Curbside Classic Outtake: 1986 Continental

curbside classic outtake 1986 continental

Our cavalcade of vintage Lincolns draws to a close (whew!) and the Lincoln file is exhausted, save for the finale. We’ve obviously plumbed the depths of Lincoln’s long decline, probably best typified by the Versailles. But hope was in the air, thanks to the remarkable Fox-body platform. The best example was the rather remarkable Mark VII coupe, which I didn’t do justice here yesterday, thanks to a sudden onset of late-afternoon chronic Lincoln-fatigue syndrome. My apologies. But even before the Mark VII arrived in 1984, there was a glimmer of hope already, in the Fox-bodied Continental sedan of 1982. One just had to squint (quite) a bit to see it.

It would be easy to jump on this Conti for its blatantly ripped-off bustle back trunk. The 1980 Seville shocked/horrified the world when it trotted out that long-forgotten affectation of old English Hooper-bodied Rollers. And it became the styling affectation de jeur. But, there was a big difference this time around. Whereas the Versailles was a pathetic cheap imitation of the fairly credible first Seville, the second Seville was a royal stinker pimp-mobile. It was a classic jumping-the-shark moment for Cadillac. And an opportunity for Lincoln.

So although this Continental can be faulted for its bustle tail, in just about every other way it was a much better car than the gen2 Seville. Relatively speaking, anyway. It wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but it was a big step in the right direction. Of course, it would have been hard to screw up a Fox-platform car. It intrinsically meant a fairly compact, reasonably light, tight, and intrinsically decent handling vehicle. Ford’s air suspension technology was put to good use here, like in the Mark VII.

Frankly, this is a four door Mark VII, four all intents and purposes. Too bad they didn’t make an LSC-type version: all blacked out and nice fat alloys and wheels, and a couple of big fat pipes out the back end. Now that would have been interesting.

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  • Manhighperformance Manhighperformance on Feb 22, 2010

    hello all! i just bought a 87 continental givenchy! i had to pull the dash to change the heater core and when i put it all back together my info center, a couple dashlights, and the speedometer/gas gauge/odometer aren't workng! i bought a haynes manual for wiring diagrams but it doesn't have one! i have one plug that i didn't unplug so i'm guessing it pulled out as i pulled the dash back and know i can't find a place for it to go, so does anyone know where i can find wiring diagrams for the dash and the fuse block! thank you for any help

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Feb 23, 2010

    Go to some of the used book resellers like ABEBOOKS or the Ford dealer and buy the factory repair manual. I have one for both my Hondas and VWs. MUCH better than the too generic Haynes manual which too often for me addresses a topic with a statement that says "this procedure is beyond the scope of this manual". THAT'S why I bought the manual!!! LOL! My factory manuals have cost me $60-$70 and one repair that I could do without the dealer or a professional mechanic pays for the book. My Helms publisher (Honda) manual and Bentley publisher (VWs) manuals both have extensive wiring diagrams. I gave Chilton a whirl about 60K ago for the VW Cabrio and the manual was a disgrace to their brand. The Bentley publishers manual for the same car showed how to install a new top, wiring diagrams, a/c tech, and even transmission teardowns.

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