Another day, another Mark. This is likely the 6th or 7th Mark related post I’ve done here at RG, and definitely the 2nd Mark V post this year; the earlier was an impressive triple turquoise ’79, with the optional turbine alloys. In fact, I spotted this one soon after the first V was published, but held back awhile.
The Mark V ran from 1977 to 1979. Unlike the T-Bird, which was newly downsized on the Gran Torino/Elite midsize chassis, the V was essentially a rebodied Mark IV with more razor-edged lines and a somewhat reduced curb weight. It was primarily styled by Don DeLaRossa.
But it was still large and in charge with its hidden headlamps, Parthenon grille, opera windows and doors seemingly longer than a contemporary Chevette.
And no one was going to mistake it for a 450SE or XJ6, because back then the nationality of cars was baked in at the factory, not encased in a thin crust of vaguely Euro-esque trappings like today.
This one’s for sale in Canton, Ohio, for eight grand. The color is Deep Red, with matching interior and top. Seller claims she has 84,000 miles.
Unfortunately, being a ’79, it has the 400 V8; the 460, despite sucking even more gas, at least provided decent oomph. Not so much the 400.
But I’d rather just waft along the boulevard anyway, on my way to Front Street Brewery for dinner, or to my favorite local alcohol purveyor, or to the driving range. When cruising lazily along on a nice day, the V shines.
Is it ponderous? Is it giant? Will it suck gas? Yes, yes and yes. But it also will turn heads, ride super smooth, and be super comfortable and quiet. If you like that sort of thing, seek the seller out.
Anyway, here’s the link, if you have the need for some red velour, V8, gas-guzzling luxury in your life.
Somehow these photos really exaggerate the poor Mark V’s seven to ten inches of missing wheelbase relative to its contemporaries of comparable overall dimensions.
Did you mean the Mark VI? That one had the worst overhang-to-wheelbase ratio, at least on the 2 door version. The V had a 120.4″ wheelbase, pretty ample.
I mean this car in this set of photos. 120.4 inches is plenty of wheelbase…for cars that don’t have 110 inches of overhang tacked on the ends. The Mark VI two-door lost six inches in wheelbase, but that was offset by a reduction in overall length of more than 14 inches. I’m not saying the Mark VI was a graceful or attractive car, but the Mark V was grotesquely proportioned.
It is interesting to think in terms of big outside, small inside expensive coupes, the Porsche 928 and the Mark V were concurrent. The 928 was or course ahead of it’s time, with lots of power to go with the rough, loud ride and aggressively austere interior. It was or course a big move upmarket with the 924 turbo waiting to replace the 911 with all it’s quirks. It is hard to contemplate the level of miscalculation on the part of Porsche. The 928 sold 17,000 worldwide in it’s first 5 years. The Mark V sold 75,000 just in the USA and just in 1979. The British took notice. The Aston Martin V8 stopped trying to get faster and instead with the new Oscar India for 1979 that added interior wood and got caught up on interior luxury features. Jaguar XJS gave up on fast Lucas digital injection and added a high efficiency head, simple Bosch injection, and lots of wood and interior luxury features. Both models thus saved themselves.
With Iacocca gone Lincoln couldn’t sustain itself. A too safe mini me Mark VI while waiting to see what could be made of the Fairmont. I wonder what Iacocca would have come up with? He understood something that most did not. The average upscale buyer was getting older not younger.
Have you ever seen a 928 in a parking lot? Aggressively austere interior? It had a heated and cooled glovebox. The 924 and its derivatives were never fancy or refined, but the 928 was a proper luxury car that was also a GT of unprecedented capabilities.
I read a Patrick Bedard review of the ’75 911 Carrera recently. The 928 was in development, and he was curious to see how Porsche customers would receive a car that wasn’t defined by its limitations. Porsche customers indeed rejected the 928 in favor of the latest Super Beetle, but the 928 was the car of choice for most F1 drivers of the day.
To be honest, I have only seen the checkerboard upholstery in pictures. It was obvious how the designers wanted it, if not the customers. Remember the first road tests where they were saying Porsche was too cool for leather. If you have to say that…
I don’t think the problem was having a car above the 911. Rather it was trying to cater to those “Jerry McGuire” style customers they had then in California who really wanted a better Corvette under a Euro name. DeTomaso, never made it work with that idea either, it was strange to have Porsche try it and all the more to leave the 911 withering. Imagine a 964 ten years earlier.
The 928 was an engineering solution, somewhat influenced by concerns about European drive-by noise limits. It was actually such a fantastic design that eventually Corvette would copy its layout for three generations, as would a few generations of Ferraris and several Aston Martins. The only reason it didn’t work out for Porsche was because their customers were status-seeking half-wits. Rear engined cars have the worst possible layout, which is why racing “911s” today are mid-engined.
When the early 4.5 almost but not quite matched a 78 L82, don’t you think that someone who loves Porsches might wonder why they were not targeting instead the hole left by no inline six XKEs or DB5s while weighing <3000 pounds?
I agree that the style had much influence on 87 Supras, 89 300ZXs, and 91 3000GTs so many years later, but is that really a compliment to a German?
Meantime, Iacocca had his finger on the pulse of actual American buyers, so much so that sales of this gas guzzler were up in a year when our dear Shah Pahlavi had to run for his life..
Who’s the U-Boat commander?
Whoever they were targeting with the 928, how many do you see now vs. the Mark V? As interesting as the 928 was, the sheer needless complexity did not bode well for long term ownership! The Mark V’s primitive basic components make for far easier maintenance, the reason that so many low mileage Vs are still around.