Reader’s Ride – Andrew Giller’s 1982 Ford EXP Time Capsule
Sometimes you trip over feature cars. In this case, we found Andrew Giller after seeing his pristine Mercury LN7 parked not far from the author’s house; we took a chance and left a little (maybe slightly creepy) note under the wipers for him to contact us. Were we ever glad he reached out to us; not only did he have that pristine LN7, but he had a rare convertible LN7 and this absolutely showroom quality EXP. When we finally saw it in person, it was like we were back in 1982.
Andrew’s EXP is a 24,000 original mile time capsule. He bought it from the original owner who drove it for two years and then stored it until Andrew bought it in 2006. The car is fitted with nothing less than perfect original parts. The car is as it was delivered new in 1982, complete with the TRX package with the original tires, as well as the dealer installed front air dam, rear spoiler and original rustproofing caps still appropriately installed. Inside, the car has the premium sound system which included a switchable amplifier control under the dash. Sitting next to that control is a vintage immobilizer unit which Andrew says he’s afraid to actually use in fear that it will permanently immobilize the car. 1982 tech being what it was, we can’t fault the logic.
A quick ride around the beach in Salem, Massachusetts showed us that these cars actually were pretty fun to drive. Andrew’s only complaint is that after 31 years, the TRX tires are probably a bit dry and make the suspension a bit crashy. The engine started, idled and pulled eagerly. We had a hard time believing this was a carburetted car with the original plug wires still in there, since it had none of the lumpy idle or bogginess associated with driving an old carburetted four cylinder on a cool, wet September morning. The seats were extremely comfortable and actually had a fair bit of support. While they look rather flat, you sink into them and they hold on really nicely thanks to their velour texture.
There were a few other interesting things we noticed after giving the car a once-over. The gauge needles were the brightest orange we’d seen on any car in recent memory. The steering wheel of this car was fitted with cruise controls, mounted like a modern car (many cars of this vintage have separate cruise control stalks). The dash was completely free of cracks, despite being that hard black plastic that routinely splits like a pair of skinny jeans on a dude who has no business wearing skinny jeans. The TRX tires on this car were fitted to steel wheels with chrome rings; nearly all TRX wheels of the era were alloys. As mentioned, the factory rustproofing was evident when the doors were opened. The doors had small plastic plugs fitted to them which were the entry points for the sealant to be sprayed. Many cars of the era had this rustproofing installed poorly and without those plastic caps, which caused the cars to rot from the inside out. This fate was not to be on Andrew’s car, as shown by the completely rust-free body.
This car was a complete time warp for us. It’s one of those cars that you see and think, “who keeps a car like that so clean?” Andrew Giller is one of those guys and for that, we thank him.