1986 Lincoln Mark VII coupe

On a driveway about three blocks from my house sits a Silver Blue Lincoln Mark VII. The sporty LSC version attracts most of the attention with these cars—it has previously attracted mine. However, this post is about the “base” coupe.

“The most completely equipped car sold in America”

Lincoln dropped the Continental sub-marque name from the Mark series in 1986. That was probably the biggest news in the Mark VII’s third year, but there were other enhancements and changes. The standard V8 gained 10 bhp, while the LSC got a 60 bhp bump. Lincoln added the newly-required high mount rear stop lamp, and both anti-lock brakes and keyless entry became standard across the line. Inside, power front seat recliners and the Premium Sound System were newly standard. The Versace Designer Series was no more, but the Bill Blass Designer Series continued.

The base Mark’s only available powertrain was a Windsor 150 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with fuel injection mated with a four-speed automatic with overdrive. 0-60 came in about 10.5 seconds in a car with a curb weight that approached 3,700 pounds. Fuel economy was respectable: 18 city/26 highway by the standards of the day (16/24 by 2020 measures). With a 22.1-gallon gas tank, a Mark VII owner could expect a range of 400 to 440 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

1986 Lincoln Mark VII brochure pages
Pages from the 1986 Lincoln Mark VII brochure

The Mark VII’s base price was $22,399 for 1986—approximately $53,600 in today’s dollars, or about 15% more than a 2020 Lincoln Continental Standard sedan goes for. Standard exterior and mechanical equipment included flush-mounted aerodynamic halogen headlamps, tinted glass on all windows, a power antenna, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, an Electronic Air Suspension with automatic level control, and P215/75R15 white sidewall tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch cast-aluminum road wheels. Inside, every Mark VII included fingertip speed control, interval windshield wipers with speed controls, Electronic Automatic Climate Control, cloth six-way power seats, and an AM/FM stereo cassette radio with four speakers.

The well-equipped Mark VII offered relatively few options for 1986. Items buyers could choose included a power glass moonroof ($1,319), a Traction-Lok differential ($165), strange-looking geometric cast-aluminum wheels ($298), wire-spoke aluminum wheels ($693), and leather seating surfaces ($551).

1986 was a solid year for Lincoln’s big coupe. Sales increased by 9% of the previous yeaar and Car and Driver chose the LSC variant as one of their 10Best. All of this happened while sales of the newly downsized Buick Riviera, Cadillac Eldorado, and Oldsmobile Toronado collapsed.

Mark VIIs do attract collector interest, and there is model-specific club support along with the bigger Lincoln car clubs. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1986 Mark VII in #1/Concours condition is $16,400, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $11,300. These Marks are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors, and they sometimes show up at auction. As I write this post, a mahogany 1988 Mark VII with tan leather seats and 51,000 miles is for sale on Hemmings for $8,500.

Make mine the extra-cost ($268) Flemish Blue Glamour Clearcoat Metallic, please. What a name!

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