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
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 Continental Mark III
Successor Continental Mark V

The Continental Mark IV is a personal luxury car that was sold and marketed by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company from the 1972 to 1976 model years. The second generation of the Mark series, the Mark IV grew in size over its Continental Mark III predecessor and its Cadillac Eldorado rival. Sharing a common chassis with the Ford Thunderbird, the Mark IV was given its own exterior design from the windows down, returning hidden headlights, a radiator-style grille, and a Continental spare tire trunklid.

In what would later become a long-running tradition for the Lincoln model line, in 1976, the Mark IV introduced Designer Editions as an option series, which consisted of specially coordinated exterior and interior trims developed between Lincoln and contemporary fashion designers.

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 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 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)-4V Ford 385 series 16-valve V8 ("4V" is in reference to the 4-venturi Autolite carburetor). Rated at 365 hp (gross), the 460 was carried over from the Mark III. For 1973, 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) 202 km/h (126 mph) 9.7 sec 8 km/l (23 mpg‑imp; 19 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 editions[edit]

For 1976, to attract further interest to the model line, the Mark IV debuted four "Designer Series" special-edition option packages. Intentionally for appearance purposes, each version of the Designer Series was developed through the consultation of notable fashion designers of the time (Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Pucci), with each edition featuring a coordinated exterior and interior color, 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 plated instrument panel plaque (which could be engraved with the name of the original owner).

Preceding the Designer Series, the Mark III offered a Cartier-branded dashboard clock as an option. Though the Mark IV was in its final year, the Designer Series proved successful and was retained for the Mark V, Mark VI, and Mark VII, with Lincoln adapting the Cartier brand for a flagship trim level of the Lincoln Town Car from 1982 to 2003. While no longer associated with fashion designers, the Lincoln Black Label series (introduced in 2017) is a close revival of the Designer Series, with a specially coordinated exterior and interior design theme.

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
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]