By on April 25, 2009

One of our commentators recently asked why the Lincoln Town Car got so much love. It’s an ancient body-on-frame machine that floats like a hippo and stings like a slug. I’m not sure this video answers that question, but I bet some of our Best and Brightest can.

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56 Comments on “Ask the Best And Brightest: What’s Up With the Lincoln Town Car?...”


  • avatar
    twonius

    Looking at that towncar it would’ve been an impressive car if it had been the 1996 model.

  • avatar
    Pahaska

    My daughter and son-in-law inherited a 10-year old Town Car with almost no miles on it. When my daughter comes to Austin, she insists that I drive it. I find the experience to be a little like conning the Queen Mary.

    She insists that it gets great mileage. No amount of mileage is worth the driving experience.

    I purely hate the tiny outside mirrors.

  • avatar
    tib

    The guy needs a bit of a steadier hand when using the camera, however I appreciate his passion for the car. I’ve owned a lot of cars and my biggest regret was trading in my Town Car. It was probably one of the best cars I’ve ever owned. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a lightly used one when the time comes for a new car.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    Room, durability, comfort, relative simplicity, and reliability, the Town Car represents these traditional American values – those mentioned above in a package that is not obstentatious and screaming for attention. It represents a time when Americans strived to be people who valued being a good neighbor, citizen, and family man, but could also show they have been blessed financially.

    I’m not sure when American cars crossed over to just being copies of Japanese cars, or a screaming attempt to get attention (Hummer, extra-large SUV’s and pick-up trucks 8 feet high), but the Town Car is neither of those.

    The reason the 91-97 Town Car is so beloved is because it flat out looks better, and had a better interior, than the newer ones. It was the high water mark for sales as well. They guy had a picture of it on his wall!

    Ford screwed the pooch on the restyle under Nasser, and now they are just starving it to death, hoping it’s buyers either all die or switch over to some other vehicle they are peddling. Ford just doesn’t get it at all.

  • avatar
    lw

    Town cars are the best… I had a Crown Vic for years and would have traded up to a Town Car, but I needed something to tow behind an RV.

    I follow the car industry, but I’m not into the mechanicals of cars. I do all of my own basic maintenance and know what I like (disc brakes good.. drums not so much), but I don’t get into the inner workings much.

    A car that corners 6.5% better than another model or has a transmission that is 12% spiffy than another car just doesn’t move me. A good condition 91-97 Town Car could be my daily driver for the next 50 years and I would be quite happy.

    For example I own a C5 Vette… I’ve done zero mods to it… Not even chrome tips on the tail pipes.. I just groove on it the way it came off the line…

    Maybe this is the mentality of other Town Car lovers?

  • avatar
    Airhen

    I’d say simply because of having comfort, luxury, a big V8 and being rear wheel drive… classic American car.

    The first car I drove when I was 16 was a ’78 Delta 88. My best friend could put our girlfriend’s bikes in the back seat and they could ride up front with us. Not a Lincoln, but close!

  • avatar
    mikey

    I once drove the road to Hanna on the island of Maui.[Yeah yeah I know spelling isn\'t my strong point]Anyway its winding twisting narrow road,a blast in a Mustang convertible.Not so much for a guy in front of me with a 95 Town car.I think to that point,the biggest thing he ever drove was a Corrola.The guy finally let me pass,to the best of my knowledge,I think he sort’a gave up before he got there.

  • avatar
    Monty

    Have you ever been a rear seat passenger in one of these? It’s an awesome ride.

    People who drive these land yachts don’t buy them for an exciting time behind the wheel, they buy them because they’re large, comfortable, relatively safe and durable. They are well built and have a well deserved reputation for quality.

    The panther platform is thrity years old, and is as close to perfection as possible, or as close as the penny-pinchers will allow, and has made huge sums of money for Ford.

    I wouldn’t buy one myself, but I do understand why people covet them.

  • avatar
    gerry taft

    I have a 1999 Crown Vic. My Dad had it first, when he died I inherited it. In 10 years not one thing has gone wrong. I sold my Acura 3.5 as it was more troublesome, had worse gas milage, less space and power (but a better stereo)

    My friends used to laugh at the CV until I took them for a ride, or better, a long trip. Then they understood. Most other vehicles are better at something, but as a package the CV is hard to beat.

    My father and I discussed buying a Town Car 10 years ago. However he drove the car from Calgary to Oaxaca Mexico (south of Mexico City) each winter, and we agreed a Town Car would attract too much attention. I would buy a Town Car in a heartbeat, but not until my CV wears out.

    Most taxi’s in Calgary are CV’s or Town Cars and the drivers tell me most of the cars will run to 500,000 – 700,000 km before they retire them. I guess I will have a long wait for my Town Car.

  • avatar

    It sounds like a young child’s idealized mother. It envelops you in warmth and comfort, shields you from the outside world, and is utterly reliable forever. Not my cup of espresso, but I can definitely strongly empathize.

  • avatar
    97escort

    My experience with the similar Crown Vic with the 406 engine:

    My sister bought a ’96 model in 2000 with about 100k on it for $3500. It lasted until 2006 and 178K. The oil filters are difficult to change since the front wheels have to be turned in the correct direction to get the filter off. The rear shocks can not be replaced without taking it in to the dealer since they are inaccessible. The front steering linkage fell apart at about 150K. And the power steering failed at 178k when we junked it. The overhang in front and back is so great that it interferes with putting it up on a car dolly. And it is nearly impossible to keep hubcaps on the thing.

    However it has a nice ride and got good mileage for being such a big car.

    So I bought a 1995 with 110K on it in 2002 for $2000. Always started even in the coldest weather but the passenger power window quit working. I replaced the door with the one on the 1996 to fix it. The car had problems with the brake lines rusting out. The first leak I fixed I inadvertently let the fluid in the reservoir get too low. It turns out that the only way to get an air bubble out of the brake unit is it to take it in to the Ford garage. It cost me $200. When the brake line that goes under the engine rusted out later I was more careful. But the line was nearly impossible to replace. So I put in a new one over the top of the engine. At least it shouldn’t get much road salt up there.

    I gave this car to another sister who has had more brake line rust out problems. Now the drivers side window won’t work. Luckily we still have the ’96 with a good door on it. And then there are the check engine lights which she now ignores. The car runs fine and has about 150K on it. But the hubcaps won’t stay on this car either.

    I would not buy a Lincoln Town Car. The brake lines are exposed and subject to rust. The steering is problematic as the car ages. And even a simple thing like changing the oil is difficult. The power windows tend to fail and there are other electonic issues as the car ages.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I don’t get it, I guess it’s the “Facebook -Myspace” world we live in today. I think I’ll go make a video of my 2003 Whirlpool refrigerator; it anyone really cares.

  • avatar
    italianstallion

    In my 20s, I was really into big cars. I had an ’87 Grand Marquis and a ’90 Crown Vic. They were comfy on trips and sloppy as hell around town.

    Although its no longer my thing, it’s undeniable that there’s a distinct appeal to that smooth, “old-timey” feeling.

    Reliability? OK, I guess. Most repairs are inexpensive because panthers are simple and ubiquitous. The ’87 was mostly trouble free. The ’90 had a ridiculous appetite for transmissions and power window motors.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    In 1996 I worked for a large L-M dealer in Michigan, and I remember being in love with the Town Cars. Granted, it wasn’t a car for me (I was only 21, what did I need with that much car?), but it seemed like the one Ford product that was fully worth it’s sticker price. It kills me today to see 90′s vintage TC’s running around with rust and dents, and just in an awful state of upkeep.

    My grandparents last year decided to buy a 1991 Town Car Cartier edition. One owner, 150000 miles for $5000. They hardly ever drive it, but they love it! They let me drive it last fall, it was everything I remembered them to be.

    FWIW, right after they got it we were all discussing the virtues of the huge, Mafia Approved trunk, and my mom and aunt decided to try it out. I wish we could share photos on here, because the shot I got of my grandmother lifting the trunklid up to discover two of her grown daughters hiding in there is priceless!!!

    -Richard

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I don’t get it, either. They’re big and floaty, and not particularly fun to drive, not traits that many of us these days associate with desirable wheels.

    I’m glad that they’re comfortable, but so is my couch, and you don’t see me driving my sofa around town. I’m also glad that they’re reliable, but with the liberal use of prehistoric components, reliability should be a given.

    I don’t loathe them, but I don’t feel the love, either. To each his own, I guess.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    Some people like the benefits (ruggedness, strength, ride and NVH performance) provided by Full Size BOF construction. Hate to break the news to the Green types, but not everyone wants to drive a Unibody FWD Compact.

    I think the Big Three are making a big mistake by abandoning this Market Segment. It’s traditionally American and has big demand among Fleet Buyers, which provides a nice ‘foundation’ to the business plan.

    And anyone who has ever done a long highway trip in a TC knows exactly what its appeal is.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Pch101: “I’m glad that they’re comfortable, but so is my couch, and you don’t see me driving my sofa around town.”“Driving a sofa around town” is about as good a description as I’ve seen of the ‘Town Car Experience’.

    The Town Car is ‘beloved’ because it is nostalgia, and nothing more. It harkens back to a time when Americans could get into their two-ton behemoth cocoons and blast on down the highway without worrying about insignificant things like handling, gas mileage, or anything else that was happening around them. It’s the latter-day version of an early seventies Caprice.

    Unfortunately, the world does not revolve around nostalgia, and the Town Car is an anachronism in today’s world.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Hate to break the news to the Green types, but not everyone wants to drive a Unibody FWD Compact.

    Gee, I hadn’t realized that world was divided into two camps, one comprised of Panther-worshiping individualists and another of eco-devoted Corolla drivers.

    In many ways, this car represents what is wrong with the American auto industry. Tastes changed, as Americans discovered road feel and handling, but Detroit didn’t. You can blame BMW and Mercedes, as they had a permanent effect on how many Americans define engagement.

    The issue here isn’t environmental, but experiential. Getting a whole lot of numb from a steering wheel just isn’t that fun.

    And yes, I’ve road tripped in these things more than once, and was never impressed. Ever. They’re just boring cars. Even a Camry provides more feedback.

    There’s very little market for these things. We’ve moved on.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    What’s up with it?

    It rides on Ford’s ONLY profitable platform.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Pch101:
    this car represents what is wrong with the American auto industry.

    Yeah…a comfortable, V8, RWD car that has tons of room and gets 30 MPG on the highway.

    OR,

    You can have a rebadged Taurus with FWD, V6, uglier than sin…and get WORSE mileage.

    Lincoln’s ‘new’ lineup…well…all of Ford’s new line up, is what’s wrong with the American auto industry. Cars that are bland, boring, Toyota wannabes.

    It’s no wonder the fleet only Crown Vic and the still-available-to-the-public Grand Marquis out sell the Taurus and Sable every month. Nobody wants the new crap.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Nobody wants the new crap.

    I honestly don’t know where you’re getting the idea that these types vehicles are an astounding sales success.

    They aren’t. Look at the rest of the market, and you can see that they don’t sell too many units. Plus, the audience for these is dying off — literally — so there’s only dark at the end of this tunnel,

    Lincoln has done a poor job of keeping up with the times. But that does not mean that they should pretend that this is the 1950′s, either. The lineup has to be reinvented so that it’s the same as the competition, yet different. (And I mean in a good way, for a change.)

  • avatar
    peterb

    I can understand someone liking a Town Car in the abstract. But the idea that someone would pay $50k for one of these new beggars my imagination. For that kind of money, you could get a far superior ride from any number of badges.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Iv’e long wondered why Lincolns existed, now a hint. Last memorable Lincolns were the 30′s Zephyrs. After 1946 god awful ugly boats with few exceptions only matched by the dagmar Caddys of the late 50′s. What’s wrong with Westinghouse refrigerators?

  • avatar
    stuki

    I had one right after college. They do, or at least did, make some sort of sense when bought used; as their cliff face depreciation and never updated styling conspire to make used ones truly cheap for an ‘expensive looking’ car. And they are reasonably cheap to fix when they break.

    But bought new, the new Lexi are infinitely better at pretty much everything the Town Car supposedly is ‘good’ at, for not that much more money. And the new Avalon is much better for even less money, and is built in the USA to boot.

    The S Class has been better for at least two decades, but has always been a bit pricey.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I got to overhear an immigrant man with a thick accent gushing over his panther body the other day to his wife. He was really proud of his car, how it looked, how it was built, and really, how “American” it was.

    I don’t know where they are built, or where the parts come from, but he was sure it was 100% American! I loved the whole experience.

    As long as people buy them, and they are made at a profit, then I hope they still make them. I really hope someone remakes them and markets them as million mile cars that you buy and keep for a lifetime. Easy to fix, easy to reupholster and paint, etc.

  • avatar
    86er

    If you have to ask, this many times, well…

  • avatar
    davey49

    Big problem I have with comments about the Town Car. You all have this idea that people should only own one car. You should have a different car for each mood or need. The Town Car is for a certain mood.

    “But bought new, the new Lexi are infinitely better at pretty much everything the Town Car supposedly is ‘good’ at, for not that much more money. And the new Avalon is much better for even less money, and is built in the USA to boot.
    The S Class has been better for at least two decades, but has always been a bit pricey.”
    Rare, but some of us do not want foreign branded cars.

    “I can understand someone liking a Town Car in the abstract. But the idea that someone would pay $50k for one of these new beggars my imagination. For that kind of money, you could get a far superior ride from any number of badges.”
    Make a list and a Town Car fan will refute every one. These “superior rides” are only “superior” in your opinion.
    I don’t see it, no car has the room of the TC

  • avatar
    rudiger

    peterb: “I can understand someone liking a Town Car in the abstract.”Yeah, I actually like the Panther platform and its derivatives. If someone else were footing the bill, frankly, it would be a frontrunner. They have an appeal not unlike that of the cars Dan Akroyd usually ends up driving in movies, be it a ratty ’74 Dodge Monaco from The Blues Brothers (“It’s an old Mount Prospect copcar. They were practically givin’ ‘em away…”) or the black, matching Town Cars in Gross Pointe Blank.

    Unfortunately, I’m the one that has to pay for my rides. In that context, it’s comparable to thinking with the ‘little head’ and the ‘big head’. There’s no question that blasting down the highway in a white Crown Vic is an experience (it’s the best vehicle extent for getting left-lane bandits to move over). But that’s a very limited percentage of the overall ownership experience.

  • avatar
    shiney2

    I think you have to live with a Town Car for a while before you begin to understand and love it. My mother has one with 200K+ miles on it, and I never found them even mildly interesting until taking a road trip with it – now I find myself eying them on the road with envy. Another car I feel that way about is the W116 Mercedes S-class. I always thought of them as the dullest of cars till I bought one cheap at an action – now they are among my favorite cars to drive. My fellow gearhead friends just don’t understand my fascination with a car that has numb steering and sluggish turn in, but fun can be many things, and once you understand it, there is something decidedly fun about driving big tough stable cars that mash the road under them with disdain!

  • avatar
    shiney2

    BTW – I agree that I would never buy a new one for private use. A new 90-97 would actually make a more compelling case than todays bland looking TC. But a used one for 4K is a whole different story.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    P71_CrownVic :
    April 25th, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Pch101:
    this car represents what is wrong with the American auto industry.

    Yeah…a comfortable, V8, RWD car that has tons of room and gets 30 MPG on the highway.

    OR,

    You can have a rebadged Taurus with FWD, V6, uglier than sin…and get WORSE mileage.

    Lincoln’s ‘new’ lineup…well…all of Ford’s new line up, is what’s wrong with the American auto industry. Cars that are bland, boring, Toyota wannabes.

    It’s no wonder the fleet only Crown Vic and the still-available-to-the-public Grand Marquis out sell the Taurus and Sable every month. Nobody wants the new crap.

    Exactly. The Big Three (or whatever remains of them) will never be successful trying to out-Camry Toyota or out-Civic Honda. Hyundai has already established themselves too well in that niche. BOF RWD Sedans are one market segment where the American Auto Companies could actually differentiate themselves (in a positive way) and make some money.

    All the hate for the TC is pretty silly. OK, it’s not a BMW or a Lexus. But maybe there’s money to be made selling an anti-BMW.

    It’s like the elimination of the BOF Minivan. Maybe the Sienna is a better choice for 80% of the people, but there isn’t much money to be made being the 6th or 7th choice in that market segment. Why not be the 1st or 2nd choice in a different (albiet smaller) segment?

  • avatar
    Harleyflhxi

    I don’t have a TC, but I want one!

    I’m a car guy, and I am just as much an enthusiast as a sports car fanatic. I just find my joy in different things.

    It’s not that the sporty crowd is wrong and I’m right, or that they love cars more – we’re just different, and that really is okay.

    You can be a car enthusiast and love Town Cars. I’m proof.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Harleyflxhi: Thank you thank you thank you. And my suggestion to you is get thee to eBay as soon as possible and start shopping for Town Cars. There are plenty of them available. Or just go to Florida and shop for them in person.

    You can get a 91-96 TC in excellent condition for around 5 grand, give or take. That’s what, a quarter of the cost of any cheap midsized new car? You will get between 20-25 MPG depending on how you drive. Plenty of allegedly good 2009 cars won’t do any better than that. It’s supremely comfortable and quiet. Does it handle like a BMW M3? No. Does that make a difference in 95% of the driving anyone does? No.

    Town Cars are about the only US make car that is indestructible for a quarter million miles or more like a Volvo 240, Mercedes W123, etc.

  • avatar
    ctoan

    Why the love for BOF and RWD? The two combined are bulky and take up interior and trunk space, with no benefit other than cost. Any handling benefit of RWD is destroyed by the car’s other quality. The only real benefit in this application is, again, cost. This is great if you’re buying cars for fleet use, and not bad if you’re poor, but why’re you buying a luxury car if you’re into saving money, especially a luxury car barely deserving of the title. People seem to want BOF/RWD “just because”.

    Does it have assloads of interior room? Yes, it does. That’s because it’s an extremely large car. It’s fully a foot and a half longer than, say, a Toyota Avalon, and you’re not really getting a whole lot more room, unless you’re getting the limo Town Car, which is of course a full two feet longer.

    Now, to those who say that this is a uniquely “American” car and that the Big 3 need to capitalize on that: do you really think that the Japanese and Europeans and Koreans wouldn’t cater to the demand if there was any there? Selling 30-year-old technology at the same prices as everything else really seems like a no-brainer from a business perspective, but the fact is there isn’t a market. Face it, guys: The country has moved on.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The Big Three (or whatever remains of them) will never be successful trying to out-Camry Toyota or out-Civic Honda.

    That’s true. But they will be equally unsuccessful if they keep trying to sell dinosaurs as house pets.

    There just aren’t many people who want these cars. That apparently upsets some people, but that’s just how it is. I believe that I speak for many people when I say that I find them dull and stodgy, and am just not interested. What some of you describe inaccurately as “hate” is really just a lack of interest.

    They need to reestablish themselves with cars that emulate the best aspects of the competition, but with their own added advantages not available from the competition. The same, yet different. It’s not an either-or universe in which the only choices are replicating Camrys or repeating the same mistakes until they run out of money.

    I have been of the opinion for awhile that Lincoln should be reinvented as a sort of non-exotic version of Bentley, or if you prefer, a more costly and tasteful Chrysler 300 with better appointments and without the rapper bling. That would at least be different, and might capture a niche, while pulling in some real cash per car.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Town Cars are great for highway driving, or just cruising around with some friends, and if you keep up with the recommended maintenance schedule, they are pretty much bullet proof. Many of the salespeople at my dealership have bought traded in Town Cars, Grand Marquis, and Crown Victorias as their personal rides, and it makes sense as you can get a one or two year old model with under 30K miles for anywhere between $10 and $20 thousand.

    Comparing the TC to the new Lincoln flagship MKS is interesting. On paper the MKS is a better car in every way, more hp, more technology, nicer interior, lower starting price, and better fuel economy. In many ways the MKS is indeed the superior car, and it outsells the TC by a large margin in retail sales (fleet sales still favor the TC as it is by far the most cost efficient vehicle for livery use). If I were to choose one for daily use, I would go for the MKS every single time, but the TC does trump the MKS is smoothness of ride, back seat room, and for me comfort for the driver’s seat (although this is admittedly subjective). For certain customers the TC is the only thing that will do, and they still buy them, although I’d say the average age of that customer base is well north of 65 at this point.

    The BOF sedan market is dying, and Ford is smart to be getting out of it, although it would be nice if there was something a little closer to the current models to wean the faithful off of them and into the fold of unibody construction. As far as out Toyota-ing Toyota, the original Ford Taurus was the best selling midsize sedan of its day, and it was what really brought the idea of aerodynamic FWD family sedans into the mainstream. Yes, the D3 are behind Toyota and Honda in image in thise segment currently, but if they stick with their game and continually develop their Camcord fighters, and slowly build back the image and brand loyalty, there is no reason that camcords won’t be chasing Fusibus in the future.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    I have seen the Lincoln Town Car as the American version of the Mercedes-Benz W123: A luxurious car that is a completely indestructible brick shithouse.

  • avatar
    vanderaj

    One of my last taxi rides in the USA was in one of these. I was in Malvern, PA, and the local town car company had this particular model. For an old car with a hard life, I was surprised at how well it had held up.

    It was so floaty, I felt a tad sea sick sitting in the back. Every time the helm was called upon to execute a turn, it felt like we were sort of crabbing. Is the TC’s frame a C frame or a boxed frame? It just felt a little … flexible to me.

    The good news was that the awful winter roads in and around Malvern were no match for the utter disconnect created by the marshmallow suspension. Couldn’t feel anything.

    The trunk was huge, but the back seat entry was a bit tight compared to an average Australian Ford Falcon taxi, which is a bit roomier due to its unibody and more modern packaging / design. Panther’s 30 year old underpinnings and packaging just don’t make it easy to get in or out of.

  • avatar
    davey49

    “As far as out Toyota-ing Toyota, the original Ford Taurus was the best selling midsize sedan of its day, and it was what really brought the idea of aerodynamic FWD family sedans into the mainstream. Yes, the D3 are behind Toyota and Honda in image in thise segment currently, but if they stick with their game and continually develop their Camcord fighters, and slowly build back the image and brand loyalty, there is no reason that camcords won’t be chasing Fusibus in the future.”
    Reliability counts more than anything.
    Don’t know why the generic midsizes get mentioned in a thread about large luxury sedans.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    davey49 – I didn’t bring it up, just brought up some relevant points for whoever did. Reliability is important, but image is more important. Right now the Fusion rates more reliable than the Camry according to Consumer reports (and it also rates safer according to independent third party sources), but the Camry still outsells the Fusion. It takes a hell of a lot longer to build or rebuilt a reputation than it does to lose it.

    The relevance of midsize sedans in this discussion though is that while big BOF RWD were the mainstay of the market in the past, FWD midsizers are the meat and potatoes today. If you’re not a hack, a cop, a chauffeur, a retiree or a throwback (and I mean that last one with the utmost of respect) you probably don’t give a damn about the Panther platform today, but twenty years ago it was the bees knees. Maybe in another twenty years when most of us are driving hydrogen powered hovercars built in Darfur with government mandated testicular electrical leads that shock you every time you go over 55mph or drop under 100mpg average fuel economy we will look at the ancient unibody FWD Camcord platform the way we look at the Panther today, and maybe then comparisons with that platform will be just as relevant as that between midsize sedans and the outgoing RWD BOF models are now.

  • avatar
    ctoan

    Davey49
    Don’t know why the generic midsizes get mentioned in a thread about large luxury sedans.

    Because according to most of their advocates, the Panthers are ostensibly in the same market segment as the Camcords i.e. basic transportation, and that this is some kind of American legacy of bigass-but-not-particularly-more-useful cars that the Big 3 need to capitalize on, and the counterpoint is that, in any significant number, people don’t want cars this large and with sensibilities this antiquated. They want Camcords, and in the Town Car-competing segment, Lexuses and Infinitis and certainly Cadillacs, but not these dinosaurs.

  • avatar
    lw

    Been reading this thread… Got me looking at mid 90s Town Cars on eBay which got me thinking…

    You know what really grinds my gears!?!?!

    Name me one significant feature in a 2009 vehicle that didn’t exist 10 years ago…

    What exactly has the BILLIONS in R&D money spent by all manufactures actually done for any of us?

    So I can get a NAV system that was engineered by Garmin in the dash?

    So I can get a stereo that plays MP3 because of an extra bit on code that a supplier put on a microchip?

    How about self friggin parking on a niche vehicle? Yeah.. that’s useful.

    How about a hybrid vehicle that actually has less features for more money?

    How about bluetooth that was developed outside of the auto industry?

    Seriously.. WHERE THE HECK DID ALL THIS CASH GO?

  • avatar
    ctoan

    lw

    Hybrids are most certainly a “significant feature”, although the Prius did debut in 1997.

    More to the point, today’s cars are, compared to those of ten years ago, safer, more powerful, and would be more efficient if they weren’t also heavier (See: safer). They also have modern styling, and if you think that’s a waste of money then I hope you don’t plan on selling many cars.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    Since when does a car have to be objectively good to be liked? The Town Car is comfort-food. I don’t see anything hard to understand about that.

  • avatar
    Rev Junkie

    The MKS that my stepfather replaced his Town Car with does a much better job of carrying people around in comfort. The rear seat is roomier, the ride is more comfortable, thanks to the independent rear suspension, it’s faster, and has real luxury features, like a nav, backup camera, sync, heated/cooled seats, and that neat panoramic sunroof. It is also much better put together, there’s barely any hard plastic, and the wood trim is real wood, a sign that somebody actually put some thought into making this into a true luxury car instead of a nostalgic barge. These new-age land yachts like the MKS and the Avalon beat their body-on-frame, V8, rear-drive predecessors through using new innovations to deliver the same ambience as the old barges, but with steering that actually has some feel and springs just taut enough not to make you seasick.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    I don’t know where they are built, or where the parts come from, but he was sure it was 100% American! I loved the whole experience.

    They are built in St. Thomas Canada. The Town Car was just moved there (bone head move #1,253,653 from Ford) and the highly awarded Wixom plant was closed.

    ———–

    As for the Panthers…let me put it this way. There is not a Ford built today that will stand up to the abuse that you can fling at a Panther. With only minimal maintenance, the Panthers will last upwards of 500K miles…something the limp-wristed, overpriced, FWD, $htibox MKtauruS will never be able to do.

    The Panthers are the reason the D3 cars are still made today. The profits from the Panthers fund the D3 ‘experiments. That is why we have had 9 D3 cars in the past 4 years:

    Five Hundred
    Montego
    Freestyle

    Taurus
    Sable
    Taurus X

    Lincoln Taurus

    Ford Flex

    And the soon to be rotting on dealer lots, MKFlex.

  • avatar
    NBK-Boston

    So I was driving down the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut one cloudy afternoon, a number of years ago, in my 1994 Town Car. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck a tree that was not too far down the road. Coming around a fairly blind curve at about 50 MPH (more or less the suggested limit), I noticed that the struck tree had fallen across the entire northbound carriageway — both lanes, the shoulders and median area were blocked. And it was not very far away. I hit my brakes, the car slowed down a great deal, but I struck the tree while going at least 20 MPH Maybe another car could have reached a complete stop in the little space available — and been a prime target for rear ending? — but I don’t think that’s too likely.

    So, like I said, I struck the downed tree while still moving at some speed. The Town Car pushed the whole tree out of the road and kept going. The airbags did not deploy. The tires did not sustain punctures. The banana I had on the middle front seat (the Town Car has a column shifter, so it has 3 by 3 seating) was unbruised. I ate it later.

    The headlamp covers were smashed (but the bulbs still worked), and the hood was bent a bit. I think the frame holding the radiator was bent, but there were no leaks. There were pine needles and little branches everywhere.

    I continued on to Hartford for the weekend.

    A few days later, a body shop had pounded out all the dents and replaced the hood and the whole headlamp assembly with units taken from a scrapyard. I paid cash for that repair, since I didn’t insure that old hull for damage, only liability (up to a couple hundred grand, but that’s another story).

    I was back on the road.

    I lost the hood ornament that day on the Merritt, and the body shop couldn’t find a new one. I decided not to shop around myself after that — I felt that it was meant to be without.

    I still drive that car, now with 181,000 miles on the ticker, for what I hope are obvious reasons.

  • avatar

    For those of you who don’t make it to southern New England, NBK’s account directly above has some classic elements. The Merritt Parkway was one of the first parkways, it is still a bit windy (but was much more so in the ’50s and ’60s) and you go under some truly beautiful old bridges and the surrounding scenery is very Connecticut pretty. “Carriageway” is definitely an appropriate appelation.

  • avatar
    Alcibiades

    I have an ’04 TC, which I bought used two years ago for $20k. It has been a reliable, comfortable, quiet car. There is much to dislike about the car, as mentioned in the posts, but also much to like. For me, the value can’t be beat. Today it looks like you can buy a one-year-old TC for abut $23k. That’s a heck of a deal when you look at the alternatives.
    My other car is an ’08 Grand Marquis, which I bought new for $22k. After a few modifications (bigger sway bars, better tires, an amplifier, new speakers, subwoofer, Dynamat), it is a hoot to drive. “Surprisingly nimble” as Sajeev Mehta said in his review. I will miss the panther platform when it is gone. I am not sure I will buy another one, because it is hard to buy a car that has not been updated in so many years (couldn’t you at least give us rear headrests and a six-speed automatic, Ford?). But it’s possible; the panther is a uniquely lovable platform, and such a great deal.

  • avatar
    Rev Junkie

    I’ve just been looking at Town Cars for sale to see what everyone’s on about. I think the dashboard on the 1990-94 models were designed by someone with only a ruler and a t-square, because it’s just a rectangle with some air vents, a radio, and climate controls, and some fake wood just to dress it up.

  • avatar

    Cheap. Nearly indestructible. I’ve only suffered the ones in NYC, which have 300k miles, been hit a dozen times, and some of the parts are still original.

    It is not for you , enthusiast. It is for running 24 hours per day for the taxi industry.

  • avatar

    Pch101 : And yes, I’ve road tripped in these things more than once, and was never impressed. Ever. They’re just boring cars. Even a Camry provides more feedback.

    Not much more, especially considering the latest upgrades to the Panther and the downgrades of the current Camry. And the RWD and BOF orientation makes ride and handling smoother in dynamic maneuvers for years and years to come.

    People who don’t “get it” should remember that many, many people do. The isolation chamber with little to no feedback rules, and the Camry LE’s sales numbers prove it.

    Camry LE = what’s up with the Lincoln Town Car.

  • avatar
    mercman1

    I’m not going to read all the pro/negative comments here before posting, I’ve read enough.

    The reliability of the old/updated Panther platform speaks for itself.

    But I’ve driven many, MANY cars over the years, and especially so when I worked as a body man at a body shop. For anyone to say the big boaty Lincoln Town Cars are not fun to drive…just doesn’t like driving. It’s an experience. You don’t just plug in and go, you have to THINK about what you are doing at all times, back when driving a car took some skill.

    If you want to get in, turn the key (or press a button),turn on your radio, join the commute, and get to your destination- while not THINKING about what you are doing or the COMFORT you are achieving…well, there are plenty of cars for that NOW. You may as well be taking a bike to work. It serves the same purpose.

    My ’99 TC is in the body shop thanks to a careless driver and a parking lot. I’m currently driving a new Fusion. It’s a great car in terms of quality, but it averages the same MPG on the same drive as my TC, and is just not that ‘fun’ to drive. I feel now, like everyone else on the road, in their little ‘bean’ commuter capsules. Cars people have no passion for.

    TC owners have a passion for what they drive.

    I thought a lot about this on my way to work the other day. The Fusion (and any of the 100 similar cars) are a great car to get from point a to b, but I don’t look forward to getting in it and actually maneuvering this car like my Lincoln.
    NO passion. I have no feelings positive or negative towards it. (And it’s not a rental, BTW, I do have to take care of it.)

    I do however feel a certain way about my Lincoln Town Car. It’s mine. I like it. It fits me. I look forward to driving it. Nuff said.

    BTW, I’ve had a ’77, a ’90, and now, my ’99 Town Car…they have all been ‘fun’ cars to have…and the cars people want rides in on trips, that’s for sure…

    Call me old, call me sentimental, call me non-green, but for this 34 year old, I like a car that you have to pay attention to what you’re doing while driving, and feel like I am driving a couch at the same time.

  • avatar
    Daddyof2

    As a driver, theres better cars.

    As a passenger, riding a Lincoln is like riding a cloud. The Most Comfortable Car Ever!! There is nothing better than taking an hour or two highway ride in a Lincoln Town Car.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    There is nothing better than taking an hour or two highway ride in a Lincoln Town Car.

    Unless you’re prone to carsickness . . . My grandparents had an ’89 and I threw up a few times in it after long trips.

  • avatar
    Fairlane

    Todays’s must-haves can’t touch the simplicity, ride, or elegance of the TC. Car shopping seems to be an exercise in choosing the blandest, and most similar to the current japanese crop of sewing machines, no character, no comfort, no style. The TC has all of these in spades, whether it suits your personal taste or not. I have to agree with Mercman, you either get it, or you don’t. The new cars are just to vanilla bland for my taste. I’ll keep my 96 TownCar Cartier and enjoy watching the scenery slide peacefully and quietly by.


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