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Lincoln Continental MkIV

Published: 21st Apr 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Lincoln Continental MkIV
Rolls-Royce-like grille and enclosed headlight was the Continental’s party piece Rolls-Royce-like grille and enclosed headlight was the Continental’s party piece
engine is still very impressive and strong (but thirsty) engine is still very impressive and strong (but thirsty)
Driving position is comfy Driving position is comfy
Rear seat space is generous for a coupe Rear seat space is generous for a coupe
just look at those groovy instruments… just look at those groovy instruments…
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What is a Lincoln Continental MKIV?

An American car built to a very high standard with a luxury interior from the Lincoln-Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company. Lincoln’s heritage goes way back to 1920 when Henry Leland and son Wilfred formed the Lincoln company, so named after the US president, and later sold the company to Ford in 1922. Lincoln’s reputation for producing fine quality motor cars is clearly evident with such models as the V12-engined Zephyr from the 1930’s and indeed the Continental MK II of 1956 was one of the most expensively built cars of the era.


The Lincoln Continental MKIV was built between 1972 and 1976 with the MKV arriving in 1977. Available with body styling to include Town Coupe, Town four-door sedan, and Coupe, it’s the Coupe styling which is nowadays arguably more collectible and indeed many enthusiasts reckon the MKIV still has the edge over the later MKV for desirability. The 1972 Continental has the purest lines with the wrap
around bumpers.

However, also quite collectible are the limited edition designer models introduced in 1976 which include those by Bill Blass, Gucci, Givenchy, Cartier etc, which included special two-tone paint schemes and interior colours. The MKIV Continental Coupe is relatively easy to distinguish from the later MKV by its slightly less angular lines, different bumper styling, but both have a radiator grille which looks awfully similar to that of the Rolls-Royce! The American automotive adage ‘fully loaded’ can definitely be used to describe the Lincoln Continental. It’s brimming full with luxury car equipment such as electric seats, windows, mirrors, trip computer, leather or velour interior trim, air conditioning, electric sunroof, radio/eight track player, vinyl roof, and of course thedistinctive rear ‘Opera window’ set into the rear quarter pillars.
Some folk frown upon this feature as being rather pointless, but others find it endearing! Being such a huge car weighing in at 5305lbs and built on a 120+ inch wheelbase, the car demands a meaty engine to provide adequate performance and it certainly got it with Ford’s 7.6-litre 460ci ohv big block V8 rated at 195-220bhp dependent on model specification. Prices of cars brand new ranged between $8640 - $11,060. TV programmes have often played an important role in making cars famous and the Lincoln Continental MKIV owes much to the American series “Canon” where private investigator Frank Canon (alias Jesse Conrad) drove a MKIV!


It’s a cruiser not a sports car! Even with a car in fine condition and mechanically well sorted, you will still experience a wallowy ride due to that huge weight of the engine and front suspension setup. The leather or velour trimmed seats are supremely comfortable as you would expect but the square design of the dashboard instruments do look very 1970’s and are quite kitsch now. The three-speed

Select Shift automatic transmission with column shift is very smooth and despite being such a heavy car it’s still got an impressive turn of speed,particularly on acceleration from the lights.

All round power disc brakes cope well with stopping this tank, too. The Continental is really quite effortless to drive, very smooth, and despite being a two-door Coupe, this model is still a whisker over 19ft long! The power steering is a one finger job making town work quite easy -– so long as you have the road room that is! One slightly irritating feature is that when rear seat passengers get into the car, the front seat belt shoulder straps need to be lifted out of the way to gain access but once inside there’s plenty of space for all.


Expect to pay as little as £2000 for a car in reasonable condition, though a low mileage example in excellent order will be closer to the £5000 mark. Nowadays concours cars fetch quite a high premium £8000 - £10,000 so beware of a cheap buy.

What To Look For

  • The Lincoln Continental MKIV was very well built and the model doesn’t suffer from any particular ‘achilles’ heels. The 460ci V8 engines are pretty well bullet-proof and known for reliability and longevity although proper servicing is important.
  • Do ensure that the gear change is smooth and check the condition and colour of the transmission fluid (shouldn’t be dirty or smell burnt). One potential problem is that the seals in the transmission can dry out with age causing leaks.
  • One important area to check is the front suspension which takes a pounding due to the immense weight of the car and engine. Carefully inspect the shock absorbers and bushes, etc for signs of wear. Maintaining correct tyre pressures is also important so check on general wear and tear of the tyres. The braking system works hard to stop such a large car, so check that the discs are in good condition and not cracked or warped.
  • While mechanical component replacement is not too much of a problem with most service parts readily available in the UK, sourcing body panels and especially items of interior trim may be more difficult and will almost certainly mean they are going to have to come from America. Fortunately there is still an excellent following for the Lincoln Continental with good club and specialist support. Some members of the Lincoln Owners’ Club of America own in excess of 30 cars in single collections! The particular car photographed for this feature recently required a new ignition switch which was obtained from a UK parts specialist within 24 hours.
  • With a car packed full of electronics it’s well worth checking that everything is working okay, as fault finding and rectification on inoperative equipment could be time consuming and therefore expensive. The doors alone have two electric motors, one for the quarter light opening and the other for the main window, which is quite an unusual feature. The hinges on those ‘barn like’ doors are under heavy load, so make sure that the doors haven’t dropped.
  • Obviously take a good look around the bodywork for signs of previously poorly repaired accident damage and ensure good panel fitment. Vinyl roofs can sometimes shrink in places with age and heat and can lift away from metal surfaces. Ensure that the paintwork is in good order, as a respray and new top on a car this size will be megga expensive!




A huge and powerful American Coupe of land yacht proportions with a sumptuously appointed interior in either leather or velour trim. Is that your sort of classic? At over 19ft long you will need to have a large garage or drive to park it and it’s not a car to take to the supermarket. Another major drawback is going to be the cost of fuel! The Lincoln Continental is a gas guzzler. On a very good day, on a long journey the car could return maybe 15-16mpg. Around town this drops to 10mpg with the air conditioning off, or 7-8mpg with it on, but for sheer style and the individuality of running a Lincoln Continental MKIV, you may consider it worthwhile! The MKIV is fitted with a 26.5 gallon fuel tank which does give you an excellent (if pricey) range of around 400 miles.

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