By on February 11, 2010

No, there’s no Mark III, V or VI to be found here, at least for now. Just as well. But I’ve been sitting on this Mark VII for almost a year, from the looks of the daffodils blooming (and they are, hereabouts). But the Mark VII was a different animal altogether. Quite the radical break, but then Ford had more than hit the end of the road with the ugly, boxy wallowing stuff they’d been pushing out the door for decades. Their near-brush with bankruptcy in 1980 resulted in a whole new regime and approach: headed by the pragmatic but car enthusiast Donald Petersen. But development money was tight, so the Town Car became immortal. But a relatively low-budget solution to the dead-end Mark VI was handy in the form of the new aero-Thunderbird.

The LSC version got quite the gushing write-ups in the buff books, and the moniker “hot rod Lincoln” stuck. Well, compared to the gushy wallowing dogs that Lincolns had been for all-too long, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. If it didn’t have that damn fake tire hump in the trunk, I might have been seriously tempted after my time with an ’83 Turbo-Coupe Bird. Whatever; it’s a polarizing feature, and I know there are some not far from here who love it.

Its timing was good, because the German coupes were becoming insanely expensive. And as Ford figured out the benefits of modern port fuel injection, the power of the 5.0 V8 rose gradually, up to 225. Handling of the fairly stiff Fox-body was optimized, and although the seats were comfy, BMW owners were not going to feel welcome in this interior otherwise. But there’s no question about it, the transformation from the Mark VI to this VII  was about as radical as it got. Of course association with the past Marks may have been an obstacle to some buyers. But it was a fairly decent seller, and helped see Lincoln and Ford out of its darkest years.

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59 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: Continental Mark VII...”


  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    This version is beautiful.

  • avatar
    paul_y

    I’ve always liked these cars. It’s a clean, coherent design, spare tire hump and all. They can be made to go like stink on the cheap, and the design has aged well, too.

  • avatar

    Finally…cars from when I was alive ;)

    This Lincoln, and the rest of Ford’s aero-designed 80′s cars, have aged well and don’t really look out of place to this day. Save the boxy interior and tire hump on the Lincoln

    Wasn’t the Mark VII the first car in the US to use headlights with replaceable bulbs as opposed to sealed units?

  • avatar
    AutoFan

    My mother bought a ’92 Bill Blass used with only 25-26k miles and drove it to almost 200k miles with almost no problems. The only big one I can remember was the air suspension giving out. I LOVED that car. The 5.0 (4.9) was a great engine, got reasonably good mpg on the highway and it held 4 people and their stuff pretty comfortably. I still look around for a low mileage example every so often, they still exist, so one may return to the family someday.

  • avatar
    jimboy

    Still the best looking Lincoln since the early 60′s, IMO. Elegant, classic and modern for its time. Ford could do worse than bring back a version of this car.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    These are favorites for transplant engines like the 351W.A hot rod mag showed one with a 427 stuffed in there too. I would think what goes for the LSC goes for the T-Bird as well

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    This car had the same engine as the mustang, and pretty much all of the speed equipment made for the stangs worked on these cars. A few people hopped them up back in the day. In my opinion THIS is absolutely the best looking car from the 80′s and my favorite lincoln, next to the mark111

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Since you’ve come this far, might as well do a CC on the Mark VIII, if for no other reason than it was really the last true ‘musclecar’, i.e., the last rear-drive, high-performance, V8-powered, ‘full-size’ 2-door coupe from Detroit. Hell, maybe even a comparison with the first musclecar, the 1949 Olds Rocket 88.

    It’s particularly appropriate if you believe the first musclecar wasn’t the Rocket 88 but the 1955 Chrysler C-300, a high-powered, quasi-luxury coupe, seeming to fit right in with the market demographic of the last Mark.

    • 0 avatar
      john.fritz

      …the last rear-drive, high-performance, V8-powered, ‘full-size’ 2-door coupe from Detroit.

      Mercury Marauder. Except for the doors.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      The number of doors is an important criteria. Otherwise, the current V8 Dodge Charger would qualify as a ‘true’ musclecar. To me, anything with 4-doors, no matter how close it might otherwise be, just doesn’t fit the definition.

  • avatar
    Hank

    I wanted one then, and I want one now.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    these cars still look good, and i LOVE the LSC version. and i’m one of the ones that likes the fake tire hump

  • avatar
    jaggernaut

    1986 MKVII LSC was my first Lincoln and It was an enjoyable machine. At the time I was living in Rome, NY and as soon as it got cold the air spring suspension started sagging–when it got cold the seals would contract and that would cause the sagging low rider look. The dealer fixed the problem and it did not recur. That was the only problem that I had with it. I put a set of Goodyear Eagle M&S tires on it and it went pretty good in the snow. The 5.0 liter engine delivered excellent performance for the period and the anti lock brakes were new and innovative at the time. The exterior design stands the test of time well too.

    • 0 avatar
      Contrarian

      Antilocks were far from new, at least on Marks. They were available on the 1970 Mark-III.

    • 0 avatar

      To pick nits, the Mark VII was the first car in America sold with four wheel ABS. The Mark III’s setup only had one wheel sensor (in the axle) and only worked for the rear. And the ABS “computer” in the dash was the size of a loaf of bread. At least that’s the size of the ABS processor in my ’72 Mark IV.

      Sure they were both ABS, but this is still apples to oranges.

    • 0 avatar
      Contrarian

      True Sajeev, and I donl;t know about the 72, but I recall a rather disturbing hammering resonating throught he Mk-III when the ABS was activated (I was 16, of course I had to try it). Much more than the muted pulsing in today’s systems.

    • 0 avatar

      I hear that. Activating the Mark IV’s ABS is horrifying. I did it a few months back, just for funzies. Most of it was from the nose dive (I swear the hood ornament fell several inches) and front wheel lock, but the ABS is freakishly aggressive too.

      At least it found its way into tail happy trucks, where a cheap and durable ABS system makes sense.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    I like the tire bump as well. I had a chance to buy one of these during C4C by paying the $3500 to rescue it from the scrap heap. The car was close to pristine as far as interior and exterior go, had less than 20K miles, and even the original floor mats in the original plastic wrap (for whatever reason the owner had chosen to use some carpet cutouts instead).

    Unfortunately it darn near caught fire when I took it out for a test spin, with smoke coming out from under the hood from a source I couldn’t identify, and the ‘check suspension’ warning light glowed the whole time, accompanied by a rhythmic ‘thump thump thump’ from the air compressor trying in vain to inflate one or more dry-rotted air suspension bags. The car drove great other than those issues, and was quite comfortable inside. I still halfway wish I’d saved it from its fate, but I wasn’t in a position at the time to buy the car and then immediately dump another couple grand into making it daily driver ready.

    I also love the Mark VIIIs, and given the chance, I will someday own a VII or VIII. I’d love to see Lincoln make a Mark IX someday, and perhaps once Ford had steady profits rolling in quarter after quarter and Mulally can focus some attention on revitalizing Lincoln’s lineup that might be the case. If Caddy ends up being able to make some money out of the CTS coupe, then the case could be made for another high-tech hi-po American luxury GT.

  • avatar
    partsisparts

    Back in the mid-eighties i was a Used Car Manager for a medium sized Ford dealer. There wasn’t any Lincoln dealer in the area so we did fairly well with used Lincolns. I would go to the Ford sale auctions and pick up 1-2 year old exec cars and rentals. I used quite a few MKVIIs for my demo. What a great car they were. Excellent performance for their day and what a smooth quiet ride they had. In 1985 I remember buying four 1984 MKVII diesels real cheap! I think the motor was a BMW straight 6 turbo diesel. I used one for a while and I it got around 25 miles to gallon!

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      They were an inline six BMW turbo diesel and also offered in the Continental. Interestingly enough I worked for the largest Lincoln dealer in the country at the time and we sold one diesel Mark VII and one Continental both to Tier One suppliers to tear down for research.

      The retail buyers were still remembering the GM diesels and avoiding the diesels entirely. At the time BMW did not sell a diesel model in the U.S.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    I love that color on it!

    As far as the year of this example, I can tell by looking at the dash that it is between an ’87 and an ’89, here’s how…The speedo and gauge section in the earliest versions of these cars was sectioned off into separate well, boxes, and in this car that part of the dash is more open. Also, this car has the late 80′s-early 90′s Ford Premium Sound head unit. And lastly, the earlier versions of these had the traditional “Continental” script on the front header panel and trunk lid. I’m sorry I can’t pinpoint a year better, but I’m guessing that because of the knockout styling, Ford didn’t see much of a need to make a lot of visual changes throughout this car’s model run.

  • avatar
    Hoser

    As the current owner of an 86 Mustang GT and 83 Turbo-bird. I’d love to add a Mark VII to my collection. I’d take a Mark VIII too. Those were beautiful cars.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    My parents had a 90 or 91 black/black LSC. It had a different dashboard than the one pictured and it was an amazing car. They got compliments constantly, right up until 1999 when they sold it to a guy who said he always wanted one. It was super comfortable and the adjustable suspension helped it handle really well. The MkVIII that followed the VII it just wasn’t as nice.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    A ’88 to be sure. Mine was the same color inside and out, the LSC edition. I convinced my dad to lease one, and I bought out the lease. I sold it in 1995. Reliable and handled well. The early build ’88s had the climate control head unit that didn’t indicate the medium fan speed could be selected by pushing the low and high speed buttons simultaneously. This was corrected later in the model year as was an upgrade to the stereo head unit. I bought all the factory manuals, including the emission book, all for almost $200. I still have them today. There was a “silent” repair that Ford would do if you complained. These cars were notorious for the speedometer needle jumping off the zero peg while stopped. Seems that if the alternator’s rectifiers were getting “lazy” the AC leakage would cause the speedo needle to do its dance. Ford would add a capacitor to the speedo to shunt the AC to ground, eliminating the dance. I had mine done after the warranty was out for free. Wish I still had this car.

    And yes, there was a BMW diesel option available for this car. On the center stack, with bright sunlight, if you looked carefully you could see the wait light for the glow plugs.

  • avatar
    detlump

    I also like these cars, the turbine wheels look especially good on it. I don’t think I have ever seen a diesel model, ever. That would be a rare find. A good old Wixom product.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    My father bought a 1992 model. The very last year of the Mark’s.

    Memories included…

    1) Absolutely excellent seats

    2) Steering that was luxury-oriented and yet… linear. This wasn’t the top of car you used for slalom styled racing but if you had to withstand the potholes of the northeast, it was fantastic.

    3) Interior was a bit cheap. But not nearly as bad as the 1986 Continental it replaced.

    Other than the a/c system and airbags, it was absolutely hassle-free. Then again, my father rarely pushed it past 2000 rpm’s. I would have probably bought it but an errant side swipe put an end to the beauty.

    He proceeded to take his 14 years of Lincoln ownership and leased a Lexus… also in it’s very last year. In our family we always seemed to opt for last year models due to the high quality and competitive price. It’s almost always a great decision. The Mark VII was bought for $22k…and I’m sure the dealer made a couple grand on the lightly driven six year old / 120k Continental. But it was definitely a trade worth doing.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I loved this car when it came out. I thought it was beautiful and fantasized about owning a car with over 200 hp! However, I preferred the Eldorado and Toronado Trofeo with their truncated rear trunks and nicer interiors.

    I never drove any of these cars, so it’s all through rose-tinted glasses.

  • avatar

    If that’s the Ford stereo with the push-in knobs and toggle switch for volume, it’s a 1989 LSC. The wheels say 1988-1989, but the stereo says 1989.

    And FWIW, they stopped calling the Mark Series a “Continental” after 1985. Not that it means much, I had a 20-ish year old kid clock my Mark VIII’s rear deck and then say it’s a Continental. Love it or hate it, at least we all know what Lincoln brand still stands for, even if Ford’s rather clueless.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    Agreed that the styling on this car has aged well…clean, early-aero lines with just enough ‘bling’ to make it look like it cost some money. Not sure if the super-rounded 90′s version Mark VIII will age as well. Also love the black cherry color, elegant and more unique than a straight black or maroon.

    Ford REALLY took a chance when it introduced this Mark Series in ’83…they were really attempting to stretch the Mark brand, and hoping that older Mark buyers would welcome (or at least tolerate) the new Euro styling and handling, while making it modern enough to attract conquest and/or import intending buyers.

    Turned out to be a pretty good move, a risk that paid off…What a clusterfrick screwup Cadillac pulled with the Eldorado by comparison. GM’s attempt to reinvent the Eldo for modern times in ’86 was a well-documented disaster. In ’92, they took a play from Lincoln’s book, and turned the Eldo into a (fairly) credible Euro alternative. Shame that monster SUV’s became the thing to have in the 90′s, and the luxo coupe market tanked.

    Here’s hoping the new CTS coupe helps to revive the segment…enough that Lincoln gets back in the fray, and continues the Mark lineage with a MK IX?

  • avatar
    blowfish

    circa mid 80′s Lincoln or mark , Ford bought the BMW turbo diesel engines to be used in them. These are the same eng as in 524TD. Some says they have a lot of Jams.

    Neither BMW nor Lincoln Oel burners sold like hot cakes either, nothing compare to the Merc 300 DT or SDs.

  • avatar
    OliverTwist

    Mark VII had the distinction of being the first American vehicle with composite headlamps and new generation of HB-Series headlamp bulbs. And the first vehicle (domestic or imported) ever to be sold in the United States following the new NHTSA regulations.

    Interesting story about the headlamps: Ford had petitioned to NHTSA for a change to the headlamp regulations as to allow the “European” or form-fitting “aero” headlamps. NHTSA was very reluctant in adopting the international lighting standards, i.e. H4 bulbs, removable lense, sharp cut-off angle on the right side, etc. Ford proposed the new generation of bulbs that have transverse bulb filaments rather than longititude versions.

    In addition, NHTSA wanted the coating or property in the composite headlamp lense as to prevent the ultraviolet damage. Ford and Chrysler protested about the additional expense of $2 per unit. NHTSA rescinded the requirement. No wonder many jaundiced headlamps show up in great number…

    With NHTSA dragging its feet on the proposal, Ford gambled on both headlamp designs for Mark VII. One with traditional four rectangle headlamps and another one with new composite headlamps. The cost is about $2 million for both versions.

    If you can see the television serial, “Dallas”, from 1982, you can see the gold-coloured Lincoln Mark VII with prototype four-headlamp design driven by odious character, J.R. Ewing.

    The other noteworthing mention is the advertisement that pokes fun at “clone” GM cars, namely Buick Riveria, Cadillac Eldorado, and Oldsmobile Toronado. The advertisment showed the valet parking at a posh restaurant with people in tuxedo and evening wear waiting to collect their vehicles. One lady proceed to sit in the car only to be told that it wasn’t theirs. The couple couldn’t tell which GM car they owned because all looked so same.

  • avatar
    realpower1

    This was one of those American cars that gave me hope that Detroit was just one small step behind building a world class car.

    Unable to free themselves of the past, baroque styling cues such as the tire bulge and interior trim damned this car to inferior demographics than those enjoyed by its European and Asian competition.

    Honestly, this is an exceptionally clean and well balanced overall design that has aged very well. The alloy wheels give the car an edgy, tuner look that signals serious drivers car. They still stand out today.

  • avatar
    relton

    The most important technical aspect of this car is that it was the first, the very first, car with a practical air suspension system. Ford was, and is, a pioneer in modern air suspensions. The Mark VII was such a good piece of work that most people didn’t even know it had air suspension. It was very reliable, until the cars were quite aged.

    Today there a lot of Fords with air suspension, and most people don’t even know it. If you have ever been dragged off to jail you rode in a Crown Vic with air suspension.

    My rich uncle had a Mark VII, a great car ruined by a diesel engine. I have never actually seen another Mark VII diesel.

    I look forward to a discussion of the Mark VIII. Now there’s a car I know inside and out.

    As it happens, I bought my first Lincoln, and probably my last, the Mark VIII, on Lincoln’s birthday, exactly 12 years ago today.

    Bob

  • avatar
    partsisparts

    The cars I bought were rental cars probably from Hertz. All were dark blue and had dark blue cloth interior. I think I got them at Skyline auction in NJ. 3 sold quickly because I put them in the paper really cheap I think some where around 11k and the fourth one lingered for a while and then sold on a blowout price which I don’t remember.

  • avatar

    This thing makes a very nice Ford, although I’m not quite sure it merits the Lincoln moniker. Its’ very reasonable proportions point up just how ungainly the Mark IV was. Gawd, that thing was pathetic.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Love these cars. V8 RWD luxury coupe.

    A friend of my father still has an late 80s early 90s model he bought brand new and has even had rebuilt after one accident. Smoke metallic gray with a gray cloth interior and softly tinted windows. He only drives it to church on Sunday and to the golf course on Thursday nights during the summer. (Seriously!) Guy has no kids, damn I want that car!

  • avatar
    Turbo60640

    I love the design of these. Such a great balance of muscle and luxury. This one looks to be in good shape on the outside, but the interior is pretty rough. Usually when I see one of these, it’s sitting idle and low to the ground. I recall my Dad saying these cars had a widespread major suspension issue.

    • 0 avatar
      blue adidas

      There were air suspension valves that failed in cars at around 100k. Each wheel had its own plastic valve. When one failed, and the fronts eventually would, the suspension would lose air and the front would sink as it sat in a parking lot. Once you turned the car on, the pumps would kick-in and the car would level itself again. It looked like a very serious problem, but it wasn’t. I think it was only about a $50 fix.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Park one of these next to a mid-eighties Escort. Go ahead. The body proportions and window shapes, and windshield rake are the same. In essence, the LSC is a big Escort. Not flattering.

  • avatar

    Truth be told, these are all good comments (even the Escort comparison). Most Lincoln Mark VII Club Members own multiple vehicles and often multiple Mark VIIs. Once you drive one, you’ll want to own one. Maybe not as a daily driver because your cool Friends would call it an old man’s car. That is, until your bone stock 3900 pound Mark VII does 16.5 in the quarter mile at the track. The base model produced in 1984, had more standard luxury features than most vehicles of the day. It is a true Luxury Sport Coupe.

    As for the hump, it’s a Lincoln thing; we don’t expect everyone to understand :)

  • avatar
    BeachBum

    These cars were a nice mix of sport and luxury styling. A bit of a departure from the Mark VI it replaced which was more of a “statement” car (previous Marks too).

    Not many cars epitomized “1970s American luxury car excess” than the Continental Mark V.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    WOW……..looks like an escort? I’m not even going there. This car looks batter than any car in the 80′s has the right to. I especially like the look from the back. I like the slanted inward tailights, and the simulated spare tire hump, which is not oversized and obtrusive like on the mark 1V through mark V11. It’s perfectly sized and blends well into the body, giving the rear view a nice flair to it.

  • avatar
    treedom

    My dad had a classic 60s Buick Riviera back in the day, and installed stiff Bilsteins and plus-one Michelins on it — mating the sexy looks and go-fast V-8 with proper handling. He proudly called his creation an “old man’s Mustang.” Later he bought a BMW CSE coupe, since the Germans were now doing a similar thing from the factory. I think the happiest day of his life was when he bought his first-ever brand-new car, an ’89 Mark VII LSC: the Americans were finally doing a factory hot rod luxury coupe. The Mercedes S class coupe had similar specs and looks for two or three times the price, so the Lincoln was a real accomplishment.

    The LSC combined pillowy air suspension with anti-roll bars seeingly the size of your thigh to make it ride soft and handle with authority, and its Mustang GT V-8 provided delicious bark and bite. It was built like a tank. And its styling was a triumph: muscular yet elegant, in the way of the best Mercedes designs.

    Mechanically it wasn’t perfect. The front suspension was a bit too soft and the rear a bit too stiff. The Mustang-derived live rear axle was out of place in an otherwise sophisticated car. The blue-dyed perforated leather was cool, but the dash and door panel styling, with everything framed in silvered plastic, was dated. The rear pillars, gorgeous as they were from outside, made for nasty blind spots inside. The V8 was hobbled by mile-high gearing. It would have been a real keeper even so.

    But 1980s Ford quality was a problem. Within a year, the driver’s seat and door panel started to separate into their component parts. The brakes were strong, but one good impress-the-neighbors ABS test was enough to warp the rotors. A faulty alternator fried the sophisticated electronics, so that for example the climate control would occasionally decide that when you asked for 65 degree air conditioning, what you really wanted was 95 degree heating, and Ford was uninterested in fixing it.

    I believe the later Mark VIII finally had a proper IRS, but I don’t think its UFO styling found many takers. The 88.5-on Mark VII LSC was literally the old man’s Mustang that Pop wanted his whole life, and Ford pretty well nailed it on the head. Pop a newer 300-horse motor in there and I’d gladly take one today.

  • avatar
    MC-7 Rusty

    These “Fox”-bodied Mark VIIs are timeless in their contemporary styling. I have four (4) of them, and one is a rare beast…a 1884 Mark VII LSC TurboDiesel, Medium Cadet Blue. It has been nicknamed “Herman the German-Hearted” for the BMW 2.4-liter fuel oil burner that resides between the front fenders. Some call these diesel Lincoln cars “oddballs” or “Stinkin’ Lincolns”. I like having markedly ‘different’, unique wheels to tool around in! My Mark VII LSC diesel fills the bill well! I enjoy the way some folks rush up to me as I insert the green “DIESEL” nozzle into the LSC’s filler neck, eager to show me the “correct” (gasoline) fuel nozzle! They are amazed to see a LINCOLN with a Beemer(BMW)-built 6-banger turbodiesel mill under the hood…and FACTORY INSTALLED, to boot! Lotsa fun, and the 35-40 mpg diesel LSC luxo-coupe performance on the highway shows how far ahead of the curve these cars were way back in 1984! The other three Mark VII LSC ‘kids’ are; ’86 LSC, ’89 Bill Blass, and a 1991 LSC. Another fun and challenging project car was a 1983 Merc-Benz 380SL changed over to a 3.0-liter turbodiesel with a 1984 300D engine/trans combination. Fuel MPG went from 12-15 MPG hwy/with the gasoline V8 to 38 MPG with the turbodiesel in the sexy little “SLick” SL! The local Merc-Benz dealers were blown away with this all-Mercedes-Benz parts 380SL conversion. “Stuttgart should have built just such a machine!” said the 78 y/o owner of one Merc-Benz dealership. This, and the puzzled looks on the faces of ‘car folks’ and ‘gearheads’ when they SEE the 380SL and HEAR the 300D “oil burner” diesel under its hood is almost comical! The deck lid even has the ubiquitous “TURBODIESEL” badge on the right side, too! They HAVE to check it out! That makes all the sweat and the many long hours invested well worth it! It’s a lot of FUN (and cheaper @ 38 MPG HWY) to drive it around! :) – “MC-7 Rusty”

  • avatar
    MC-7 Rusty

    An earlier post here stated that BMW did not sell a diesel car model in the US in the early 1980s…just so ya know…they DID sell one. It was the mid-level “5″-Series BMW 524TD model, which has the same 2.4-L engine/ZF auto trans. combo that was used in the ’84-’85 Lincoln Mark VII & LSC TurboDiesel and Continental 4-door sedan models. If I need engine/trans parts, I go right to BMW. Everything and anything else is FoMoCo/F-L-M! Weird, but Ford now has “obsoleted” so many parts these days, especially the Mark VII stuff. Yet I can build a whole NEW 1948-1952 “8N” Ford tractor from currently available NEW parts from Ford! Go figure! -”MC-7 Rusty”

  • avatar
    MC-7 Rusty

    The early to mid-’80s Ford Tempo & Mercury Topaz 2-doors had a rear quarter window shaped much like (but weren’t exactly like) the Mark VII’s…and the hood, outer door skins/door frames, door glass and the front windshield ARE interchangeable between the Mark VIIs and the T-Birds and Cougars of the same Fox body lineage. Not much else is visibly or readily interchangeable. The Mark VIIs are like the Dodge Chargers, ‘Cudas, Challengers, Polaras, GTXs, most Ford car models, Olds 442s, etc, of the ’60s up to 1974…had unique model identity and a body design that set them each apart, unlike all the later “jelly bean”, uni-mold, “sea of sameness”, “Gutless Cutlass” FWD ‘econo-cars’ we’ve been STUNG with, and STUCK with since then.

  • avatar
    MC-7 Rusty

    I offer “LSC” as meaning “Lincoln’s Sexiest Car”…IMNSHO! My 1989 Mark VII Bill Blass has been named the “BLASSt from the Past(tm)”. This is a real, leather-interiored luxocruiser that has lotsa sass and class! Brandywine Maroon in and out. Had my name on it the minute I saw it on a local AZ street, up for sale. No rust! I so love Arizona, cuz even really OLD cars just don’t rust! I have a rare 1966 Ford Econoline 8-Door Panel SuperVan…one of only 44 like it ever built–NO RUST–anywhere! 6-240, heavy duty ’3-on-the-tree’, rare Ford ‘Trak-Lok’ special-ordered 9″ posi rear end, and deluxe options; a cool, metallic green, long-body panel van some have nicknamed “The Mystery Machine”, like Scooby-Doo’s similar-design flat-nosed van. Mine does WITHOUT the funky 1970s flowers on it, though! ;-)

  • avatar
    MC-7 Rusty

    oldschool1, is this poster who I think he is, from lincolnsonline? Thanks for your replies here…I agree about the “hump in the trunk” on the Mark VIIs, tasteful and fitting without being tacky. It is indeed a “Lincoln thing”! I am working on an air suspension system upgrade/retrofit that I hope will resolve the pesky issues we have with the OEM air suspension system on these cars. Something along the lines of what large intercity buses and most heavy trucks have…much more durable, and less vulnerable to the crappy air compressor design our cars had from the get-go. GM, Ford and ChryCo all used the same oil-less type of air compresor…the ring on the piston was so fragile. Any kind of heat generated (from a leaky system, etc), that made the compressor have to run any length of time was the death knell for it. The pitiful teflon/plastic piston ring fails, and the compressor just RUNS, never building any air. Then the little motor itself fails from being run into the ground, and you have nothing! The little OEM air suspension compressor has no kind of serious ‘duty rating’ or extended-demand running time capability at all. It was the suspension system’s weak point from the start. There HAS to be something else available that is much more durable, that can be used in its place, with the ability to easily tolerate inevitable system air leaks, without burning up every time you turn around.

  • avatar
    MC-7 Rusty

    John Dancy, are ya hanging around or on here? -Rusty

  • avatar

    >”oldschool1, is this poster who I think he is, from lincolnsonline?”

    Hi Rusty and as long as you don’t work for the IRS, yes it’s me and I can primarily be found at TheLincolnMarkVIIClub.org

    >”Thanks for your replies here…I agree about the “hump in the trunk” on the Mark VIIs, tasteful and fitting without being tacky. It is indeed a “Lincoln thing”! I am working on an air suspension system upgrade/retrofit that I hope will resolve the pesky issues we have with the OEM air suspension system on these cars.

    I wouldn’t say pesky. Our air springs are a rubber product. Rubber products have a finite life. when our rubber tires or hoses develop a hole, we replace them with another rubber product.

    >”Something along the lines of what large intercity buses and most heavy trucks have…much more durable, and less vulnerable to the crappy air compressor design our cars had from the get-go. GM, Ford and ChryCo all used the same oil-less type of air compresor…the ring on the piston was so fragile. Any kind of heat generated (from a leaky system, etc), that made the compressor have to run any length of time was the death knell for it. The pitiful teflon/plastic piston ring fails, and the compressor just RUNS, never building any air. Then the little motor itself fails from being run into the ground, and you have nothing! The little OEM air suspension compressor has no kind of serious ‘duty rating’ or extended-demand running time capability at all. It was the suspension system’s weak point from the start. There HAS to be something else available that is much more durable, that can be used in its place, with the ability to easily tolerate inevitable system air leaks, without burning up every time you turn around.”

    Our stock compressors have a great design and were made to work only when the loaded weight of the vehicle changed. Just one leak in the system and the compressor has to work twice as hard as engineered. Imagine if our engines (750 – 1500 rpms) had to turn twice as fast (3000 – 5000 rpms) whenever it had an oil leak! They too would appear crappy. Our compressors have a built in safety switch (thermal overload) that will shut down the compressor after it has run for 180 seconds. Humans see this and turn the vehicles off and then back on to reset the cycle. Some will do this for YEARS before addressing the problem. By that time, the compressor has worked twice as hard and is ready to grenade. My Mark VIIs all have factory compressors. They have an accumulative 500,000+ miles on them. I have never grenaded any because I’ve addressed the little amber light when it came on :)

  • avatar
    MC-7 Rusty

    John, having FOUR of these very good cars (I obviosly LIKE them), I am amazed that Ford did not allow for ANY system leaks, which are inevitable over time. Big rigs and buses have full air suspensions, and air compressors that can and will keep up, even with a fairly good-sized air leakage problem. The DOT has pressure loss limits and guidelines, but everyone knows a totally tight, ‘leakproof’ system is just NOT gonna stay that way, as things wear out and start to seep/leak over time. How many feet of air lines does one of these cars have? Then you have the $$$ BCU COMPUTER that may or may not work properly, creating a whole other set of issues in and of itself! My thoughts are that the mechanical-type air suspension leveling valves used on trucks and buses beat the quirky computer controlled solenoids and switches we have on our Mark VIIs. The overall reliability factor of the fully mechanical bus and truck leveling valves is much better, and they are just more rugged and durable by their inherent, non-electrical function and design. I like that durability. If our Mark VIIs had a dedicated supply air reservoir system like buses, etc, do, and a heavy-duty-rated air compressor easily up to the task, with the mechanical auto-leveling valves that function just like our electrical ones do, I think we’d have a better system…just my thoughts as a heavy bus and truck owner/operator for many years. I like air ride, and I think there can be very positive system design and big performance/reliability improvements made. The biggest failure in these cars that I’ve seen and addressed over the years has always been the computerized air suspension system, first and foremost. Fix one thing, another goes out, until you are chasing your tail, throwing good money after bad. The co$t factor is what stinks, too. Cheaper price and great parts quality are just not often to be had together. Ford sticks it to ya with their parts prices, IF you can still even get the parts! Many of our Mark parts are “obsolete”, even though these great cars themselves are viable and FAR from ‘obsolete’. “Aftermarket”/i-net stuff…how GOOD is their quality? That’s the bulk of the problem, John. I don’t like to be a ‘guinea pig’ with parts…many of my Mark VII customers love their cars, but don’t have the $$$ money to redo the whole air suspension system to ‘as-new’ condition, to get that “leakproof”, like-new, works-every-time-for-years performance. Food and shelter, etc, comes first…so I’m doing whatever I can to help these decent folks out, and to stay afloat myself, too. It’s a tight line to walk. I can only do so much with what they have and I have to work with. That’s the reality. I’m sure Obama and his gang just love it! You can bet THEY aren’t worried about such “petty” things as keeping their cars running or whether it’s whole wheat or white bread to eat this week! Great to hear from you! It’s been a while. I’m in Panama now, not sure when I’ll be back Stateside! -Rusty ;)

  • avatar
    MC-7 Rusty

    One improvement might be a “shrouded” air bag, to help protect the rubber, or a new rubber/neoprene/nylon compound that is inherently much more durable. Remember those early tubeless ‘nylon’ tires of the 60s and 70s? They could semmingly hold air forever! I’ve seen older retired trucks and buses that have held air in their worn “BF Goodrich Silvertown”, et al, tires for well over a decade, even with the tires “chunking” and badly cracked! It amazes me how they can still hold any air. I am wondering if the overall quality of our Mark VII air bags and the rubber compound used on them is as good as those used on heavy buses and trucks? Just some ongoing thoughts…I guess I just like the inherent dependability that comes from real basic design SIMPLICITY, from the drawing board to the finished product, like the much simpler mechanical air suspension systems the trucks and buses have. It works so well! Maybe too much to ask of hyper-degreed, overpaid, underworked design engineers, to keep it BASIC and RELIABLE. I wonder if Ford’s engineers ever even knew of or considered using a mechanically-controlled air suspension system on the Mark VII? I don’t know. It’s a real can of worms. It was ‘cutting edge’ when it came out. Necessity is ever the mother of invention…

  • avatar

    Knowledge and experience.

    You seem to have a lot of knowledge about air springs. Unfortunately, your experience with the air spring system of Lincoln Mark VIIs seems to be based upon the negative feedback given by people who do not understand the system.

    I’m not a debater (and DEFINITELY not a politician) so I’ll try to stick to the facts.

    >John, having FOUR of these very good cars (I obviosly LIKE them), I am amazed that Ford did not allow for ANY system leaks, which are inevitable over time.

    I really need for you to reread your posts but replace AIR SPRING with TIRES for a relationship. Unfortunately your statements will not hold air (pun intended). A leak is due to a failure. A failure is due to lack of preventive and scheduled maintenance. Allowing for leaks would be a ridiculous endeavor. If it is done with rigs then someone, somewhere calculated that a vehicle should be allowed to continue to operate with a failing system. Imagine passing a tire, ANY TIRE, through inspection that couldn’t hold air overnight. That’s ludicrous and simply unsafe.

    >… but everyone knows a totally tight, ‘leakproof’ system is just NOT gonna stay that way, as things wear out and start to seep/leak over time.

    You’re loosing me here :)
    Go back to the TIRE comparison that I mentioned.

    > How many feet of air lines does one of these cars have?

    Approximately 4+16+24+24=70 … approximately seventy feet of a nylon tubing that will be around long after you and I are dust. Unless the tubing is damaged by an external/internal force, it doesn’t fail. If the air dryer is saturated with liquid, it passes this liquid through the lines. if the lines are wet when the ambient temperature drops below 32 degrees F, then the liquid freezes. If the liquid freezes, then it expands. If it expands, then it damages the lines.

    > Then you have the $$$ BCU COMPUTER that may or may not work properly, creating a whole other set of issues in and of itself!

    The suspension computer and the engine control computer of a Lincoln Mark VII is less complicated than a cell phone. They’re about as smart as an LCD watch. The reason that either would fail is due to damage. Lincoln Mark VIIs are electronicly sensative to variances in voltage. If you don’t replace a voltage regulator at the end of it’s recommended lifespan, it will fry components of the car. Owners with failed EEC IV and suspension modules usually have experienced a charging failure. Charging failures occur when owners fail to follow preventive maintenance schedules.

    > My thoughts are that the mechanical-type air suspension leveling valves used on trucks and buses beat the quirky computer controlled solenoids and switches we have on our Mark VIIs.

    Quirky?
    3,900 pound Mark VII.
    23,000 pound bus/truck/rig.
    Two different vehicles.

    >The overall reliability factor of the fully mechanical bus and truck leveling valves is much better, and they are just more rugged and durable by their inherent, non-electrical function and design. I like that durability. If our Mark VIIs had a dedicated supply air reservoir system like buses, etc, do, and a heavy-duty-rated air compressor easily up to the task, with the mechanical auto-leveling valves that function just like our electrical ones do, I think we’d have a better system…just my thoughts as a heavy bus and truck owner/operator for many years.

    Durability?
    You really need to read my article, Air Spring Suspension: What When Where Why and How, taken from FPS 365-126-86B. You’ve received some incorrect information about the air ride suspension systems of our luxury sport coupes.

    >I like air ride, and I think there can be very positive system design and big performance/reliability improvements made.

    Contact Product Development at the Ford Motor Company (http://www.mycareer.ford.com/CAREERPROGRAMS.ASP?CID=5)

    >The biggest failure in these cars that I’ve seen and addressed over the years has always been the computerized air suspension system, first and foremost. Fix one thing, another goes out, until you are chasing your tail, throwing good money after bad.

    Failure?
    Chasing your tail?
    Only when we humans do “partial” maintenance/repair on a system. This train of though leads to “tail chasing” situations. When faced with a cooling system hose that leaks at five pounds of pressure, we replace it. Now the system can hold five pounds of pressure and we discover and repair a ten pound leak. Now the system can hold ten pounds of pressure and we discover and repair the twelve pound leak. Now the system can hold twelve pounds of pressure and we discover and repair the sixteen pound leak at the radiator cap. Instead of realizing from the begining that the vehicle has twenty year old rubber products installed at the Wixom plant at the same time and that they will probably fail at the same time, we go through a routine of repairing only that which is immediately aparent in this collective system until we have eventually made six trips to Autozone and replaced eight hoses and a radiatoir cap.

    Now THAT is tail chasing :)

    >The co$t factor is what stinks, too. Cheaper price and great parts quality are just not often to be had together.

    Cost?
    We own Luxury Sport Coupes that retailed the average annual salery of a blue collar worker of that day. The vehicles were WAY ahead of thier time electronically, mechanically, and even cosmetically of the competition of 1984.

    >Ford sticks it to ya with their parts prices, IF you can still even get the parts! Many of our Mark parts are “obsolete”, even though these great cars themselves are viable and FAR from ‘obsolete’. “Aftermarket”/i-net stuff…how GOOD is their quality? That’s the bulk of the problem, John. I don’t like to be a ‘guinea pig’ with parts…many of my Mark VII customers love their cars, but don’t have the $$$ money to redo the whole air suspension system to ‘as-new’ condition, to get that “leakproof”, electronicallysensitivelike-new, works-evebeginningry-tiapparentme-for-yradiatorretailedsalaryears performance. Food and shelter, etc, comes first…so I’m doing whatever I can to help these decent folks out, and to stay afloat myself, too. It’s a tight line to walk. I can only do so much with what they have and I have to work with. That’s the reality.

    Regular maintenance of the wear items of any system, extends the life of any system. OEM parts are normally a better quality, as they were/are produced to same exacting specifications as the FLM engineers demanded.

    The most common issue is lack of maintenace.

    With that in mind, the two most common issues of our suspension systems will be owners that expect the rubber air spring to have an infinite life, and repairmen or techs that do not know how to properly disconnect and connect components of this system. These connections MUST be handled in a specific manner with specific parts and in a specific order. When people cut corners, corners are cut and the system leaks.

    >I’m sure Obama and his gang just love it! You can bet THEY aren’t worried about such “petty” things as keeping their cars running or whether it’s whole wheat or white bread to eat this week! Great to hear from you!

    I never never never discuss politics.

    >It’s been a while. I’m in Panama now, not sure when I’ll be back Stateside! -Rusty ;)

    Cool!
    I attended the Jungle Operations Training Center back in (gasp) 1982.
    Very cool place.
    Let us know when you’re heading stateside my Friend! I’ve got about five air spring systems to show you with TWO that are 100% original from Wixom (1985 and 1986).

  • avatar
    edco

    I rented one of these LSCs from Budget at St. Louis Lambert Field.
    Drove it about 500 miles on business. The car was a dream in all regards.
    Quiet, nimble, power, handling, luxury, sophisticated, smooth.
    To each their own, I thought the styling was excellent. These cars, well
    preserved, command a better collectors value than the the Mark 8 that followed.

    edco

  • avatar
    Targa-hunter

    In 1985 I bought a 1984 Continental with the BMW 2.4 liter diesel. It got about 32 to 33 MPG. According to reports about testing, the BMW diesel in the Lincoln was the fastest diesel in any car in the US at the time. Said it would run circles around the Merc. 300 turbo diesel. Liked it so much that in 1988 I found a silver with dark grey interior Mark VII with the same BMW diesel. I was able to get 35-36 MPG running constant interstate speeds. I actually still have the car and am having it painted. I really do like these cars. I actually bought one on Ebay about 3 years ago for $1010. It sold cheap since the seller didn’t have any pictures posted. I turned around and put it back on Ebay and it sold for over $3000. The way I like to make money. Pretty good return on my investment. Many years ago I harvested a 2.4 diesel engine from a 84 Continental from a U-Pull It yard a for spare parts engine. I have since bought a couple other parts engines so I Just installed the first one it in my 1990 Jeep Wrangler. Working the bugs out of it now. The BMW engine was also installed in the Vixen motorhome with a 5 speed manual transmission. Don’t think I will ever get rid of my 84 Mark diesel. By the way, there is one on Ebay and it has 6 days left.

    Targa-hunter


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