Lincoln Mark series

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Lincoln Mark
1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III.JPG
1970 Continental Mark III
ManufacturerContinental (Ford) (1956)
Lincoln (Ford) (July 1956–1998)
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size personal luxury car
Body style2-door coupe
4-door sedan (1980–1983)
LayoutFR layout
PredecessorLincoln Continental (1940–1948)
SuccessorLincoln LS

The Lincoln Mark series is a series of personal luxury cars that was produced by Ford Motor Company. The nomenclature was launched in 1956, as the 1939-1948 Lincoln Continental was succeeded by the Continental Mark II. From 1958 to 1960, the Mark III, IV and V were marketed by Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln (M-E-L) Division. Following a hiatus, the Mark series was relaunched in 1968 by Lincoln-Mercury; six further generations were produced through 1998.

Serving as the flagship of Ford Motor Company, the Mark series has primarily been produced as a two-door coupe (other body styles have been offered through its production). With the exception of the nearly hand-built Continental Mark II, the model line has shared chassis underpinnings with other Ford vehicles, styled with their own interior and exterior body panels (notably the use of continental tire trunklids associated with the brand)

Following the 1998 model year, the Mark VIII was discontinued and not replaced, with Lincoln choosing to concentrate on its sedan and SUV model lines; the closest four-door equivalent to the Mark VIII was the LS V8 (and the later MKS). From 2007 to 2020, Lincoln used an "MK" prefix for its sedans (phased out in favor of conventional names or dropped altogether). From 1958 to 1998, all Mark-series vehicles were produced by Wixom Assembly at Wixom, Michigan.


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.[1]

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 July 1956, 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 pared 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 as a true successor to the Continental Mark II. Instead of being a flagship model of the standard Lincoln, the Continental Mark III was an all-new car. Based on 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 without Lincoln badging 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 Continental Mark VI, which was based on the Ford LTD/Mercury Marquis and Lincoln Town Car. The 1958–1960 Continental Mark III–V and the 1980–1983 Continental Mark VI were the only Mark series vehicles ever produced with an available 4-door body style.

First generation (Mark II; 1956–1957)[edit]

Continental Mark II
Continental Mark II.jpg
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe
Engine368 cu in (6.0 L) V8

The Continental Mark II was a personal luxury car produced by a newly formed Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company for only two model years: 1956 and 1957.

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$94,039 in 2019 dollars[2]); 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, Bridge of Weir 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.

Successor (Mark III, Mark IV, Mark V; 1958–1960)[edit]

Continental Mark III, IV and V (1958–1960)
Lincoln Continental Wasen.jpg
Model years1958–1960
AssemblyWixom, Michigan, United States
DesignerJohn Najjar
Body and chassis
Body style2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
4-door sedan
4-door Landau hardtop
4-door Town Car sedan
4-door Limousine
LayoutFR layout
RelatedLincoln Premiere
Lincoln Capri
Engine430 cu in (7.0 L) MEL V8
Transmission3-speed Turbo-Drive automatic
Wheelbase131.0 in (3,327 mm)
Length1958: 229.0 in (5,817 mm)
1959: 227.1 in (5,768 mm)
1960: 227.2 in (5,771 mm)
Width1958–59: 80.1 in (2,035 mm)
1960: 80.3 in (2,040 mm)
Height1958: 56.5 in (1,435 mm)
1959–60: 56.7 in (1,440 mm)
Curb weight5,000–5,700 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. After the Continental Division was absorbed by Lincoln-Mercury in July 1956, the Continental name was used as Ford's top level marque, sharing bodystyles with Lincoln-branded vehicles. For marketing purposes, the new Mark III was not called a Lincoln, and wore Continental[3] 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.[4]

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–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. 1960 is the only model year that a Mark series vehicle is mentioned as a Lincoln Continental Mark V in brochures and advertising.[5]

The reputation for the Mark III-V’s "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.[a]

Second generation (Mark III; 1969–1971)[edit]

Continental Mark III (1969–1971)
1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III.jpg
1970 Continental Mark III
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe
Engine460 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"[6] in September 1965. The Mark III was based on the four-door Thunderbird platform,[6] 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 introduced a technical innovation - it was the first American-made vehicle with radial tires as standard equipment.[7]

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.

Third generation (Mark IV; 1972–1976)[edit]

Continental Mark IV (1972–1976)
1975 Lincoln Continental Mk IV Coupe.jpg
1975 Continental Mark IV
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe
Engine460 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.

Designer editions

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).

Lincoln used designer editions for other models, as well. The 1980 through 1989 Town Car and the 1982 through 1987 Continental sedan.

Fourth generation (Mark V; 1977–1979)[edit]

Continental Mark V (1977–1979)
1979 Continental Mark V Cartier Designer Edition.jpg
1979 Continental Mark V Cartier Edition
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe
Engine460 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 on 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...."

Fifth generation (Mark VI; 1980–1983)[edit]

Continental Mark VI
1980 Bill Blass Mark VI (2).jpg
1980 Continental Mark VI Bill Blass Edition
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe
4-door sedan
Engine4.9 L (302 cu in) 5.0L Windsor V8
5.8 L (351 cu in) Windsor V8
Transmission4-speed AOD automatic
Wheelbase2-door: 114.3 in (2,903 mm)[8]
Length216.0 in (5,486 mm)
Width78.2 in (1,986 mm)
Height55.4 in (1,407 mm)

The Continental Mark VI introduced downsizing to the Mark series alongside the introduction of a four-door sedan bodystyle. Based on the success of the Mark V, the Mark VI adopted many of the exterior styling cues of its predecessor, including its oval opera windows, radiator-style grille, "Continental" spare-tire decklid, hidden headlamps, vertical taillamps, and front fender louvers.

Sharing the Panther platform, the two-door Mark VI was derived from the shorter wheelbase of the Ford LTD/Mercury Marquis, with the four-door Mark VI sharing its chassis with the Continental (Town Car). The four-door was distinguished largely by its fenders, opera windows, and decklid; the two-door has a separate roofline from the two-door Town Car. In place of the previous 7.5L V8, a fuel-injected 4.9L V8 was standard (a 5.8L carbureted V8 was offered for 1980).

In place of the LED trip computer of the Mark V, the Mark VI became one of the first American automobiles to offer a fully digital instrument panel (VFD), pushbutton keyless entry (a system still in use on Ford automobiles), and an overdrive 4-speed automatic transmission.

The Mark VI continued the Designer Editions (Cartier, Bill Blass, Pucci, Givenchy) and introduced the first Signature Series trim.

Sixth generation (Mark VII; 1984–1992)[edit]

Continental Mark VII
Lincoln Mark VII
Production1984–1985 (Continental)
1986–1992 (Lincoln)
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe
PlatformFord Fox platform
Engine302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
149 cu in (2.4 L) BMW M21 I6

For the 1984 model year, to split the model line from the full-size Town Car, the Mark VI was replaced by the Mark VII, shifting the Mark series into the mid-size segment. While marketed as a personal luxury car, the Mark VII sought a role as the technology flagship of Ford Motor Company, featuring a number of comfort, convenience, and performance options introduced during the 1980s. Along with power accessories and leather seating, the Mark VII featured keyless entry, digital instruments, and an onboard computer/message center. 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).

In a shift from the full-size segment, the Mark VII was derived from the Fox platform, becoming a two-door counterpart of the 1982–1987 Lincoln Continental sedan. The Mark VII was closely related to the 1983–1988 Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar sharing the doors, windshield and much of the unibody structure but with a longer wheelbase towards the rear. To end the marketing confusion seen since 1969, the Continental Mark VII became the Lincoln Mark VII for 1986.

The Mark VII is the final version offered with Designer Editions (Gianni Versace, 1984–1985; Bill Blass, 1984–1992) and the first with the sport-tuned LSC (Luxury Sports Coupe).

Mark VIIs were manufactured at the Wixom Assembly Plant in Wixom, Michigan through 1992.

Seventh generation (Mark VIII; 1993–1998)[edit]

Lincoln Mark VIII
1996 Lincoln Mark VIII.jpg
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe
PlatformFord FN10 platform
RelatedFord Thunderbird
Mercury Cougar
EngineDOHC 4.6 L V8, 280 hp
DOHC 4.6 L V8, 290 hp

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.


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 positioned above Lincoln. Following the discontinuation of the Continental Division in July 1956, 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 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, formally referred to as Continental Mark not Lincoln Continental Mark. 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, brochures, advertising and window stickers. The only exception to this was the referral of the 1960 Mark V as a Lincoln Continental Mark V in brochures and advertising in preparation for the Continental nameplate to become a sole model series under the Lincoln brand for 1961.

Beginning with the 1981 model year, all manufacturers were required to use a 17 character VIN-code. The first three digits is the World Manufacturer Identifier which indicates the country of origin and make of a vehicle. 1981–1985 Continental Mark VI–VII and 1982–1985 Continental 4-door sedans have the separate VIN-code 1MR which designates Continental as the make instead of 1LN as Lincoln (as is the Town Car). For the 1986 model year, 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). At this point all Lincoln Continentals and Mark VIIs were assigned the 1LN VIN-code to designate Lincoln as the make.[9][10][11]

Continental star[edit]

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 current production, the emblem (in various forms) has remained in use on both Mark-series and Lincoln vehicles since 1958.

Further use of name[edit]

MK9, MKR, and Mark X concept cars[edit]

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[12] 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. It was a premium four door fastback sedan based on the Ford Mustang platform which influenced the design themes of production Lincolns for a number of years.

Mark LT (2005–2008)[edit]

After the discontinuation of the Blackwood after a single year of production in 2002, Lincoln stayed out of the 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[edit]

[original research?]

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. Since then Lincoln has brought back names for successive model replacements.

In popular culture[edit]

A 1971 Continental Mark III was featured in the 1971 film The French Connection, being driven by its villain Alain Charnier.

The fictional detective Cannon drove a Continental Mark III, and later a Continental Mark IV, on the TV series of the same name.

A 1977 Continental Mark V was used in the 1996 Alanis Morissette music video for her song "Ironic."

A 1978 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.

A 1979 Continental Mark V was driven by car dealer (Knots Landing Motors owner) Sid Fairgate, played by Don Murray, in the first season of the TV series Knots Landing.

A 1993 Lincoln Mark VIII was driven by drug dealer Rodney Little (Delroy Lindo) in the 1995 crime drama Clockers.

In The Sopranos , Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano) drives a deep jewel green Mark VIII in season 3 . In season 1 Silvio Dante (Steven Van Zandt) is seen sitting and waiting in a Mark VIII in the episode Boca.

In the movie The Car (1977) a heavily modified highly customized 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III designed by famed Hollywood car customizer George Barris was used in filming the evil car .

In Beavis & Butthead Do America (1996) , a Continental Mark III is driven by the antagonists.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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 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 known for his work on the 1948 Tucker Sedan, was head of Ford's Advanced Styling Studio during this period. It was his Ford La Tosca concept car, with its oval overlaid with an "X" theme, that gave the "slant eyed monster" nickname to the 1958 Mark III front end. Perhaps most ironically 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".


  1. ^ "Lincoln Series KA Victoria coupe". Desert Classics. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  3. ^ Bonsall, Thomas E. (2003). The Lincoln story: the postwar years. Stanford University Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-8047-4941-1. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
  4. ^ Popular Mechanics – Google Boeken. Hearst Magazines. January 1959. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  5. ^ "1960 Lincoln Sales Brochure". Unique Cars and Parts. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Iacocca 1984, p. 83.
  7. ^ Vaughan, Daniel 1969 Lincoln Continental news, pictures, specifications, and information September 2008 Retrieved July 26, 2015
  8. ^ 1981 Lincoln Continental promotional brochure, issued by manufacturer
  9. ^ Dammann, George H., Wagner, James K. (1987). The Cars Of Lincoln-Mercury. Sarasota, Florida: Crestline Publishing Co. pp. 414, 545, 577, 582, 583. ISBN 978-0912612263.
  10. ^ "List of manufacturers of motor vehicles and their trailers - numerical - SV 3.2" (PDF). Germany: Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt. January 15, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  11. ^ "Ford Vehicle Identification Number Decoder". Ford Vehicle Identification Number. August 3, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  12. ^ Vaughan, Daniel (December 2010). "2001 Lincoln MK9 Concept Images, Information, and History (Mark IX)". Retrieved April 16, 2011.