By on August 10, 2012

We’re going to take a break from the Turbo Era Junkyard Finds and take a look at the kind of car that our resident lover of Ford personal luxury coupes really appreciates: a down-but-not-out (yet) 1970 Mark III in Denver self-service wrecking yard.
It’s bit rusty and the paint probably started looking bad while Gerald Ford was still president, but this car still has presence.
Thanks to optimistic gross power ratings and a who-gives-a-damn-about-oxides-of-nitrogen high compression ratio, the 460-cubic-inch V8 in this car was rated at 365 horsepower. Fuel economy? Gas will always be cheap!
This grille would look good hanging on my garage wall.
The transmission hump made it a bit less roomy than its front-wheel-drive Eldorado competitor, but who puts a passenger in the middle of this kind of bench seat?

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67 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III...”

  • avatar

    It feels like a caricature, but it’s as real as it gets

  • avatar

    I’m looking at this car thinking “What could possibly be like this today?” and the only answer I can come up with is if the 300C was offered as a coupe. Maybe the MKS but that’s probably too much of a stretch.

    • 0 avatar

      I think today’s 4-door coupes appeal to the same abhorrent tendencies. They scream, ‘look at my wastefulness and tastelessness!’ in exactly the same way.

      • 0 avatar

        Sadly, you impose upon the world of that era standards that are shaped afterwards. I lament the decline of coupes and two door products – everything now has to be a friggin CUV or SUV or pickup – sedans rule and products are just boring.

        One thing that has not disappeared is the selfishness of people who now drive $60k SUV’s and those scream “look at me – I just wasted my money so I can look like I have money (when I don’t) and I’m making up for what God didn’t give me.”

        Really, nothing has changed about man other than how he flaunts himself.

  • avatar

    Murliee… I have a ’74 Mark IV grille hanging in mine, along with an 80’s 560SEL. Treat yourself and pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.

  • avatar

    I see FM radio.

    Did that Stereo chrome slider bring up the AM band above when moved left or right?

  • avatar

    Book ’em, Danno! Oh, right….that was a Mercury. It was also half the size of the main island.

  • avatar

    Didn’t that big dude Cannon drive one of these on TV.

  • avatar

    I have harbored a secret dream of dropping (having dropped) a PowerStroke diesel in one of these beautidful old hulks and touring the land.

  • avatar

    I have harbored a secret dream of dropping (having dropped) a PowerStroke diesel in one of these beautiful old hulks and touring the land.

  • avatar

    Boy, those air conditioner compressors. I don’t know how much horsepower they required, but it was quite a bit. I had the same on my 74 Gran Torino. I had to keep the belt super tight to keep it from vibrating and slipping.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford has long had a tradition of overkill when it comes to HVAC hardware. If a Ford luxury product can’t get icicles forming on the vents in Death Valley in August, something is wrong.

      • 0 avatar

        Those York compressors worked just fine, but they were generators of NVH. The Lincolns switched over to A6 compressors sometime during the 1972 model year, which were totally smooth.

        Around the same time they also got Saginaw power steering pumps and Saginaw steering boxes. GM parts bin raiding for Ford products. :)

      • 0 avatar

        My dad, a’h’, drove Mercurys in the 1970s and you could chill your drink on his dashboard. One of the first pieces that I contributed to TTAC was about how Detroit’s climate (~100 deg temp swing summer to winter) lead to the domestic automakers setting the standard for HVAC. The AC needed to be able to cool the interior down to the 60s on a 100 deg day and the heat needed to keep you toasty warm when it was single digits outside and you were helping your kid with his paper route.

    • 0 avatar

      Big old American cars had the best air conditioning, period. Just about every aspect of car design has improved with time, and any modern car will be better in all respects than an equivalent from 30-40 years ago, except for the a/c. Its the one thing where the older the better rule applies. I think the first Packard a/c systems literally were re-purposed refrigerator equipment, and for decades, that’s also what every other automaker’s system at least looked like.

      • 0 avatar

        Two reasons for that:

        1)A/C is now designed for the minimum amount of engine power draw possible. With a torque monster, like that old 460, the load from the A/C would hardly be noticeable. I don’t think a Prius could even run a compressor like you see in that Lincoln…forget about having enough power left over to drive the wheels.

        2) A/C units produced before 1994 used Freon (aka R-12) as the refrigerant. R-12 is a type of chlorofluorocarbon which damages the earth’s ozone layer. R-12 was banned for A/C use after 1994. Since 1995, cars use R-134a as the refrigerant. R-134a is not as efficient as R-12 when it comes to cooling ability.

        Yes, those old Ford A/C units kicked butt. I remember an old Ford Country Squire station wagon that was owned by my friend’s parents. It would be 95 degrees outside with near 100% humidity, and you could hang meat inside the car and not worry about it spoiling.

  • avatar

    Listening to that exuberance. Little did America know that the countdown clock for her slide from preeminence was T-3 years and counting….

    Did he really say Cou-pay?

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    The other day on the radio I heard Jim Croce’s 1973 song, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”. Croce mentions Leroy having a custom Continental and an Eldorado too.

    Today it is hard to imagine Lincolns and Cadillacs being the sort of status symbols they were forty years ago. Of course, in the context of the song these cars are status symbols for a hoodlum.

  • avatar

    You need to check those rocker panels for any French Connection style contraband.

    • 0 avatar

      The movie car was a Lincoln. The movie was based on a true story. In 1961 a large heroin shipment was seized hidden in the body work of a car shipped to New York from France. The car used was a 1960 Buick Invicta.

  • avatar

    That grille would look good ON your garage wall? That grille could BE a garage wall.

  • avatar

    That stainless steel grille would be worth a lot.

    I don’t know about the Mark III, but a replacement grille for a later Continental is over $700 CDN.

  • avatar

    The Mk III has always been my second favorite modern Lincoln, behind the ’61-’64 models. I’ve always thought that Ford missed the boat on this one by not making a convertible version. It’s got perfect lines for it.

    One of the things I have on my “if I ever get rich” bucket list is to get a Mk III, and cut the top off in such a way that I could reattach it as a removable hardtop.

    • 0 avatar

      If I could sway you from cutting the top, I could move in with you – I love Mark III’s, and my second choice Lincoln is the ’61-’65 Continental. My favorite part of watching Entourage was the intro, when the crew rolled up to the curb in their ’65 triple black Continental convertible. Ditch the Hummer, the Suburban, the Maser, the Aston Martin, gimme the Continental.

  • avatar

    I loved the genuine walnut “appliqué” on the dash. Nothing says luxury like the thinnest possible strip of wood glued to a dash.

  • avatar

    This engine has the D0VE heads, a prize catch for hotrodders. Small combustion chambers. Yum.

    • 0 avatar

      Only if you like to run premium fuel plus lead substitute or octane booster. I had this motor for 11 years in my 1971 LTD. You can dial back the ignition timing, but that takes all the joy out of it.

      All of my gas-powered vehicles run regular unleaded now. With the high compression ratio, this engine would be a good candidate for CNG.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a set of decent D0VE-C heads (the good ones) that I tried to sell for years. Finally got down to 75 bucks for the pair and still couldn’t sell them. They weighed about 100 pounds each, so nobody wanted to pay to ship them. I finally threw them in the trunk of an Imperial that I was shipping to a friend in Europe, in the hope that he could sell them to some numbers-matching-obsessed European lover of big old Detroit cars. He hasn’t been able to. Aftermarket aluminum heads have rendered these things nearly worthless.

      • 0 avatar

        I love the thought of someone tooling around the European countryside in an Imperial. My Brother had one he got for $100 just out of highschool in 85 and he drove it for years. He loved that car.

  • avatar

    Did you find the fog horn and docking bell on that Tuna boat perchance?

  • avatar

    My parents had an 84 Ford conversion van with very similar wheels. I believe they were Shelby wheels, I remember the Shelby name and a Cobra on the centercap, before they all disappeared. The van was Malaise beige with brown stripes and the wheels had gold color on the spokes. Great when new, after a few years of Dad neglecting to clean them properly, not so much.

    Love the power windows and locks, but non-powered mirrors. FM only radio too.

  • avatar

    Mr. Lee Iacocca said: Let’s put a Rolls Royce grille on a Thunderbird!

  • avatar


    My high-school gf’s dad, the marketing firm partner, had one of these. The “small” Lincoln. You know: for those wanting a bit snappier personae, more dashing, right-sized for ferrying a +1 for a golf outing or evening out.

    As a late teenager, I loved it! It could get up and go, wasn’t a total embarassment (for the time) on “Blue River Road”, the local lightly-traveled road with fast, fun curves. Large enough still for trips to the drive-in movies, fogged windows and all.

    Nice V-8 sound when floored. Used lots of $0.45 a gallon fuel, still a major consideration for a $1.65 hr + tips restaurant employee, even then.

    “Presence”. Yes, it had that.

    It was a crying shame when he swapped it for a Mark IV. By comparison: what a boat! So floaty and ponderous, with that mile-long hood and zero road feel, even on Michelin’s (her dad was an early adopter, due to being tired of paying for a set of bias-plys every 10k miles or so on these heavy cars). No fun at all, just a cruiser. Too bad.

    This much memory-laning made me check out a classic auto site just now to view some still-pretty ones. The one vendor had a black/black one, just like her dad’s. Still looks good. It now looks….very large indeed! Wow.

    • 0 avatar

      I spent many a summer evening running the Z1 up and down the twisties on Blue River Road. We drag raced on Raytown roads “raytown flats” before Longview lake was built or on Blue Ridge. Thanks for stiring old memories.

  • avatar

    Until the 5mph bumpers took over, I’ve always thought that the Mark IV had better lines than the Mark III. It’s a bit trimmer and more sporting looking.

  • avatar

    “Rim Blow feature…”

    LOL, I asked for that last summer, when I bought my car, but Toyota wasn’t offering it.

    I watch this video and seriously wish someone at Ford would do the same and become inspired. Back then, Lincolns still had swagger. They were REAL cars. The crap Lincoln is peddling now…What a shame.

    • 0 avatar

      Rimblow was a great feature … Ford offered it on many of their US makes and models…

      It also disappeared after a few years because they started getting complaints about the rubber getting stiff so that you couldn’t blow the horn in the winter, or your had to press like hell into the rubber with your fingernail to get it to blow at other times of the year after it aged due to the heat and ozone in the cockpit.

      Also like the early 80’s experiment with putting the horn control at the end of the turn signal stalk, people complained because the horn feature could not be found in the traditional place (i.e. the center of the wheel hub.)

      Thus warranty issues, and liability fears (who wants to get sued because some customers couldn’t find the horn, and of those that did, many couldnt get it to work, and thus couldn’t audibly signal in time to clear whatever hazzard they thought needed to be honked at…

      • 0 avatar

        “Also like the early 80′s experiment with putting the horn control at the end of the turn signal stalk,”

        Maybe the next step will be to put the horn control several menus deep on the nav screen!

        Let’s see now, first we select the vehicle controls menu, then from that we have a choice between climate controls and – oh here it is – audio controls. Ok, Now, entertainment or emergency audio controls. I guess this is an emergency audio control.

        Next we go to the horn menu. Ok, what frequency do we want and do we want to play a horn-tone or just a regular tone. Let’s select horn-tone. Nope, nothing there – it wants me to download something. Ok, back to regular horn. Now, we have a choice of model-t, tractor trailer, train – ok , train sounds good. Now, to press the button … (followed by crunching sound of large suv backing over the hood)

  • avatar

    A friend of mine had one of those, and kindly let me drive it. The #1 problem was the front end was so long, you had to stick it out in traffic to see if it was safe to make a turn. Other than that, it was the most wonderful luxobarge I’ve ever driven.

  • avatar

    Love these things. I found one in similar condition (but still miraculously on the road) last summer, and they sure do have presence. They’re much more appealing, to me at least, than the vulgar generations that would fill out the rest of the 70s. A nicely kept Mark III is high on my classic car shopping list — you could actually get the early ones without a vinyl top, although to find one of those would be a Herculean task.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I was always a fan of these. For a luxo barge they were much trimmer and less rococo than the Frank Cannon sized Mark IV which followed it. Back in the early 80’s I knew someone with one. Occasionally he would go to Sunoco and put some of their Ultra HiTest 102 in it just to keep the valves clean. Speaking of Lincoln Mark’s Elvis’ last vehicle he bought before he ended up on the bathroom floor was a Mark V. I think he even gave a couple away. The 35th anniversary is next week. Maybe worth a TTAC segment.

  • avatar

    How much does that yard charge for compressors? Seems like it could make a quite nice trail-side air compressor.

  • avatar

    People talk about how big US cars were 40 years ago. But look at all the ‘trucks’ on the road today being used to go to 7-11.

    Today’s ‘personal lux’ cars are Escalades, Navigators, Sequoias, M Class, X5 and all the rest.

  • avatar
    Sylvilagus Aquaticus

    Mom had a ’70 Thunderbird coupe on the same basic chassis. 429 ThunderJet, automatic, every option. Gorgeous car if you liked the beak on the nose of it. On weekends we’d head to Dallas down I-20 at 90 to 100 mph and it wouldn’t break a sweat, but you were bingo fuel when you hit the city limits.

    Dad was the same way with his ’72 LTD Brougham (429 CJ) and ’74 LTD Brougham (460). He always managed to find a highway patrolman any time he was 3 miles over the speed limit, though. He didn’t know how to drive slow, and the old LTDs loved to tear up the highway. The ’79 Continental Town Car with the 400M he bought never held a candle to them.

    I remember several trips to Dallas during the gas crisis when he was limited to 5 gallons of gas (if available) at any station we went to. It was a challenge to get enough on board to get 150 miles down the Interstate to home in the middle of the night, since there were no stations open after dark out that way.

  • avatar

    I guess if Juniper gets the gold, I get the bronze, if any medal. The series Cannon did use both Mark III’s and IV’s, the III was used during season one episodes and pilot(BOTH), the show ran from 1971-1976 according the the movie car site By the way a great website, should be bookmarked.

    By the way, kudos to those who didn’t lump the Mark III with the Thunderbird, even though, yes, it was based on the same platform, but it was much better differentiated than later Marks. There’s always going a difference of opinion about which looked better. I give the nod to the Mark III over the Mark IV and V.

  • avatar
    chevy guy

    I had one of these bad boys about ten years ago. A real piece of detroit iron. Terrible on gas but fun to drive. Quarter panels were rusty was the only thing wrong with it. Could you imagine hanging a new quarter panel it would have taken 3 people. Adjusting the hood was bad enough.

  • avatar

    I always felt that the MarkIII was by far the most beautiful lincoln ever made. When I was a kid a friend of mine’s mother had a silver 69 without the vinyl roof. I think they should come out with a modern version of the MarkIII, if done right that just might bring Lincoln back into the game.

    • 0 avatar

      First, you notice that this ’70 Mark III also has no vinyl roof, and according to the Wikipedia article for Mark III’s, it was supposed to be standard beginning that year.

      Second, your thought about Ford building a modern retro version is honorable, I just can’t seem to come up with a modern two door platform that would lend itself to that. I remember that when Nissan started discussing a retro 240Z, someone within the company suggested just buying original used ones, restoring them, and retailing those. They ended up doing just that, rebuilt I think about 50 cars around 1997 and sold them for $25,000 each. I wonder how much demand Ford would receive if they did the same thing with good used Mark III’s?

  • avatar

    Yes, I do realize that bringing back a retro version would be a pretty tall order. Maybe they could stretch the mustang platform a bit, like they did with the Mark VII? It’s ok to dream a little, lol. Unlike the Mark IV and Mark V the Mark III looked good from every angle, even the fake tire hump looked good on it.
    The mark IV, with it’s bulbous sides and oversized wheel openings made the tires look too small for the car from certain angles, and the back looked especially awkward after the cow catcher bumpers came out. The Mark V was cleaned up alot, but it still had that awkward look from behind.

  • avatar

    The Mustang platform might not be a bad idea, but there would have to be
    a real demand for it, and the Mark version would need to be really diff
    erentiated from the Mustang design, in the same vein that the Dodge Cha
    llenger looks substantially different from the Charger, even though it’s
    built on the same platform. One plus I see to doing a Mark based on
    the Mustang is that it would add a second product to the Flat Rock a
    ssembly plant, which I was told may lose the Mazda6 work if Mazda ya
    nks production. Currently, it shares space with Mustang assembly. Like the
    NUMMI situation with Corolla,Tacoma, and the Pontiac Vibe, Ford needs
    more production to make each plant work financially for them. As you wrote before, it’s a tall order.

  • avatar

    For those of you still following the comment thread for the junkyard Continental Mark III, Hemmings Classic Car magazine for their November 2012 issue has just published a Drive Report for the 1971 Continental Mark III, in color, and it’s a super article. I subscribe, but you can usually find copies in news stands, or most Barnes & Nobles.

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