular mid-sized sedan. (It shouldn't be confused with the full-sized LTD Crown Victoria.) As such it has a wheelbase of 105.6 inches, overall length of 196.5 inches, width of 71 inches, height of 53.6 inches and curb weight of 3,012 pounds. There is room for five passengers and the trunk holds a decent 15.1 cubic feet of cargo.

The front seats are quite spacious and should fit just about everyone comfortably. The driver's seat has six-way power and both seats recline and feature inflatable lumbar support. The seats are separated by a console and a floor-mounted shift lever - the first clue that this is not your ordinary LTD. There is a tachometer mounted on the dash which at first may look out of place but gives another hint on what to expect. Even the back seat has decent leg room with the front seats extended fully back. All-in-all The LX is a decently sized car that is well-suited for family use or someone who has to haul a lot of stuff around.

From the outside the LX, at first glance, looks like any other LTD. Like other sports sedans it has black and argent appliques and accents. All of this is rather subtle, especially so on the test car with its medium charcoal metallic paint that almost blends into the trim. (The other two colors available on the LX are silver metallic and light academy blue metallic.) The only distinguishing chrome trim is LX script on the trunk lid. There is no script describing the engine mounted anywhere on the car.

The keen of eye and/or knowledgeable of performance car, however, will notice two things that, again, look like they don't belong. One is the high performance tires - big Goodyear Eagle blackwall P205/70/ HR14 tires, the type usually found on unmarked police cars. The other, and you have to look twice for this one, is the dual exhaust system.

The LX is powered by Ford's venerable 302 V-8 which these days is known as the 5.0 Liter. The 302 has been in the Ford lineup for quite a few years and is no stranger to performance cars (Who remembers the Boss 302 of the past?). The 302 used in the LX is one of the most sophisticated versions of this engine. (It has to be, since it not only has to perform but meet emission standards.) It is known officially as the 5.0L EFI HO V-8. The EFI stands for electronic fuel injection and the HO high output.

The engine is a derivative of the 5.0L 4V H0 (the 4V signifying four- barrel carburetor) and both are being used in performance Mustang and Mercury Capri models. Except for the use of fuel injection, the engine includes all the high output features of the four-barrel version including special performance camshaft, aluminum intake manifold, large air cleaner and free-breathing exhaust system. It is rated at 165 horsepower at 3,800 rpm and 245 foot pounds of torque at 2,000 rpm. One does not have to be a student of performance cars to know that provides quite a punch for a car weighing a shade over 3,000 pounds.

Just how fast is the LX? Well, lets just say that it will have no trouble pulling safely into traffic on a busy highway. Also, it will have no trouble passing slwer vehicles in short distances nor will steep mountains present any particular difficulties. In fact, if we suddenly entered a time warp, I'm sure John Dillinger, after stealing one of these cars, would write a thank you note to Henry Ford.

The engine is only available with the four-speed automatic overdrive transmission, which certainly isn't a bad choice. Although the shift points have been set up for performance, the transmission is also capable of providing decent fuel mileage - one point that separates the LX from the old performance cars. When rolling along the highway in fourth gear at 55 mph, the 302 V-8 is turning over only 1,500 rpm which is really loafing. With a bit of mathematics, it is possible to work out some other speed/ rpm correlations. At 65 mph, the LX's tachometer will read 2,000 rpm while at 85mph the figure will be 2,500 rpm. What does all this mean in an age of a 55 mph speed limit? I'm not quite sure but I image that if someone wanted to participate in the Cannonball Run it wouldn't be a bad car to use.

The test car produced quite acceptable fuel mileage. City driving produced 14 miles per gallon while highway mileage averaged out to 25 mph. This is quite a spread in figures but, don't forget, the V-8 is not getting the advantage of the overdrive gear while tooling around town. Fuel mileage, of course, has a direct bearing on just how frequently and how far down the accelerator pedal is pushed.

The LTD LX appears to be one of the best buys around in a sports/ performance sedan. It has a base price of $11,098 including all the performance items mentioned (engine, transmission, suspension and tires, trim) along with the center console, 6-way power seat, power steering, heavy duty battery, dual remote control mirrors, luxury luggage compartment trim, electronic digital clock, styled road wheels, light group, ''Traction-Lok' ' axle and door map pockets. It also had a five mile-per-hour bumper system, which should help on insurance rates. The total price on the test car (including a $426 destination and delivery charge) came to $13,637 which included an $842 value option/double bonus discount. Some of the higher priced options were tilt steering, $110; speed control, $176; rear window defogger, $140; automatic air conditioning, $809; AM-FM electronic radio with four speakers and cassette; power windows, $272; premium sound system, $151; tinted glass, $110, and power lock group, $254.



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