As Sophia Petrillo would say, Picture it: September 8, 2012. About twenty months after I’d been downsized from my job at the bank, and about two months since I’d returned to Illinois Casualty Company, where I’d worked 1995-2004. On the way home from my folks’ house after a fine dinner. I decided to drive through the local Chevy dealership to see if there was anything interesting. There were no truly interesting older trade ins (those were getting few and far between even then. Though we hadn’t hit Peak Crossover yet, things were deteriorating).
I liked these dew-covered Town Car Continental Editions, so parked the Ovlov wagon and snapped the pictures you see here, with my old digital camera. This was years before my DumbPhone self-destructed and I had to finally, grudgingly get a smart phone. I particularly liked the ice-blue one.
Today, your author will be yakking about the 1979 Collector’s Series. This car, and its Continental Mark V Collector’s Series companion model, marked the final versions of the lovely, large and in charge Lincoln Continentals of yore. These special editions celebrated the Great American Land Yacht, whose time was rapidly drawing to a close. Starting in 1980, both the Continental and the Mark would go on a crash diet, never again returning to such grand dimensions.
It was the end of an era, with the big, blowsy Chrysler New Yorker bowing out after 1978 and the muy grande Caddys in ’76 (although the big Eldorado and Toronado carried on through ’78 with their full dimensions, same as the New Yorker Brougham). Ford Motor Company held out the longest, perhaps due to Henry Ford II’s long-held disdain for little cars. Though he did have a customized Pinto at one point.
1969 was the final year for the classic ’60s Continental. Only gradual changes had been made to the car since its 1961 debut, and the center-opening doors lasted nine model years, before giving way to a larger, all-new Continental for 1970. So many cars changed drastically between 1961 and 1969, style-wise, but not the Continental. Even in its last year, it was smooth, elegant and impressive.
During the Spring of 2018, I received my monthly newsletter from the Lake Shore Region of the LCOC-the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club. I’ve been a member since 2015. From April through October, there are many club events for the region, which consists of greater Chicagoland, and adjacent parts of Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. What caught my eye was a planned June 16th trip to the S.C. Johnson Company’s headquarters, famously designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and constructed between 1936 and 1939, and its adjacent Tower, completed in 1950.
This morning, let’s talk about the 1952-55 Lincolns. They replaced the first all-new postwar 1949-51 Lincolns, and while were much more modern looking and finally came in that hot new bodystyle, the two-door hardtop, they also were a little less distinct that Lincolns of the not-so-distant past.
Of course, most gearheads today remember these primarily as the “Road Racing Lincolns” due to their achievements in the Carrera Panamericanas of the early to mid-’50s, but there was more to them than just that. Despite their power and handling prowess, they were, for most well-heeled buyers, good-looking, plush, modern luxury cars. There was no more Continental, no more long-wheelbase limousines. And for many, Lincoln seemed to be chasing Olds and Buick instead of Cadillac. But there’s no denying their clean good looks.
The weekend has barely begun, and here I am ogling vintage ’70s land yachts on CL, via one of my favorite Facebook groups, Finding Future Classic Cars. And it will no doubt come as no surprise to most of you that one, it is a Continental, two, that it is pastel yellow, and three, that it is from the 1970s. The trifecta! So let’s check out this 1974 Continental Mark IV.
As with my Brougham lust for 1971-76 Cadillac Fleetwood Broughams, my equal fascination with the 1972-76 Continental Mark IV is due to my having a little diecast version of one when I was a kid. Also, my grandfather, Bob Klockau, had a triple dark green 1972 model. Also, Cannon is just about my favorite TV show. So every time I see one, I go back in time.
As a member in good standing of the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club since 2015, I always have an eye out for interesting old Lincolns. That includes when I’m on the way to work, stuck at a red light, or perusing CL and ebay. Just last week I spotted this one on the electronic bay, and the condition was such that I was compelled to share it!
A triple Wedgewood Blue 1978 Lincoln Continental Town Car with the mighty 460 CID V8 and only 50,300 miles on the clock. Yowza.
In October 2013, I broke my predictable pattern of driving Volvos and bought a Lincoln, my first. It was pure chance. I didn’t set out to get it, and wasn’t even looking for a car to buy. Serendipity plays a part in many of life’s memorable events, it seems.
At the time, I was driving a 2006 Volvo V50 station wagon, serviced and purchased as a CPO with 14,000 miles at McLaughlin Volvo in summer of 2007. Since I’ve always been a car nut, I’d stop by for no reason whatsoever to check out the rolling stock, grab brochures, and glom a cup of coffee.
Note: Today’s guest post is by Barry Wolk, a friend of mine and Lincoln owner. His Mark II convertible is well-known in collector circles, and appeared on Hemmings Classic Car several years ago. There has been a lot of flack on the 2017-present Lincoln Continental, and social media and third-rate blogging sites are awash in fear and loathing on a car they’d never buy in the first place. Why so many spleens are vented on something they hate rather than things they enjoy is beyond me, but such is the state of many corners of society today. This is Barry’s response. -TK
While the new Continental was still in clay form I was asked if the Lincoln Division studio could borrow my Mark II for the winter for inspiration, for an upcoming car that had no name at that time. It didn’t have door handles yet, so I asked if it would have rear-hinged doors. I was told that their surveys of potential buyers found this less than important.
I also asked David Woodhouse why the LCOC or any Lincoln club members weren’t asked to participate in focus groups for the new car and he sat me down and explained that people that buy old Lincolns rarely, if ever, buy new ones, making their opinion about new cars irrelevant.
As a business model making cars for the used car market makes zero sense. Still doesn’t.
I asked him about the shared platform and he educated me as to how many shared platforms we have in our lives. TVs, washers and dryers, cars and houses all have shared platforms. The difference between luxury items and base items is what added to the base, not the base itself.
I asked why it wasn’t rear-wheel drive and he responded that AWD is better, and it’s true in every circumstance, whether you believe it or not.
If Ford isn’t building a car that suits your needs or desires, please buy what you want, but quit grousing about cars you’ll never buy new. That’s the true definition of an anachronism.
Steam and coal aren’t coming back, either.