1980 Lincoln Versailles
|Assembly||United States: Wayne, Michigan (Wayne Stamping & Assembly)
United States: Mahwah, New Jersey (Mahwah Assembly)
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Mid-size luxury car|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Engine||351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
|Wheelbase||109.9 in (2,791 mm)|
|Length||200.9 in (5,103 mm)|
|Width||74.5 in (1,892 mm)|
|Height||54.1 in (1,374 mm)|
|Curb weight||3,827–3,915 pounds (1,736–1,776 kg)|
|Successor||Lincoln Continental (1982)|
The Lincoln Versailles (English // vair-SY or // vər-SY) is a mid-size luxury car that was marketed by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company from the 1977 to 1980 model years. A rebadged variant of the Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch, the four-door Lincoln Versailles was introduced as the division's competitor to the Cadillac Seville, which also made extensive use of badge engineering. The Versailles was named after the 17th century palace outside Paris.
Noted for the first American-market car with halogen headlamps and clearcoat paint, the Versailles sold poorly, with only 50,156 produced over all four years of production. Partially through the 1980 model year, the Versailles was discontinued. Although not directly replaced, Lincoln revisited the mid-size segment when the Continental was extensively downsized for 1982, with much better results.
During the mid-1970s, the Lincoln division of Ford sought to expand its model range for multiple reasons. In comparison to the four distinct luxury model lines offered by Cadillac and the three offered by Chrysler (including Imperial), Lincoln offered only two distinct model lines in 1975. While sales of large luxury cars would go on to rebound after the 1973 oil crisis, its impact lead to the rise of imported cars. As Honda and Toyota began to gain market share in the economy-car segment, the luxury car segment also gained competition from smaller vehicles as well. While competing in price with Cadillac, Imperial, and Lincoln, the West German BMW 3.0Si and Mercedes-Benz 350SE/450SE offered American luxury-car buyers a far different vehicle than produced by American manufacturers.
In 1976, General Motors introduced the Cadillac Seville in response to both the fuel crisis and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. While the smallest Cadillac, the Seville was also priced as its most expensive model. Although using the chassis and mechanical underpinnings of the Chevrolet Nova to save on engineering and development costs, the Seville was given its own exterior; no body panels were shared between the vehicles.
In 1977, to resurrect its sales, Chrysler moved the LeBaron nameplate from the defunct Imperial division to become a Chrysler. At the time, Chrysler Corporation had limited funds for model development, leaving the LeBaron to become a slightly redesigned version of the Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare mid-size sedans. While sized similar to the Chrysler Cordoba, the LeBaron was produced in a full range of body styles, including sedan, coupe, and station wagon.
With a smaller development budget than General Motors in its development of the Seville, relatively few changes were made to differentiate the Lincoln Versailles from a Mercury Monarch sold in the same showroom. In the front, the body was restyled slightly to resemble the Continental Mark V. For the first time since 1969, a Lincoln again wore exposed headlights; the Versailles marked the debut of rectangular headlamps on a Lincoln. In the rear, the influence of the Mark V also showed, as a "Continental spare" was grafted onto the trunklid (re-lettered LINCOLN instead of CONTINENTAL).
For the 1979 model year, the rear roofline was redesigned, with notchback styling exclusive for the Versailles. Consisting of a rear fiberglass cap, the new roofline required the use of new quarter windows and the use of a standard vinyl landau roof.
While the Versailles wore similar trim to its Mercury Monarch counterpart and largely took over the role of the Grand Monarch Ghia, it featured a large amount of standard equipment and features seen in the Continental such as leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel, digital LCD clock, power steering, dual map lights, lighted passenger vanity mirror, reclining power bucket seats with rear-seat map pockets, and plush carpeting with soundproofing.
The Versailles uses the compact-car platform shared by most 1960s and 1970s Ford Motor Company vehicles. Making its debut with the 1960 Ford Falcon, the Versailles shares a common wheelbase with the Ford Granada/Mercury Monarch and the four-door Ford Maverick/Mercury Comet.
According to Lincoln advertising, a unique and rigorous quality-control regime was also used at the factory; final assembly included dynamometer testing of the engine/transmission, a water spray test to pinpoint body leaks, and a simulated road test. The Versailles featured "matched and balance" driveline elements, low-friction lower ball joints, double isolated shocks, reinforced chassis areas, sound insulation and balanced forged 14" aluminum wheels with Michelin whitewall X-radials. Bodywork received the first clearcoat paint on a regular production car.”
The Versailles shared its powertrain with the Monarch that it was based upon, with a V8 engine as a sole choice. Initially, the Versailles was powered by the 351 cubic-inch V8, phased out in favor of the 302 cubic-inch V8. The 3-speed C4 automatic transmission was the sole transmission available. The rear differential used in the Versailles was Ford 9 inch with rear disc brakes, replacing the drums on the Granada and the Monarch.
|Engine Model||Displacement||Horsepower output||Torque output||Transmission type|
|Ford Windsor V8||302 cubic inches (4.9 liters)||133 bhp (99 kW; 135 PS)@ 3600 RPM||243 lb·ft (329 N·m) @ 1600 RPM||Ford C4 3-speed automatic|
|Ford Windsor V8||351 cubic inches (5.8 liters)||135 bhp (101 kW; 137 PS)@ 3200 RPM||275 lb·ft (373 N·m)@ 1600 RPM||Ford C4 3-speed automatic|
Compared to Cadillac Seville, the Lincoln Versailles fared poorly, outsold by the Cadillac by a 3 to 1 margin in its 1977 debut year. Following its 1979 update, sales of the Versailles more than doubled, although far behind its Cadillac rival. In total, 50,156 were produced in total; by comparison, the Seville outsold that total in both 1978 and 1979.
- "1978 Versailles Brochure". Retrieved January 29, 2011.
- 1980 LINCOLN VERSAILLES 5.0L Select-Shift data in automobile-catalog.com
- 1977 LINCOLN VERSAILLES 351-2V Select-Shift data in automobile-catalog.com
- "Obscure American Car: Lincoln Versailles". CNet.com, September 15, 2013, Dan Duncan.
- Flammang, James Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999 3rd Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc 1999), p.595.
- Flammang, James Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999 3rd Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc 1999), p.596. 351 specs
- Flammang, James Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999 3rd Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc 1999), p.597. 302 specs
- "Production & Registry totals". The Granada-Monarch-Versailles Registry. Retrieved April 17, 2009.
- Flammang, James Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999 3rd Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc 1999), p.596.
- Flammang, James Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999 3rd Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc 1999), p.597.
- Flammang, James Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999 3rd Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc 1999), p.599.
- Flammang, James Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999 3rd Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc 1999), p.601.
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|Lincoln passenger vehicle timeline, 1922–1979 — next »|
|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|
|« previous Lincoln, a luxury division of Ford Motor Company – road car timeline, 1980–present|
|Mid-size||Versailles||Continental (Fox)||Continental (D186)||Continental (D186)||Zephyr/MKZ (CD3)||MKZ (CD4)|
|Full-size||Continental (Panther)||Town Car||Town Car||Town Car|
|Personal luxury car|
|Mark Series||Continental Mark VI||Continental/Lincoln Mark VII||Mark VIII|
|Full-size SUV||Navigator (UN173)||Navigator (U228)||Navigator (U326)|
|Pickup truck||Blackwood||Mark LT||Mark LT (Mexico)|