Lincoln Mark series
1970 Continental Mark III
Lincoln (Ford) (1969–1998)
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Full-size personal luxury car|
|Body style||2-door coupe
4-door sedan (1980–1983)
|Predecessor||Lincoln Continental (1940–1948)|
The Continental Mark series is a series of personal luxury cars that were marketed by the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford Motor Company under various nameplates, including the short-lived Continental Division. The Continental Mark Series was marketed from 1956 to 1960 and from 1968 to 1998, always serving as the flagship of Ford Motor Company in North America.
Initially existing as the product line of the Continental Division, the Continental Mark series became part of the Lincoln-Mercury Division in 1958; from that point the line remained badged only as a Continental without Lincoln badging until the end of the 1985 model year. To fully eliminate any confusion, the Mark series dropped the Continental name and adopted the Lincoln badge for 1986.
While sharing underpinnings with other Ford Motor Company vehicles, Mark-series cars were distinguished by their own interior and exterior trim along with separate exterior panels. With the exception of the 1958-1960 Continental Mark III-V and the 1980-1983 Continental Mark VI four door, the Marks were all sold in the form of the original 1939-1948 Continental, as a two-door personal luxury coupe.
While discontinued in 1998, Lincoln adopted the legacy of the later Mark series personal cars in its current naming nomenclature. Since 2007, nearly all of its vehicles have adopted an "MK" prefix.[A]
- 1 Background
- 2 Continental Mark II (1956–1957)
- 3 Continental Mark III, IV and V (1958–1960)
- 4 Continental Mark III (1969–1971)
- 5 Continental Mark IV (1972–1976)
- 6 Continental Mark V (1977–1979)
- 7 Continental Mark VI (1980–1983)
- 8 Continental Mark VII (1984–1985) Lincoln Mark VII (1986–1992)
- 9 Lincoln Mark VIII (1993–1998)
- 10 Branding
- 11 Further use of name
- 12 In popular culture
- 13 See also
- 14 References
Before there were series of "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.
At the time work had begun on the first Continental coupe, Lincoln had previously cancelled the Lincoln K-series coupes, sedans, and limousines, and produced the very limited Lincoln Custom limousine, along with the smaller Lincoln-Zephyr coupes and sedans. Mr. Ford wanted to revive the popularity of the 1929-1932 Lincoln Victoria coupe and convertible but with a more modern approach, reflecting European styling influences for the Continental.
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, as demonstrated with the Jaguar Mark 1. 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 the Lincoln-Mercury Division which managed the Continental as a separate marque within the division. The division introduced the Continental Mark III, IV, and V to replace the Continental Mark II; they served as the flagships of the Lincoln-Mercury Division. For 1961, Lincoln was paired down to a single model line. The Continental name was suspended as a marque as the Mark-series vehicles were discontinued and Continental became the sole Lincoln model name.
For 1968, Lincoln restarted the Continental Mark series with the Continental Mark III. Instead of being a flagship model of the standard Lincoln, the Continental Mark III was an all-new car. Based upon the Ford Thunderbird, it was strictly a personal-luxury coupe like the Continental Mark II and the 1939-1948 Continental, thus restarting the series at Mark III. Continental as a stand alone marque was resumed for the new Mark III model.
While sharing little to no common bodywork, the Mark series would share much of its underpinnings with the Ford Thunderbird for most of its entire production run from 1969 to 1998. The only exceptions were 1977-1979 when the Thunderbird was downsized to the intermediate Ford Torino platform; and the 1980-1983 Mark VI, which was based on the Ford LTD/Mercury Marquis and Lincoln Town Car; the Mark VI is the only Mark series model ever produced as an optional 4-door.
Continental Mark II (1956–1957)
|Continental Mark II|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe|
|Engine||368 cu in (6.0 L) V8|
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 pre-war Continental-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$90,012 in 2017 dollars); 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.
Continental Mark III, IV and V (1958–1960)
|Continental Mark III, IV and V (1958–1960)|
|Assembly||Wixom, Michigan, United States|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door hardtop
4-door Landau hardtop
4-door Town Car sedan
|Engine||430 cu in (7.0 L) MEL V8|
|Transmission||3-speed Turbo-Drive automatic|
|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)|
Following the cancellation of the Continental Mark II coupe at the end of the 1957 model year, Ford Motor Company sought for ways to improve the profitability of its flagship model line. The Continental name was used as Ford's top level division, sharing bodystyles with Lincoln-branded vehicles. For marketing purposes, the new Mark III was not called a Lincoln, and wore "Continental III" badging on the vehicle. This was done to position "Continental"-branded vehicles against top-level Cadillacs and Imperials.
In a major move to cut production costs, the hand assembly seen on the Mark II coupe was replaced as the Mark III was assembled in the same factory alongside the Lincoln Capri and Lincoln Premiere. In order to distinguish the Continental from Lincolns, stylists gave the vehicle its own roofline. Featuring a reverse-slanted retractable rear window, called "Breezeway", it was featured in all Continental-branded models (including convertibles). Although released in the middle of the 1958 recession (that would add to the problems with the Edsel), the Mark III would prove far more successful than its predecessor due to a $4000 (nearly 40%) reduction in price; while still expensive, the number of potential buyers was far higher. Due to the production costs of developing the unibody platform, Lincoln would lose over $60 million in total over 1958-1960 production.
While far easier to produce, the Mark III was still advanced for the time. Continentals were still available with air conditioning, this time with dashboard-mounted vents. For the first time, FM radio joined AM radio as an option. Another feature was "Auto Lube"; as long as the owner kept the oil reservoir full, the car automatically lubricated itself.
For 1959, the Mark III became the Mark IV, with two new bodystyles. Intended to compete against formal sedans from Cadillac and Imperial, Lincoln introduced a Continental Town Car and Limousine. To increase rear-seat room, the retractable rear window was replaced by a standard-slant window. Limousine models were distinguished by the use of a rear-seat partition. Other features included dual air-conditioning units and a padded vinyl top. Both models were only available painted in black. 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.
For 1960, the Mark V was given a minor styling update, with a larger grille and new "dagmar bumpers".
In terms of standard production sedans without an extended wheelbase, the 1958-1960 Lincolns are some of the largest automobiles ever made. The Continental Mark III/IV/V are the longest cars produced by the Ford Motor Company without federally mandated 5-mph bumpers. The 1959 Mark IV and 1960 Mark V Limousines and Town Cars are the heaviest American standard-wheelbase sedans built since World War II.
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 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".
|1958-1960 Continental Mark III-V|
Continental Mark III (1969–1971)
|Continental Mark III (1969–1971)|
1970 Continental Mark III
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe|
|Engine||460 cu in (7.5 L) V8|
The Continental Mark III was manufactured by Lincoln for model years 1969 through 1971. The Mark III was created when Lee Iacocca, president of Ford Motor Company at the time, directed Design Vice President, Gene Bordinat, to "put a Rolls Royce grille on a Thunderbird" in September 1965. The Mark III was based on the four-door Thunderbird platform, which was first introduced for 1967. It joined the larger 1966 Lincoln Continental 2-door sedan.
The Mark III competed with Cadillac's front-wheel-drive Eldorado and Imperial Crown Coupe, 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 and Imperial rivals 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, a 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 tinted windows, and an automatic climate control. High-back Twin Comfort lounge seats with two-way power controls were also new.
Continental Mark IV (1972–1976)
|Continental Mark IV (1972–1976)|
1975 Continental Mark IV
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe|
|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. It was the heaviest series of all generations.
Mark IVs were powered by a 460 cu in (7.5 L) V8 engine.
Luxury Group options
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.
Beginning with the 1976 model year, the Mark IV was available with four unique "designer editions". The names of three famous clothing designers and one jewelry designer, were available with four exclusive color combinations. Interior seat designs were basically carried over from the "luxury group" options but featured unique color combinations. The designer names were: Cartier, the French jewelry and fragrance designer, Bill Blass, the American designer, Givenchy, a French clothing designer, and Emilio Pucci, an Italian clothing and accessories designer. The name of the chosen package was embedded in the opera window of the car and also on the dashboard above or near the glovebox. The exterior and interior color combinations changed with each model year.
The Bill Blass edition remained with the Mark series through 1992 while the others were not available after the 1983 model year (Emilio Pucci), 1982 model year (Givenchy), and 1979 model year (Cartier).
Continental Mark V (1977–1979)
|Continental Mark V (1977–1979)|
1979 Continental Mark V Cartier Edition
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe|
|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 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 carried over from the Mark IV. 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...."
Continental Mark VI (1980–1983)
|Continental Mark VI|
1980 Continental Mark VI Bill Blass Edition
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe
|Engine||4.9 L (302 cu in) 5.0L Windsor V8
5.8 L (351 cu in) Windsor V8
|Transmission||4-speed AOD automatic|
|Wheelbase||2-door: 114.3 in (2,903 mm)|
|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 exterior 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 in3 (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 the early 1980s economic recession and an overall downturn in the U.S. automobile market. Total production was 132,781 with 4-door versions outselling 2-doors. Its sales slump was also due to similarities with the lower priced Town Car which for all intents and purposes was a Mark VI without some of the styling elements like oval opera windows, concealed headlamps, and Continental deck lid hump.
Continental Mark VII (1984–1985) Lincoln Mark VII (1986–1992)
For 1984, the Mark Series was again downsized with the introduction of the Continental Mark VII. Based on the newly redesigned Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar, the Mark VII dropped the previous two-door and four-door sedan bodystyles of its Mark VI predecessor. In shift from the full-size Panther platform to the mid-size Fox platform, the Mark VII became the shortest-wheelbase and lightest vehicle ever marketed by the Lincoln division at the time. To end the model confusion seen over the past 25 years, the Lincoln-Mercury Division officially rebranded the Continental Mark VII as the Lincoln Mark VII for the 1986 model year.
|Continental Mark VII
Lincoln Mark VII
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe|
|Platform||Ford Fox platform|
|Engine||302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
149 cu in (2.4 L) BMW M21 I6
While still marketed as a luxury vehicle, the Mark VII began a new role as the technology flagship of Ford Motor Company; the Mark VII came standard with a number of 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, and digital instruments. In addition to Designer Editions (Gianni Versace in 1984 and 1985; and Bill Blass from 1984 to 1992), the Mark VII was sold as the sport-tuned LSC.
The Mark VII was notable for becoming the first vehicle in North America sold with aerodynamic composite headlights after legislation permitted their sale in the United States; in addition, electronic 4-channel anti-lock brakes were sold first on the Mark VII (November 1984, six months before the Chevrolet Corvette).
Lincoln Mark VIII (1993–1998)
Released for the 1993 model year, the Lincoln Mark VIII continued the role of the Mark VII as a luxury-oriented grand touring coupe. Slightly larger than its predecessor, the Mark VIII was sized nearly halfway between the Mark VI and the Mark VII in length (with its wheelbase only an inch shorter than the Mark VI coupe). Despite its larger footprint, the curb weight of the Mark VIII remained essentially the same as its predecessor.
As the Mark VIII remained a mechanical counterpart to the Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar, the Mark Series ended the use of the Fox platform in favor of the all-new FN10 platform (a Lincoln-exclusive variant of the MN12 platform). With its wheelbase stretched to 113 inches (only an inch shorter than the much larger Ford Panther platform), much of the extra interior space was given to the rear seat. In a major change, the Mark VIII was given independent rear suspension, exclusive in rear-wheel drive four seat American cars at the time (except for the Thunderbird and Cougar).
The Mark VIII received a minor exterior redesign for the 1997 model year with a larger grille and exterior lights. As with its predecessors, the Mark VIII was assembled at Ford's Wixom, Michigan assembly plant.
|Lincoln Mark VIII|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe|
|Platform||Ford FN10 platform|
|Engine||DOHC 4.6 L V8, 280 hp
DOHC 4.6 L V8, 290 hp
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.
For its entire production run, the Continental Mark Series was the most distinguished within the Ford Motor Company divisional hierarchy. Following the discontinuation of the Continental Division in 1957, the vehicles would remain marketed within the Lincoln-Mercury dealer structure. However, the vehicles themselves were not badged as Lincolns, nor did their identification plates, VINs, and factory paperwork do not bear the Lincoln division name.
As the vehicles remained sold, serviced, and marketed by Lincoln-Mercury dealers alongside Lincoln Continentals, Continental was maintained as a separate marque for the Mark-series vehicles. As the Continental Mark-series became more popular, the Lincoln name became colloquially affixed although the Lincoln nameplate did not appear on Continental Mark series vehicles nor did "Lincoln Continental Mark" appear in marketing and advertising. In 1986, the situation was clarified by Ford Motor Company marketing as the Continental Mark VII was renamed the Lincoln Mark VII (the Mark VIII was always sold as a Lincoln).
After the Continental Division was integrated into the Lincoln-Mercury Division after the 1957 model year, its four-point star logo - the "Continental Star" - was brought with it. As of the 2016 model year, the division has used the logo (in various forms) for both the Continental Mark series and every Lincoln it has produced since 1958.
Further use of name
MK9, MKR, and Mark X concept cars
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 The styling of the MK9 influenced several later concepts, including the 2002 Continental concept and the 2003 Navicross.
The use of letters to identify different models began during Ford's acquisition of British luxury marques Jaguar, Aston Martin, and to a lesser extent Swedish marque Volvo in the Premier Automotive Group. Letters were used to identify the Jaguar XJ, the Jaguar XK8, the Aston Martin DB7, and the Volvo S60 and Volvo XC70.
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.
Another concept car was introduced in 2007, called the Lincoln MKR, based on the Ford Mustang platform, and may serve as a production vehicle for an as yet unnamed production vehicle
Mark LT (2005–2008)
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 until 2014.
Lincoln MK naming scheme
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 2015, all newly introduced Lincolns would wear the "MK" (pronounced "emm kay") designation; the lone exceptions were the Town Car and the Navigator. After the 2011 model year, the Navigator became the sole non-MK Lincoln as the Town Car sedan was discontinued. However, for 2017 Lincoln discontinued the MKS and brought back the Continental name for its all-new flagship sedan, and will possibly bring back names for other Lincoln model replacements.
In popular culture
A 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III was featured in the 1971 film The French Connection, being driven by its villain Alain Charnier. A similar Continental Mark III was later featured in the 2015 film Goosebumps, being driven by its villain, Slappy the Dummy.
The fictional detective Cannon drove a Lincoln Continental Mark III, and later a Continental Mark IV, on the TV series of the same name.
A 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V was driven by Ewing family patriarch Jock Ewing, played by Jim Davis, on the TV series Dallas. Additional Marks were used by other characters later on including J.R. Ewing, played by Larry Hagman, who replaced his Cadillac Allante with a Mark VII in the show's final season.
- Ford Thunderbird
- Mercury Cougar
- Buick Riviera
- Cadillac Eldorado
- Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé
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- Vaughan, Daniel Conceptcarz.com 1969 Lincoln Continental news, pictures, specifications, and information September 2008 Retrieved July 26, 2015
- 1981 Lincoln Continental promotional brochure, issued by manufacturer
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|L-Series||Continental Mark III–V|
|Halo car||K-Series||Continental Mark IV–V|
|Personal luxury car||Continental||Continental||Continental Mark II||Mark III||Mark IV||Mark V|
|Mid-size||Versailles||Continental||Continental||Continental||Zephyr / MKZ||MKZ|
|Continental||Town Car||Town Car||Town Car|
|Personal luxury car||Continental Mark VI||Continental/Lincoln Mark VII||Lincoln Mark VIII|
|Mid-size CUV||MKX||MKX / Nautilus|
|Pickup truck||Blackwood||Mark LT||Mark LT (Mexico)|