Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XVII)

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With its splashy debut and contiguous income success, Lincoln’s Continental Mark II I idiosyncratic luxury coupe offered up contiguous and superior contention to the much established Cadillac Eldorado, which antecedently had the marketplace each to itself. With its unsocial styling antithetic from different Continentals and a much upscale interior, the Mark typically won successful examination tests published by the automotive property of the day.

After a palmy 3 years connected the market, it was clip for a caller Mark successful 1972. The twelvemonth anterior Cadillac introduced a caller ninth-generation Eldorado that was larger and much luxurious than earlier and adopted Seventies-ready boat-like styling. Lincoln rapidly followed suit with the all-new Mark IV.

Similar to the fifth-generation Continental two- and four-door models that shared a level and tons of expanse metallic with the Mercury Marquis from 1970, the caller Continental Mark IV shared tons with the (sixth-gen) Ford Thunderbird. The level sharing was thing new, arsenic the Mark III utilized the fifth-gen Thunderbird’s platform. But with Mark IV, Ford took the sharing a fewer steps further.  

Though the Mark IV maintained a look that was an improvement of the Mark III, determination were galore much similarities to the Thunderbird: The roof, hood, windows, mirrors, and doors were shared betwixt Thunderbird and Mark IV. Differences were constricted to exterior trim, and beforehand and rear styling. This attack was a chiseled departure from the Mark III, which had a assemblage plan each its own. 

Parked broadside by side, the similarities betwixt the 2 models were obvious. However, successful a determination that astir apt pleased Ford dealers, the similarities were a assistance to the Thunderbird’s image. The styling connected some cars was carried retired to marque Thunderbird a Mark-minus, alternatively than the Mark a Thunderbird-plus. 

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The Mark IV’s individuality and lineage were evident erstwhile considered adjacent to a Mark III. The aforesaid benignant of agelong hood and abbreviated rear platform proportions remained, on with the astir desirable covered headlamps and their flip-down doors. At the front, the grille and headlamp plan was minimally changed from Mark III to Mark IV. One notable summation was a Lincoln hood ornament, arsenic the Mark accepted its institution branding successful a overmuch much evident way. 

The Mark IV’s hood was shaped astir identically to that of the Mark III, though the region betwixt the A-pillar and the beforehand extremity of the car was overmuch greater. It was a clip of maturation and gingerbread excess successful home automobiles, and the PLC led the complaint guardant successful specified aspects. The agelong beforehand fenders were likewise crisp arsenic connected the Mark III, and battering ram beforehand corners made a return.

Also contiguous were akin wrap-around indicator lamps, though they donned a caller chrome grille look connected Mark IV. As it was the Seventies, the Mark IV’s bumper was chunkier than its predecessor and unluckily identical to the Thunderbird’s. The chrome trim astir the Mark IV’s beforehand extremity was astir unchanged from its predecessor, with 1 exception: The chrome portion that ran on the apical borderline of the fenders was removed.

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Not to fear, caller (optional) assemblage broadside trim appeared on the sides of the Mark successful enactment with the chrome nether the headlamp doors. The trim had its ain dual chrome appliques, and was disposable successful antithetic colors of integrative and detailing (filigree) babelike upon colour strategy and options. In its fullest optional format, the trim curved up implicit the instrumentality arches - which were much pronounced connected the Mark IV - and continued each the mode to the rear of the car. 

Inside the trim up of the beforehand tyre was an amber reflector, which complemented a caller cornering lamp placed debased connected the body. The lamp was wrong a chrome trim portion that ran the magnitude of the Mark IV, but it was chunkier and little well-implemented than connected the Mark III. Thicker, much important trim besides appeared astatine the A-pillar and ran on the doorway sill.

It wasn’t a caller determination for chrome but was of a greater measurement than the Mark III, and was not a continuation of the fender enactment trim arsenic connected the aged car. The heavy chrome wrapped up astir the rear broadside model and continued astir a model enactment that was reasonably akin to the Mark III. 

Like the Mark III, Mark IV arrived with a vinyl extortion covering which extended down the A-pillars. In the caller Mark, the elemental vertical opera lamp was replaced by an oval opera model - a benignant of porthole for rear barge passengers to adjacent retired of. The model was trimmed successful its ain chrome and bore different Lincoln crosshair logo. It was an enactment successful 1972, (though astir ever selected) and became modular for 1973.

Beneath the opera model different portion of chrome trim appeared, which again performed the aforesaid benignant of decorative relation arsenic the Mark III’s fender enactment trim. On the caller Mark, it wrapped astir the B-pillar and continued crossed the trunk, wherever it was joined by a thickly chromed rear window. The trim continued astir to the different broadside successful its framing of the vinyl extortion and ended astatine the model connected the other side.

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The clumsy vinyl extortion implementation was the commencement of a taxable for the rear extremity of the Mark IV. There was somewhat too much of everything. Too overmuch rear fender metal, excessively overmuch trim, and sheet gaps that were excessively large. The elegant rear platform connected the Mark III was replaced by thing overmuch chunkier looking.

The tiny process fins of the Mark III were each but gone connected Mark IV, reduced to smallish protrusions that were overmuch softer. Rear fenders lacked explanation excessively and appeared little flowing and much bulbous. The occupation was the Mark’s quality line, which was relocated from the crisp fender down to the mediate of the body. It drew the oculus downward and made the Mark IV look taller. 

New rear process lamps were tiny and horizontal, placed to either broadside of the present celebrated Continental kit bulge. Though arsenic arsenic pronounced arsenic it was before, the bulge presided implicit a rear extremity that was overmuch little absorbing to look at. The bumper was heavier than it was earlier and included much sculpting typical of the tyre hump. Reverse lamps and the licence sheet country were successful astir the aforesaid spot they were previously. 

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From a rear three-quarter view, the lesser Thunderbird got distant with a cleaner look. With sleeker and simpler chrome implementation and a ample reddish heckblende, it was much blase looking than the Mark IV. The lone people connected Thunderbird’s rearview was the corny-looking rectangular opera window. 

Both cars had a somewhat gawky quality from the rear due to the fact that of thing new and antithetic Ford designers tried: They gave the beforehand and rear instrumentality arches the aforesaid height. It was a interruption from a agelong contented wherever a car’s rear instrumentality arch was little than the front. The equal-height instrumentality arch inclination was started a fewer years prior, by the Oldsmobile Toronado of 1966.

It was a cardinal quality from the Eldorado which maintained the accepted offset instrumentality arch height. Additionally, the sporty instrumentality arch flares meant determination would beryllium nary relaxed fender skirt action. And the skirts were a cardinal constituent of the Eldorado's look successful the Seventies. 

In our adjacent installment, we’ll measurement wrong the Mark IV’s interior, and into a satellite of rather unrealistic-looking wood paneling and shag heap carpeting. Sort of similar your grandparents’ surviving country circa 1970! We’ll besides reappraisal the Mark IV’s mechanical details.

[Images: Ford]

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