Lincoln Mark series

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Lincoln Mark
1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III.JPG
Overview
Manufacturer Continental Division (1956–1957)
Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln (1958–1960)
Lincoln-Mercury (1968–1998)
Production 1956–1960
1969–1998
Assembly Wixom, Michigan
Body and chassis
Class Full-size personal luxury car
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan (1980–1983)
Layout FR layout
Chronology
Predecessor Lincoln Continental (1940–1948)
Successor Lincoln LS

The Lincoln Mark series was a series of personal luxury cars that long served as the flagship of the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford Motor Company.

Lincoln introduced the Mark Series when the Continental Division was integrated into Lincoln for 1957; the Mark was the most expensive model in the lineup. In 1961, Lincoln returned to a single-model line, dropping the Mark series.

In 1968, the Mark series was re-introduced as a personal luxury car, as the Lincoln Continental Mark III. Future Mark models shared platforms with the Lincoln Continental series but typically represented the sportier coupe segment. In 1998, the discontinuation of the Mark VIII ended the series.

The legacy of the Mark Series lives on in the current Lincoln naming scheme; since 2007, all models have adopted an "MK" alphanumeric prefix, with the exception of the Navigator and the now-discontinued Town Car.

Background[edit]

Before there were series of "Continental Mark", "Lincoln Continental Mark", "Lincoln Mark", or "Lincoln MK" models, there were various models built by the Ford organization employing the name "Continental". These began in the 1930s with a one-off car, a custom personal car that ended up serving the function of a concept car, which Edsel Ford directed his designers to create. It began with the existing design of the Lincoln-Zephyr and was modified extensively. It was called the "Continental" because it was meant to capture an essence of Continental European luxury. This first car led to a production model, the first of the "Lincoln Continental" series, which was built from 1939 to 1948.

In 1955, Ford Motor Company chose to introduce a new personal luxury car as a successor to the pre-war Lincoln Continental. As it was to be one of the most exclusive and expensive automobiles in the world, Ford chose to create a stand-alone division above Lincoln. The new Continental Mark II of the Continental Division adopted a naming convention of "mark number", also meaning "version number" or "model number"; while used in the European automotive industry, this was also used to identify versions of artillery, tanks, naval vessels, and aircraft. The name was thus equivalent in original meaning to simply "Continental, version 2" or "Continental, model B", although the name "Mark" later took on a brand-like feel of its own in the minds of many customers, which later branding efforts then expanded upon.

In 1958, the Continental division was integrated into Lincoln, with Lincoln introducing the Mark III, IV, and V to replace the Mark II; they served as the flagships of the Lincoln line. In 1961, Lincoln went from a three-model line to a single Continental; the Mark series was dropped.

For 1968, Lincoln restarted the Mark series with the Mark III. Instead of being a flagship model of the standard Lincoln, the Mark III was an all-new car. Based upon the Ford Thunderbird, it was a strict personal-luxury coupe like the Continental Mark II and the 1939-1948 Continental, thus restarting the series at Mark III.

While sharing little to no common bodywork, the Mark series would share much of its underpinnings with the Ford Thunderbird for its entire production run from 1969 to 1998. The lone exception is the 1980-1983 Mark VI, which was based on the Ford LTD/Mercury Marquis coupe and Lincoln Town Car; the Mark VI is the only model ever produced as a 4-door.

Mark II (1956–1957)[edit]

Main article: Continental Mark II
Mark II
Continental Mark II.jpg
Overview
Production 1956–1957
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Powertrain
Engine 368 cu in (6.0 L) V8

The Continental Mark II was a personal luxury car produced by a newly formed Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company for only two model years: 1956 and 1957.

The Mark II was available only as a two-door hardtop coupe. The new model eschewed chrome-laden styling of the period. Its understated design evoked a European simplicity of line. The Continental Mark II featured a Lincoln-style spare tire hump, shared the new 368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-block V8 engine and running gear, and was sold and serviced at Lincoln dealerships. Four-door and convertible versions were explored by Ford, but not developed.

Most of the car was hand-built to high standards, including multiple coats of paint hand-sanded down, double-lacquered, and polished. The car's price was US$10,000 (US$86,744 in 2014 dollars[1]); was as much as a Rolls-Royce or two top-of-the-line Cadillacs at that time.

All Mark IIs were equipped with power steering, power brakes, power windows, automatic transmission, motorized radio and antenna, as well as a luxurious interior of imported Scottish leather. The only option available was air conditioning. The 1956 models had small "scoops" for air intake located on the upper rear fenders. Cool air from the trunk-mounted evaporator coil entered the passenger compartment from four vent registers located in the corners of the roof headliner.

Ford abolished the Continental Division at the end of the 1957 model year and the Mark III became a Lincoln.[2]

Mark III, IV and V (1958–1960)[edit]

Mark III, IV and V (1958–1960)
Lincoln Continental Wasen.jpg
Overview
Model years 1958–1960
Assembly Wixom, Michigan, United States
Designer John Najjar
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
4-door sedan
4-door Landau hardtop
4-door Town Car sedan
4-door Limousine
Layout FR layout
Related Lincoln Continental
Lincoln Premiere
Lincoln Capri
Powertrain
Engine 430 cu in (7.0 L) MEL V8
Transmission 3-speed Turbo-Drive automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 131.0 in (3,327 mm)
Length 1958: 229.0 in (5,817 mm)
1959: 227.1 in (5,768 mm)
1960: 227.2 in (5,771 mm)
Width 1958–59: 80.1 in (2,035 mm)
1960: 80.3 in (2,040 mm)
Height 1958: 56.5 in (1,435 mm)
1959–60: 56.7 in (1,440 mm)
Curb weight 5,000–5,700 lb (2,300–2,600 kg)
1958 Lincoln Continental Mark III Landau hardtop sedan with "breezeway" window – this particular car was owned by the Lao royal family
1959 Lincoln Continental Mark IV Town Car
1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V

After the Mark II was discontinued, a new generation of the brand appeared for 1958. These were the first Marks produced at the new Wixom plant, and were made on a unibody platform much like the original Continental. Though this edition is known as the "Mark III," the first models bore the nameplate "Continental III" on the front fender. While advertising brochures made the case that Continental was still a separate make, the car shared its body with that year's Lincoln. They differed from the lower-model full-size Lincolns in trim level and in their roof treatment, featuring a reverse-angle power rear "breezeway" window that retracted down behind the back seat. Hand assembly was gone, allowing for lower prices. Even so, Lincoln lost over $60 million during 1958–1960, partly reflecting the expense of developing perhaps the largest unibody car[3] ever made. The 1958 full-size Lincoln sold poorly in all models because of the economic recession in the U.S. However, the Mark III recorded much better sales than the Mark II.

The new Lincoln was one of the largest cars ever made, larger than that year's Cadillac, and with their canted headlights, "dagmar bumpers", and scalloped fenders had styling considered by many to be excessive even in that decade of styling excess. They are the longest Lincolns ever produced without federally mandated 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumpers. The 63.1 inches (1,603 mm) front and 63.0 inches (1,600 mm) rear shoulder room they possessed set a record for Lincoln that still stands to this day. Furthermore, the 1959 Mark IV and 1960 Mark V Limousines and Town Cars are the heaviest American sedans without an extended wheelbase built since WW II, and the 1958 Mark III convertible is the longest American convertible produced with the exception of the (extremely rare) 1934–37 Cadillac V-16 convertibles.

The 1959s range contained the original Mark IV, and the 1960, the original Mark V, with more restrained styling than the 1958. Two new body styles were added for 1959 and 1960, both on the same wheelbase as other Continentals, but without the reverse-angle "breezeway" window: a formal Town Car and an even more formal Limousine. Both cars had dual air conditioning units, a distinctive padded roof and were available only in black. The Limousine added a driver's partition for additional rear seat privacy. The Town Car cost over $9,200 with a total of 214 sold over both years, and the Limousine cost $10,200 with only a total of 83 sold, making it more expensive and perhaps even more exclusive than the Mark II.

One feature of these cars was the "Auto Lube", that, as long as the owner kept the lube reservoir full, the car automatically lubed itself. However, the 1958–1960 Marks were technically Lincolns as the Continental division was dropped after the Mark II. And this marked the last time that a Mark would share no major chassis components with a model made by Ford or Mercury as the next Mark III would share major components with the contemporaneous Ford Thunderbird.

Design Epilogue[edit]

1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V convertible
1959 Lincoln Continental Mark IV coupe

The reputation for "excessive styling" is perhaps ironic given the enormous amount of styling talent that was connected with the development and modification of Marks of this vintage (as well as given the elaborate marketing efforts at eliminating all memory of these Marks). George W. Walker, known for his contribution to the development of the original Ford Thunderbird, was Vice-President in charge of Styling at Ford during this time. Elwood Engel, famous for being lead designer of generation four of the Lincoln Continental and for his work as chief designer at Chrysler in the 1960s, was Staff Stylist (and consequently roamed all of the design studios) at Ford during this period and worked very closely with John Najjar in developing not only the 1958, but also the 1959 update. After John Najjar was relieved of his responsibilities as Chief Stylist of Lincoln in 1957 he became Engel's executive assistant, and the two worked closely together in the "stiletto studio" in developing the fourth generation Lincoln Continental, which of course won an award for its superlative styling. After Engel left Ford in 1961, Najjar became the lead designer of the Ford Mustang I concept car, which later gave birth to the Ford Mustang. Don Delarossa, who succeeded Najjar as Chief Stylist of Lincoln, was responsible for the 1960 update, and went on to become chief designer at Chrysler in the 1980s. Alex Tremulis, who was Chief Stylist at Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg in the mid to late 1930s and famous for his work on the 1948 Tucker Sedan, was head of Ford's Advanced Styling Studio during this period, and it was his Ford La Tosca concept car, with its oval overlaid with an "X" theme, that gave birth to the "slant eyed monster" nickname to the 1958 Mark III front end. And, perhaps most ironic of all, L. David Ash was Lincoln's Executive Exterior Stylist when Najjar was in charge of Lincoln styling, the same L. David Ash who would later play such a prominent role as Chief Stylist of Ford in designing the 1969–1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III, which helped cause Marks of this vintage (together with a marketing decision by then Ford Executive Vice-President Lee Iacocca) to be called the "forgotten Marks".

Mark III (1969–1971)[edit]

Mark III (1969–1971)
1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III.jpg
1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III
Overview
Production 1969–1971
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Powertrain
Engine 460 cu in (7.5 L) V8

The Lincoln Continental Mark III was manufactured by Lincoln for model years 1969 through 1971. The Mark III was created when Iacocca, president of Ford Motor Company at the time, directed Design Vice President, Gene Bordinat, to "put a Rolls Royce grille on a Thunderbird"[4] in September 1965. The Mark III was based on the four-door Thunderbird platform,[4] which was first introduced for 1967.

The Mark III competed with Cadillac's front-wheel-drive Eldorado, which bowed for the 1967 model year and held the upper rung in the personal luxury car market. Introduced on April 5, 1968, as a 1969 model, the Continental Mark III outsold its Cadillac rival each model year.

The Mark III took many of its design cues from the mainstream Ford Thunderbird. Distinguishing features included a prominent grille, hidden headlights, and a Continental spare tire hump in the decklid.

Differences for the 1969 model year included eight new exterior colors and an optional white leather/vinyl interior, as well as new headrests, steering wheel styling, instrument panel knobs, and color-keyed vinyl boots on the front seat belt anchors varied. A Cartier dash clock was introduced in December 1968.

The 1970 model year cars included the formerly optional vinyl roof and Sure-Track anti-lock braking system. The interior wood trim was upgraded to genuine walnut wood trim (all 1969 models featured either East India Rosewood or English Oak wood appliques depending on the interior color). The Continental lettering on the decklid was bolted on (instead of glued on for 1969). The seat and door trim pattern was changed to a simpler design (instead of the diamond-pattern, button-tufted design of 1969). Also new were a locking steering column, rim-blow-horn steering wheel, map light off delay device, concealed electric windshield wipers with adjustable intermittent feature, and a three-point restraint system for front outboard occupants.

The 1971 model year cars received radial tires, tinted windows, and an automatic climate control. High-back Twin Comfort lounge seats with two-way power controls were also new.

Mark IV (1972–1976)[edit]

Mark IV (1972–1976)
1975 Lincoln Continental Mk IV Coupe.jpg
1975 Lincoln Continental Mark IV
Overview
Production 1972–1976
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Powertrain
Engine 460 cu in (7.5 L) V8

The Mark IV carried over many design themes of the Mark III including the grille and faux spare tire trunk lid, and grew both longer and wider — sharing its platform with the Ford Thunderbird. In 1972, Lincoln introduced the small oval windows, marketed as opera windows, at the roof rear quarters. The 1973 model year featured front bumpers to comply with new US safety regulations that required all passenger cars to withstand a 5-mile-per-hour (8 km/h) front and a 2.5-mile-per-hour (4 km/h) rear impact. 1974 models featured redesigned rear bumpers under mandatory federal safety regulations.

Mark IVs were powered by a 460 cu in (7.5 L) V8 engine.

Beginning in 1973 special Luxury Group packages were offered in various paint, roof, and interior color schemes from year to year. The Silver Luxury Group for 1973 included Silver "Moondust" metallic paint with a matching silver grained vinyl roof and a silver leather interior. Or, if the buyer preferred a color contrast, Cranberry (deep red) velour or leather interior trim was available. For 1974, a Gold Luxury Group and a Saddle & White Luxury Group (April 1974 introduction) joined the carryover Silver Luxury Group. For 1975, a Blue Diamond Luxury Group and a Lipstick & White Luxury Group joined the three carryover packages from the previous model year. For 1976, in addition to certain ones that carried over from the previous model year, Lincoln offered a dizzying array of new Luxury Group packages: Jade/White, Light Jade/Dark Jade, Red/Rose, Gold/Cream, Black Diamond (March 1976 introduction), and Desert Sand (March 1976 introduction). Lincoln continued to offer similar color-coordinating Luxury Group packages on the Mark V and Mark VI.

Mark V (1977–1979)[edit]

Mark V (1977–1979)
1979 Continental Mark V Cartier Designer Edition.jpg
1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V Cartier Edition
Overview
Production 1977–1979
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Powertrain
Engine 460 cu in (7.5 L) V8 (1977–78 Optional in both years in 49 states)
400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 (1977–79 Standard in all 3 years in 50 states)

Introduced for the 1977 model year, the Lincoln Continental Mark V was a major revision of the Mark IV. The rounded styling of the previous generation gave way to a sharper-edged look. Interior design remained similar to the Mark IV, with variants in the seat patterns and dashboard trim (while retaining the general dashboard layout of the IV) being the primary differences. As the Ford Thunderbird was downsized and based upon the intermediate chassis utilized by the Ford LTD II and Mercury Cougar XR7, the Mark V utilized its own chassis. The Mark V was larger and more complex than its predecessor, coming just ten inches short of 20 feet (6.1 m) long. The electrical system and mechanical componentry shared less in common with other Ford products, and was harder to service than the corresponding equipment on the Mark IV.

The 460 cu in (7.5 L) of the Mark IV no longer remained the standard engine of the Mark V, with the 400 becoming standard and the 460 optional, for both the 1977 and 1978 model years. The 460 was not available at all for 1979. After the 1976 model year, the 460 was no longer available in Lincolns sold in California, because it was not able to be emissions-certified for that state. By contrast, the 1977 Continentals were initially available ONLY with the 460 in the 49 states but around mid-production the 400 became standard and the 460 optional, except in California. The March 1977 update of the Lincoln Product Facts Book for 1977 shows these changes in red font. Evidence of a change as early as December 1976 is available. The author of these edits (March 2013) has a 49-state February 21 1977 Continental Town Car, the price sheet of which shows the 460 as an option. Marti reports however suggest that almost all 49-state Lincoln buyers chose the 460 after it became optional.

Experts from Motor Trend, April 1980, which compared the then new Mark VI (a Cartier 351-2 model with a 2.73:1 diff) against the Mark V (a Bill Blass model with a 3.08:1 diff):

"....another automotive era ended in 1979. The press releases summed it up by calling the '79 Continental "the last traditionally full-sized American car." The hardware of the matter is that the car is one of the largest mass-produced passenger cars ever to roll off an assembly line. With an overall length of 230.3 inches, a wheelbase of 120.3 inches, and a curb weight of 4,763 pounds, it is a dinosaur, and the changing nature of the times will no longer tolerate such blatantly consumptive machines for personal transportation....

....The 1979 Mark V was the essence of unconstrained American automotive opulence, conceived in a time when fuel economy and space efficiency were the concerns of lesser cars.

....Though the styling of the Mark V was unchanged from '78 to '79, there were some mechanical and engineering refinements......Weight reduction techniques that included use of plastics, high-strength lightweight steel, thinner glass, and aluminum for such engine parts as the intake manifold and water pump produced a 400-pound weight reduction [from 1978], as compared to the 930 pounds surrendered by the Mark VI models.

....Even with the weight loss, the Mark V is a huge piece of machinery, albeit a desirable one in terms of potential value. It is the last of a breed and has sufficient quality and style to assure eventual classic status It is entirely likely that, in 10 years, the owners of such cars will discover that they have a piece of collectible automotive machinery.

....To drive the Mark V is to be the captain of your own huge, luxurious ship. In an operational sense, the Mark V is massive, smooth and competent only in boulevard or highway applications.....What it was designed to do, it does very well. It isolates the driver and passengers from the outside world, and when you're driving, it makes you feel - and makes other people think you are - rich. Even with its rather straight-lined, sharp-edged styling, the car has a certain rakishness and projects the image of the driver as an elegant rogue.

....This intangible quality is exactly what we found lacking in the Mark VI. It has a more formal look - the result of a more squared-off roof and trunk line - that would tend to make you think of the driver as a successful accountant....The interior produces none of that feeling of decadence. It is light and airy, as opposed to the cocoon feeling of the Mark V, and has a little too much space-age gadgetry and undisguised plastic to fit the traditional definitions of luxury.

....The Mark V is the pinnacle of 60 years of automotive definitions...."

Mark VI (1980–1983)[edit]

Mark VI
1980 Bill Blass Mark VI (2).jpg
1980 Lincoln Continental Mark VI Bill Blass Edition
Overview
Production 1980–1983
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
Powertrain
Engine 4.9 L (302 cu in) 5.0L Windsor V8
5.8 L (351 cu in) Windsor V8
Transmission 4-speed AOD automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2-door: 114.3 in (2,903 mm)[5]
Length 216.0 in (5,486 mm)
Width 78.2 in (1,986 mm)
Height 55.4 in (1,407 mm)

The 1980 model year design revision and change to the Panther platform significantly reduced the size of the vehicle—the new model was 14 in (356 mm) shorter and rode on a wheelbase 6 in (152 mm) shorter than before—and the new car was 500 kilograms (1,102 lb) lighter. Aside from being the first Mark series available as a 4-door sedan in 20 years, the Mark VI retained most of the styling cues of the 1977 Mark V. The models retained the hallmark opera windows, Rolls-Royce style grille, and its characteristic vestigial spare-tire hump on the deck lid.

The Mark was available with Lincoln technology and electronic equipment. A digital instrument cluster using Vacuum Fluorescent Displays, pushbutton keyless entry, automatic overdrive (AOD) 4-speed automatic transmission, and a fuel injection on the 302 cu in (4.9 L) engine were new for 1980.

The new downsized Lincolns received positive reviews by the automotive press, being more efficient and more spacious than the corresponding Cadillacs of the same year that had been downsized for 1977. The new Lincolns used new assembly techniques, and had aluminum pieces in the body and mechanicals to lighten the cars, in addition to the 800 lb (363 kg) weight loss they received from the redesign. The old 460 cu in (7.5 L) V8 was replaced by a fuel-injected 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 (marketed as a "5.0" model), and a carbureted version of the 351 cu in (5.8 L) V8, though the latter was available only for 1980.

The basic body was shared between Town Car and Mark VI, but the Mark bore more resemblance to the Mark V, with hidden headlamps, the spare tire bulge on the trunk, the vinyl top and opera windows, etc. For the last time, the Mark series was offered as a four-door sedan, but both Marks were dropped after 1983 in favor of a new Mark VII, and a small Continental sedan from 1982 to 1987 that was meant to replace Lincoln's unsuccessful Versailles compact. The Town Car and Town Coupe bore some resemblance to the old standard Continentals of the 1970s. A Town Coupe was available for both 1980 and 1981, but only about 3,000 were assembled during the two years. The success of the Mark VI effectively reduced interest in the Town Coupe. The Town Car continued to be Lincoln's bestseller for the rest of the 1980s.

The Mark VI was sold during a downturn in the U.S. automobile market. Total production of 2-doors over the four model years amounted to 63,662; or less than the Mark V in any one of its three years on the market.[citation needed] Part of the sales slump for the Mark VI was the redundancy after the Town Car; being for all intents and purposes the lower sedan with oval opera windows and concealed headlamps. Also the Mark V coupe, “from an appearance standpoint the car was essentially a scaled-down Mark V as most of the former’s styling elements were retained in the new design.”[6]

Mark VII (1984–1992)[edit]

Mark VII
Lincoln-Continental-Mark-VII.jpg
Overview
Production 1984–1992
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Platform Ford Fox platform
Powertrain
Engine 302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
149 cu in (2.4 L) BMW M21 I6

The Continental Mark VII, later just called the Mark VII, was introduced in 1984. It rode on the Ford Fox platform that was originally used by the 1978 Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr. Mark VIIs were manufactured at the Wixom Assembly Plant in Wixom, Michigan through 1992.

The Mark VII had most of the comfort, convenience, and performance options that were available in the 1980s. This included all power accessories, leather seating, keyless entry, an onboard computer and message center, digital instruments (on all except the LSC models after 1986). All Mark VIIs came with full air suspension with an electronic ride control system. Mark VIIs also came with a 4-speed automatic transmission, stainless steel tubular headers, dual exhaust, and either a SEFI or throttle body fuel injection (dependent on model). Some 1987 models and all 1988 models also received a horsepower and torque boost thanks to a larger throttle body and better flowing cylinder heads.

The Mark VII was also the first American vehicle with electronic 4-channel anti-lock brakes (November 1984, six months before the Corvette). It was also the first American vehicle with composite headlights. The vehicle also featured a unique four-wheel air suspension that developed a problematic reputation.

The standard engine was Ford's 302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8, equipped with fuel injection. A high-output version of this engine was available in the Mk VII LSC. The LSC model also included sport-tuned suspension and gearing. In 1984 and 1985 a 2.4L BMW inline-6 diesel engine was available but it was rarely ordered.

Mark VIII (1993–1998)[edit]

Main article: Lincoln Mark VIII
Mark VIII
Lincoln-Continental-Mark-VIII.jpg
Overview
Production 1993–1998
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Platform Ford FN10 platform
Related Ford Thunderbird
Mercury Cougar
Powertrain
Engine DOHC 4.6 L V8, 280 hp
DOHC 4.6 L V8, 290 hp

The Mark VIII was Lincoln's last personal luxury car, sold between 1993 and 1998. The Mark VIII was assembled at Ford's Wixom, Michigan assembly plant and was based on the FN10 platform. Slightly larger than the Mark VII, the Mark VIII had more interior space than its predecessor. The move from the Fox platform allowed for the use of fully independent suspension at all four wheels. Aside from its Ford and Mercury counterparts, the only other American rear-wheel drive cars at the time with this feature were the Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper. The Mark VIII received a minor exterior redesign for the 1997 model year with a larger grille and exterior lights.

LSC[edit]

The 1996 LSC model got 10 hp (7.5 kW) more, true dual exhaust, lower (3.27) gearing and other luxury features. The 1996 LSC was the first car from an American automaker to be equipped with HID headlights, and the 1997 to 1998 models continued the groundbreaking lighting trend with even larger housings for the HID system, and an innovative neon third brakelight across the entire rear decklid.

Branding[edit]

The branding of the various models was never clear-cut by today's brand management standards. For much its lifespan, the Mark-series models were a coupe-only subset of the Continental 2- and 4-door (coupe and sedan) models. Despite Continental having merged into Lincoln after 1957, the Marks were not officially identified as Lincolns until after the 1984 launch of the Mark VII. The badges, identification plates, and factory paperwork do not bear the name "Lincoln", but Lincoln-Mercury dealerships are where the cars were sold and serviced. To Ford senior management, the various models were all under the umbrella of the Lincoln-Mercury Division, although in the theatrics of branding, the association was alternately downplayed and reemphasized over the years.

Continental Star[edit]

After the Continental Division was integrated into Lincoln after the 1957 model year, its four-point star logo - the "Continental Star" - was brought with it. Used on all Mark Series cars and Lincolns since 1958, it is still the brand logo (in modified form) of Lincoln as of the 2014 model year.

Further use of name[edit]

MK9 and Mark X concept cars[edit]

Main article: Lincoln MK9

In the early 2000s, Lincoln produced two personal-luxury concept cars using the Mark Series name. The two-door MK9 (pronounced "Mark Nine") debuted at the 2001 New York International Auto Show. Intended to explore the Mark Series past the discontinued Mark VIII, the MK9 was a two-door sedan with rear-wheel drive and a DOHC V8 engine[7] The styling of the MK9 influenced several later concepts, including the 2002 Continental concept and the 2003 Navicross.

In 2004, the last car to use the Mark Series name debuted at the Detroit Auto Show. The Mark X ("Mark Ten") was a two-seat convertible; a first for the Mark Series. Mechanically based on the 2002–2005 Ford Thunderbird, the Mark X added a power-folding retractable hardtop. Although its Thunderbird origins were apparent above the window line, much of the Mark X was restyled for a contemporary and modern appearance (rather than the retro styling seen on its Ford stablemate).

In a break from Mark Series tradition, the Continental spare-tire hump on the decklid was left out of the design of the two concept cars.

Mark LT (2005–2008)[edit]

Main article: Lincoln Mark LT

After the discontinuation of the Blackwood after a single year of production in 2002, Lincoln stayed out of pickup truck market for three years. In 2005, the division tried again with the Lincoln Mark LT. As with the Blackwood, the Mark LT was based on the crew-cab version of the F-150; a major change from the Blackwood was the availability of all-wheel drive and the use of a conventional pickup box. After the 2008 model year, the Mark LT was rebadged as the Platinum trim level of the Ford F-150 in the United States and Canada, remaining for sale only in Mexico.

Lincoln MK naming scheme[edit]

During the 1990s, American luxury brands such as Lincoln lost market share to German and Japanese brands. As Lincoln and Cadillac began modernizing their lineups during the early 2000s, they both began to adopt alphanumeric naming schemes used by their competitors. At Lincoln, this started with the 2000 LS, which created some objections by Toyota, the owners of Lexus. As the LS and the Continental were both discontinued in the mid-2000s, the division introduced a new alphanumeric naming scheme that would partly revive the Mark Series. From 2007 to 2010, all newly introduced Lincolns would wear the "MK" (pronounced "emm kay") designation; the lone exceptions were the Town Car and the Navigator. The Zephyr was renamed the MKZ as part of a minor redesign, and the MKX was originally intended to be the second-generation Aviator. After the 2011 model year, the Navigator became the sole non-MK Lincoln as the Town Car sedan was discontinued and its nameplate is now used on the livery/limousine version of the MKT crossover.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  2. ^ Bonsall, Thomas E. (2003). The Lincoln story: the postwar years. Stanford University Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-8047-4941-1. Retrieved January 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ Popular Mechanics – Google Boeken. Google Books. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Iacocca 1984, p. 83.
  5. ^ 1981 Lincoln Continental promotional brochure, issued by manufacturer
  6. ^ Dammann, George (1987). The Cars of Lincoln Mercury. Crestline. p. 535. ISBN 978-0-912612-26-3. 
  7. ^ Vaughan, Daniel (December 2010). "2001 Lincoln MK9 Concept Images, Information, and History (Mark IX)". Conceptcarz.com. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 

Bibliography[edit]