By on March 24, 2012

Like most car guys, Wayne Cooper always had one particular “must have” car on his wish list. Most guys have familiar names like Corvettes, Challengers, or Mustangs on their lists.

Not Wayne. His all time chart topping car was a 1979 Lincoln Mark V (Collector Series).

Like most motivated car guys, he eventually reached a point where he could find and acquire his dream car.

It didn’t start out that way. In 1979 this car listed at $24,000 and that kind of money was far beyond the reach of a younger Wayne Cooper. But he did have the option to drive his employer’s Mark V on a regular basis and that’s how the hook was set. As Wayne explained, “ I fell in love”.

His search took several years. He did eventually find this incredibly low mileage Mark V via an estate sale. Even then, the purchase didn’t happen overnight. He looked at the V in Oct. 2007 and didn’t actually buy it until 6 months had gone by. Finding this rare Lincoln was fortunate.Wayne had been to hundreds of car shows and he’d never seen one at any of the shows.

One of the byproducts of my owner interviews is the opportunity to learn about non-mainstream vintage iron. This Mark V is a classic example. These cars were better equipped than the relatively new F-15 fighter jet at the time. The list of standard equipment was the size of a grocery list for a family of twelve-up to and including an 8 track stereo with “quad” sound.

The seats have an infinite number of adjustments so Wayne reports, “ I can drive this thing at 75 or better for 7 hours and never get tired thanks to the seats and the ride”. The Lincoln “sees the real world” according to Wayne despite the low miles on the car (55,000). The Mark V looks like it belongs in a museum thanks to a lifetime of quality maintenance, no winter driving and a temperature controlled garage.

The end result is an impeccably well-preserved piece of Lincoln history. These are the cars that don’t get the same press as a Boss 302 Mustang, yet they are a significant part of Ford’s history.

Wayne used to dabble in classic era 5-6-7 Thunderbirds back in the 70s, but a fateful day back in the waning days of disco set off an atom bomb in his car guy world.

He drove a brand new 1979 Lincoln Mark V (Collector Series).

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28 Comments on “Car Collector’s Corner: 1979 Collector Series Lincoln Mark V...”

  • avatar

    I didn’t know you could get bucket seats and console in these.

  • avatar

    Glad to see cars like this still exist. For a piece of Malaise iron, they were actually pretty well made. And as much as I lust for a musclecar, I’m always happy to see any old car from my past in mint condition…even if it is one of the “last of the whoppers”…

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    With these cars you didn’t carry a spare tire you carried a spare VW bug in the trunk.

    Love these massive personal luxury coupe, still classier than an Escalade.

  • avatar
    Dirk Wiggler

    That’s Jock Ewing’s ride!

  • avatar

    Stunning!!! My Aunt sold one of these back in the fall.It was almost as nice as this one. I took pics of it and was going to do a story on it over at Paul’s CC site, but I just never got around to it, I didn’t feel like the pics did it justice. The car was so big I just couldn’t get back far enough to capture it well…

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    That’s a REAL car. I aspire to own a specimen from this generation of Lincolns.

  • avatar
    CA Guy

    $24,000 new sounds a little high for a 1979 Mark V.* My Dad purchased a new 1978 Continental Mark V Designer Series Cartier Edition Model loaded with options. The original window sticker, which I still have (along with the brochure), indicates a Total price of $15,795. The Designer Series, that added such things as the leather interior, landau vinyl roof, and turbine spoke aluminum wheels, was $1800 of that total. The AM/FM stereo with Quadrasonic 8 Track Tape was a $373 option. Dad’s car also had the CB radio for another $321. Even the Power Lock Convenience Group ($115), interval windshield wipers ($35), rear window defroster ($115), right hand remote control mirror ($37), and speed control ($77) were options on this expensive car. We take for granted today that all of this equipment is included on even the lowest level cars. Time were tough during the malaise era and Dad bought this car for $13,000 cash out the door because it had been in a small town dealership showroom for months.

    Because it was an Indiana car, Dad’s Mark had the 460, a good engine that delivered pretty decent mileage as a highway cruiser. Biggest problem was those headlight doors that lost vacuum due to leaks, froze in winter, etc. Many times repaired. And those incredibly long doors were heavy! More than one of his lady friends ended up with a bruised leg. Also, the back seat was not that comfortable and had very limited vision due to the opera windows (that I see this car lacks).

    By the way, the model included in the 1978 Mark V brochure that has separate front seats divided by a wood-trimmed center console is the Diamond Jubilee Edition. The Designer Series, including Dad’s car, had separately controlled power front seats minus the division or console.

    *Added note: Over at Automotive Mileposts I see that 1979 Mark prices went up and that the Collectors Series was priced significantly higher. A good reminder of the double-digit inflation of the Carter era.

    • 0 avatar

      The Collector Series cars really did cost that much. They had every single option plus a much higher grade of trim i.e bucket seats, real wood, a leather dashboard etc…

      Ford knew it was the end of an era in American motoring so they really put a lot into these cars. Also if you check the brochure for these you’ll notice Tom Sellick and his mustache showing off their luxury.

    • 0 avatar

      In 1978, Lincoln offered a Diamond Jubilee Mark V that listed for over $20,500. The 1979 Collector’s Series was basically a continuation of that, plus prices of all cars leapt dramatically in the late ’70s because of rampant inflation.

      • 0 avatar
        CA Guy

        The brochure indicates the Diamond Jubilee edition included an umbrella, keys with “woodtone inserts,” and that “The floor carpet is an extra thick 36 oz. Tiffany cut-pile.” The spare tire cover on the trunk was vinyl padded with “matching vinyl insert lock cover.” Amazing how this model was larded up. And I thought Dad’s car was pretty plush at the time.

  • avatar

    It’s funny, I didn’t care for the Mark V, or any car of the sort, when I was younger but I’ve decided I will have one in the near future and a dark blue Collector Series like the one pictured is the particular target. Not only is it visually striking in today’s world I think the ride will be a nice counterpoint to Sport Sedan that almost everything has now.

  • avatar

    Calling all Ford historians – what, if any, platform parts did the Mark share with T-Bird of the same year? If I squint just a little, I can see some familiar lines.

    • 0 avatar

      Weirdly, I think the answer is “very little” — the ’79 T-bird moved to a shorter platform in ’77 (based on the Elite) whereas the Mark was a restyling of the previous car. The Mark IV, Mark V, and ’72-’76 T-bird all have 120.6″ wheelbases, whereas the ’77-’79 T-bird is 10″ shorter.

    • 0 avatar

      Relatively few that year. The Mark was a variation on the Thunderbird chassis when introduced in ’69 and then became virtually identical to the Thunderbird from 72-76. For 77 the Thunderbird became sisters with the Mercury Cougar on the Ford Intermediate platform leaving the Mark without a stablemate until 1980 when it moved to the Panther platform

  • avatar

    Interesting to note that this car has both a General Motors air conditioning compressor (Harrison) and a power steering pump (Saginaw).

  • avatar
    red stick

    I can sympathize with him–although I have little love for Lincolns I’ve always had a soft spot for 69-72 Grand Prixs, although I’ve never gone hunting one. Thought it was good looking car when I was a child; haven’t changed my mind, and always stop to look at one on the rare occasions when they show.

    That Torino in the background looks really good too.

  • avatar

    These are the type of car that identified American luxury near the end of the 70s. I was never a fan of Ford’s 1970s long front and rear overhangs but they work on this car. Ford out Caddied Cadillac with these.
    When I was an aspiring car guy back in high school(around 1990) we used to go to a cruise joint near a Rizza Chevy dealer. The dealership had a “budget” lot “$2995 AND UNDER” about a block away that always had one or two 77-79 Marks on the lot. I remember going there and drooling over these almost every Saturday night.
    I’d love to see a restomod version with a Triton V10 under the hood.

    ETA, That cloth interior actually cost $400 more than the leather. That’s a sweet rolling museum there!

    • 0 avatar

      A V10??? Forget it. You want the massive torque of the 460 under the hood. It’s one of Ford’s best engines. And it doesn’t spit out spark plugs either.

  • avatar

    The Torino was a beautiful car. We tried to track down the owner over several hours with no luck. Hopefully we will cross paths again because that car is serious eye candy.

  • avatar

    docrock, you are not totally wrong, though. Although the cars had different chassis, a lot of trim was common between the Mark Collector and the Thunderbird Heritage. I had the Collector years ago and knew a guy with a Heritage. They had the same “Kasman II luxury cloth,” the same superplush blue carpet (including in the trunk), and quite a few interior trim parts in common, including the console. BTW, that console was not mentioned in the Lincoln service manual for ’79 and there was apparently no way to get parts for it (my latch broke).

    The Collector was definitely mega-loaded. The 8-track had a digital readout (you could see which track you were on), as well as a digital miles-to-empty monitor. The dash and console were upholstered in leather and the owner’s manual cover matched. The matching umbrella was in a cubby that popped up when you opened the console arm rest. Inside the console was the CB radio and handset (with digital readout). There was also a custom toolkit in the trunk, bound in (naturally) matching leather. Loved the car, but I did regret the lack of the usual oval opera windows–it had a huge blindspot as a consequence.

    Although I’m a good Panther guy nowadays, I have to admit there was a certain falling off in Lincolness when the old leviathans went away.

  • avatar

    I never was a big fan of this era of Lincoln. They still looked and felt like earlier 70’s overweight Ford boxy iron to me with a bit too much tacked on fluff. The 9-10 MPG fuel mileage from huge displacement emission choked 400’s and 460’s, soggy handling and gimmicky headlights were other turn off’s. In comparison the 79 E-body Riviera, Eldorado and Toronado seemed light years ahead of these in appearance, interior packaging, ride and handling, Winter traction and especially mileage from there smaller 350 and Buick 3.8 turbo engines. So did the 70’s C-body cars. Most editorials favored them over the older designed Chrysler and Ford iron of this generation and I always agreed.

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