Lincoln Town Car
|Lincoln Town Car|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Full-size luxury car
|Platform||Ford Panther platform|
|Related||Mercury Grand Marquis
Ford Crown Victoria
|Predecessor||Lincoln Continental (1980)|
|Successor||Lincoln MKS (livery/civilian)
Lincoln MKT (limousine/hearse)
The Lincoln Town Car is a full-size luxury sedan that was sold by Lincoln from the 1981 to the 2011 model years. Some units have been converted into a stretch limousine; it was the most commonly used limousine and chauffeured car in the United States and Canada.
The Town Car nameplate for the 4-door sedan was first introduced in 1959 to the Lincoln Continental Mark IV, and then to Mark V lineup, each as a top-of-the-line luxury 4-door sedan. The nameplate became a permanent part of the Continental lineup again in 1969, and beyond that year with special editions of the brand denoting its highest-trim interior package. In 1981, the Town Car became a stand-alone model in the Lincoln product line, superseding the Continental as the flagship for the Lincoln brand as well as for Ford Motor Company.
Its large dimensions made it the largest car in production in North America. From 1997 to 2003, the Town Car was the longest car (but not the heaviest) built in the Western Hemisphere, measuring nearly 18 feet (5.49 m) in length for a standard Town Car and 18.5 feet (5.64 m) for an L Edition.
- 1 Overview
- 2 First generation (1981–1989)
- 3 Second generation (1990–1997)
- 4 Third generation (1998–2011)
- 5 Sales
- 6 Discontinuation
- 7 Trim levels
- 8 Awards
- 9 Safety
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
In English, "Town Car" is a literal translation of the French term "Sedan de Ville", a nameplate introduced by Cadillac in 1956. Both names refer to a classic style of limousine popular in the 1920s which had an open chauffeur's compartment in the front. While the Cadillac was a styled as a four-door hardtop, Lincoln made its modern models visually suggest their older namesakes. Many examples from the 1970s and 1980s had a vinyl roof style that swept down the center pillar as part of a raised molding, complete with opera lamps, suggesting a partition between front and rear seats while no vinyl was applied to the front section of the roof over the driver. Other models had a full-length vinyl roof.
The Town Car name first appeared in the Lincoln line in 1922, on a custom-built Lincoln made for Henry Ford. The name reappeared in 1959, on a special limousine-like version of the Lincoln Continental Mark IV; it was available only in black and was identifiable by a unique padded vinyl top, a rarity at that time. After 1959, the Town Car name went dormant for 10 years, reemerging as an interior option package for the 1969 Lincoln Continental. It next appeared as a trim option in 1970 ("Continental's Town Car Interior option", to quote from the 1970 deluxe catalog), and thereafter continued through 1980 as the top-line trim option package for the Lincoln Continental. Again, the Town Car trim featured an extra plush interior (Media velour cloth) along with more standard equipment. The Town Car badge has always been applied to sedans, but from 1973 to 1981, there was a similar option for coupes called the Lincoln Continental Town Coupe'.
In 1981, the Town Car became a separate model from the Continental in preparation for further downsizing of the latter; aside from the closely related Continental Mark VI, it became the last full-size Lincoln in the lineup. Since its introduction, there have been three generations of the Town Car, introduced in 1981, 1990, and 1998. Each of these received a substantial refresh approximately halfway through its production cycle, in 1985, 1995, and 2003.
Featuring a standard V8 engine, body-on-frame design, rear-wheel drive and large exterior and interior dimensions, the Town Car was based on the Ford Panther platform. This gave it powertrain and suspension commonality with the Mercury Grand Marquis and the Ford LTD Crown Victoria (later the Crown Victoria). This design made them durable even in the rough conditions taxi and livery cars are subjected to, and easy and cheap to repair when they did suffer damage. Town Cars are typically operated in commercial service for at least 400,000 miles.
First generation (1981–1989)
1989 Lincoln Town Car
|Also called||Lincoln Continental (1980)|
|Assembly||United States: Wixom, Michigan (Wixom Assembly Plant)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan
|Related||Lincoln Continental Mark VI
Mercury Grand Marquis
Ford LTD Crown Victoria
|Engine||4.9 L (302 cu in) 5.0L Windsor V8|
|Transmission||4-speed AOD automatic|
|Wheelbase||117.3 in (2,979 mm)|
|Length||219.2 in (5,568 mm)|
|Width||78.1 in (1,984 mm)|
|Height||55.9 in (1,420 mm)|
2-door: 3,993 pounds (1,811 kg)4-door: 4,006–4,120 pounds (1,817–1,869 kg)
After lagging behind Cadillac and Chrysler, for the 1980 model year, Lincoln became the final American manufacturer to downsize their full-size cars with the introduction of the all-new Lincoln Continental model line. The Town Car was now the mid-level trim of the Lincoln model line, as the all-new Mark VI coupe and sedan took the top trim level. In contrast to 1970s models, the Town Car wore exposed headlights.
Sharing the all-new Panther platform with its counterparts from Ford and Mercury, the 1980 Lincoln Continental Town Car was radically smaller than its predecessor. In comparison to its 1979 counterpart, the 1980 Town Car shed approximately 900 pounds in weight, fourteen inches in length, and ten inches in wheelbase. In spite of these dimensional regressions, careful engineering led to increased interior space over both its predecessor and competitive luxury automobiles. As the sales of full-size Lincolns had held steady in the late 1970s, much of the styling of the Continental was carried onto the Panther platform, including its blade-like fenders, power vent windows, and the Rolls-Royce grille shape.
The downsizing of the Continental in 1982 marked the beginning of an expansion of the Lincoln lineup. As the division had relied nearly entirely on full-size cars, Lincoln split the Continental and the Town Car into separate models. The Town Car remained the traditional full-size Lincoln, while the Continental became a mid-size car (based on the Fox-body Fairmont/Mustang/Thunderbird platform) to replace the slow-selling Versailles. The Mark Series was redesigned in 1984, instead of a landyacht, it became one of the most advanced cars ever sold by Ford Motor Company.
The 1980 model year Continental/Town Car arrived in showrooms during the fall of 1979, just in time for the early 1980s recession. Total production for 1980 was 31,233, a 57% drop from the 1979 Continental. The 1981 total was 32,839 cars, after which the slow-selling Town Coupe' two-door version, now very similar to the Mark VI, was dropped. Sales remained depressed for 1982, with 35,069 Town Cars built. As the economy recovered and gas prices moderated in 1983, Town Car production increased 22% to 53,381. For 1984, over 94,000 Town Cars were produced.
- 1980: The Lincoln full-size car line is downsized onto Ford Panther platform. Along with the new smaller Continental, the Mark VI shared the same body with only the front and back being different from the Continental. The 302 cu in (4.9 L) Ford Windsor engine (marketed as a "5.0" model) featured a new central fuel injection (CFI) system and EEC III engine management system for improved performance and fuel economy (USA market only; Canadian vehicles equipped with 2-barrel carburetor). The V8 was rated at 130 hp (97 kW) and 230 lb·ft (311.8 N·m) of torque. A larger 351 cu in (5.8 L) V8 engine with 2-barrel carburetor was optional, but not popular. The all-new Keyless Entry System was offered optionally on top trim packages.
- 1981: The Lincoln model lineup was reduced with all 1980 Lincoln Continentals now offered as Town Cars and Mark VI. There was no Continental for the 1981 model year. Consequently, the "Continental" badging is removed from the new Town Car (but not from the Mark VI). The Signature Series is introduced, bridging the gap between the Town Car and the Mark VI. Total production of the two-door version is 4,935. The 351 cu in (5.8 L) V8 option is dropped, making the 302 cu in (4.9 L) the only engine available.
- 1982: All Town Cars are four-door sedans. A Designer Series model makes a debut on a non-Mark Lincoln as the Cartier Series is slotted as the top model, above the Signature Series. The standard Continental re-enters production as a mid-size car on the Ford Fox platform, largely as a Versailles replacement.
- 1983: Changes are limited to small details, such as all steering wheels are now padded.
- 1984: The Mark VI is replaced by coupe-only Mark VII, making the Town Car sedan the only full-sized model in Lincoln line. The Town Car script is removed from above headlights. This is the final year when CB Radios and 8-track players can be factory ordered. New additions include gas-pressurized shocks and a dual-exhaust option for the 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 engine. The introduction of an EEC IV engine management system increases power to 140 hp (104 kW) and 250 lb·ft (339.0 N·m) of torque.
- 1985: The Town Car gains a minor styling update, slightly rounding the corners of the bladed fenders; the design of the bumpers better integrates them into the body corners. In the rear, rounded taillights moved to the corners; in front, an eggcrate grille takes the place of the faux Rolls-Royce radiator. Inside, the wood trim insert seen on the door was replaced by an insert matching the seat upholstery. Functionally, the horn button is added to the center of the steering wheel. A 12-speaker stereo premium sound system becomes available along with an all-new option: a CD player. Town Cars produced for the Canadian market featured CFI for this model year only.
- 1986: New National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Transport Canada requirements include a center brake lamp (located on the parcel shelf). The front-seat head restraints were replaced with a taller 4-way articulating design. Walnut burl trim replaces much of the satin black trim on the lower dash. A new multi-port fuel injection system is added to the 302 cu in (4.9 L) engine, increasing output to 150 hp (112 kW) and 270 lb·ft (366.1 N·m) of torque.
- 1987: Changes are limited to minimal trim updates. The JBL stereo gains a new CD player option. The Cartier trim is revised with new upholstery design and new two-tone (metallic beige) platinum added alongside the traditional platinum silver and two-tone arctic white.
- 1988: The new Lincolns arrived during the spring of 1987 as an early model year release. To differentiate the Town Car from the Continental, the rear is updated with a brushed metal between the taillights; the reverse lamps are moved up to the panel from on the bumper. The grille is returned to its traditional "waterfall" design. Inside, the instrument cluster is updated; the (analog) gauges of Town Cars are now round dials in square bezels. New wood trim is added to the dashboard and steering wheel.
- 1989: Last year of the first-generation Town Car. The 1989 models are distinguished by special trim features including satin black paint for grille blades, trim between headlights, and amber (instead of clear) front parking lamps. The "Lincoln" front-end badging is moved from above left headlight onto grille and changed to large sans-serif script. In the rear, the brushed-metal panel was given a pinstripe finish and all badging was moved from the panel onto the trunk lid. All models feature a landau roof with a smaller, more formal "frenched" rear window. All non-Cartier models also include an embedded Lincoln "star" emblems in their opera windows.
A leather-grained vinyl full-roof covering with center pillar coach lamps was standard on base Town Car, while the padded vinyl coach roof (covering only the rear half of the roof) with a frenched (smaller) rear window opening was included on Signature Series and Cartier models (and optional on base Town Car). A cloth (Canvas) roof—re-creating the look of a convertible—was optional on all except Cartier. Previously an optional feature, all Town Cars were equipped with functional vent windows, one of the last American cars fitted with them.
Inside, the Town Car featured many advanced luxury options for its time. Signature Series and Cartier models featured 6-way power seats (and manual seatback recliners) for the driver and front passenger. In the place of the full-width bench seat found in the 1970-1979 Continental, the Town Car featured a 50/50 split front bench seat like the Mark-series coupes. An optional full-function trip computer with digital displays showed the driver "miles to empty" and (based on driver input) an "estimated time of arrival", among other features.
Another new feature, the keyless entry system, allowed access to the vehicle via a factory-programmed (or self-programmed alternate) five-digit combination. From the keypad mounted above the driver door handle, the driver could lock all four doors, or after entering the code, unlock the vehicle's doors or open the trunk lid. With this system being linked only to the vehicle, rather than a satellite, the need for drivers to share their identity with an operator in a potentially unsecure environment was not required. Along with standard keyless entry devices, this feature is still in use on many Lincoln-Mercury and Ford vehicles (as of the 2015 model year).
For the 1985 model year, the Cadillac Sedan de Ville and Fleetwood were converted to front-wheel drive and further downsized, to a size smaller than the Lincoln Continental. However, Lincoln chose use the larger size of the Town Car to its advantage in the luxury-car segment.
In response to the downsized Cadillacs, Lincoln introduced a series of ads in late 1985 titled "The Valet" which depicted parking attendants having trouble distinguishing Cadillacs from lesser Buicks (Electras) and Oldsmobiles (Ninety-Eights), with the question "Is that a Cadillac?" answered by the response "No, it's an Oldsmobile...or Buick." At the end the owner of a Lincoln would appear with the line "The Lincoln Town Car please." The commercial saw the emergence of the new advertising line, "Lincoln. What a Luxury Car Should Be." which was used into the 1990s.
While the Town Car retained its traditional layout and large size, fuel prices dropped to a contemporary new low at the time, and operating economy became less of a concern to buyers than a decade prior.
Sail America Commemorative Edition
This special edition 1987 Signature Series model came in white with a blue carriage roof and had white leather interior with blue piping and special badging. Ford Motor Company was one of the corporate sponsors of the "Sail America Foundation" syndicate, owner of the 1987 America's Cup winning yacht Stars & Stripes 87.
The 1988 Town Car Signature Series was available with a $2,461 'Special Edition package', which included a carriage roof (giving the appearance of a convertible top), wire spoke aluminum wheels, JBL audio system, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and leather upholstery with contrasting-color piping. This replaced a proposed Gucci edition Town Car that had been in the works.
The 1980 introduction of the Panther-platform full-size Lincoln brought about the replacement of the large-block 400 and 460 V8s. The standard engine was a 130 hp 4.9L fuel-injected V8 (marketed as a 5.0L V8). For the 1980 model year only, an optional 5.8L carbureted V8 was available. Canadian-market vehicles featured a 2-barrel carburetor on the 5.0L V8 from 1980-84, with central fuel injection appearing for the 1985 model year only. The standard transmission was the 4-speed AOD automatic overdrive transmission; Lincoln was the first American car manufacturer with such a transmission.
In 1986, the fuel injection system on the 5.0L V8 of all Panther-platform vehicles was changed from CFI (throttle-body) to sequential multi-port fuel injection. These engines are easily distinguished by their cast aluminum upper intake manifolds with horizontal throttle body (vertical throttle plate); this replaced the traditional throttle body with a carburetor-style top-mounted air cleaner previously used.
All Town Cars from 1980 to 1989 featured an optional trailer towing package which included: dual exhausts, a 3.55:1 limited slip differential (code 'K') and an improved cooling package for the engine as well as transmission.
|Engine||Displacement||Years produced||Horsepower rating||Torque output||Notes|
|Ford 5.0 Windsor V8||4.9 liters (302 cu in)||1981||130 hp (97 kW) at 3400 rpm||230 lb·ft (310 N·m) at 2,200 rpm|
|1982||134 hp (100 kW) at 3400 rpm||245 lb·ft (332 N·m) at 2,200 rpm|
|1983||140 hp (104 kW) at 3200 rpm||250 lb·ft (340 N·m). at 2,000 rpm|
|1984-1985||140 hp (104 kW) at 3200 rpm||250 lb·ft (340 N·m) at 1,600 rpm|
|1984-1985||155 hp (116 kW) at 3600 rpm||265 lb·ft (359 N·m). at 2,000 rpm||dual exhaust option|
|1986-1989||150 hp (110 kW)||270 lb·ft (370 N·m) at 2,000 rpm|
|1986-1989||160 hp (120 kW)||280 lb·ft (380 N·m) at 2,200 rpm||dual exhaust option|
Second generation (1990–1997)
1990-1992 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series
|Assembly||Wixom, Michigan, U.S.|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Related||Mercury Grand Marquis
Ford Crown Victoria
1990: 4.9 L (302 cu in) 5.0L Windsor V81991–1997: 4.6 L (281 cu in) Modular SOHC V8
|Transmission||4-speed AOD automatic 90 – 92
4-speed AOD-E automatic 92 – 95
4-speed 4R70W automatic 95 – 97
|Wheelbase||117.4 in (2,982 mm)|
|Length||1990–94: 218.9 in (5,560 mm)
1995–97: 219.0 in (5,563 mm)
|Width||1990–91: 78.1 in (1,984 mm)
1992–94: 76.9 in (1,953 mm)
1995–97: 76.7 in (1,948 mm)
|Height||1990–94: 56.7 in (1,440 mm)
1995–97: 56. in (1,422 mm)
|Curb weight||3,935–4,103 pounds (1,785–1,861 kg)|
After ten years on the market (nine of them as the Town Car) relatively unchanged, Lincoln redesigned the Town Car inside and out for the 1990 model year. While the Panther platform was retained, along with the powertrain, the body itself was a clean-sheet redesign; the angular lines seen on full-size Lincolns since 1970 were dropped. Highly influenced by the Mark VII and the 1988 Continental, the new Town Car was given a far more aerodynamic shape, trimming its drag coefficient from 0.46 to 0.36. The front half of the Town Car echoed that rest of the Lincoln line, with the Rolls-Royce grille given a far more aerodynamic shape and the exposed halogen headlamps replaced with a wraparound composite design. Other sheet metal gave Town Car a decidedly contemporary look, while styling cues like those of the trunklid and taillights, remained somewhat similar to the 1980s model. The revised interior featured a new dashboard, seats, and door panels.
The second generation Town Car was an overwhelming sales success and became one of the best selling full-size U.S. luxury sedans. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Town Car sales regularly exceeded 100,000 units with 120,121 Town Cars being sold in 1994 alone. The vehicle was so widely received that it was named the 1990 Motor Trend Car of the Year.
- 1990: First year for second-generation Town Car. 150-hp 5.0L V8 is carried over from previous generation, with minor revisions such as updated air intake and tubular exhaust manifolds. Dual airbags are technically standard (see below), while anti-lock brakes (ABS) are an option.
- 1991: Base trim level renamed Executive. 190-hp 4.6L SOHC Modular V8 replaces 5.0L OHV V8. Bumper design changed to decrease weight.
- 1992: ABS becomes standard; all Town Cars are now equipped with passenger-side airbags.
- 1993: Minor styling update. The front is given a new grille, while the rear is given updated taillamps, distinguished by a "checkerboard" pattern to their lenses. Inside, all Town Cars are fitted with digital instruments and automatic headlamps (with automatic headlight dimmer). As such, the climate-control system was also converted to digital display. Wood trim was changed to an orange-toned walnut.
- 1994: The 210-hp dual-exhaust version of the Modular V8 becomes standard. Fuel economy changes to 18/25 city/highway.
- 1995: Mid-cycle interior and exterior update. The front is distinguished by smaller, clear-lens headlamps while the rear gained additional running lights. Other changes include larger windows in the rear doors and enlarged side-view mirrors changed to body color. Inside, a major revision to the interior saw new seats (with the option of heated seats), door panels (now with the trunk and fuel door release), and a new dashboard in the style of the Mark VIII. Digital instrument panel revised with italicized readouts and radio and climate controls are redesigned. The radio antenna is integrated into the rear window. To make up for the lack of a center console, the center armrests are redesigned with storage compartments to fit cassettes and an optional onboard phone.
- 1996: New automatic climate controls and real wood on the dashboard in Cartier models. Other than that, 1996 is mostly a rerun of the previous year.
- 1997: Final year for the second-generation Town Car. With the demise of the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, the Town Car becomes the largest mass-produced rear wheel drive car available in North America. Cartier models were fitted with cup holders in the rear center armrest, and offered lighted vanity mirrors in the headliner for the two outboard rear seating positions.
Introduced on the second-generation model were several new options that had never been available before on the Town Car. A two-position driver's memory seat was an optional on Signature (standard on Cartier). The power front seats gained power adjustment for the seatback angle (recline) with inflatable lumbar support as an option. While carried over from 1989, the Electrochromic Dimming Mirror was widened to fit the wider rear window of the new Town Car. Rear load-leveling air suspension was added as standard equipment.
Initially featured on Signature and Cartier models, the digital instrument panel (later shared with the Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis) featured an advanced trip computer with temperature, average/instant MPG, trip odometer, and distance to empty. The previous "estimated time of arrival" feature from the 1980s was deleted (it returned in 1994).
As before, the Town Car was available in three trim levels. Base trim (renamed Executive Series for the 1991 model year), the Signature Series, and Cartier in increasing price points and availability of features. In a departure from the previous generation, the Cartier model was available in several interior and exterior colors (rather than the previous single design each year).
The Base/Executive Series Town Car offered six-passenger seating with two bench seats, a four-speaker AM/FM stereo with cassette player, 8-way front power seats, a four-speed overdrive automatic transmission, cloth seating surfaces, fifteen-inch tires, a digital LED dashboard, trip computer, dashboard clock, and keyless entry with Ford's Securicode keyless entry keypad.
The Signature added leather seating surfaces, standard alloy wheels, and an available cloth imitation convertible roof.
Finally, the top-of-the-line Cartier offered a JBL-branded sound system with amplifier, a security system, alloy spoked wheels, and other exclusive details, such as cloth and leather seats.
A Jack Nicklaus Edition Town Car, based on the Signature Series Town Car, was available for model years 1991 to 1997. It offered special commemorative badges, gold lettering for exterior badges, gold front grille spokes, a gold Lincoln hood emblem, gold laced alloy wheels, gold interior accents, and a JBL premium sound system with amplifier. This Town Car celebrated professional golfing legend Jack Nicklaus. Production of this one-of-a-kind Town Car ended in 1997.
For 1994 only, the Town Car was available with a special package for the Signature Series. White Oxford Leather seats, which could offer optional blue piping along the seat edges, were paired with regatta blue carpeting with matching blue color trim on the doors and instrument panel. The package was often paired with white oxford vinyl carriage roof as well, with embroidery on the "C" pillar near the opera windows. Approximately 1,500 were produced.
In 1992 to 1997 a special Signature Series sedan was produced: the Jack Nicklaus Signature Series, which featured a green body with a white vinyl top with white leather interior trimmed in green. Another version came with white exterior paint and a conventional roof and a similar white leather interior with green carpets and trim. Most of these editions have ornaments and wording on the exterior trimmed in gold including green and gold "Golden Bear" badges on the front fenders. Options included on the 1992 to 1997 Jack Nicklaus Signature Series included: Memory Seats with Power Lumbar/Recliner, Leather Seats and Monotone Paint.
1995 also featured another special Signature Series edition called the Spinnaker Edition which featured tri-coat paint, two-toned leather seats, the Spinnaker logo on the floor mats, and 16" spoked aluminum wheels.
To celebrate Lincoln's 75th anniversary in 1996, the Town Car took on a "Diamond Anniversary" edition. This edition was applied to Signature Series sedans only. Features included unique accent stripe, leather seats, wood instrument panel trim, window badging, cellular telephone, power moonroof, JBL audio system, auto electrochromatic dimming mirror with compass, and traction assist.
Also in 1996, Lincoln offered a Signature Series Cypress Edition which featured Cypress Gold Frost exterior paint, two-toned leather interior, and red Cypress tree badging.
The 1990 Town Car was fitted with dual air bags as standard equipment (the first American-built car in the luxury segment to do so). However, supply problems with the passenger air bag module caused many cars to be built without the passenger side module. A credit, shown on the window sticker, was issued for the missing component. Upon request from an owner, the credit would be taken back and the passenger side airbag module would be installed. For the first time since 1979, 4-wheel disc brakes were standard on the Town Car; ABS was optional.
The second-generation Town Car was powered by the same powertrain as the 1989 Town Car: a 150-hp 5.0L Windsor V8 with a 4-speed AOD automatic. 1991 saw the introduction of the SOHC 4.6L Modular V8. Making its debut in the Town Car, the Modular V8 would go on to power the Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis as well as the F-Series/E-Series trucks as it replaced the 302 and 351 V8s.
All second-generation Town Cars were fitted with variants of the 4-speed AOD overdrive transmission. From 1990-1991, the AOD was standard, with the AOD-E replacing it for 1992. For 1993 to 1997, the Town Car used the 4R70W shared with the Mark VIII.
|Engine||Displacement||Years Produced||Horsepower rating||Torque output||Notes|
|Ford 5.0 Windsor V8||4.9 liters (302 cu in)||1990||150 hp (112 kW)||270 lb·ft (370 N·m) at 2,000 rpm||Single exhaust configuration, sold with base trim level|
|Ford Modular SOHC V8||4.6 liters (281 cu in)||1990||160 hp (120 kW)||280 lb·ft (380 N·m) at 2,200 rpm||Dual exhaust configuration, sold with Signature Series and Cartier|
|1991-1997||210 hp (157 kW)||275 lb·ft (373 N·m) at 3,250 rpm||Dual exhaust configuration, sold with Executive Series, Signature Series, and Cartier|
|1997||190 hp (142 kW)||265 lb·ft (359 N·m) at 3,250 rpm||Single exhaust configuration, sold with Executive Series only in 1997|
Third generation (1998–2011)
|Also called||Lincoln Town Car L
FAW Hongqi CA7460
FAW Hongqi Limousine
|Production||October 1997–September 15, 2011|
|Assembly||Wixom, Michigan, U.S. (1998–2007)
St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada (2008–2011)
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Related||Mercury Grand Marquis
Ford Crown Victoria
Hongqi CA7460/Hongqi Qijian(红旗旗舰)
|Engine||4.6 L Modular SOHC V8|
|Transmission||4-speed 4R70W automatic
4-speed 4R75W automatic
|Wheelbase||Town Car: 117.7 in (2,990 mm)
Town Car L: 123.7 in (3,142 mm)
|Length||1998–2002 Town Car: 215.3 in (5,469 mm)
2003–2011 Town Car: 215.4 in (5,471 mm)
2001–2004 Town Car L: 221.3 in (5,621 mm)
2005–2011 Town Car L: 221.4 in (5,624 mm)
|Width||1998–2002: 78.2 in (1,986 mm)
2003–2011: 78.5 in (1,994 mm)
|Height||1998–2002: 58.0 in (1,473 mm)
2003–08 Town Car: 58.6 in (1,488 mm)
2003–08 Town Car L: 58.7 in (1,491 mm)
2009–2011 Town Car: 59.0 in (1,499 mm)
2009–2011 Town Car L: 59.1 in (1,501 mm)
For the 1998 model year, Ford gave its full-size cars for all three divisions major redesigns, with the Town Car receiving the most attention. The straight-lined body seen for eight years gave way to a curved design scheme with a downwards sloping trunk lid, and cat's-eye headlights. The C-pillar opera windows and Rolls-Royce grille seen since the 1970s were left off, as was the hood ornament. In the front, the new Town Car wore a waterfall grille much like the Navigator that was introduced alongside it for 1998.
The interior received major changes as well. Door and instrument panels as well as the radio face, switches and controls were redone. Additional wood trim was added to the newly designed dashboard and the door panels. The power seat recliner and lumbar controls were moved to the door panels. Lincoln emblems remained on the door panels and the seatbacks, as well as the rear tail lights, making the 1998–2002 models the last Town Cars with that feature. The Cartier model also received a 220-hp version of the Modular V8.
The Town Car didn't follow a popular trend with luxury brands, by installing a cabin air filter for the HVAC system, while the smaller Lincoln LS did offer one.
- 1998: Third-generation Town Car released with extensive redesigns to the exterior and interior. While 3 inches shorter, the 1998 Town Car was 2 inches wider, an inch taller, and rode on a slightly longer wheelbase. For the first time since 1991, the 4.6L V8 saw a power increase across the board (200 hp in Executive/Signature, 220 hp in Cartier, 239 hp in Signature Touring, standard with dual exhaust). The Signature Series is was available with a Touring package, intended to appeal to those young at heart. It features unique 16-inch chrome tek alloy wheels with wider 235 width tires, 3.55 rear gear ratio, heavy duty monotube KONI shocks (OEM supplier), reduced diameter rubber bushings on suspension, revised engine and variable steering ratio computer tuning, exterior chrome delete, anthracite painted grill, black wood interior, perforated leather seats and JBL Audiophile quality sound system.
- 1999: Seat-mounted combination head and torso side airbags are added as a standard feature to all Town Cars. Executive Series power seat control moved from the outboard seat base to the door panels. The rear seat fold-down center armrest (with dual cup holders) returns for the Executive Series after a one-year absence.
- 2000: Revised engine tuning drops engine output to 200 hp for Town Cars equipped with single exhaust; 215 hp in dual-exhaust models. The driver's door mounted keyless entry keypad returns as standard equipment for all three trim levels.
- 2001: Long-wheelbase Lincoln Town Car L introduced; it is available in all trim levels. Engine tuning is revised again, with a 20-hp gain for both engine configurations.
- 2002: Trim lineup expanded with Premium variants of Signature Series, Signature Touring, and Cartier. The Premium trim level is distinguished largely by its glass sunroof. Last year for Touring models.
- 2003: Town Car given mid-cycle refresh. As the underpinning Ford Panther platform receives a major update, the Town Car receives a number of changes to improve its road manners. An all-new frame improved body rigidity while rack-and-pinion steering improved handling alongside a retuned suspension. The Modular V8 received another power increase, to 224/239 hp, depending on model.
A refreshed exterior squared off the bumpers; a new front end brought the styling of the Town Car closer in line with that of the newly introduced LS. After a five-year absence, the hood ornament made its return atop the grille. Inside, all-new seats gained larger head restraints. To further differentiate the interior from its Mercury Grand Marquis stablemate, the Town Car gained a new woodgrain pattern, trimmed by a satin metal border. Unlike Ford and Mercury dashboards, Town Cars integrated the radio and climate controls into a single unit, topped by an analog clock.
Late in the year, a DVD-based satellite navigation system designed by Pioneer became available late in the 2003 model year; it was later paired with THX sound processing. On all Town Cars except for Executive Series, ultrasonic park assist was standard. Also new was a power trunk lid that opens and closes at the touch of the driver's door mounted button or through the keyless remote; this was known as "Trunk at a Touch."
- 2004: The Town Car trim line is shuffled a bit. The base Executive Series is restricted exclusively to fleet/livery sales. On the other end of the line, the Cartier is discontinued; its role is taken over by the Town Car Ultimate. The 'Soundmark' premium sound system becomes standard equipment, as does an A/M-F/M stereo with dual-media cassette and CD players. A THX premium sound system is standard on the Ultimate and Ultimate L trim levels.
- 2005: Ultimate is discontinued. To expand the Signature Series, Lincoln introduces the Signature Limited trim package. Town Cars (and all Panther-platform cars) receive a redesigned steering wheel.
- 2006: 25th anniversary of Lincoln Town Car. To commemorate, Lincoln offers a 25th Anniversary Edition with special trim and badging. Exterior parking sensor design hidden in bumpers. Instrument panel design updated, now featuring a tachometer (becoming one of the last American-market cars to do so). New Signature Designer Series is introduced as replacement for Cartier/Ultimate.
- 2007:Production of Town Cars ends at Wixom Assembly on May 31; production of 2008 models is moved to St. Thomas Assembly alongside the Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis.
- 2008:Designer Series discontinued. To streamline building process, Lincoln standardizes all features, offering the Town Car with only four options: HID headlamps, polished aluminum 18-spoke wheels (in place of the standard machine-finished 10-spoke wheels), whitewall tires, and a trunk organizer.
- 2009: Further streamlining the model lineup, only the Signature Limited and the Signature L were available.
- 2010: Same model lineup as 2009. Limited-edition Continental Edition available on Signature Limited, consisting of trim and badging.
- 2011: Last year of Lincoln Town Car production as St. Thomas Assembly shuts down. Signature Limited and Signature L are produced, Executive Series is produced for fleet/livery sales. Feature availability is also further reduced.
Touring/Touring Sedan option packages were offered on Signature trim level models from 1996 to 2002. Specific options varied through the years with latter packages becoming more focused on sporting performance and handling features.
In 2005, a Pro Series edition/option package was available on the Signature Limited and included embroidered "Pro Series" logos on driver/front passenger seat backs, 9-spoke chrome wheels, chrome B-pillar, two-tone instrument panel, and floor mats with "Pro Series" brushed aluminum badges.
25th Anniversary Edition
Lincoln commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Town Car by offering a 25th Anniversary Edition package on the 2006 Signature Limited. The package included chrome B-pillar and door handles, unique Eucalyptus wood applique and matching steering wheel with wood inserts, scuff plates with "25th Anniversary Edition" and "25th anniversary" badging, Provence leather individual 40/20/40 lounge seating with individual comfort, shirring, contrast piping and rear seat adjustable headrests, foglamps and 9-spoke chrome wheels.
Offered in 2010 and 2011 was the Continental Edition package; available as an option only on the Signature Limited trim. The package added Continental badging, chrome 17-inch wheels and accents to the B-pillars. On the interior, the Continental name was embroidered on the front seats and front floor mats.
Town Car L
A new "L" designation was used for extended-wheelbase Town Cars from 2000 to 2011. The L editions offered an additional 6 in (150 mm) of rear-seat legroom, as well as remote access audio and climate controls mounted in the rear center armrest. Also included was a two-way travel switch for the front passenger seat base (a feature shared with the extended-wheelbase Jaguar XJ). This L designation was similar to that used on other luxury flagship sedans such as the BMW 7-Series or the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The L designation was applied to the top-of-line Cartier (2000–2003), Ultimate (2004 only), and Signature (2005–2011) trim levels. Fleet buyers received it under the Executive L trim designation.
For 2000–02 versions, the "L" edition is best identified by a widened B-pillar, bearing the Lincoln "star" ornament; this was done to maintain parts commonality with the standard Town Car. 2003-2011 "L" editions are distinguished by longer rear doors, featuring wider versions of the fixed windows seen in the Town Car doors.
Ballistic Protection Series
Starting in 2003, the Lincoln Town Car had been available featuring ballistic protection from the factory. Adding nearly $100,000 to the base price, the armored body and bulletproof glass raised the curb weight of the Town Car to nearly 7,000 pounds. Other changes to the suspension and brakes were intended to preserve the handling of the Town Car. Only a handful of Lincoln dealers in the US were authorized to sell this series..
See main page, Hongqi (marque)
In China, FAW produced a licensed version of the Lincoln Town Car rebadged as the Hongqi CA7460(红旗CA7460) and Hongqi Qijian(红旗旗舰) from November 10, 1998 to 2005. However the limousine version continues to be produced and sold in China. The limousine version is currently called the Hongqi Limousine.
|Engine||Displacement||Years produced||Horsepower rating||Torque output||Notes|
|Ford Modular SOHC V8||4.6 liters (281 cu in)||1998-2000||205 hp (153 kW)||single-exhaust, sold with Executive Series, Signature Series|
|1998-2000||220 hp (164 kW)||290 lb·ft (390 N·m) at 3,500 rpm||dual-exhaust, sold with Cartier|
|2000-2002||235 hp (175 kW)||285 lb·ft (386 N·m)||dual-exhaust, sold with Town Car L|
|2001-2002||235 hp (175 kW)||287 lb·ft (389 N·m) at 3,500 rpm||dual-exhaust, sold with Executive Series, Signature Series|
|1998-2011||239 hp (178 kW)||287 lb·ft (389 N·m) at 4,100 rpm||Introduced with 1998-2002 Signature Touring, this version became the sole engine for all Town Cars from 2003 to 2011.|
|Calendar Year||American sales|
In 2006, as part of The Way Forward, Ford considered ending production of Lincoln's largest model as part of the 2007 closing of the Wixom Assembly Plant. Industry observer George Peterson said "It blows everybody’s mind that they are dropping the Town Car. Just think what Ford could do if they actually invested in a re-skin of Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Town Car." Ford ultimately decided to keep the model and move assembly to the St. Thomas Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada; this was home to the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis; both models also used the Ford Panther platform. The Town Car's manufacture resumed at its new location in late 2007. The first Canadian-assembled Town Car was built on January 10, 2008. However, in Canada, Town Cars were sold exclusively for fleet and livery sales, having been discontinued in retail markets after the 2007 model year.
In 2009, the fate of all three Panther-platform models was determined when Ford announced the 2011 closure of the St. Thomas Assembly Plant. For the limousine and livery markets, Ford had promised availability of the Town Car through the 2011 model year; retail sales continued on a limited basis in the United States and for export. On January 4, 2011, the Town Car became the last Panther-platform variant available for retail sale as the final Mercury Grand Marquis was produced (the last Mercury-brand vehicle). On August 29, 2011, the final Town Car rolled off the assembly line, without any fanfare or announcement from Ford.
After the Town Car's discontinuation following the 2011 model year, the Town Car was left without a direct replacement. Although dimensionally a full-size sedan, the Lincoln MKS's architecture is considerably different as it has a front-wheel drive unibody platform with optional all-wheel drive. The MKS is marketed more as of a successor to the sportier Lincoln LS as well as the 1995–2002 Continental. To fill the gap left by the Town Car, Lincoln has remained in livery markets by developing a limousine variant of the MKT full-size crossover vehicle, which was made available around the second quarter of 2012 and is known as the "MKT Town Car."
In 1981 the Town Car was introduced in three trim levels: the base model, the mid-range Signature Series, and the top-of-the-line Cartier Series. In 1991, the Executive Series became the designation for the base/entry model. In 2004, the Cartier name was dropped and replaced by Ultimate, and the Executive Series name was now only used for fleet vehicles going forward. This left the Signature Series as the entry level model. In 2005, however, the lineup was changed again and all three trim levels carried a Signature badge: Signature, Signature Limited, and Signature L. In 2006 and 2007, a Designer Series was added to fit in between the mid-range Signature Limited and the top-of-the-line Signature L. Starting in 2008 and through the end of the model run, the Signature Limited and Signature L were the only retail trim levels available.
The Signature Series was the mid-level, and also most popular, trim level from 1981 through 2003. In 2004 the trim levels were renamed, and the Signature Series was now used to describe the base trim level and Ultimate was now used to describe the upper level trim. In 2005 the Ultimate was dropped and all trim levels were changed to a version of Signature. The base trim level for 2005 was called Signature, the mid trim level was called Signature Limited and the top-of-line trim-level was called Signature L. The trim level designations were revised again for the 2006 model year with a Designer Series being added between the Signature Limited and top-of-line Signature L. By 2008, with only two models remaining, the Signature Limited became the base model, while the Signature L badge was used for the extended-wheelbase model.
Cartier was used on the top-of-line Town Car from 1981 through 2003, including LWB or "L" versions 2000–2003. The Cartier also featured the designer's logo stitched onto the seats in place of the Lincoln star. Golden Lincoln emblems on the tail-lights also became a staplemark on the Cartier Edition on 1998 through 2002 models.
Executive (1991–2003 for retail and 2004–2011 for fleet)
The Executive Series was the base trim level and thus the most affordable Lincoln Town Car from 1991 through 2003. After 2003, the Executive Series designation continued on, but for fleet vehicles only and included both SWB and LWB versions.
Limited (2000–2004) and Signature Limited (2005–2011)
"Limited", as an option package, was available on Signature trim models from 2000 to 2003 and on the Ultimate in 2004. Starting in 2005, Limited (known as Signature Limited) became its own trim level.
Ultimate was only used on the 2004 Town Car. The Ultimate designation replaced Cartier for 2004 and was used for the top-of-line model. Like the Cartier, it was offered in SWB and LWB versions.
The Designer Series was an upper-middle trim level in between the Signature Limited and Signature L. This trim included two-tone interior accents, a special higher quality leather called Provence leather. The rear seats also included four way adjustable head restraints exclusively on this trim for the standard wheelbase. On the exterior special chromed B pillars and chrome wheels were included.
Throughout the entire run of the Town Car, numerous aftermarket companies and Lincoln-Mercury dealerships offered unique "trim packages" that typically included special roof treatments, grilles, wheels and badging. These were especially popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
Trim level timeline
|Lincoln Town Car Timeline|
|Entry||Base||Executive Series||Signature Series||Signature Limited|
|Mid-level||Signature Series||Signature Limited|
|High-end||Cartier Series||Ultimate||Designer Series|
|L||Cartier L||Ultimate L||Signature L|
|Fleet||Executive, Executive L|
The Town Car has received several awards and recognitions.
- Forbes magazine repeatedly named the Town Car one of the best cars to be chauffeured in along with other, often more expensive flagship sedans, such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series and Lexus LS. The Town Car Signature L features a rear seat comfort package which not only provides rear seat passengers with audio system and rear compartment climate controls, but also features a control function which allows for the rear seat occupants to move the passenger seat forward, a feature exclusive to few ultra-luxury sedans. In addition to its many amenities, the Signature L also features an unrivaled 46.9 in (1,191 mm) of rear legroom, and 60 in (1,524 mm) of rear shoulder room.
- In 1990, upon the introduction of the second generation Town Car, the vehicle was named Motor Trend Car of the Year. However this award was later included by Car and Driver in a list of poorly chosen car of the year award winners. It should be noted that Motor Trend has changed the criteria by which it awards its highest accolade: Originally, Car of the Year awards went to the vehicle model which was the most significantly improved over the previous year's design in all respects. Currently, no such consideration is given to contenders for this award, and vehicles are considered for the award even if in their first year of production.
The Lincoln Town Car was the first production sedan in the world to receive US five-star crash ratings in every category. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2010 Lincoln Town Car Crash Test Ratings (with side airbags)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2000 Lincoln Town Car Crash Test Ratings (with side air bags)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 1990 Lincoln Town Car Crash Test Ratings
- Ford Crown Victoria/Police Interceptor
- Mercury Grand Marquis/Marauder
- Ford Panther platform
- Lincoln Mark Series
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