Lincoln Continental Mark IV

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Mark IV
1975 Lincoln Continental Mark IV, Dutch licence registration 21-YB-60 p1.JPG
1975 Continental Mark IV
ManufacturerLincoln (Ford)
Model years1972–1976
AssemblyWixom Assembly, Wixom, Michigan
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe
LayoutFR layout
Engine460 cu in (7.5 L) Ford 385 V8
Transmission3-speed C6 automatic
Wheelbase120.4 in (3,058 mm)
Length228.1 in (5,794 mm)
Width79.8 in (2,027 mm)
Height53.5 in (1,359 mm)
Curb weight5,264 lb (2,388 kg)
PredecessorContinental Mark III
SuccessorContinental Mark V

The Continental Mark IV is a personal luxury car that was marketed by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company from the 1972 to 1976 model years. The third generation of the Mark series, the Mark IV grew in size over its Continental Mark III predecessor. As with the previous generation, the Mark IV saw little direct competition in the American marketplace, competing nearly exclusively against the Cadillac Eldorado (redesigned for 1971).

As with the Mark III, the Mark IV shared its chassis with the Ford Thunderbird, with the Mark IV receiving its own bodywork below the windows. Hidden headlights made their return, along with a radiator-style grille, and a Continental spare tire trunklid. For 1976, the Designer Series option package was introduced; in what would become a tradition for the Mark series (and later Lincoln), the option consisted of specially coordinated exterior and interior trims developed between Lincoln and contemporary fashion designers.

Ford assembled the Continental Mark IV at its Wixom Assembly Plant (Wixom, Michigan) facility alongside the Ford Thunderbird and the Lincoln Continental. For 1977, the Mark IV underwent a substantial revision, becoming the Continental Mark V.


1972 Continental Mark IV, showing pre-facelift grille and headlight doors open

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. The spare tire was actually stored on a ledge in the trunk on top of the gas tank, immediately behind the rear seat.

In a cost-cutting move, however, Ford Motor Company forced the Mark IV to increase parts commonality 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)-4V Ford 385 series 16-valve V8 ("4V" is in reference to the 4-venturi Autolite carburetor). Rated at 365 hp (gross)in the Mark III, the 460 was carried over to the Mark IV. For 1972, rated output underwent a numeric decrease to 212 hp. In order to comply with changing EPA emissions regulations, Ford was required to decrease the compression ratio of the engine. The same year, American auto manufacturers adopted SAE net horsepower as its standard of measuring engine output, to better reflect real-world engine performance (as installed in vehicles). All examples of the Mark IV were equipped with a Ford C6 three-speed automatic transmission.

A feature retained from the Mark III was "Sure-track" brakes.[1] 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 Engine block Curb Weight Horsepower 'SAE net' Top speed Acceleration 0 to 60 mph Fuel economy
Continental Mark IV V8 5,264 lb (2,388 kg) 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 V8 4,828 lb (2,190 kg) 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]
Rolls-Royce Corniche V8 4,816 lb (2,185 kg) 240 PS (176.5 kW; 236.7 bhp) 190 km/h (120 mph) 9.7 sec 5.1 km/L (14 mpg‑imp; 12 mpg‑US) [5][6]
Jaguar XKE Series III V12 V12 3,380 lb (1,533 kg) 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) [7]
Citroën SM V6 1,520 kg (3,350 lb) 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) [8]
Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC V8 3,494 lb (1,585 kg) 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) [9]
Jensen Interceptor V8 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) 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) [10]
BMW 3.0CS Straight 6 1,420 kg (3,131 lb) 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) [11]

Designer Series[edit]

For 1976, to attract further interest to the Mark IV in its final model year, Lincoln-Mercury introduced the "Designer Series" special-edition option package. Developed entirely for appearance purposes, the four versions of the Designer Series were styled through the consultation of notable fashion designers of the time (Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Pucci); each version featured an individually coordinated exterior and interior color combination with specific trim and interior fabrics. In addition, the opera window was fitted with the signature of the corresponding designer, a 22-karat gold-plated dashboard plaque (which could be engraved with the name of the original owner).

Along with pairing the model line with contemporary designers to attract wider interest in the model line, the Designer Series offered a level of customization (to a smaller extent) not seen since the era of coachbuilt vehicles (not seen in Lincolns since the Model L and Model K). Since the introduction of the Mark III, Cartier had been associated with the Mark series as the designer of the optional dashboard clock (standard on the Mark IV).

Following its successful use in the Mark IV, the Designer Series would return for successive generations of the Mark series (with the exception of the Lincoln Mark VIII). The Cartier edition would see the longest use; following its 1982 shift to the Lincoln Town Car, the edition served as its flagship trim through the 2003 model year.

For 2017, Lincoln introduced the Black Label series across its model line as a flagship trim. While not associated with fashion designers, the Black Label continues the use of a themed vehicle design, using a specially coordinated exterior and interior.

1976 Continental Mark IV Designer Series
Edition Exterior color/trim Vinyl roof trim/material Interior color/material
Bill Blass Dark blue (cream and gold pinstripng)

cream or body-color moldings

Cream "Normande grain" Blue cloth or leather

(cream accents)

Cartier[12] 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

Sales and pricing[edit]

Year Production Price (USD)
1972 48,591 $8,640 ($55,971 in 2021 dollars [13])
1973 69,437 $8,984 ($54,840 in 2021 dollars [13])
1974 57,316 $10,194 ($56,012 in 2021 dollars [13])
1975 47,145 $11,082 ($55,807 in 2021 dollars [13])
1976 56,110 $11,060 ($52,668 in 2021 dollars [13])

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


  1. ^ "Directory Index: Lincoln/1973_Lincoln/1973_Lincoln_Brochure". Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  2. ^ "Directory Index: Lincoln/1974_Lincoln/1974_Lincoln_Continental_Brochure". Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  3. ^ "1972 Lincoln Mark IV Coupe full range specs".
  4. ^ "1972 Cadillac Eldorado Hardtop Coupe full range specs".
  5. ^[dead link]
  6. ^ "Rolls-Royce News & Reviews".
  7. ^ "1972 Jaguar XK-E Series III 2+2 Coupe full range specs".
  8. ^ "Detailed specs review of 1972 Citroen SM offered up to mid-year 1972 for Europe".
  9. ^ "1973 Mercedes-Benz SLC C107 Coupe full range specs".
  10. ^ "1972 Jensen Interceptor Mk III full range specs".
  11. ^ "1972 BMW 2500-3.0 CS E9 Coupe full range specs".
  12. ^ "Directory Index: Lincoln/1976_Lincoln/1976_Lincoln_Continental_Mark_IV_Brochure". Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  13. ^ a b c d e 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved April 16, 2022.


Lincoln Mark Series[edit]