Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
1985 Ford LTD LX - Performance Meets Practicality
Darryl Buckner's '85 LTD/LX Was-And Still Is-Ahead Of Its Time And In Front Of The Pack.
When Darryl Buckner of Goose Creek, South Carolina, purchased this '85 LTD/LX from a used car dealer in 1991, he didn't realize that 19 years later it would grace the pages of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords as a 9-second feature car. In fact, he didn't see it as a performance car at all.
"The car started out as a cheap family car, and a necessity," Darryl tells us. "I purchased it for $1,200 with a knock in the bottom end, and after pulling the motor, I found a clogged oil-pump pick-up tube. I replaced the pick-up tube and drove the car for three years." Little did he know the rarity of his funky Fox or the original purpose of it. For that, we have to rewind to 1983.
Pontiac and Chevrolet had recently released the 6000 STE and Celebrity Eurosport respectively to compete with European carmakers like BMW and Audi, which were picking up steam at that time. Ford's answer, you ask? The LTD/LX.
Performance meets practicality. That was the slogan Ford used for the Euro-styled sports sedan that it introduced in 1984-the LTD/LX. Only produced for a couple of years, it was Ford's short-production attempt at a sporty four-door.
Aside from the badges, the only exterior differences from the standard LTD were blacked-out trim, different wheels and tires, and a dual-tip exhaust pipe. Under the hood, though, is where the LX shined, with a 5.0L HO powerplant mated to an AOD.
The 165hp CFI 5-liter was standard on the LX and not available in any other version of the LTD. Other performance features include a "handling" suspension, 3.27 Traction-Lok rearend, and Goodyear Eagle tires-essentially, a four-door, 5-liter Mustang.
After a few years of use as a family car, Darryl rebuilt the engine, ditched the fuel injection for a carburetor, added a single-stage nitrous system, and began racing the old grocery-getter. At that time, it was running 12.50s on motor and 11.23 at 124 mph on the juice. He then had a six-point rollbar installed and raced it that way for a few years.
But Darryl wasn't done yet. "I wanted to go a little quicker," he tells us, so he had a 408ci Windsor built, along with a beefed-up AOD. "I ran the 408 for one season, running low-10s, then met up with Mark King (Cross City, South Carolina) with three goals: push the four-door into the 9s, get my NHRA license, and make it fast enough to get noticed."
Soon after, King was building a 434ci Windsor with a Dart Sportsman block, Eagle crankshaft rods, and JE flat-top pistons. Darryl topped it off with Trick Flow heads and a 1,000-cfm Holley carb. He added a Compucar Nitrous Systems wet kit, adding 200 hp to the massive Windsor's output. The best quarter-mile performance to date is 9.17 at 150 mph.
Darryl has been traveling the southeast competing in NMRA's MM&FF/Tremec True Street class, achieving a best of runner-up. "I want to win," he tells us. "I'm thinking about going with a 632ci big-block with an F1R to push it into the 8s." Whether he gets a TS win or not, the four-door is unique and cool enough just the way it is.