1983 Lincoln Continental Mark VI
It carries a feeling of effortlessness in everything it does, and drives like all the joints on the suspension are lined with silk.
The all-new 1980 Lincolns were smaller, but that was definitely a relative term. Sure, they were riding on six-inch shorter wheelbases than the gargantuan 1979 models, and were more than 1000 pounds lighter, but they were still full-sized luxury cars in the very best American tradition. As part of that redesign, the Continental Mark VI was born, and was available in both two- and four-door variants, the first time in decades for a Continental sedan. The VI lasted only three years before the debut of the sleek, aerodynamic Mark VII, but for traditional Lincoln buyers, it was perhaps the best interpretation of the marque since the legendary Mark II.
This handsome Walnut Brown Metallic Mark VI shows just 20,312 original miles, and has been beautifully preserved as part of a vast Lincoln collection that includes one of every Continental model ever built. As a result of this particular collector’s love for the brand, he scoured the country looking for the best possible examples, which explains this car’s immaculate presentation. The bodywork is completely original and unmarked, showing none of the battle scars that a car driven daily might show. There’s no rust, no sign of accidents, and the paint has a deep shine that belies its age. It retained all the hallmarks and styling cues of the earlier Mark V, including hidden headlights flanking a square waterfall grille, oval opera windows, and, of course, the vestigial spare tire hump on the deck lid. In effect, it was far more stylish than the similar Town Coupe, and as a result it simply destroyed the Town Coupe’s sales. There was still plenty of chrome on the Mark VI, plus extensive use of polished stainless steel on the lower panels, all of which is in outstanding condition with virtually zero blemishes. In the same way, the padded half roof is unmarked and supple, and all the glass is like new.
Inside, the Mark VI continued Lincoln’s tradition of first-class accommodations in a more intimate setting. With optional leather seating surfaces, the lovely tan interior is timeless American luxury that presents in outstanding condition today. Even the driver’s seat shows only minimal signs of use, some gentle creases that enhance the leather’s look. Note the embroidered seat backs featuring the Continental cross, the deep pile carpeting protected by a set of matching rubber floor mats, and the beautifully preserved woodgraining on both the dash and door panels. Virtually everything was standard, and it appears that this car is equipped with all options except a sunroof. Climate control, twin power front seats, cruise control, a tilt wheel, and an AM/FM/cassette stereo system that still sounds great were all part of the package. The A/C still blows ice cold, the power antenna goes up and down when you turn on the radio, and the car idles and drives as silently as you’d expect. The massive trunk will carry a weeks’ worth of luggage for a family, and presents in as-new condition with the original spare never having seen the pavement.
Ford took the opportunity of the redesign to pack the Mark VI with their latest technology, including electronic fuel injection on the 302 cubic inch V8. Precursor to the mighty 5.0, the engine is both smooth and torquey, so it moves the big Lincoln with the kind of fluid grace that was the only reason people bought such cars. It carries a feeling of effortlessness in everything it does, and drives like all the joints on the suspension are lined with silk. The engine compartment is highly original, with all the factory markings and stickers fully intact, so it’s a shoo-in for preservation-class judging, and despite its complex appearance, maintenance is easy. Of course, as a 302 Ford, it’s as reliable as a freight train, and thanks to careful maintenance and storage for the past 30 years, it runs and drives like a new car.
Ford also parked a new 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission behind the 302, which gives this car long legs on the highway, so you can cruise in eerie silence at supra-legal speeds. Fuel economy isn’t bad either! The chassis is clean and as it likely was a few weeks after the first owner took delivery, not shiny and perfect, but nicely preserved and full of original details. Brakes, suspension, exhaust and steering are all operating as new, and it has recently had a comprehensive service to replace all the fluids, recharge the A/C, and make sure it is in top condition. And it’s quite possible that the 205/75/15 Michelin whitewall tires are the original equipment, framing a set of immaculate spoked wheelcovers.
Production for the Mark VI amounted to just 63,662 over the four years of production, which is less than a single year of Mark V production, making them quite rare today—when was the last time you saw one? This is an ideal starter hobby car that will earn the respect of purists with its incredible preservation, and it’s a wonderful road car that’s a lot of fun on the AACA tours for which it is already eligible. A lot of experts are predicting that ’70s and ‘80s luxury cars are the next big thing in affordable fun, and with this Mark VI, it’s pretty hard to argue. A lot of car for not a lot of money.