Lincoln Continental Mark IV

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Main article: Lincoln Mark series
Mark IV
1975 Lincoln Continental Mark IV, Dutch licence registration 21-YB-60 p1.JPG
1975 Lincoln Continental Mark IV
1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV Givenchy designer series (interior).jpg
1976 Continental Mark IV Givenchy Edition interior
Manufacturer Lincoln (Ford)
Production 1972–1976
Assembly Wixom Assembly, Wixom, Michigan
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Layout FR layout
Engine 460 cu in (7.5 L) Ford 385 V8
Transmission 3-speed C6 automatic
Wheelbase 120.4 in (3,058 mm)
Length 228.1 in (5,794 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm)
Height 53.5 in (1,359 mm)
Curb weight 5,264 lb (2,388 kg)
Predecessor Lincoln Continental Mark III
Successor Lincoln Continental Mark V

The Continental Mark IV is a two-door personal luxury coupe that was sold and marketed by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company from the 1972 to 1976 model years. Following the success of the Continental Mark III, Lincoln renewed the model line to again compete against the Cadillac Eldorado.

Sharing the underpinnings and much of the roofline with the redesigned Ford Thunderbird for 1972, the Mark IV was given distinct body styling from the windows down. In addition, the Mark was distinguished by hidden headlights and the "Continental spare tire" trunklid.

All Continental Mark IVs were assembled at the Wixom Assembly Plant in Wixom, Michigan, alongside the standard Lincoln Continental and the Ford Thunderbird. For 1977, the Mark IV underwent a substantial exterior styling revision and was replaced by the Continental Mark V.


1972 Continental Mark IV, showing pre-facelift grille

Following the successful redesign of the Lincoln Continental for the 1970 model year, Ford Motor Company chose an evolutionary design path for the successor of the Continental Mark III. With designers again using sharp-edged fenders, hidden headlamps, and a tall radiator-style grille, the Continental Mark IV retained the traditional "long-hood, short deck" coupe proportions of the Mark III along with its "Continental spare tire" decklid.

In a cost cutting move, however, Ford Motor Company forced the Mark IV to increase parts commonailty with the Ford Thunderbird; while the roofline, doors, and inner body panels were shared, the Mark IV and Thunderbird still were given different outer body panels below the roofline and different interiors. In a major break from American luxury car tradition, the rear wheel openings of the Mark IV were designed at the same height as the front wheels (similar to the 1966-1970 Oldsmobile Toronado); its large fender flares precluded the use of fender skirts.

In 1973, the front bodywork underwent a major redesign, necessitated by the addition of 5 mph bumpers; in various forms, the front body style would be seen on Continentals and Lincolns until 1989. For 1974, a 5 mph bumper was added to the rear body work, moving the taillights from the bumper into the rear bodywork.

All Mark IVs were equipped with a vinyl roof. The Mark IV introduced the opera window to the Mark series, a feature that would be featured in the Mark through the discontinuation of the Mark VI after 1983. For 1972, it was an almost universally specified option, becoming standard for 1973.

Mechanical specification[edit]

All Mark IVs were equipped with the 460 cu in (7.5 L) Ford 385 series V8 engine. All 1972 Mark IVs were rated at 365 bhp gross, the engine being a direct carry-over from the previous Mark III. In 1973 compression-ratio was lowered considerably due to new changing EPA requirements, and Ford adopted a new SAE method of measuring horsepower, resulting in 212 SAE net hp (158 kW). The performance-gap between the 1972 and its later-year brethren was significant. All model years drove through a C6 three-speed automatic transmission.

A feature retained from the Mark III was "Sure-track" brakes,[1] making the Mark IV one of the first American cars to become equipped with anti-lock brakes. Both front seats were power adjustable.[2]

Performance was not competitive with contemporary premium personal luxury cars. However, no other "personal luxury" models were six-passenger vehicles, except the Cadillac Eldorado.

Performance against competitors (1972)
Make & model Horsepower 'SAE net' Top speed Acceleration 0 to 60 mph Fuel economy
Lincoln Continental Mark IV 215 PS (158.1 kW; 212.1 bhp) 190 km/h (120 mph) 10.8 sec 4.8 km/l (14 mpg‑imp; 11 mpg‑US) [3]
Cadillac Eldorado 238 PS (175.0 kW; 234.7 bhp) 189 km/h (117 mph) 9.7 sec 4 km/l (11 mpg‑imp; 9.4 mpg‑US) [4]
Jaguar XKE Series III V12 254 PS (186.8 kW; 250.5 bhp) 217 km/h (135 mph) 6.8 sec 5.5 km/l (16 mpg‑imp; 13 mpg‑US) [5]
Citroën SM 170 PS (125.0 kW; 167.7 bhp) 220 km/h (140 mph) 8.5 sec 8 km/l (23 mpg‑imp; 19 mpg‑US) [6]
Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 192 PS (141.2 kW; 189.4 bhp) 202 km/h (126 mph) 9.5 sec 6.5 km/l (18 mpg‑imp; 15 mpg‑US) [7]
Jensen Interceptor 254 PS (186.8 kW; 250.5 bhp) 217 km/h (135 mph) 7.5 sec 4.4 km/l (12 mpg‑imp; 10 mpg‑US) [8]
BMW 3.0CS 180 PS (132.4 kW; 177.5 bhp) 200 km/h (120 mph) 7.9 sec 7.6 km/l (21 mpg‑imp; 18 mpg‑US) [9]

Continental Mark IV designer editions[edit]

The Mark IV debuted a new tradition for the Mark series, which later spread to other models in the Lincoln model range. Earlier, the Mark III had an Cartier-branded clock installed optionally. In 1976, the Designer Series was introduced as four special-edition models. Each edition was an option package with color, trim, and interior choices specified by notable fashion designers (Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Pucci). Each edition carried the designer's signature on the opera windows and were fitted with a 22 karat (92%) gold-plated plaque on the instrument panel which could be engraved with the original owner's name. The concept was successful and would continue on other Lincolns until the end of the 2003 model year.

For 1976, four designer editions were offered:

Designer edition Exterior Vinyl roof Interior
Bill Blass Dark blue (cream and gold pinstripng)

cream or body-color moldings

Cream "Normande grain" Blue cloth or leather

(cream accents)

Cartier[10] Dove gray (red and white pinstriping)

body-color moldings

Dove gray "Valino grain" Dove gray cloth or leather
Givenchy Aqua blue "diamond fire" (black & white pinstriping)

white or body-color moldings

White "Normande grain" Aqua blue cloth or leather
Pucci Red "moondust finish" & silver (silver and red pinstriping)

silver or body-color moldings

Silver "Normande grain" Dark red "majestic" cloth
Lincoln Continental Mark IV Givenchy designer series (1976) 
Lincoln Continental Mark IV Pucci designer series (1976) 

Sales and pricing[edit]

Year Production Price (USD)
1972 48,591 8,640
1973 69,437 8,984
1974 57,316 10,194
1975 47,145 11,082
1976 56,110 11,060

Specifications (1976 model)[edit]

US Metric vs. Mark III
Wheelbase 120.4 in 3058 mm +2.7%
Overall length 228.1 in 5791 mm +1.9%
Width 79.8 in 2027 mm +0.5%
Height 53.5 in 1359 mm +1.1%
Weight 5,264 lb 2,388 kg +11.1%
Engine Ford 385 series V8
Displacement 460 in³ 7.5 L
Bore × stroke 4.36 × 3.85 in 111 × 98 mm
Power (SAE) 202 hp 148 kW @ 3800 rpm
Torque 356 lbf·ft 482 Nm @ 2200 rpm
Compression 8.0:1
Carburetor Motorcraft 4350
Transmission Ford C6 3-speed automatic



Lincoln Mark Series[edit]