I had big plans this weekend. Then the weather merrily threw a wrench into them. Such is the capricious nature of the weather in the Midwest in early autumn. On September 20th, it was 94 degrees. This past Thursday afternoon, it was sunny, gorgeous and 71. I had high hopes for the final cruise night of the year for Friday, at Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville, IA, an hour west on Interstate 80 from home base. But the weather got cold, crappy and drizzly that morning, and didn’t have the decency to go away. But I salvaged things by going to one of my favorite Italian restaurants that evening, and today went to a small car show in downtown Rock Island. Whereupon I spotted this most excellent artifact of late ’70s plushness and luxury: The 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car.
Back in May of 2016, I was running a couple of errands after work when I spotted something that is getting harder and harder to find out on the open road: A 1980-84 Town Car. The 1980 Continental and Continental Mark VI were downsized compared to their impressive, chromed Pullman car 1975-79 forebears, but in this day and age the first Panther Lincolns no longer look small, and among silver silvermist and beige beigemist Camrys and Altimas, it stands out as an elegant rectilinear throwback to the early 1980s.
Today, we’re going to talk about the Lincoln Mark VII, a car I still find timeless and attractive today. It is the longest-lived of the Mark Series, available from 1984 through 1992. Lincoln has definitely changed since I was a kid in the ’80s. For most of my childhood and early adulthood, there were three Lincoln models: The Continental, the Town Car, and the Mark. All were clearly defined in the lineup, and had a specific clientele. Even the dealer brochure made note of this.
As the 1986 Mark VII brochure said: “While what Lincoln automobiles have in common is impressive, what perhaps is more impressive is how they are different from each other. For each addresses and fulfills a different luxury need. The 1986 Lincoln Mark VII, for example, satisfies not only the craving for comfort, but the passion for performance…the Lincoln Continental is a truly contemporary luxury automobile, a marvelous commingling of high technology and high fashion. And the Lincoln Town Car continues its tradition of uncompromising ride, room and comfort.” I’ve already done the mid-’80s Town Car, and the Continental will get its time in the spotlight here on RG sometime soon. But today, it’s all about the Mark VII. Continue Reading →
It’s time again for another visit to the Chicago Auto Show, thanks to my friend Jim Smith. You see, he’s been attending the event for fifty years. And took quite a few pictures in that time. Lucky for us! So let’s dive into a world of Broughamage and wood-sided wagons, and see what kind of new rolling stock is on display!
I often ask myself whatever happened to the Lincoln Town Car. It was doing so well before Dearborn got caught up in the SUV craze, followed by the combover, er I mean crossover, craze. It seemed the venerable TC became largely ignored by product planners in the Glass House, before finally disappearing after a small number of 2012 Town Cars were built in mid-2011. Perhaps Panther fans’ love of the 1990-97 model and subsequent watering-down of said top-dog Lincoln had something to do with it. Making essentially identical cars from 2003-2011 certainly didn’t help, but those final boxy 1995-1997 just seemed a little more distinguished. A little more special.
I am well known for my love of Ford Motor Company’s flagship, the Lincoln Continental. Very few people, at least those who appreciate classic cars, would argue that the 1961-69 Continental was anything but a classic design and a true American luxury car, but I also am rather fond of the 1970-73 version. Remember those? They’ve kind of faded from memory over the decades, with the ’60s Continentals on one side and the square-rigged, luxury railroad coaches that were the 1975-79 Continentals.
I certainly remember them. A big part of that is due to an old, forgotten triple black 1971 Lincoln Continental that was sitting in a 1920s-era one-car garage not far from my neighborhood. From the age of approximately five through the end of junior high, my beloved bicycles took me where I wanted to go. Heck, I still have my first bike sitting in my garage!
Today we celebrate the last Lincoln coupe, the Mark VIII. Despite recent successes with the 2017 Continental and 2018 Navigator, the odds are that the 1993-1998 Mark VIII is going to be the last. Coupes just don’t sell. Crossovers are now eating even the midsized, mid-price sedan’s lunch. But it was a compelling car. It was the final chapter of a series of luxury coupes and cabriolets dating back to 1939.
The VIII was a technically sophisticated luxury car when new and its statistics are rather impressive even today. Upon its introduction in Autumn 1992, I was an impressionable twelve year old. Sure, I liked Porsche 911s and Corvettes, but even then I had a serious soft spot for domestic luxury cars, thanks to my grandparents’ patronage of premium FoMoCo products since the mid-Sixties.
Folks, let me tell you a story–a nightcap, if you will. Perhaps you may enjoy a gin and tonic while you read. Go ahead, I’ll wait. OK, ready? Once upon a time, there was a classy luxury car called the Lincoln. About ninety years ago, she came into the world. Well made, aspirational, comfortable and imposing. The Lincoln was worthy of any man of taste’s attention, and if you treated her right, she would be a friend for life.
Things actually got off to a bumpy start. Her benefactor, Mr. Leland, did not skimp on her finery, but in so doing, ran into the rocks financially. So the Lincoln was sold off to a rich industrialist. He wasn’t actually all that interested in the Lincoln, but his son, Edsel, took a shine to her, and the resulting Lincolns of the ’30s were remarkably beautiful, luxurious and worthy of your attention. While the Depression era was not particularly kind to them, Lincoln hung in there and the 1936-up Zephyrs and Lincoln-Continentals of 1940-48 were, again, remarkable cars.
Mr. Lido A. Iacocca is a polarizing figure. For some, he took all the glory, imposed his will at his own peril, and took credit for the work of others. Alternately, he was a super salesman, made his career from nothing, created some new market segments no one else had ever thought of, and saved a car company at the brink of being toast. Few are neutral about the man. But I fall a bit more into the latter camp, and the subject of today’s daily dose of Lincoln is why: The magnificent Continental Mark III.
1970 was a big year for Lincoln-Mercury. The Continental Mark III was a sales success, the recently refreshed Marquis/Monterey were strong sellers, the final performance Cougars, namely the 1970 Eliminator and XR7, went on sale, and there was a new Continental. Yes, the 1961 Continental had single-handedly saved the marque from oblivion, and its clean, classic lines and throwback center-opening doors made it an icon of the 1960s.
And the look was deftly maintained throughout the decade. These new Sixties Continentals looked nothing like prior Lincolns, and especially unlike the enormous 1958-60 models. Sounds a lot like 2017, when the new Continental appeared, doesn’t it? But I digress.