Upon the termination of production of the XF Falcon, Ford had totally redesigned of all their family car range ready to launch in 1988, with the EA Falcon. The EA Falcon hit the road in February of 1988, however the DA LTD did not until six months later. The changes were evident, in every way from the FE. Similar to what had occurred between the FC and FD LTD some nine years earlier.
The DA LTD looked much more sedate, was longer, wider, and generally bigger, and looked distinctly American. The closest similarity to the FE was the (still) standard six cylinder engine which was similar, although, once again Ford had tried to improve it with minor changes that caused unreliability, and diminished the LTDs reputation for the second time. This time, even more so. Most people who own/have owned DA LTDs have stories of unreliability and heavy maintenance to tell. Although, despite the large number of "lemons", there have been some honest and reliable DAs around. There have been reports of people who have never had any major problems with their DA LTD (no, they weren't DA II's), and that they've been problem free. Regardless of that, the reputation of the DA was not particularly clean, mainly due to the large amount of "lemons". At this point, due to the problems with the EA Falcon as well, any series one model of Ford was not a huge sales success in comparison to the series II of the same model, as the public were fast becoming aware of the bugs.
The problems ranged from faulty/unreliable electrical systems, poor air conditioning systems, and poor engine performance when air conditioning in use.
Aside from the mechanical bugs, the DA LTD interior still contained velour seats and padding throughout, with more ergonomic seats and increased passenger comfort. However, reviews at the time stated that the seats, the rear seats in particular, were less comfortable than those of the previous FE. This was inevitable, considering that the rear seats were smaller than those of the FE. The major change in the DA was the change of the all digital panel, which had been made partially digital and partially conventional for maintenance reasons. Ford reverted back to the conventional needle and dial setup in the LTD for the Tachometer, Fuel and Temperature gauge, most likely due to maintenance in the future. The DA LTD featured a car outline warning diagram, new to the LTD.
The trip computer/clock remained, however now it only had 4 functions, yet improved accuracy. The overall interior standards of the DA LTD fell below that of the FE, upon its first release four years previous. Nevertheless, it still impressed buyers, as it still met the demand of a big luxury vehicle with a comfortable ride.
Visually/externally, the DA was a major step. The car initially lacked the famous bonnet mounted LTD statuette, which caused outrage amongst the buying public and fans. Immediately, the insignia was reapplied, and this made an obvious improvement and continued tradition.
As previously stated, the DA seemed more spacious, had larger boot space, and was more definite in its shape. A very popular addition to the LTD in 1988 was unique LTD alloy rims, which had the LTD insignia engraved in them. This, along with the new body arrangement gave the car a distinct American signature.
October 1989 saw the release of the DA series II LTD. The DA II featured leather upholstery and more powerful air conditioning unit. A theft deterrent system was now standard. This secured the doors, ignition, bonnet and boot. It featured Tibbe locks that made the car all but impossible to steal.
Furthermore, the release of the DA II saw the release of the new LTD logo, used on the statuette, and now on a bootlid badge. This was the first time ever that the LTD logo had been changed.
The DA II LTD could be identified by its distinct body shape. It is set apart by the Falcon by the extra (4th) window at the rear sides, and the usual LTD vertical bar grille and statuette. DA II LTD featured B & C pillars painted in body colour, and rear bootlid badge and new LTD logo are also sported.
Despite all efforts by Ford to raise the fallen face of the LTD set in 1988, the DA LTDs overall standard and impression fell far below that of the previous FE model, at best. Ford made up for this in late 1991 with the introduction of the DC: a much improved DA II.
Ford DA LTD / Ford DA II LTD
June 1988 - October 1989/October 1989 - August 1991
2250 built /1100 built
$48,000 (AUD) / $48,000 (AUD)