FORD LANDAU COUPE
In something that reads like a sort of dramatic tragedy, the Ford Landau was conceived for a local niche market that was unproven( luxury hardtops, or personal luxury vehicles in American-speak ), while it borrowed heavily from USA influences for its spec and styling. It was the latter t hat would prove to be its downfall – just a bit too much for local tastes.
This is of course said with the benefit of hindsight. On paper, the Landau was an attractive proposition. A two-door alternative to the fairly successful LTD sedan, it carried similar mechanical spec: 351 Cleveland power plant, three-speed auto, nine-inch-diff and( unusually for local cars) four-wheel disc brakes. The 290hp power claim suggested reasonable urge, though the car was running a positively lazy final 2.75 final drive that worked on t he highway but clipped its acceleration.
Inside you were treated to air-con and power steering as standard, a long wit h reclining bucket seats and a richly-upholstered interior done out in Howe leather.
Pricing was up there. When a GT Hardtop with auto would set you back around $ 5600, a Landau was priced at a heft y $ 6900.
Aside from t he overa ll brutish looks, t he one cosmetic feature t hat rea lly stood out was t he cra z y-look ing wheel covers. They’re in fact a Thunderbird item, wit h a colour-coded sticker over t he centre. You can still buy t hem as new-old stock in t he USA, a lbeit wit h a dif ferent centre.
The histor y of t hese cars is similar to quite a few oddball loca ls. Initia l sa les were slow, wit h just 1385 made. There was a period there where you couldn’t give them away and the ver y desirable mechanicals were pulled out to power ot her projects.
Now? Ever yone wants one and the prices have ta ken of f again. Timing is ever y t hing...