• Lincoln Mark Series

The Lincoln Mark series has identified several generations of personal luxury car produced by Lincoln, the luxury division of Ford, between 1956 and 1998.

After the success of the model produced between 1939 and 1948 in 1955, Ford decided to return the name as an independent brand from Continental Lincoln, beginning the production of the Mark II. In 1958 the two divisions were reunited, and the Continental model became the symbol of Lincoln. Until 1983, all models of the Continental Mark kept the appointment, which was abandoned the following year with the introduction of the seventh generation. The last series was the Mark VIII, produced from 1993 to 1998.

All models of the Mark series were only available as a coupe; the only exception was the Mark VI, available from 1980 to 1983 in the form of four-door sedan.

The Continental Mark II was a unique personal luxury car, produced by the new Continental Division of Ford between 1956 and 1957. It is considered by experts in the field of historic cars one of the classics of postwar American.

The new Continental was not trying to be the biggest or most powerful car on the market, but rather the most elegant and luxurious of all American cars then existing. The result was a model of distinction with respect to the trend of the fifties, starting from the exterior. In fact, while many U.S. automakers based their style of chrome and lines drawn (an example is the classic "fins" of the Cadillac Eldorado), the Continental, with its sober elegance evoked closer to the European design.

At the rear, the emphasis it from the spare wheel recalled the first generation of the Continental sedan produced between 1939 and 1948. This feature, combined with the fact that the Mark II was sold in Lincoln dealer network, has meant that this model was considered to all effects a Lincoln, when technically it was produced by a division of its own. The engine was the new 6.0L V8, shared with the models Capri and Premiere.

Each Continental Mark II was built entirely by hand, resulting in uncompromising quality: the body was mounted to verify that the assembly was flawless, only to be dismantled, painted (by applying three layers) and reassembled again. As for the interior, the coatings were calfskin, which was bought specially from England. The price of the Continental Mark II reflected the level of the assembly: they left $ 10,000, that is the price of a Rolls-Royce or two Cadillac for the same period.

Among the prominent personalities who have purchased a Continental Mark II remember Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and the Shah of Persia.

Today, of the 3,000 copies originally manufactured, they circulate approximately half. In the market for historic cars prices range between $ 8,000 for a model to be restored, and $ 70,000 for one in prime condition.

The Continental Mark III, this time produced directly from Lincoln, was ideally the direct heir of the historic Mark II, in spite of these two models were released over a decade away from each other: in fact the Mark III made its debut in April 1968, when the previous generation was presented in 1956.

The role of the Mark III was to be the main rival of the Cadillac Eldorado, which was completely redesigned last year resulting in a considerable increase in sales. In fact, the debut of the Mark III occupied the upper segment to less expensive Buick Riviera, Ford Thunderbird and Oldsmobile Toronado. General Motors had developed on the platform of the Eldorado Toronado, and Ford followed the same strategy basing on that of the Mark III Thunderbird. The engine was a 7.5-liter V8, specially introduced the same year.

As regards the design, despite the Mark III initially took inspiration from Thunderbird, the end result certainly met all the distinctive features of the Lincoln brand. It was precisely on the Mark III that were introduced hidden headlights and grille in the style of Rolls-Royce, two design solutions that were maintained throughout the course of the seventies. To further characterize the line of the Mark III were the very long bonnet and shorter tail, another particularity then inherited by subsequent generations of the Mark series. At the rear, the "Continental Kit" (ie, the relief on the trunk, since it from the spare wheel well) drew the elegance of the Mark II.

The equipment of the Mark III included power steering, power brakes, power windows and power seats. The instrumentation included a Cartier watch, while optional accessories were the main system with anti-lock brakes, leather interior, air conditioning (standard in 1971) and cruise control.

In the year of launch of the Mark III sales surpassed those of rival Eldorado, and the debut of the heir Mark IV production had reached 79.381 units.

The Continental Mark IV debuted in 1972, retaining many features of the design of the previous generation, despite the larger size: these were in fact the hidden headlights, grille style Rolls-Royce (higher than that of the Mark III), and the "Continental Kit" on the tail. Like the previous model, shared the platform with the Ford Thunderbird.

Among the main novelties we recall the aesthetic characteristic "opera windows" in the rear pillar: initially it was an optional element, which became standard since 1973 and would have been present for ten years in successive generations of Lincoln.

The engine was still the 7.5-liter V8 already used on the Mark III. Even the standard equipment was similar: the main addition was the AM radio with four speakers. Between 1973 and 1974, the range of accessories remained unchanged; in these two years, major changes were made on the bumpers, redesigned to comply with new U.S. regulations, protecting the body better in low-speed impacts.

In 1976 they were introduced to the market some special versions of the Continental Mark IV Designer Series Call: it was characterized by patterns of colors, interiors and accessories selected by famous designers. On the dashboard of every Designer Series was a visible license plate plated with 22-carat gold on which the owner could engrave your name. There were four different versions :

The Continental Mark V was sold in the course of just three years, from 1977 to 1979. It replaced the Continental Mark IV while keeping the same style, this time played with more angular lines, according to the trend that began with the end of the seventies. The Mark V, slightly longer than the previous generation, no longer used the same platform as the Ford Thunderbird, which had instead been resized and moved on the floor of the Mercury Cougar.

In 1977, the standard engine was the classic 7.5 V8 became optional in the following year (and finally eliminated in 1979) after the introduction of the new 6.6 V8, fuel consumption a little smaller. A Continental Mark V version 7.5 has been tested by the German magazine "Auto, Motor und Sport", getting an average of only 3 m/s.

With the Lincoln Continental Mark V came very close to violation of U.S. fuel consumption, and therefore the models of the following years would have dimensions less impressive: the Mark V, in fact, measuring 5.85 meters in total length, with a weight was up to 2170kg.

The Designer Series, signed by the same designer who had worked at the Continental Mark IV in 1976, was offered during all three years of production of the Continental Mark V. In 1978, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Ford, the Mark V (along with Thunderbird ) was produced in a special version called the Diamond Jubilee Edition, which included all the accessories available that year: the only option was the panoramic roof. The price of this version, only available in the colors gold and blue, was $ 23,000, a very high figure for the time.

The following year, close to the production of the Mark V Collector’s Series was introduced, which had essentially the same as the rich setting of the Diamond Jubilee, but was also available in blue, silver and white, and differed by the absence of "opera windows".

The Mark V set a record for sales of Mark in every generation and every year, and in 1979 the production stopped after 228.862 copies.

The Continental Mark VI was introduced in 1980, and remained in business until 1983. This was the first car of the Mark series to be smaller than the previous series: Panther moving on the floor led to a model of 36 inches shorter, and about 225kg lighter than the Mark V. In spite of the different proportions, the Mark VI took up much of the aesthetic features of the previous generation. It is also the sole model of the Mark series also available as a four-door sedan.

Like other Lincoln in 1980, the Mark VI had a technologically advanced equipment for the era: all models were fitted as standard with digital instrument panel and the keyless entry system. It was the latest amenities, which were encountered reliability problems between 1980 and 1981, then settled over the following two years.

The Continental Mark VI, along with the Town Car with whom he shared the new platform, was an immediate success, since in part by consumption improved compared to previous years: the old 7.5 V8, in fact, had been replaced by a 4.9, still eight cylinders. Thanks to the complete renewal of the range, in 1980, Lincoln was able to surpass the sales of rival Cadillac.

The new Panther platform was shared by the models Town Car and Mark VI, but it was noted a greater resemblance to the Mark V, given by the usual details: "Continental Kit", hidden headlamps, vinyl-covered roof and a "work windows. " For the first time the Mark series was also offered as a sedan, but this version was not maintained in the years after 1983, given that his segment was occupied in part by the new Continental, which in 1982 had been considerably scaled by replacing the Versailles. Among Lincoln in the early eighties the model more rare, and the higher value to collectors, is the Town Coupe, two-door version of the Town Car, produced in small numbers because it was inconsistent with the two-door version of the Mark VI, who put in great difficulty sales.

The Continental Mark VII, whose name was finally shortened to Mark VII during production, was introduced in 1984, remaining in the range of Lincoln until 1992. It was based on the Fox platform, previously used on the Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr. The Mark VII was the first American car with electronic ABS, followed six months later by the Chevrolet Corvette.

From the point of view of the electronics, the equipment of the Mark VII was wide: standard on all models was available, in addition to the digital instrument panel, on-board computer. The different models available, in addition to the basic model, there were three: Versace Designer Edition, Bill Blass Designer Edition and LSC (Luxury Sport Coupe). Since 1988, the range was reduced only in the latter two outfits, while between 1990 and 1992 was available for the LSC version, even a package called Special Edition.

The version favored LSC performance, and was designed to compete with European sports such as the BMW 635 CSi and the Mercedes-Benz 500/560 SEC. Compared to other models had stiffer suspension, dual exhaust, leather sports seats and, until 1988, a 5.0 V8 engine from 149 kW. From that year on the entire range was used the engine already introduced in 1987 on the Ford Mustang GT, a 5.0 V8 168 kW.

From 1986 forward on the LSC was taken analog instrumentation, including speedometer, tachometer, odometer and trip meter and fuel level indicator. Version Bill Blass was instead the digital instrumentation, without, however, tachometer and trip odometer.

The production of the Lincoln Mark VII ended in 1992 after 190.536 copies.

The Mark VIII, introduced in 1993, was based on the FN10 platform, derived from that used on the Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar from 1989 to 1997. Compared to the previous generation were increased by the total length – 526 cm now – and pitch, so as to obtain a greater interior space and a better ride quality. As for the appearance, the Mark VIII differed decisively from the Mark VII, with softer lines and aerodynamic accentuated by chrome trim. The tail was characterized by a single lantern horizontal that ran the entire width of the car, and for the first time was not present the classic "Continental Kit".

The engine used on the Mark VIII was a 4.6 V8 210 kW, with four-speed automatic transmission. As far as interior and comfort, were standard automatic climate control, cruise control, trip computer, electrically adjustable front seats with memory for three different configurations, electrically adjustable and heated mirrors, keyless entry system and AM/FM radio. They were available on request panoramic roof, mirrors photosensitive, the 10 CD charger and the JBL audio system.

In 1995 was introduced the sporty version of the LSC, characterized by more aggressive appearance and performance. The engine was an upgraded version of the 4.6 V8 engine, capable of delivering 216 kW of maximum power. In the brochure of the Mark VIII is reported that the time required to reach 60 miles per hour (approximately 96km/h) is 7.6 seconds. To visually differentiate the LSC from the other versions was mainly the body devoid of chrome, replaced from coated finish.

In 1997, the Mark VIII was renewed in appearance: the front was made softer, with new headlights and a larger grid. In the single taillight chose to use a neon lamp as a brake light, saw that the time needed for lighting was lower than that of the traditional lights. The side mirrors included instead of the LED type lights.

In 1998, the last year of production of the Mark VIII, were introduced two special versions: Spring Feature and the Collector’s Edition. The Spring Feature, of which only 117 copies were produced, was distinguished by the paint color gold, while the Collector’s Edition, which ended the history of the Mark series, was the most luxurious version available; were produced in 1386.

The production of the Mark VIII ended in 1998, after a total of 126.103 units built. To date, the Mark VIII is the ultimate personal luxury car produced by Lincoln.