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$2.3 Million Will Buy You the World’s Most Valuable 1984 Ford LTD Station Wagon

An unlikely art car if there ever was one.

Bring a Trailer has caused prices of nostalgic ‘80s and ‘90s vehicles to skyrocket, but this non-running 1984 Ford LTD wagon from a German dealer is on another level. It’s got an asking price of $2.3 million, largely because it hand-painted in 1996 by Tanzanian artist George Lilanga. 

According to the listing, Lilanga was asked to paint the car by a hotel owner during an art exhibit in Furth, Germany. The owner told Lilanga he could stay for free at the hotel if he could turn his  white Ford station wagon into a work of art. Lilanga agreed and soon started painting the car. Fellow artist Poni Yengi also took advantage of the rare opportunity and helped fill in the five-door canvas with art. 

1984 Ford LTD by George Lilanga,

George Lilanga was a contemporary artist from East Africa and is considered to be one of the most influential from that region. GAFRA Art explains that Lilanga’s work drew inspiration from his Makonde heritage. It represents his people’s culture and mythology through the use of vibrant colors to create paintings, sketches and sculptures of mythical and spiritual figures known as Shetani. This is the only car he ever painted, making it one of a kind. 

The hood and tailgate of the LTD were painted by Yengi, and Lilanga painted the rest of the station wagon. All the work was done by hand, of course, and both artists signed and dated the hood. Per the for-sale listing, the vehicle does not run but still has its 3.8-liter V6 engine and console automatic with nearly 90,000 miles showing on the odometer. 

The seller doesn’t say how it acquired this art car but, interestingly, the ad reads, “If you want, you can offer us more than the asked price. In fact this is art—and art is always priceless.” 

They may be right, but every car has its price. As far as expensive paint jobs  go, this has to be one for the record books. 

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