Lincoln Town Car
|Lincoln Town Car|
|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Full-size luxury car
|Platform||Ford Panther platform|
|Related||Mercury Grand Marquis
Ford Crown Victoria
|Predecessor||Lincoln Continental (1981)|
|Successor||Lincoln MKT (livery/limousine version)
Lincoln MKS (retail version)
The Lincoln Town Car is a full-size luxury sedan that was sold by the upscale Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company; it was produced from 1981 to the 2011 model years. Often converted into a stretch limousine, it is the most commonly used limousine and chauffeured car in the United States and Canada.
The Town Car nameplate was first introduced in 1959 Continental Mark IV lineup as a top-of-the-line 4-door sedan; the nameplate became a permanent part of the Continental lineup in 1969, denoting its highest-trim interior package. In 1981, the Town Car became a stand-alone model in the Lincoln product line, superseding the Continental as the flagship for the Lincoln brand as well as for Ford Motor Company.
Featuring a standard V8 engine, body-on-frame design, rear-wheel drive and large exterior and interior dimensions, the Town Car was based on the Ford Panther platform. This gave it powertrain and suspension commonality with the Mercury Grand Marquis and the Ford LTD Crown Victoria (later the Crown Victoria). This design made them durable even in the rough conditions taxi and livery cars are subjected to, and easy and cheap to repair when they did suffer damage. Town Cars are typically operated in commercial service for at least 400,000 miles.
Its large dimensions made it the largest car in production in North America. From 1997 to 2011, the Town Car was the longest car (but not the heaviest) built in the Western Hemisphere, measuring nearly 18 feet (5.49 m) in length for a standard Town Car and 18.5 feet (5.64 m) for an L Edition.
After its discontinuation following the 2011 model year, the Town Car was left without a direct replacement. Although dimensionally a full-size sedan, the Lincoln MKS's architecture is considerably different as it has a front-wheel drive unibody platform with optional all-wheel drive. The MKS is marketed more as of a successor to the sportier Lincoln LS as well as the 1995–2002 Continental. To fill the gap left by the Town Car, Lincoln has remained in livery markets by developing a limousine variant of the MKT full-size crossover vehicle, which was made available around the second quarter of 2012 and is known as the "MKT Town Car." Lincoln is also believed to be preparing a true Town Car successor on a rear-wheel drive platform to rival the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-series.
- 1 Overview
- 2 First generation (1981–1989)
- 3 Second generation (1990–1997)
- 4 Third generation (1998–2011)
- 5 Discontinuation
- 6 Trim levels
- 7 Awards
- 8 Engine specifications
- 9 Safety
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
In English, "Town Car" is a literal translation of the French term "Sedan de Ville", a nameplate introduced by Cadillac in 1956. Both names refer to a classic style of limousine popular in the 1920s which had an open chauffeur's compartment in the front. While the Cadillac was a styled as a four-door hardtop, Lincoln made its modern models visually suggest their older namesakes. Many examples from the 1970s and 1980s had a vinyl roof style that swept down the center pillar as part of a raised molding, complete with opera lamps, suggesting a partition between front and rear seats while no vinyl was applied to the front section of the roof over the driver. Other models had a full-length vinyl roof.
The Town Car name first appeared in the Lincoln line in 1922, on a custom-built Lincoln made for Henry Ford. The name reappeared in 1959, on a special limousine-like version of the Lincoln Continental Mark IV; it was available only in black and was identifiable by a unique padded vinyl top, a rarity at that time. After 1959, the Town Car name went dormant for 10 years, reemerging as an interior option package for the 1969 Lincoln Continental. It next appeared as a trim option in 1970 ("Continental's Town Car Interior option", to quote from the 1970 deluxe catalog), and thereafter continued through 1980 as the top-line trim option package for the Lincoln Continental. Again, the Town Car trim featured an extra plush interior (Media velour cloth) along with more standard equipment. The Town Car badge has always been applied to sedans, but from 1973 to 1981, there was a similar option for coupes called the Lincoln Continental Town Coupe.
In 1981, the Town Car became a separate model from the Continental in preparation for further downsizing of the latter; aside from the closely related Continental Mark VI, it became the last full-size Lincoln in the lineup. Since its introduction, there have been three generations of the Town Car, introduced in 1981, 1990, and 1998. Each of these received a substantial refresh approximately halfway through its production cycle, in 1985, 1995, and 2003.
First generation (1981–1989)
|Also called||Lincoln Continental (1980)
Lincoln Town Coupe (1980–1981)
|Assembly||United States: Wixom, Michigan (Wixom Assembly Plant)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan
|Related||Lincoln Continental Mark VI
Mercury Grand Marquis
Ford LTD Crown Victoria
|Engine||5.0L/302cui V8 5.0L Windsor V8|
|Transmission||4-speed AOD automatic|
|Wheelbase||117.3 in (2,979 mm)|
|Length||219.2 in (5,568 mm)|
|Width||78.1 in (1,984 mm)|
|Height||55.9 in (1,420 mm)|
2-door: 3,993 pounds (1,811 kg)4-door: 4,006–4,120 pounds (1,817–1,869 kg)
After lagging behind Cadillac and Chrysler, Lincoln became the final American manufacturer to downsize their full-size cars in 1980. The 1980 Continental shared the Panther platform with full-size counterparts from Ford and Mercury, which adopted it for the 1979 model year. In comparison to the 1979 Continental, the 1980 model shed approximately 900 lb (410 kg), 1 in (25 mm) in width, 14 in (360 mm) in length, and 10 in (250 mm) in wheelbase. Despite these dimensional regressions, engineering changes (such as the lack of sufficient engine compartment room to fit a big-block engine) allowed an increase in trunk space. As the 1970s Lincolns had sold well towards the end of their production run, much of its styling was carried onto the Panther platform, including its blade-like fenders, fake vent windows, and the Rolls-Royce grille shape. In contrast to 1970s models, most models wore exposed headlights, with the exception being the Mark VI models.
The downsizing of the Continental marked the beginning of an expansion of the Lincoln lineup. As the division had relied nearly entirely on full-size cars, Lincoln split the Continental and the Town Car into separate models. The Town Car remained the traditional full-size Lincoln, while the 1982 Continental became a mid-size car (based on the Fox-body Fairmont/Mustang/Thunderbird platform) to replace the slow-selling Versailles. When the Mark Series was redesigned in 1984, it too was redesigned; instead of a landyacht, it became one of the most advanced cars ever sold by Ford Motor Company.
From 1980 to 1983, the script "TOWN CAR" appeared above the headlights; this script was removed for the 1984 model year. A leather-grained vinyl full-roof covering with center pillar coach lamps was standard on base Town Car, while the padded vinyl coach roof (covering only the rear half of the roof) with a frenched (smaller) rear window opening was included on Signature Series and Cartier models (and optional on base Town Car). A cloth (Canvas) roof—re-creating the look of a convertible—was optional on all except Cartier. Inside, Signature Series and Cartier models featured 6-way power seats (and manual seatback recliners) for the driver and front passenger. All models now featured a 50/50 split front bench seat, replacing the traditional full-width bench seat.
The 1981 Town Car featured many advanced luxury options for its time. An optional full-function trip computer with digital displays showed the driver "miles to empty" and (based on driver input) an "estimated time of arrival", among other features. Another new feature, the keypad entry system, allowed access to the vehicle via a factory-programmed (or self-programmed alternate) five digit combination. From the keypad, the driver could lock all four doors, or after entering the code, unlock the vehicle's doors or open the trunk lid. With this system being linked only to the vehicle, rather than a satellite, the need for drivers to share their identity with an operator in a potentially unsecure environment was not required. This popular feature is still in use on many Lincoln, Mercury and Ford vehicles.
For 1985, the Town Car received minor design updates. Like previous years, the scheme included a reflector running in between both taillights above the bumper mounted license plate – a design feature kept for the second generation 1990–1997 Town Car. But now, a single, wide reverse lamp was mounted in the center of the reflector panel (the lamps moved up from the previous bumper location). All four corners of the vehicle were slightly rounded, and the new, narrower bumpers were flush mounted with the sides of Town Car. Inside, the 1985 dashboard used satin black trim on the lower dashboard fascia and a slightly revised steering wheel with a padded center panel including a horn button—the previous year had a hard plastic center piece, with the horn button located at the end of the turn signal stalk. The large wood-tone applique used on each door panel through 1984 was replaced by an insert matching the seat upholstery.
In 1985, Cadillac DeVille and Fleetwood were both downsized, the former converted to front-wheel drive. Lincoln, however, continued to field the Town Car as a traditional-sized luxury car. In response to the downsized Cadillacs, Lincoln began running a series of ads in late 1985 titled "The Valet" which depicted parking attendants having trouble distinguishing Cadillacs from lesser Buicks, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, and even Chevrolets, with the question "Is that a Cadillac?" answered by the response "No, it's an Oldsmobile (or Buick, Chevy, etc.)." At the end the owner of a Lincoln would appear with the line "The Lincoln Town Car please." The commercial saw the emergence of the new advertising line, "Lincoln. What a Luxury Car Should Be." which was used into the 1990s. The mildy-revamped 1985 Town Car sold well in comparison to the newly re-styled GM vehicles that not only all looked like each other, but also too similar to lesser GM models. While the Town Car retained its traditional layout and large size, fuel prices dropped to a contemporary new low at the time, and operating economy became less of a concern to buyers than a decade prior.
Visually, 1986 was a virtual re-run of the popular 1985 model, but with the addition of the federally mandated third brake light, mounted on the parcel shelf in the rear window. The dashboard featured more wood-tone accents (in simulated blonde walnut burl), whereas the 1985 model held satin black lower dashboard panels. Tall, four-way articulating front seat head restraints arrived in many Ford vehicles for 1986, including Town Car. The biggest mechanical change for 1986 was the switch to multi-port fuel injection for the 302 cu in (4.9 L) engine. This replaced the throttle-body fuel injection system that had been used previously. The MPFI engines are easily identifiable visually, by their cast aluminum upper intake manifolds with horizontal throttle body (vertical throttle plate), replacing the more traditional-looking carburetor-style throttle body with top-mounted air cleaner of previous Town Cars.
1987 was more of the same for Town Car, and changes were minimal. The top-notch Cartier model – which was previously only available in two-tone arctic white and platinum silver, changed to dual shades of platinum (a metallic beige), along with a new interior color in a revamped sew-style, with a sandy beige color ("Titanium") replacing the former white and gray upholstery. Also new was the available JBL single-slot CD Player.
A very minor facelift occurred for the 1988 model year, which saw an early release in the spring of 1987. Town Car now included a wide brushed metal panel on the rear of the vehicle just below the trunk lid opening. The reverse lamps, previously located in the center, now moved to the outer edges of the reflector panel. On the front end of the vehicle, Lincoln returned to the waterfall grille versus a crosshatch design from 1985 to 1987. Inside, the standard dashboard held a new cluster featuring round gauges set within the square bezels. The burled walnut wood-tone trim was replaced by American walnut applique, and the horn pad changed slightly with more detailed plastic trim. Also, beginning with the 1988 model year, the Lincoln star became taller and narrower, as opposed to the more square-like appearance that it had used for decades. The narrower star design continues to this day.
For 1989, Town Car's grille featured satin black paint on the sides of the segmented grille blades (similar to Mark VII), and now included the "LINCOLN" logo (in a larger, more contemporary font), on the grille itself – down from the header panel above the headlight. Parking lamps were changed from clear to amber, and the background of the Lincoln medallions in between the headlamps was changed from clear to black. In back, the brushed metal panel above the center reflector held a series of fine horizontal pinstripes, and the new "LINCOLN" logo and "Town Car" script emblems moved up from above the tail-light panel (where they had been since 1988), back onto the trunk lid itself. The standard vinyl roof on the base model featured a smaller, more formal "frenched" rear window this year, and did away with the exposed trim surrounding the glass. Large, chrome Lincoln "star" emblems were embedded onto the opera window glass on base and Signature models.
The introduction of the Panther platform Town Car in 1980 was also the first year without the 400 cu in (6.6 L) V8, initially optional in 1977 (standard in California) then standard in 1978 (460 cu in (7.5 L) optional). The 460 cu in (7.5 L) V8 engine was last available in the 1978 model year. These were replaced with the smaller 5.0L/302cui V8 (throttle body fuel injection, replaced by Port Fuel Injection in 1986 through the 1989 model year). This engine was marketed as a "5.0" model. For the 1980 model year only, an optional 5.8 L (351 cu in) V8 was available. The transmission also changed to a 4-speed automatic with overdrive. All Town Cars from 1980 to 1989 featured an optional trailer towing package which included: dual exhausts, a shorter-ratio limited slip differential and an improved cooling package for the engine as well as transmission.
Second generation (1990–1997)
|Assembly||Wixom, Michigan, USA|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Related||Mercury Grand Marquis
Ford Crown Victoria
1990: 4.9 L (302 cu in) 5.0L Windsor V81991–1997: 4.6 L (281 cu in) Modular SOHC V8
|Transmission||4-speed AOD automatic 90 – 92
4-speed AOD-E automatic 92 – 95
4-speed 4R70W automatic 95 – 97
|Wheelbase||117.4 in (2,982 mm)|
|Length||1990–94: 218.9 in (5,560 mm)
1995–97: 219.0 in (5,563 mm)
|Width||1990–91: 78.1 in (1,984 mm)
1992–94: 76.9 in (1,953 mm)
1995–97: 76.7 in (1,948 mm)
|Height||1990–94: 56.7 in (1,440 mm)
1995–97: 56. in (1,422 mm)
|Curb weight||3,935–4,103 pounds (1,785–1,861 kg)|
After ten years on the market (nine of them as the Town Car) relatively unchanged, Lincoln redesigned the Town Car inside and out for the 1990 model year. While the Panther platform was retained, along with the powertrain, every body panel on the outside was changed; the angular design seen since 1970 was abandoned. The front half of the Town Car echoed that of the Mark VII and the 1988 Continental, with the Rolls-Royce grille given a far more aerodynamic shape and the exposed halogen headlamps replaced with a wraparound composite design. Other sheet metal gave Town Car a decidedly contemporary look, while styling cues like those of the trunklid and taillights, remained somewhat similar to the 1980s model. The revised interior featured a new dashboard, seats, and door panels.
Town Car was still available in three trim levels: Base (renamed "Executive" in 1991), Signature, and Cartier—in increasing order of price and appointment of features. Cartier was now available in several interior and exterior colors (up until now, it had only been available in a single paint scheme every year).
The second generation Town Car was an overwhelming sales success and became one of America's best selling full-size luxury sedans. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Town Car sales regularly exceeded 100,000 units with 120,121 Town Cars being sold in 1994 alone. The vehicle was so widely received that it was named the 1990 Motor Trend Car of the Year.
Features and changes
Introduced in 1990 were several new options that had never been available before on Town Car. A two-position driver's memory seat was an optional on Signature (standard on Cartier). Electric seatback recliners with power inflatable lumbar support were available as well. The Electrochromic Dimming Mirror was also a carryover option from the 1989 Town Car, but now wider than before. A revised digital instrument cluster (standard on Signature and Cartier) featured a more advanced message center, but lost the "estimated time of arrival" feature (it returned in 1995).
Many advanced safety features were now featured on Town Car. For 1990, dual air bags became standard. However, problems with sourcing the passenger air bag module caused many cars to be delivered without the passenger side module. A credit, shown on the window sticker, was issued for the missing component. Upon request from an owner, the credit would be taken back and the passenger side airbag module would be installed. For the first time since 1979, 4-wheel disc brakes were standard on the Town Car; ABS was optional. Rear air suspension was added as standard equipment. 1991 saw the introduction of Ford's new Modular V8, a 4.6 L SOHC design replacing the Ford 302 Windsor, as well as new lightweight front and rear bumpers. 1992 saw the standardization of ABS braking along with dual airbags.
The 1993 model year saw a minor facelift on the front grille, and a new checkerboard pattern to the tail lamps. An electronic automatic temperature control (EATC) unit with digital display replaced the analog unit from the previous year. The electronic instrument cluster was now standard on all three models, while the automatic headlamp dimmer (part of the headlamp convenience group) was discontinued, the autolamp system became standard. An orange-toned walnut applique graced the dashboard and door panels. In 1994, 20 hp (15 kW) was added to the engine, bringing the total to 210 hp (157 kW). The torque was increased as well, by ten, bringing the total to 270 lb·ft (37 kg·m) of torque. As a result, the fuel mileage decreased by one, bringing that to 18 miles per US gallon (13 L/100 km) city and 25 miles per US gallon (9.4 L/100 km) highway.
There were three distinct models that remained throughout this generation Town Car's life cycle:
The Base (later Executive) Town Car offered six-passenger seating with two bench seats, an A/M-F/M stereo with cassette player and four speakers, power seats in the front, a four-speed automatic transmission (later with overdrive), cloth seating surfaces, fifteen-inch tires with laced alloy wheels, a digital LED dashboard, trip computer, dashboard clock, and keyless entry with Ford's Securicode keyless entry keypad.
The Signature added leather seating surfaces and an available cloth imitation convertible roof.
Finally, the top-of-the-line Cartier offered a JBL-branded sound system with amplifier, a security system, alloy spoked wheels, and other exclusive details.
A Jack Nicklaus Edition Town Car, based on the Signature Series Town Car, was available from 1991 to 1993. It offered special commemorative badges, gold lettering for exterior badges, gold front grille spokes, a gold Lincoln hood emblem, gold laced alloy wheels, gold interior accents, and a JBL premium sound system with amplifier. This Town Car celebrated professional golfing legend Jack Nicklaus. Production of this one-of-a-kind Town Car ended in 1993.
The Town Car underwent a minor exterior facelift for the 1995 model year. Changes to the exterior included smaller, clear headlights as well as additional running lights in the rear. Larger door mirrors were body-colored (formerly chrome), and were moved slightly forward on the door itself. Updated bumpers front and rear, new body side moldings, and the deletion of the small fixed window in the rear doors completed the exterior changes. The antenna was removed from the outside of the car and integrated into the rear window.
The interior was extensively revamped. Town Car received a new dashboard, seats and interior door panels. The angular interior shapes from the 1990 to 1994 model's interior were replaced by a curved dashboard that flowed into the front door panels, in fashion with the so-called "organic" design. 1995 also saw the introduction of a new steering wheel, which was used in all Panther-based sedans from 1998 to 2004. In addition to the cruise control buttons, which had been steering wheel mounted since the 1970s, some models (Signature and Cartier) featured remote audio and climate control buttons as well.
Also introduced in 1995 was a new digital dash layout (replacing the unit used since 1993) that featured a more italicized look to the readouts, while the exterior temperature readout moved from the dash cluster to the climate control panel. A "miles to go" trip computer feature was added. Dual power recliners with lumbar support—as well as a three-position driver's seat and mirror memory function became standard (formerly optional) on Signature Series which could be assigned to the keyless entry remotes as well as the up to four personal keyless entry codes. Heated seats were a new option, and door panel switches now featured (slight) illumination from a lamp located below the interior door handle. Power door lock switches were back-lit, and were mounted high up on the driver and passenger door panels. The fuel door release (previously mounted in the center dash panel) and trunk release button moved from inside the glove compartment to the lower driver's side door panel. Similar to the previous year, Signature and Cartier models featured dual clamshell storage armrests up front with cassette storage, coin holder, and an optional Cell phone. The 1997 Cartier models held dual cup holders in the rear center armrest, and offered lighted vanity mirrors in the headliner for the two outboard rear seating positions.
With the demise of the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham after 1996, the Town Car became the last of its kind: the last American full-size, rear-wheel drive luxury car. The demise of the Fleetwood also made the Town Car the largest mass-produced car available in North America.
Third generation (1998–2011)
|Also called||Lincoln Town Car L
FAW Hongqi CA7460
FAW Hongqi Limousine
|Assembly||Wixom, Michigan, USA (1998–2007)
St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada (2008–2011)
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Related||Mercury Grand Marquis
Ford Crown Victoria
Hongqi CA7460/Hongqi Qijian(红旗旗舰)
|Engine||4.6 L Modular SOHC V8|
|Transmission||4-speed 4R70W automatic
4-speed 4R75W automatic
|Wheelbase||Town Car: 117.7 in (2,990 mm)
Town Car L: 123.7 in (3,142 mm)
|Length||1998–2002 Town Car: 215.3 in (5,469 mm)
2003–2011 Town Car: 215.4 in (5,471 mm)
2001–2004 Town Car L: 221.3 in (5,621 mm)
2005–2011 Town Car L: 221.4 in (5,624 mm)
|Width||1998–2002: 78.2 in (1,986 mm)
2003–2011: 78.5 in (1,994 mm)
|Height||1998–2002: 58.0 in (1,473 mm)
2003–08 Town Car: 58.6 in (1,488 mm)
2003–08 Town Car L: 58.7 in (1,491 mm)
2009–2011 Town Car: 59.0 in (1,499 mm)
2009–2011 Town Car L: 59.1 in (1,501 mm)
For the 1998 model year, Ford gave its full-size cars for all three divisions major redesigns, with the Town Car receiving the most attention. The straight-lined body seen for eight years gave way to a curved design scheme with a downwards sloping trunk lid, and cat's-eye headlights. The C-pillar opera windows and Rolls-Royce grille seen since the 1970s were left off, as was the hood ornament. In the front, the new Town Car wore a waterfall grille much like the Navigator that was introduced alongside it for 1998. While it lost 3 in (76 mm) in overall length, the new Town Car was 2 in (51 mm) wider, 1 in (25 mm) taller, with a slightly longer wheelbase as well.
The interior received major changes as well. Door and instrument panels as well as the radio face, switches and controls were redone. Additional wood trim was added to the newly designed dashboard and the door panels. The power seat recliner and lumbar controls were moved to the door panels. Lincoln emblems remained on the door panels and the seatbacks, as well as the rear tail lights, making the 1998–2002 models the last Town Cars with that feature. The Cartier model also received a 220 hp (164 kW) version of the Modular V8.
Seat-mounted combination head and torso side airbags became standard during the 1999 model year. In late 2000, the Touring Edition featured a more powerful 235 hp (175 kW) version of the Town Car's Modular V8 engine, dual exhaust pipes and unique 16" alloy wheels with larger tires.
According to Consumer Guide the car scores above average in the premium luxury segments for comfort, room, and materials but scores below average for acceleration, steering and overall technical performance. Otherwise, the Town Car has frequently received negative reviews with the car being considered "out of date." The Town Car is, however, still considered one of the best chauffeured vehicles as it receives high marks for being among the most comfortable, quiet riding and roomiest luxury cars available. Forbes car writer Jerry Flint attributes the Town Car's falling sales since the 1998 redesign to the reduction in length and smaller trunk.
Town Car L
A new "L" designation was used on Lincoln Town Cars with extended wheelbases from 2000 to 2011. The L editions offered an additional 6 in (150 mm) of rear-seat legroom, as well as remote access audio and climate controls mounted in the rear center armrest. Also included was a two-way travel switch for the front passenger seat base (a feature shared with the extended-wheelbase Jaguar XJ). This L designation was similar to that used on other luxury flagship sedans such as the BMW 7-Series or the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The L designation was applied to the top-of-line Cartier (2000–2003), Ultimate (2004 only), and Signature (2005–2011) trim levels. For the 2000–02 versions, the "L" edition can best be identified by a wide, stationary gloss-black panel bearing the Lincoln "star" ornament, mounted forward of the window glass on the elongated rear doors. The "L" version from 2003 and onward features extended-width fixed opera windows. Fleet buyers got a version of the "L" under the Executive trim designation.
In China, FAW made a licensed version of the Lincoln Town Car and was rebadged as Hongqi CA7460(红旗CA7460),Hongqi Qijian(红旗旗舰) from November 10, 1998 to 2005. However the limousine version continues to be produced and sold in china. The limousine version is currently called the Honqgi Limousine.
In 2003, coinciding with a major update of the Ford Panther platform, the Town Car underwent its last re-design inside and out. The front and rear sheet metal (hood, front fenders, trunk lid, and rear fenders) as well as the bumpers were squared off, with a dramatically new stretched grille and headlights, which replaced the purse grille and cat's eye headlamps of the previous generation. After 5 years without one, the Town Car gained back its hood ornament; however, the Lincoln emblems were removed from the taillights. Suspension changes necessitated the use of wheels with a high positive offset (flush-spoke). To improve its handling, a speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering system was added to the Town Car. Also new was a power trunk lid that opens and closes at the touch of the driver's door mounted button or through the keyless remote; this was known as "Trunk at a Touch." The Modular V8 now produced 239 hp (178 kW).
On the inside, the seats were replaced with a new design (with larger head restraints) and the dashboard received satin metal in addition to the standard woodgrain. The radio face, including the climate controls, received an update with the addition of an analog clock. A DVD-based satellite navigation system designed by Pioneer became available late in the 2003 model year; it was later paired with THX sound processing. The factory-equipped rear ultrasonic park assist (with two rear bumper mounted sensors) became standard on all except the Executive Series.
The 2003 redesign would turn out to be the last for the Town Car; all changes since then have consisted of minor yearly changes. After 2003, the fleet Executive (and Executive L) became equipped with single exhaust while the Signature Series and Signature L were equipped with dual exhaust. This created 224 hp (167 kW; 227 PS) for the fleet-based Executive, while the Signature got 239 hp (178 kW; 242 PS). Most coach builders convert the Executive's single exhaust into a dual exhaust setup when building a limousine, to give the vehicle some added power on top of having to stretch the exhaust to accommodate the stretched frame.
In 2005, the steering wheel was updated. For 2006, the instrument panel received was updated with the addition of a tachometer (becoming one of the last American cars to adopt the feature). On the exterior, the parking sensors became hidden. Also for 2006, Lincoln offered a 25th Anniversary Edition package to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Town Car.
For 2008, many previous options were included in the base price. The Town Car was available in two models: the Signature Limited and the extended-wheelbase Town Car Signature L. As Town Car production began to ramp down, many optional features were standardized in an effort to use up existing stock, ease assembly line procedures, and position Town Car as a better value against the competition. Leather upholstery had been standard since 1998, and the 6-disc CD changer was included in the base price. The only four remaining options were HID (High-Intensity Discharge) headlamps, chrome-finish 18-spoke wheels (in place of the standard machine-finished 10-spoke wheels), a white-wall tire option, and the trunk organizer—a three-bin storage tray underneath a hard carpeted cover for Town Car's deep center trunk well (which allows the Town Car to have a temporary flat, albeit considerably shallower, loading floor).
The 2009 Town Car was available only in Signature Limited and the extended wheelbase Signature L. The four options from 2008 continued for 2009, in both price and availability.
For 2010 and 2011, the Town Car is again available in two forms — Signature Limited and the extended wheelbase Signature L. The few remaining options include High-Intensity Discharge headlamps, Trunk organizer, and a set of four 17-inch, 18-spoke chromed aluminum wheels. The whitewall tire option was discontinued, but Daytime Running Lamps became available. Also available only on Signature Limited was the Continental Edition package. This is somewhat ironic, as the Town Car was originally the upscale edition of the Panther-based Lincoln Continental. The package adds Continental badging, chrome 17-inch wheels, and chrome B-pillar accents to the car's exterior, while inside, the Continental name is embroidered on the front seats and front floor mats.
|Calendar Year||American sales|
660,129 Town Cars were sold during this period.
In 2006, as part of The Way Forward, Ford considered ending production of Lincoln's largest model as part of the 2007 closing of the Wixom Assembly Plant. Industry observer George Peterson said "It blows everybody’s mind that they are dropping the Town Car. Just think what Ford could do if they actually invested in a re-skin of Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Town Car." Ford ultimately decided to keep the model and move assembly to the St. Thomas Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada; this was home to the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis; both models also used the Ford Panther platform. The Town Car's manufacture resumed at its new location in late 2007. The first Canadian-assembled Town Car was built on January 10, 2008. However, in Canada, Town Cars were sold exclusively for fleet and livery sales, having been discontinued in retail markets after the 2007 model year.
In 2009, the fate of all three Panther-platform models was determined when Ford announced the 2011 closure of the St. Thomas Assembly Plant. For the limousine and livery markets, Ford had promised availability of the Town Car through the 2011 model year; retail sales continued on a limited basis in the United States and for export. On January 4, 2011, the Town Car became the last Panther-platform variant available for retail sale as the final Mercury Grand Marquis was produced (the last Mercury-brand vehicle). On August 29, 2011, the final Town Car rolled off the assembly line, without any fanfare or announcement from Ford.
With the discontinuation of the Town Car, Lincoln has moved to remain in livery markets by developing a limousine variant of the MKT full-size CUV. The MKT limousine will be available around the second quarter of 2012 and will be called "MKT Town Car." Lincoln is also believed to be preparing a true Town Car successor on a rear-wheel drive platform to rival the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-series.
In 1981 the Town Car was introduced in three trim levels: the base model, the mid-range Signature Series, and the top-of-the-line Cartier Series. In 1991, the Executive Series became the designation for the base/entry model. In 2004, the Cartier name was dropped and replaced by Ultimate, and the Executive Series name was now only used for fleet vehicles going forward. This left the Signature Series as the entry level model. In 2005, however, the lineup was changed again and all three trim levels carried a Signature badge: Signature, Signature Limited, and Signature L. In 2006 and 2007, a Designer Series was added to fit in between the mid-range Signature Limited and the top-of-the-line Signature L. Starting in 2008 and through the end of the model run, the Signature Limited and Signature L were the only retail trim levels available.
The Signature Series was the mid-level, and also most popular, trim level from 1981 through 2003. In 2004 the trim levels were renamed, and the Signature Series was now used to describe the base trim level and Ultimate was now used to describe the upper level trim. In 2005 the Ultimate was dropped and all trim levels were changed to a version of Signature. The base trim level for 2005 was called Signature, the mid trim level was called Signature Limited and the top-of-line trim-level was called Signature L. The trim level designations were revised again for the 2006 model year with a Designer Series being added between the Signature Limited and top-of-line Signature L. By 2008, with only two models remaining, the Signature Limited became the base model, while the Signature L badge was used for the extended-wheelbase model.
Cartier was used on the top-of-line Town Car from 1981 through 2003, including LWB or "L" versions 2000–2003. The Cartier also featured the designer's logo stitched onto the seats in place of the Lincoln star. Golden Lincoln emblems on the tail-lights also became a staplemark on the Cartier Edition on 1998 through 2002 models.
Executive (1991–2003 for retail and 2004–2011 for fleet)
The Executive Series was the base trim level and thus the most affordable Lincoln Town Car from 1991 through 2003. After 2003, the Executive Series designation continued on, but for fleet vehicles only and included both SWB and LWB versions.
Limited (2000–2004) and Signature Limited (2005–2011)
"Limited", as an option package, was available on Signature trim models from 2000 to 2003 and on the Ultimate in 2004. Starting in 2005, Limited (known as Signature Limited) became its own trim level.
Ultimate was only used on the 2004 Town Car. The Ultimate designation replaced Cartier for 2004 and was used for the top-of-line model. Like the Cartier, it was offered in SWB and LWB versions.
The Designer Series was an upper-middle trim level in between the Signature Limited and Signature L. This trim included two-tone interior accents, a special higher quality leather called Provence leather. The rear seats also included four way adjustable head restraints exclusively on this trim for the standard wheelbase. On the exterior special chromed B pillars and chrome wheels were included.
Trim level timeline
|Lincoln Town Car Timeline|
|Entry||Base||Executive Series||Signature Series||Signature Limited|
|Mid-level||Signature Series||Signature Limited|
|High-end||Cartier Series||Ultimate||Designer Series|
|L||Cartier L||Ultimate L||Signature L|
|Fleet||Executive, Executive L|
Sail America Commemorative Edition
This special edition 1987 Signature Series model came in white with a blue carriage roof and had white leather interior with blue piping and special badging. Ford Motor Company was one of the corporate sponsors of the "Sail America Foundation" syndicate, owner of the 1987 America's Cup winning yacht Stars & Stripes 87.
The 1989 Town Car Signature Series was offered with a Special Edition package featuring a carriage roof, JBL audio system, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and "Special Edition" badging. This replaced a Gucci edition Town Car that had been in the works.
For 1994 only, the Town Car was available with a special package for the Signature Series. White Oxford Leather seats, which could offer optional blue piping along the seat edges, were paired with regatta blue carpeting with matching blue color trim on the doors and instrument panel. The package was often paired with white oxford vinyl carriage roof as well, with embroidery on the "C" pillar near the opera windows. Approximately 1,500 were produced.
1992 to 1997 saw a special Signature Series sedan come to market: the Jack Nicklaus Signature Series, which featured a green body with a white vinyl top with white leather interior trimmed in green. Another version came with white exterior paint and a conventional roof and a similar white leather interior with green carpets and trim. Most of these editions have ornaments and wording on the exterior trimmed in gold including green and gold "Golden Bear" badges on the front fenders. Options included on the 1992 to 1997 Jack Nicklaus Signature Series included: Memory Seats with Power Lumbar/Recliner, Leather Seats, and Monotone Paint.
1995 also featured another special Signature Series edition called the Spinnaker Edition which featured tri-coat paint, two-toned leather seats, the Spinnaker logo on the floor mats, and 16" spoked aluminum wheels.
To celebrate Lincoln's 75th anniversary in 1996, the Town Car took on a "Diamond Anniversary" edition. This edition was applied to Signature Series sedans only. Features included unique accent stripe, leather seats, wood instrument panel trim, window badging, cellular telephone, power moonroof, JBL audio system, auto electrochromatic dimming mirror with compass, and traction assist.
Also in 1996, Lincoln offered a Signature Series Cypress Edition which featured Cypress Gold Frost exterior paint, two-toned leather interior, and red Cypress tree badging.
Touring/Touring Sedan option packages were offered on Signature trim level models from 1996 to 2002. Specific options varied through the years with latter packages becoming more focused on sporting performance and handling features.
In 2005, a Pro Series edition/option package was available on the Signature Limited and included embroidered "Pro Series" logos on driver/front passenger seat backs, 9-spoke chrome wheels, chrome B-pillar, two-tone instrument panel, and floor mats with "Pro Series" brushed aluminum badges.
25th Anniversary Edition
Lincoln commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Town Car by offering a 25th Anniversary Edition package on the 2006 Signature Limited. The package included chrome B-pillar and door handles, unique Eucalyptus wood applique and matching steering wheel with wood inserts, scuff plates with "25th Anniversary Edition" and "25th anniversary" badging, Provence leather individual 40/20/40 lounge seating with individual comfort, shirring, contrast piping and rear seat adjustable headrests, foglamps, and 9-spoke chrome wheels.
Offered in 2010 and 2011 was the Continental Edition package; available as an option only on the Signature Limited trim. The package added Continental badging, chrome 17-inch wheels and accents to the B-pillars. On the interior, the Continental name was embroidered on the front seats and front floor mats.
Ballistic Protection Series
Starting in 2003, the Lincoln Town Car had been available featuring ballistic protection from the factory. Adding nearly $100,000 to the base price, the armored body and bulletproof glass raised the curb weight of the Town Car to nearly 7,000 pounds. Other changes to the suspension and brakes were intended to preserve the handling of the Town Car. Only a handful of Lincoln dealers in the country were authorized to sell this Series.
Throughout the entire run of the Town Car, numerous aftermarket companies and Lincoln-Mercury dealerships offered unique "trim packages" that typically included special roof treatments, grilles, wheels, and badging. These were especially popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Town Car has received several awards and recognitions.
- Forbes magazine repeatedly named the Town Car one of the best cars to be chauffeured in along with other, often more expensive flagship sedans, such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series and Lexus LS. The Town Car Signature L features a rear seat comfort package which not only provides rear seat passengers with audio system and rear compartment climate controls, but also features a control function which allows for the rear seat occupants to move the passenger seat forward, a feature exclusive to few ultra-luxury sedans. In addition to its many amenities, the Signature L also features an unrivaled 46.9 in (1,191 mm) of rear legroom, and 60 in (1,524 mm) of rear shoulder room.
- In 1990, upon the introduction of the second generation Town Car, the vehicle was named Motor Trend Car of the Year. However this award was later included by Car and Driver in a list of poorly chosen car of the year award winners. It should be noted that Motor Trend has changed the criteria by which it awards its highest accolade: Originally, Car of the Year awards went to the vehicle model which was the most significantly improved over the previous year's design in all respects. Currently, no such consideration is given to contenders for this award, and vehicles are considered for the award even if in their first year of production.
|1981||4.9 L 5.0L Windsor V8||130 hp (97 kW) at 3400 rpm||230 lb·ft (310 N·m) at 2,200 rpm|
|1982||134 hp (100 kW) at 3400 rpm||245 lb·ft (332 N·m) at 2,200 rpm|
|1983||140 hp (104 kW) at 3200 rpm||250 lb·ft (340 N·m). at 2,000 rpm|
|1984–1985||140 hp (104 kW) at 3200 rpm||250 lb·ft (340 N·m) at 1,600 rpm|
|1984–1985||(Dual Exhaust)||155 hp (116 kW) at 3600 rpm||265 lb·ft (359 N·m). at 2,000 rpm|
|1986–1989||4.9 L 5.0L Windsor V8||150 hp (112 kW)||270 lb·ft (370 N·m) at 2,000 rpm|
|1986||(Dual Exhaust)||160 hp (119 kW)||280 lb·ft (380 N·m) at 2,200 rpm|
|1987–1989||(Dual Exhaust)||160 hp (119 kW)||280 lb·ft (380 N·m) at 2,200 rpm|
|Executive Series||1990||5.0 L Windsor V8||150 hp (112 kW)||270 lb·ft (370 N·m) at 2,000 rpm|
|1991–1996||4.6 L Modular V8||210 hp (157 kW)||275 lb·ft (373 N·m) at 3,250 rpm|
|1997||190 hp (142 kW)||265 lb·ft (359 N·m) at 3,250 rpm|
|1990||5.0 L Windsor V8||160 hp (120 kW)||280 lb·ft (380 N·m) at 2,200 rpm|
|1991–1997||4.6 L Modular V8||210 hp (157 kW)||275 lb·ft (373 N·m) at 3,250 rpm|
|1998–2000||4.6 L Modular SOHC 16V V8||205 hp (153 kW)|
|2001–2002||235 hp (175 kW)||287 lb·ft (389 N·m) at 3,500 rpm|
|2003–2007||239 hp (178 kW)||287 lb·ft (389 N·m) at 4,100 rpm|
|1998–2002||239 hp (178 kW)||287 lb·ft (389 N·m) at 4,100 rpm|
|Cartier||1998–2000||220 hp (164 kW)||290 lb·ft (390 N·m) at 3,500 rpm|
|L Edition||2000–2002||235 hp (175 kW)||285 lb·ft (386 N·m)|
|2003–2011||239 hp (178 kW)||287 lb·ft (389 N·m) at 4,100 rpm|
The Lincoln Town Car was the first production sedan in the world to receive US five-star crash ratings in every category. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2010 Lincoln Town Car Crash Test Ratings (with side airbags)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2000 Lincoln Town Car Crash Test Ratings (with side air bags)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 1990 Lincoln Town Car Crash Test Ratings
- Ford Crown Victoria/Police Interceptor
- Mercury Grand Marquis/Marauder
- Ford Panther platform
- Lincoln Mark Series
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lincoln Town Car.|
- 1990–1997 Lincoln Town Car: Overview
- 1998–2002 Lincoln Town Car: Overview
- 2003–2010 Lincoln Town Car: Overview
- Official Lincoln Town Car site
- Sydney Airport Limo Services
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