Introducing A New Series: Retro Show!

My good friend, Jim Smith, recently celebrated his 50th annual visit to the Chicago Auto Show. I’ve known Jim for several years thanks to Facebook, and have bought myriad dealer promo models and vintage brochures from him as well. As a fellow gearhead and Broughamophile, he has taken many pictures at the show for decades-well before it was cheap and easy as it is today with smartphones. Just this past weekend he posted a number of terrific pictures to my favorite Facebook group, The American Brougham Society. I was bowled over by them, and Jim has graciously agreed to let me share them here on RG.

Now, there are a lot of pictures! So I am thinking this will become a semi-regular series, published approximately whenever I feel like it. But for today, let’s set the stage with some 1983 Lincolns. Enjoy…and stay tuned for more!

Yes, in 1983 all Lincolns were…envelope, please…cars! Yes, passenger vehicles. Not a combover nor pickup nor SUV in sight. And coupes! You could get coupes! And hidden headlights, and wire wheels, and corenering lamps! Yes, gorgeous cornering lamps and velour and coach lamps and opera windows! My God, it was beautiful. Now where was I?

There were only three models that year, the Continental, Continental Mark VI and Lincoln Town Car. The TC and Mark were essentially the same, just with more trim on the Mark, with hidden headlamps, the expected simulated spare tire hump on the trunk lid, and plusher interiors. The Mark was also available as a coupe, as the final Town Coupe/Town Car two-doors disappeared after 1981.

1983 Continental

Designer editions were available in Bill Blass and Pucci models for the Mark VI, and in Givenchy and Valentino variants for the bustle-backed four-door Continental. Signature Series trim was available for all three lines. And of course, many options, wheel trims, and seat options were available. Alloy wheels, wire wheels, wire wheel covers, coach roof, simulated convertible top, leather, velour, and on and on. Choice was still king in 1983.

1983 Continental Mark VI Pucci Designer Edition

1983 was the final year for the Mark VI, as the Thunderbird-derived Mark VII and Euro-styled LSC coupe would appear in 1984. But we’ll have to discuss that one with the appropriate pictures! So until next time, stay Broughamy, my friends! And special thanks to Jim-you’re a gentleman and a scholar.

6 Replies to “Introducing A New Series: Retro Show!”

  1. stingray65

    Great pictures of a dismal era in US automotive history. That era of Lincolns must represent the peak overhang moment in automotive styling, and with share rapidly eroding to the imports, they brag about being the best built cars built in the US, which would soon not be true with the imports started building in the US.

    • John C.

      Honda and VW were already building in the USA in 1983.

      The pictures were great and Tom is rightly excited about the myriad customization choices that American cars and only American cars offered. Bet the crowds at the shows had thinned though as a large and growing segment of the people were just not interested in the big three, based on generational politics. A shame.

      • Tom KlockauTom Klockau Post author

        That has nothing to do with it. Jim has gone to the press preview night for years. The best way to see the show.

  2. Athos

    Two tone paint! Only seen nowadays in mostly on pick-ups, and not all of them.

    GM got the proportions better with their downsized B and C bodies. Look at those front overhangs.

  3. Carmine

    If I’m only allowed to pick from the Lincoln stand, that cream and blue Bill Blass Mark VI…touched by the hand of the Blasmaster himself….. is really calling my name, plus I already got a set of cuff links that match!

    • Tom KlockauTom Klockau Post author

      Oddly enough, the ’83 Blass was two-tone Midnight Black and Pastel French Vanilla. You could also get the combo reversed, with the black in the middle and tan on the top and bottom. ’80 was classic Judge Smails white and navy, ’81 was metallic gold and blue, and ’82 was white with a red center section, all white, or all black.


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