By on July 24, 2014

19 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMalaise Era Lincolns are common sightings in high-turnover pull-yer-part wrecking yards these days, since there’s not much interest in preserving these cars. We saw an extremely clean 1976 Town Car in California a few months back (it’s still on the yard, and very few parts have been pulled since I photographed it), and now I’ve found this rougher (but not at all rusty) ’79 at another San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard.
14 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven it its distressed state, the luxury is still evident.
16 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomebody grabbed the 400, for reasons that probably made sense at the time.
24 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOpera lights? Opera lights.
05 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Park-To-Reverse fiasco resulted in Ford recalling 23 million vehicles in 1980 and adding these warning stickers.
15 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSuper-cushy burgundy leather seats, of course.
09 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin85 mph speedometer.
07 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ornamental trip-counter reset knob is a nice touch.
01 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have never found one of these Cartier “digital” clocks in working order, but my car-clock collection needs one. I decided to risk $5.99 on this one… and it works! People win the lottery, and 1970s Detroit car clocks sometimes work.

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125 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Oh there will be 256k comments on this here Lincoln. Sad to see such a proud beast junked – but then you realize that you can get really nice ones on Ebay (with shocking regularity) in the $3,000 range. Then it’s not really surprising.

    The ol’ girl didn’t get her Diamond Jubilee :( nor is she a Collectors Edition technology lady.

  • avatar

    NOOOOOO!!!! Y U NO RESCU THIS CLASSIC!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I need a bigger garage…

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        If anything, someone please take that rear bench seat and make it into something for a living room.

        I was having a great day until I came across this travesty.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          That is a great idea. I am redoing my basement/man-cave and need a new couch. Now I just need to figure out how to get my wife to go couch shopping at the junkyard instead of the furniture store in downtown Royal Oak.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            You could get an upholstery pro to make the rear seat into a nice looking, functional couch. I lived in RO and I can only imagine the cash you would save with this route. Or go to cococohome and get a custom leather couch like I did and drop 3k.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Bright Ideas, the trendy furnishings store in RO, has a warehouse store on Telegraph/9 Mile. I bought a couch there, at less than half the price, after seeing a similar one in the RO showroom. It has held up very well. It has made it through 7 years, 5 moves, and 5000+ miles in a moving truck and still is in good shape. It has done much better then anything from Art Van. That is setting the bar extremely low though.

            I have a customer that does upholstery, so to the junkyard I go.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Sick. I need a house and a garage so I can make more bad financial decisions based around old Ford platforms.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Having a wife and child makes it so my bad decsions with old Audi or Ford platforms is minimized to what is considered reasonable and prudent. It is better this way because I’d have a Fairmont woody wagon undergoing a transformation into basically a Fox body Mustang wagon. Lord knows this is not a good plan for my time.

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            “It is better this way because I’d have a Fairmont woody wagon undergoing a transformation into basically a Fox body Mustang wagon.”

            Funny you said that, bball.

            I was literally just thinking, damn… when was the last time you’ve seen a Fox Body LTD?

            Close enough. :)

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Close enough. My fiend’s father has a Fairmont wagon with less than 100K miles that is just sitting (they are the original owners too). My buddy drove it during parts of high school and college. I want it, but I am afriad I am going to fall down the rabbit hole once I extract it from his property.

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            Sounds like a fun project.

            In other words, yes, get your wallet ready. Lol

            I remember riding in a Fairmont with a four cylinder and thinking this is quite possibly THE slowest car I’ve ever been in.

            My folks had a Fox Body LTD with the inline six. It was a lemon, they never had nothing good to say about it, and I was really young. Like 4 or 5. I remember the way it looked- black with red pinstripes over red interior. Kind of cool at the time.

          • 0 avatar

            You all need to come join me at The Brougham Society on Facebook…I just shared last night how I made a most luxurious Garage chair out of the front seat of a Chrysler New Yorker :)

  • avatar
    sirwired

    That interior is in primo shape for a car 35 years old…

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    There’s not nearly enough plasti-wood veneer for an interior in that shade of brown.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Looks like these things started at $12,093 in 1979 which is $39,700 today. Though, I bet it had a long options list. That said, I bet it had a smooth ride.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “By 1979, the Continental measured 233.0 in (5,920 mm) and weighed between 4,900–5,500 lb (2,200–2,500 kg) depending on the year. After General Motors downsized its full-size product lineup for 1977, the Continental became the largest mass-market automobile produced worldwide at the time, surpassed only by purpose-built limousines such as the Cadillac Series 75, Mercedes-Benz 600 and Rolls-Royce Phantom VI. The 460 cid V8 was also the largest-displacement engine in any production car worldwide from 1977 to 1978.”

  • avatar
    jmo

    Sigh, it was a whole other world back then:

    “In 1979, a “Collector’s Series” option package was available to commemorate the last year of the large Lincolns, which added virtually every Lincoln feature and raised the price of the Continental sedan to approximately $16,500. Among the select few extra-cost options were power moonroof, 40-channel CB radio, “Sure-Track” brake system, and the special plush Kashmir Velour interior. The price of a fully equipped Continental Collector’s Series could exceed $18,000. There were only four colors available: dark blue, white and limited-issue medium blue (197 built) and light silver (125 built) with a dark-blue vinyl top.”

    All pimped out it was $60k in today’s money.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    This car’s interior is stunning. It makes me want to light up a cigar and drink a glass of scotch while cruising at a nice even 45 mph with the windows down.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Rode like a waterbed, did it?

    I have a hunch that these cars would dominate demolition derbies.

    And I still like the hideaway headlights, although they stopped working after years of use. Vacuum operated, I believe?

    Ohhhhhh and the silver hue on the instrument cluster. My heart is beating faster from the extreme opulence…

    EDIT: Those side marker lamps that illuminate when the blinkers are on is quite useful.

    Had them on my 89 TC, and while navigating, I got quite good at using them to see the corners of the turns I was taking. They were fairly bright, too-err… rather, bright enough.

    Also had opera lights on my T.C., which when illuminated were almost an orange-yellow color. I always thought they would look better in a shade of white as opposed to dark as hell yellow.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Interesting to look at the specs vs. a modern car.

    4th/5th Generation Comparison[56][57]
    1967 Continental 1970 Continental
    Wheelbase 126.0 in (3,200 mm) 127.0 in (3,226 mm)
    Overall Length 220.9 in (5,611 mm) 225.0 in (5,715 mm)
    Width 79.7 in (2,024 mm) 79.6 in (2,022 mm)
    Height 55.0 in (1,397 mm) 55.7 in (1,415 mm)
    Front Headroom 38.1 in (968 mm) 39.0 in (991 mm)
    Front Legroom 41.0 in (1,041 mm) 41.9 in (1,064 mm)
    Front Hip Room 61.8 in (1,570 mm) 62.3 in (1,582 mm)
    Front Shoulder Room 59.8 in (1,519 mm) 61.8 in (1,570 mm)
    Rear Headroom 38.6 in (980 mm) 38.3 in (973 mm)
    Rear Legroom–ins. 40.5 in (1,029 mm) 41.9 in (1,064 mm)
    Rear Hip Room 62.0 in (1,575 mm) 62.3 in (1,582 mm)
    Rear Shoulder Room 59.8 in (1,519 mm) 61.6 in (1,565 mm)
    Luggage Capacity 18.0 cu ft (510 L) 18.1 cu ft (513 L)

    vs. an Accord:

    Interior Measurements
    FRONT HEAD ROOM 39.1 in. FRONT HIP ROOM 55.6 in.
    FRONT LEG ROOM 42.5 in. FRONT SHOULDER ROOM 58.6 in.
    REAR HIP ROOM 54.7 in. REAR HEAD ROOM 37.5 in.
    REAR LEG ROOM 38.5 in. REAR SHOULDER ROOM 56.5 in.

    The Lincoln was so big on the outside and so small on the inside. The Accord has just as much leg and head room it’s just a lot wider.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Congratulations, you win most pointless comparo of the day award.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        “The Accord has just as much leg and head room….” So says the person who apparently never sits in the back seat. And if anything, the raw numbers downplay the advantage conferred by a formal roofline over today’s sloping roofs.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        I was commenting how inefficiently packaged the car was given it’s length. It’s all hood and trunk.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          Oh, I definitely agree. With few exceptions (the Falcon, e.g.), Detroit really seemed to lose its way vis-a-vis packaging in the era between the Tri-Five Chevy and before the downsized ’77 B- and C-bodies.

          I was going to comment, “And look at all the wasted space in front of the engine,” but, well . . . .

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      The Accord might be bigger inside on paper; however, I seriously doubt MCA could squeeze six girlies into a Honda Accord.

      “Went to the prom, wore the fly blue rental
      Got six girlies in my Lincoln Continental…”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Good data, man after my own heart.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    These types of cars always remind me of the SNL sketch “Royale Deluxe II” with Dan Aykroyd, etc.

    “That’s a beautiful baby… and a beautiful car!”

  • avatar
    koshchei

    These cars absolutely epitomize Lincoln for me. I wish they’d create a retrofied version of one of these with modern technology, better quality steel, and fuel efficiency.

    The point of these vehicles was never to go fast, but to go in absolute total isolated comfort.

    • 0 avatar
      mankyman

      You could get cars like this up to higher speeds but it was a sphincter-clenching exercise.

      My experience of high speed driving Malaise-era vehicles include a 1974 Monte Carlo which I took to 115 mph. I also got it airborne at about 75 mph over some railroad tracks and was lucky I killed no one. I don’t really need to advise readers that I was 16 at the time.

      These barges floated around at highway speeds like a drunk stumbling home at 4:30 AM. Even at highway speeds you had to be careful. They generally had overassisted power steering and road feel was … remote. They weighed a lot, had skinny tires, bad suspensions, etc.

      Another time I was in a 1975 Mercury wagon that my buddy and I got up to 120 mph on a remote country road. That was even more sphincter-clenching, as the two-lane road dipped and weaved in the 90 degree sun. We were literally a few millimeters of contact patch away from gruesome, mangled death. The car rebelled at this insult and shortly thereafter threw a piston rod.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        I don’t know what condition the cars you drove were in, but I drove a 1971 Buick Electra, 1971 Chevy Impala, 1973 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, 1975 Olds Cutlass sedan and 1975 Pontiac Grand Prix, and they all drove just fine (actually, very nicely) on the highway. Granted, I don’t recall taking any of them over 85 MPH. If you’re referring to driving them at 115-120 that would have been just…well, stupid (no offense).

      • 0 avatar
        JREwing

        I certainly didn’t send my ’84 Crown Victoria over elevated railroad tracks at speed, but it saw 120 on a remote country road and lived to tell the tale. If it would have accepted full throttle in overdrive without downshifting, it might’ve nudged that number a bit higher.

        One thing it certainly had in common with this Continental: fluffy, whipped-cream steering. The first time driving it on my learner’s permit, I was watching my side mirror as someone passed me, and didn’t realize I was drifting into his lane. Thankfully, Mom yelled and yanked the wheel before I ran the guy off the road.

      • 0 avatar
        koshchei

        I remember railroad tracks with those old beasts, more specifically, I remember pulling over immediately after crossing them to retrieve three of four hubcaps.

        I had a 1978 Mark V Bill Blass back in the day. It had the smoothest engine I’ve ever seen (the 460), pigskin seats, and was unable to spin the back tires even on gravel.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        My buddy and I drove his grandma’s ’75 Olds Delta 88 from Houston to Missouri. It was pretty scary on the two-lanes, the steering was the definition of “vague”

    • 0 avatar
      Yoss

      Maybe it’s owing mostly to the flat, straight highways of Kansas but I’d routinely run my old 78 LTD Wagon flat out. Yeah, I was a dumb kid.

  • avatar
    Luke

    I had a very formative experience in the back seat of one of these. It was dark blue with a dark blue velour interior. I’ll never forget those little oval windows in the C-pillar.

    Ah, memories…

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Lol!

    Random thought- doesn’t Kim Jong Un (IIRC?, the current emporer of North Korea) have one of these?

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Probably more than one.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      His father had a couple in his funeral procession, but I believe they were of the more dignified and older JFK variety.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        No, they were 75-76 models. New tail panel but old grille.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        86er is correct, I follow NK with great interest. Kim Il Sung (KJI’s father) somehow acquired them probably new or near new in the mid to late 70s. His models were somewhat customized with the carriage roof and what observers believed were bullet resistant windows (the cars were probably armored underneath for bombs as well). When/if Kim Il Sung used them is difficult to say as he and his son were very partial to Mercedes (I’ve also read your status in the hierarchy determined your model name/engine displacement. So if you were lower mgt, 280SL was appropriate, as you climbed the ranks, 380SL, 420SL, and finally the 560 for the “ballers”). Kim Il Sung’s tomb actually features his last 560SEL up on marble blocks. I once read, when a NK tour guide was asked why is the car there the reply was something to the effect of: “He is our eternal president, and when he’s done sleeping he might want to drive it”. Not making this s*it up. KJI seized on this opportunity to legitimize his authority since NK could never hold elections because they could never elect another president. KJI’s offical title was something like General Secretary of the KWP (Communist party) and Chairman of the National Defense Council.

        “The appellation Eternal President of the Republic (공화국의 영원한 주석, literally “Eternal Chairman of the Republic”) was established by a line in the preface to the Constitution of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as amended on September 5, 1998. It reads:

        Under the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Korean people will hold the great leader Comrade Kim Il-sung in high esteem as the eternal President of the Republic”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_President_of_the_Republic

        “He explained that Mercedes was Kim Jong Il’s favorite car, and ridiculed the everyday lives of North Korean citizens that compares to the nation’s leaders’ extravagant lifestyles. He also added that Kim Il Sung’s car, Mercedes-Benz SEL 500, was exhibited in the Mansoosan Memorial Palace where Kim Il Sung’s body is laid in state.”

        http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk03100&num=1756

  • avatar
    danio3834

    One of my favorites. My grandpa had one in the 80’s and man, did that car have class.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      I dream about these cars. They’re like rolling gothic cathedrals or tectonic plates.

      Each one of these cars should be a UNESCO heritage monument.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I buried the needle on one of these babies (a ’74) on many occasions along the 401.

    Used to get 2 Lincolns together and parade up and down Yonge Street.

    With the windows up and the stereo off you could hear the clock ticking. No road feel at all and 1 finger steering. Just a wonderful cruiser.

    The horns sounded like something from a locomotive.

    And the back seat (with the velour interior, which is far superior to the leather) could pass for a boudoir.

    Still love them, although as I have stated on this board many times, the ’75 or ’76 Mark IV is my all-time favourite.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Kim Jong Un and the Continental Town Car have a lot in common: both are isolated from reality, bloated, overweight, thirsty, wasteful, outdated and likely to be crushed in the near future.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The front and rear seats should be re-purposed as furniture at a minimum. Beautiful burgundy leather sofas, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    The 400 can actually be made into a beast if you don’t mind the work. http://tinyurl.com/lgx52p5 That engine was likely taken for a Ford truck build, the truck guys seem to like the 400 more than the Hot Rod guys although a 400 would be nice in a hot rod if you were trying to be different or just using the engine you had lying around.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Get some Nu Finish, restore the shine to that weather beaten car and just drive. Oh, and apparently a motor. Thanks!

  • avatar
    phlipski

    I’ve long harbored the dream of taking one of these sleds, and cutting the top off – tastefully. Dropping a big block in it, maybe even the ford triton v-10, put some nice rims on it, lower the suspension, and you’ve got one sweet saturday night cruiser!

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      This car is so large, I could see removing the top over the driver and front passenger seats, like a targa top, but leaving the back half of the top in place.

      BUT… I could see the whole top being removed for a coupe version. Town Coupe, I believe?

  • avatar
    86er

    From the last picture we can see why this one was taken out of commission. Guardrail?

    Murilee is right about these cars not being the focus of restorers, at least not yet. Mind you, if you already have one of those grilles that hasn’t been smashed up, you probably don’t need another.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Murliee – I have a working Cartier clock out of a ’79 I acquired in 01, so some of them do work, some of the time.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    At least some people have enough sense to preserve the rarer Town Coupes.

    I quite like the Town Coupes, I could see one in the Barge section of my fantasy garage along with a 75-78 Eldorado and a 74-78 Imperial/New Yorker Brougham coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I just can’t get with the Imperial overall. It feels that one step too baroque, and one step too poor, and behind the Lincolns in every way.

      I feel as though Chrysler has been behind the game in every aspect except trucks since about 1960.

      Edit: For variety wouldn’t you consider a 66 Toronado in that garage, or one of the sedan Thunderbirds!?

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I honestly like the 71-78 Toronados the most of any Toronado, despite their obvious “discount Eldorado” styling that came from being styled by the same guy.

        As for sedan Thunderbirds, I’m honestly not much of a fan of any pre-83 Thunderbird. When it comes to the 77-79 I prefer a Cougar XR7.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          What the heck? Original long and low Toronado, with that elegant rear slantback and full width tail lamps – or Trofeo. Those are your only options! I might also accept a special XS version, from whenever those were made with the convex wrap-around window.

          http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ca/ee/04/caee04e276f51f186545874569e106cb.jpg

          And how can you -not- like this? It’s brilliant!
          https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8473/8436147771_a60ce4a4ef_z.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Well see, I didn’t realize they made a 4 door Bird with the “speaker” nose. I thought it was only that ghastly beak.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I don’t like the beak one either, had to look it up just now. I had only seen the speaker ones.

            The beak is far too Pontiac.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            The Grand Prix beak looked way better too.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        Imperial was not behind Lincoln in technology or features. In fact many features that we take for granted today were mostly introduced on Imperial before Lincoln or Cadillac.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          For one thing, I know Imperials had 4 wheel disk brakes before the Continental did.

          In fact, the 1949 Imperial was the first production car fitted with disk brakes and the 1971 Imperial was the first production car in America fitted with an ABS system.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I was more referring to Chrysler as a whole being behind. Not just the Imperial in technical features.

          FWIW the ’60 Imperial with the fins and the stand up headlamps just looks like a hot mess to me.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Late Exner designs were…pretty bad. Ever see a 59 Dodge Custom Royal in person? It’s a complete hodge-podge!

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    A friends parents had one of these with the 460. We tried to see how fast it would go…and it threw a rod. The speedo had been buried for quite a while. His parents were unhappy.

    I like the fact that the gauges look like my home stereo (vintage).

    I forgot about the coffee cans as vacuum tanks in old fords.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      The heads were extra soft on those engines as well. Despite being steel, the spark plugs couldn’t be torqued than 5lb-feet (iirc), or you’d be into heli coil turf in short order.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    These cars are becoming quite collectable from what I’m reading on face book and posts from old Lincoln lovers. Many of them still exist or are available in good condition with low miles since their previous and first owners didn’t rack up a lot of miles or abuse them. Yes they were definitely from a bygone era where bulk in bodies and engines sold cars.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think about the decade separations in these cars, and how there were such large differences, until recently. It’s like we’ve hit a plateau of sorts.

      1969:Brilliant. http://automotivemileposts.com/lincoln/images/1969/linc1969sedanburntorangewhiteroof.jpg

      1979: (this) Awful. Bloated, baroque.

      1989: Pretty bad, FWD.
      http://ts2.mm.bing.net/th?id=HN.607993753878202160&pid=1.7

      1999: Pretty bad, really the same car.
      http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/41/7b/cb/417bcb8663d8e1611f2f26b565e25b68.jpg

      2009: Still pretty bad, not much different but AWD.
      http://images.thecarconnection.com/lrg/2009-lincoln-mks-review-motorauthority-015_100205741_l.jpg

      2019: Would you like a new traditional Lincoln sir?
      http://releasetoyota2015.com/wp-content/uploads/2015-Toyota-Avalon-Hybrid.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      By 1989, the Continental name was on the FWD platform. The RWD BOF Town Car was still around.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    youtube.com/watch?v=VQRQ_xP0TO4

    Ray was a sentimental guy like his Dad.

    The teal green Avalon slowly pulled into the driveway of the small three bedroom ranch past the ‘For Sale’ sign, and Ray switched his car off. Ray and John both felt the dry California heat hit them as they exited the car, exacerbated by their black suits. Ray felt the cool Santa Ana breeze flow through his silver hair and looked at the house in which the brothers were raised. John leaned forward on the passenger door and pointed into the open garage.

    “Why did Dad keep this POS so long?” John exclaimed rhetorically to his older brother.

    “Does it even run?” he added.

    Ray stood and stared at the impressive grille and intimidating front facia. He turned his head right and looked his younger brother square in the eyes.

    “Dad had his reasons, John”.

    The two brothers slowly walked toward the impressive Lincoln, Ray ran his hand over the hood ornament and then down the smooth lines of the hood. John mumbled to himself about the size of the behemoth before them in Ray’s earshot but it was ignored. Dragging his fingers from front to back he traced the quarter panel and felt dust collect on the tips. He stared into the windshield and imagined Dad sitting at the wheel, enjoying his two guilty pleasures: burning dinosaurs and burning Camels. Ray pulled on the handle and opened the heavy driver’s door to sink down in the majestic leviathan. He dropped the visor and the keys fell into his lap. Dad was predictable, he thought. Ray slid the key in the ignition and turned the key. He heard a distinct Rah Rah Rah from the car as it attempted to crank but quit. John walked over from the other side of the car.

    “Ray what are you doin’? This car hasn’t run since Dad was in the home.”

    Ray turned his gaze to John and gave him a cold look. John put up his hands and mumbled something about the realtor being there shortly and walked around the car to enter the house via the garage. Ray pulled the door shut and left the key in accessories as the battery still had power. The radio came on to the oldies station his Dad always listened too, and Ray reclined in the rich leather seat. The shadow from the open door slowly crossed the concrete floor as Ray lost track of time…

    “Boys, its time to get ready to leave for Grandmas” Mom said to them as she headed out the door. Ray and John eagerly carried their small blue luggage outside and placed it in the rear of the big Mercury station wagon. Ray and John took their respective seats, and John punched Ray in the arm as a Volkswagen Beetle drove past their driveway.

    “Punchbuggy Orange” John exclaimed.

    “Do that again and you’ll be sore for a week” Ray said as he gave John a cold stare.

    “Dare ya” John said with his tongue stuck out.

    Eventually Dad and Mom joined them and the Mercury slowly rumbled out of the driveway toward the end of the street. Dad had just finished his cigarette as they approached the stop sign and a yellow Beetle could be seen off to the left. Just as John leaned in to tap his brother, he found Ray was ahead of him pummeling his fist multiple times into John’s stomach.

    “Boys!” Mom screamed.

    Dad put the Mercury into park and turned completely around.

    “Sons I don’t have time for bullshit. If either of you act up again I will pull this car over and belt the two of you. Do I make myself clear?” Dad said while giving John a cold stare.

    “Yes, sir” John and Ray replied in near unison.

    “Good” Dad said as he turned back around. He pulled a pack of Camels and a Marine Corps branded Zippo from his breast pocket and placed a cigarette in his mouth. Smoke filled the cabin as Dad put the car back in drive and proceeded back down the thoroughfare…

    Ray woke back up still seated in the Lincoln. An elongated shadow was now cast on the long hood from the Continental star hood ornament and he noticed a tall car parked behind his Avalon. He started to motion left to the door handle but then a bouncing beam of light from the dash caught his eye. He looked again and saw Dad’s Zippo and a half pack of Camels sitting on top of the dash. Ray placed one of Dad’s cigarettes in his mouth, dabbed the cigarette in the Zippo’s flame and took in a deep drag. He felt a solitary tear slide down his cheek as he exhaled and watched smoke dance throughout the cabin as the hood ornament’s shadow continued to slowly move as the sun crossed the sky.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Thanks, for some of us of a certain age; just beautiful.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Thanks 28 cars….Wow…My Dad in a 1960 Pontiac Strato Chief, with an “Export A” hanging from his mouth.

      “If I gotta stop this effin car you boys aint gonna like it”

      Excellent writing dude!

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      :0

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Thanks.
      Lost my old man about a decade ago. Once he ‘made’ it only drove Lincolns or Cadillacs. Changed them every year.

      Remember the ‘holiday from hell’. 3 teenaged boys in the back of his Mark IV, with him determined to drive from Ontario to Florida, only stopping for gas.

      Talked his way out of 2 speeding tickets on that trip!

      He was just under 6’2″ and about 245lbs in shape and by that time around 280. Would just lean back in his seat and sweep back with his right arm when things got too noisy back there. Didn’t matter who or what he connected with, it was enough to settle the others down.

      I got to take the Lincoln out one night in Florida to get some supplies. Locked the keys in the car in a 7-11 parking lot. While trying to fish them out, felt something cold against my right buttock (I was wearing shorts). Turned around to see a local officer with his shotgun and dog (it was the dog’s cold nose that got my attention). I swear to this day that I remember the officer wearing sunglasses under his Smokey the Bear hat that late at night? Had a lot of “xplainin” to do.

      When anyone mentions Walt Disney World to me, I still shudder.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        He was probably more curious why you had your ass hangin out in them Daisy Dukes in a gas station parking lot.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Red Adidas soccer shorts, ‘wife beater’ singlet, knee high athletic tube sox, running shoes, full mullet (then called a ‘long shag’)and my underage attempt at a moustache.

          Thought that I looked like a young Thomas Magnum (although his show was still a few years away from debuting).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “3 teenaged boys in the back of his Mark IV, with him determined to drive from Ontario to Florida, only stopping for gas.”

        This man, I would have liked this man as that is an audacious goal. Thanks for sharing.

  • avatar
    Pebble

    Seeing one of these in a junkyard brings a tear to my eye. This is American iron at its best. The colour, the opera lamps, the fat luxury of it all…we need to preserve as many of these as possible.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    These are not rare cars. Quite a few 70s Continentals have been well preserved and can be had for $3500-$5500. Examples like this junkyard find don’t need to be restored but should be kept for parts. I went to look at a 79 Continental Collectors series a couple of days ago. When I sat on the leather seat it felt like I sank down six inches, like sitting in a bean bag chair. I also sat in a 76 New Yorker and the button-tuft velour seats were softer than the Conti’s leather but I didn’t sink down as far. The Chrysler’s seats felt more supportive. Sadly, the cars weren’t registered so I couldn’t take them on a test drive.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Pfft. Bring a plate and do it anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Bog (bogus) plates can get you in trouble depending on the state/region.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Yeah for nearly a month, I ran my plate from my GS on my M, and only on the back (OH being a 2-plate state) – no problems. It’s common around here to just bring a plate from whatever with you for a test drive or to drive a car home.

          I don’t think the police would do much. I see mis-plated cars often.

          EDIT: And I’ve been driving on Ohio plates in Ohio for quite some time (2+ years) on one plate. At least 30% of the cars here only run one plate.

      • 0 avatar
        GS 455

        I wouldn’t be worried about test driving with a borrowed plate, I’m more worried that if I drove the Conti I’d buy it and have to make room for it.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          This is why whenever one of these comes up for sale, I have to ask my wife to restrain me. a ’78-’79 Continental Town Car has been on my list since forever, but even with my ample car-space, I don’t have a good place to park it, and I know I wouldn’t drive it that regularly unless I motor swapped it to something more modern. With the way things are going lately, ain’t nobody got time fo dat.

          The high survivability rate, and comparatively low desirability means I can afford to wait.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think I might go Town Coupe if I were getting one, just because they’re so much more rare.

            That being said, do you think these survived because only old people bought them? Because they were so expensive that people wouldn’t part with them? The MPG was so horrendous that nobody wanted to drive it?

            It’s like there are tons of them, and all of them have low miles and are in decent shape.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      People in my area drive unregistered, uninsured cars as daily drivers all the time.

      And they get away with it.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        Bogus plates will get you in trouble all the time.

        Unless, of course, you have a dealer plate. Police will go out of their way to avoid giving you any ounce of trouble with a dealer plate.

        ADDENDUM: That’s here in Missouri, of course.

        I once had plates on my Jeep Cherokee which I had pulled off of my Mustang. Yup, the cop was pissed. Late on paying my sales tax… lol

        Paid my sales tax very soon after and all was good in the world again.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I got pinched once with a dealer plate for failing to turn on the headlights of a 91 Sunbird at dusk… seriously. Nothing came of it, but I was hassled for not having a registration card or proof of insurance or something to this effect. I finally said to the [insert euphemism] just run the plate and if it comes back suspended or unregistered book me. Left shortly thereafter.

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            My first job, 14 years old, working as a porter/lot boy at a large used car dealership in St. Louis. A large buy here/pay here, of course.

            I’d slap on a dealer plate and go. And that was before I ever had my license.

            Lol!

            Guess they had more important things to do.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            No that was the problem, borough cops by-and-large typically have nothing to do in my area, hence the harassment for something so trivial. There are a few exceptions, but Pittsburgh has too many small boroughs and most of them have their own police forces. Where I am right now is near the intersection of four separate small boroughs, with four separate police forces and $100K police chiefs. Redundant much? Incidentally three of those boroughs share a common volunteer fire department, the forth sharing its with a fifth borough to its south (also with its own police force).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The police were your Twilight Sentinel. :)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Twilight Sentinel, as it were. Whitehall cops used to be major pricks, although this was ten years ago and I no longer frequent the area to tell you if they still are jag offs. To their credit though, then ran a white ’96 Bronco forever as their K9 car. Oh the OJ jokes we made when we saw it.

  • avatar
    skor

    Ford did not have to recall 23 million vehicles because of the “park-to-reverse” defect. Ford reached an agreement with the DOT. Ford was required to mail letters and warning labels to every owner of an effected vehicle…just about every Ford with a auto trans built between 1970 and 1980. I remember my father getting such a letter regarding his 1979 Granada. The letter stated that the owner was required to affix the warning sticker somewhere near the gear selector. My father promptly threw the entire thing in the trash.

    BTW, Fords were not the only cars where the gear selectors could be placed between detents. If Ford had been required to recall all those cars it would have unleashed an avalanche of lawsuits against just about ever automaker selling cars in the US.

  • avatar
    skor

    The brakes on that car look positively puny.

    BTW, one of the few things I miss about old cars are the cloth headliners held up by metal ribs.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    Back in the day my boss bought one of these, light metallic green with green interior.

    I couldn’t quite figure out why he bought it, since his usual DDs ran the gamut from a ’68 Charger to a Ferrari Dino to a Lamborghini Countach.

    He let me take it out for a light parts delivery one day, and I can attest to the fact that it was a chore to drive. Pillowy ride, vague handling and you could almost watch the gas gauge fall as the 460 sucked down the fuel.

    The doors were at least 10″ thick and felt like they weighed 200 pounds with the motors that moved the “wind wings” straight up and down..and you were TOTALLY self-conscious about the percentage of the lane you occupied. It was huge.

    But it was quiet and that was probably what he wanted at the time.

    For my money, I’d take a ’61 with suicide doors over this any day of the week.

  • avatar
    Aquineas

    My Mom owned a 75 and a 77 Town Car. Both had whatever electrical glitch that made the headlights turn off all the time. We’d be driving around Chicago with no headlights (!). But at least we did so in style…

    That being said, I still kinda want one; in Collector’s Series midnight blue, please.

  • avatar
    Panther Platform

    I’ve driven one of these and a Mark V, but chickened out on both and didn’t buy either one. As I near retirement I think I am going to finally get one. Yep they are a microcosm of the 70’s decadence and excess, but damn I think they are beautiful and I want one! Hope the 8-track works!


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