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!


1980 Lincoln Continental Mark VI coupe

“A car befitting its illustrious heritage”

For 1980, Lincoln completely revised the Continental Mark series, downsizing it for the first time and adding a sedan. The coupe was over 14 inches shorter than the 1979 Mark V and about 750 pounds lighter. However, the Mark VI was still a big car by any standard—a foot and a half longer than a 2019 Mercedes-Benz S 560 coupe.

Standard power for 1980 was a Windsor 129 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection paired with a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. Buyers could specify a $160 upgrade, which was the Windsor (not Cleveland) 140 bhp 5.8 liter/351 ci V8 with a Motorcraft 7200 VV two-barrel carburetor. With the standard powertrain, 0-60 took about 14 seconds in the 3,892-pound car. Mileage was 17 city/24 highway by the standards of the day—with the 18-gallon gas tank, Mark VI owners could expect a range of about 330 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $16,291 base Mark VI ($54,600 in today’s dollars or a little over what a 2019 Lincoln Continental Select costs) included hidden halogen headlamps, luxury wheel covers, and P205/75R15 white sidewall tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch wheels. Inside, cloth Twin Comfort lounge seats, power windows, an electronic instrumental panel with message center, a four-spoke color-keyed steering wheel, automatic temperature control air conditioning, and an AM/FM stereo radio with power antenna were all standard.

As had been true for many years, there were multiple designer packages available for the Mark VI: Bill Blass ($1,825), Cartier ($2,191), Emilio Pucci ($2,191), and Givenchy ($1,739). There was also the Signature Series ($5,485), which added just about every possible option and brought the price to $21,776 (about $73,000 in 2018 dollars).

Individual options included touring lamps ($67), Twin Comfort six-way power seats ($171), a tilt steering wheel ($83), and automatic speed control ($149).

Continental Mark VI page from the 1980 Lincoln brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

Like the Ford Thunderbird of the same year, the 1980 Continental Mark VI did not sell. Sales of the coupe dropped to 27% of the 1979 number—even if you added the newly-available sedan, they were still down 49%; not a good look for a brand new model. To make the news worse, the virtually unchanged Cadillac Eldorado (which had been downsized on 1979) more than doubled the Mark VI coupe’s sales. The agony would continue for several years, only changing with the release of the aerodynamic and significantly smaller Mark VII in 1984.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1980 Continental Mark VI in #1/Concours condition is $15,200, with a far more typical #3/Good car going for $6,300. Values slide up with the various designer packages and the Signature Series, but only by about 5% to 10%. This generation of Marks maintains some presence in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors—as I write this in July 2018, there’s burgundy 1980 Signature Series coupe with 4,800 miles for sale asking $25,000.

1984 Lincoln Continental Mark VII LSC coupe

This was one of my early posts in this blog. I’ve updated it to reflect both changes in my posting style and substantial improvements in available data.

“The ultimate American road car.”

The Lincoln Continental Mark VII was all new for 1984. The standard powertrain for 1984 was a Windsor 140 bhp 4.9 liter/302 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel-injection connected to a four-speed automatic transmission. Despite the LSC’s 3,600 pound weight, 0-60 still came in under 9 seconds. Mileage by the standards of the day was 17 city/22 highway (14/20 by today’s standards). With a 22.3-gallon fuel tank, a Mark VII owner could expect a range of 340 to 390 miles with a 10% reserve.

Standard mechanical equipment on all Mark VIIs included four-wheel disk brakes, four-wheel air ride suspension, and the first composite headlights available in the United States. Inside, a Trip Minder computer, air conditioning, rear window defroster, interval wipers, tilt steering, cruise control, remote release fuel door, power windows, power door locks, power side view mirrors, power six-way driver’s seat, and an AM/FM stereo were all included.

Continental Mark VII LSC pages from the 1984 Lincoln brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

The new LSC trim level added about $2,000 to the base Mark VII’s non-trivial $21,707 price (making the LSC start at about $54,400 in 2014 dollars). LSC-specific components included a stiffer air suspension, dual exhaust, leather seats, fog lamps, and P215/65R15 Goodyear Eagle GT radial tires (a size still readily available) on forged aluminum 15 x 6-inch wheels. A Traction-Lok limited slip differential was optional for $95.

Ford wanted the LSC to compete with the big BMW (635 CSi) and Mercedes-Benz (500 SEC) coupes, but it seems more likely that most LSC buyers were cross-shopping cars like the Buick Riviera T-Type, the Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe, or (horrors!) the Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.

I always liked the look of the LSC—I think the stylists combined “traditional” Mark traits such as the rear spare tire hump with Ford’s new aerodynamic direction very effectively. At the time, people complained about the somewhat limited interior room and the quite small trunk for such a large car. The period of the big coupe was beginning to fade, but the LSC was indeed an interesting approach.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Continental Mark VII LSC in #1/Concours condition is $9,100, with a more “normal” #3/Good condition LSC fetching $4,200. Lincoln Mark VIIs show up in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds reasonably regularly—as I write this in July 2014,  there’s a Sandstone 1988 LSC with 55,000 miles listed for $8,000.

Make mine Platinum Clearcoat Metallic, please.