By on April 30, 2014


Once upon a time, diesel luxury sedans weren’t just the domain of Mercedes-Benz. If you wanted a pokey, smokey oil-burning barge, you had the option of Cadillac, as well. And for 1,500 lucky customers, there was even a Lincoln.

For a brief moment in time, Lincoln loyalists could get a diesel powered Continental – but it wasn’t just any diesel mill. This one was a BMW straight-six, and only 1500 examples were ever produced, for just one year only. The 2.4L I6 was shared with the BMW 524td, and made 115 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque – not exactly thrilling numbers for 1984, let alone any era.

The example shown here has just 150,000 miles and about $12,000 sunk into it – likely the cleanest example we’ll see in some time. With new upholstery, a revamped air suspension and no rust, diehard fans of the Fox Contis may even want to consider it, just for the overall state of the car (even if it doesn’t have the usual 302 Windsor).

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49 Comments on “Crapwagon Outtake: Foxy Lady, Diesel Edition...”

  • avatar

    I remember a Lincoln Mark VII sitting at the local dealer for nearly a year before selling. The typical Lincoln buyer didn’t really care about fuel economy at the time.

    • 0 avatar

      And having a BMW engine would not have been appealing to older buyers who already didn’t care about MPG.

      • 0 avatar

        It certainly wouldn’t have been appealing to my WWII vet neighbor, a man who bought only GM his entire life. According to him, “I don’t buy any Jap or Kraut cars.”

        Funny thing is the above neighbor was never in combat, he did occupation duty in Japan after the war. There were several other WWII vets in town that I knew about, including a couple of guys who had combat experience in Europe. Both the combat vets loved their VWs.

        • 0 avatar

          My Grandfather in Law wouldn’t buy German because he said they were garbage and wouldn’t buy Japanese because he was at Pearl Harbor. Personally, I suppose I’ll never buy an Afghan or Iraqi vehicle.

          • 0 avatar

            In the case of the latter we’ve seen how those folks ‘repair’ vehicles. Can’t imagine them actually assembling a new one. :)

  • avatar

    White letter tires are totally unacceptable for this vehicle. Black letter or white walls only! It would look more elegant in navy.

    I’ve only seen one example of this model Continental in the wild that I can recall. I noticed it because it was two-tone blue/grey, and had a sunroof – which I found unusual. The styling doesn’t present well, just a bit tacky.

    I’m guessing most people going for Lincoln sedans at this point opted for the better looking, formal Town Car (black/black mmm). Though they look to be about the same size, and I’m sure shared engines (minus diesel). Anybody know the price difference?

    • 0 avatar

      The tires are cheap-o Mastercrafts, too.

      • 0 avatar

        Ugh, so few people consider the impact of tire choice from multiple levels, let alone aesthetics. To me,this car looks HIDEOUS with white letter tires, at least have the white letters remounted on the inside ( I highly doubt these are directional tires). You put all that money into it and bought cheap-o tires? Nothing like watching Mecum or looking on CL or Ebay and seeing pristine cars, especially high end stuff, wearing cheap tires.

        A quick search on Tire Rack and NTB confirms there are few options left in this size (215/70/15) but the Cooper Lifeliners that NTB has would be fine. It’s certainly going to be hard to find the Uniroyal Tiger Paw whitewalls this car might have come with.

    • 0 avatar

      How much you wanna bet Grandpa had no idea this diesel engine came from “one of them foreign jobs”?

      • 0 avatar

        You’re probably right on that one.

      • 0 avatar

        My wife has a great uncle who fought in the Pacific in WWII. He had a Chevy Tracker that he believes was a “Chivvy”. I couldn’t tell him it was actually a Suzuki. They did have an 03 Hyundai Sonata, so he wasn’t averse to furrin’ cars. He has a late Malibu now, after the subframe of the Sonata rotted out.

        No, I’m sure most of the Greatest Generation (or even people now) were aware of the “Jap” or “Kraut” built or badge engineered vehicles they were driving. Just like we aren’t sure how many pieces of our current cars are made elsewhere until we pull them apart.

    • 0 avatar

      Swapping tires side to side will fix that.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know the price difference between a Continental and a Town Car, but it might not have been much at all. The Continental was a much smaller car, meant to compete with the more sanely sized cars that were thriving in the luxury market at the time. It may even have cost more than the Town Car, since Cadillac had pulled such an effective scam by pricing their Nova at the top of their range. Size wise, the Continental was based on the Fairmont. It was about 19 inches shorter than the Town Car. In today’s dollars, the Continental cost between $50-65K. That’s more than the Town Cars were selling for a couple years ago. I don’t think the Fox Continental was much of a success. I never saw many of them, even though buying an American luxury car wasn’t such a subversive thing to do back then.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah that sounds like waaaay too much money for a Fairmont (bleh) based thing. They aren’t -that- nice on the inside, even per standards of the day.

        OTOH, I remember seeing LOTS of the contemporary Town Car driving around, and in movies.

        • 0 avatar

          You obviously have no appreciation for crushed velour, especially in the kaleidoscope of colors available at the time. And the Fairmont platform was just the right size for a RWD lux car, if you went to the trouble of expert suspension tuning. The Town Car was much bigger and less maneuverable. If they made this exact car today, with the 4.6 V8, they’d sell a bunch of ’em.

    • 0 avatar

      These Contis aren’t common now, but my parents had 3 of them in a row starting in the late 80’s through 1997 when my Mom bought a new Crown Vic. These cars had a lot of nice “coachwork” style details on them that were surprising given the ubiquitous platform. The back window fitment is a work of art, at least for the era.

  • avatar

    Wow, diesel BMW inline six. In a Continental. Never knew there was such a thing.

    I am drooling on my keyboard. And over a car with 150k miles! (Don’t remind me its a diesel, I know, I know.)

    Even if it does have raised white letters. (What small rural town is this car from? Lol)

    No doubt, its been babied. Wow, does it show.

    I’m calling the bank. Now. Lol

    One quick inspection of the interior, and you’d find the old man’s Kroger promotional baseball cap along with an adhesive backed tear-away calender (from ’12, of course) stuck neatly on the sun visor.

  • avatar

    From the ad: “I have sunk more than three times the sale price into this vehicle. The price is firm. I have loved this vehicle and am selling so I can sink my spare money into a boat.”

    There’s a plan. Love the use of the verb “sink.”

  • avatar

    The other day I met up with a guy getting into an ’84 BMW 5-series with the diesel engine and stick. It’s got 220K on it. He loves it, though admitting getting parts are more of a challenge than ever.

  • avatar

    On my 1988 MK VII if you looked at the center stack carefully in bright sun, you could see two idiot lights, one marked “wait”, the other “water in fuel”…all for the diesel BMW engine option…my father wasn’t interested at all when he bought it new…

  • avatar

    Why does my brain find this car attractive? Why does my brain want to find one (with V8) and throw all kinds of Ford Hi-Perf parts at it?

    • 0 avatar

      Because it’s FOX platform BABY!

      Start slapping Mustang parts on it, leave the exterior stock, embarrass kids with fart can exhausts.

    • 0 avatar

      I have an irrational attraction to early-’80s pimpers like this too, except mine is to the Cadillac Eldorado.

      Of course, this could be because my dad’s ’80 Eldo was where I had my first serious make out session with a real live girl (and first trip to second and third bases, in subsequent weeks). The automatic a/c came in handy.

      I’d pay real money for one today.

  • avatar

    The value in these used to lie in the forged crankshafts. The diesel engine is based on the gasoline M20, so the strong diesel crank with eta rods and an ’88 big valve head with the i cam used to be the best way to make a couple hundred horsepower in an E30. These days, it would probably be just as easy to swap in a version of the M50, so the remaining Lincolns and 524tds are safe.

  • avatar

    They would have been better off offering a credit option Essex 3.8 V6 with port injection and non bursting head gaskets combined with the 4 speed overdrive and 2.73 gears. I have driven Fox bodied 1987/88 T-birds with the 3.8 and 4 speed and they nearly got 30 on the open road! I wonder what the BMW diesel was rated at for mileage.

    • 0 avatar

      Essex Port Injection came in 1988, and the Foxy Conti died in 1987.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      My 87 T-Bird with the 3.8 TBI, 4 speed overdrive and 2.73 gears got a very econo car like high 20’s highway. No head gasket issue with normal maintenance until 187k when it blew and I got rid of it. IIRC the 82-87 Fox body Continential was only offered with the 5.0 to keep the Lincoln exclusiveness. Though according to Wikipedia the 82 was offered with the 3.8.

      Maybe a M-Engine conversion would be interesting for this.

      The white letter tires are of the era and look great on this car but for someone who sunk so much cash in it but Mastercraft? When it comes to tires name brand is important. I know the Firestone 500 issues back in the 70’s and the Ford Explorer tire problem but quality rubber matters no matter what you drive.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    $12k sunk into that? Good grief, my 300SDL didn’t cost that much over 10 years.

    No wonder Americans hate diesels. What a piece of junk!

  • avatar

    So 12K in an extremely oddball car to… boat? Man this guy needs some help.

  • avatar

    Saw one of these locally on Kijiji a few months back, it ran/drove and was only $1200.

    Not as clean, but not $11,000 worse either.

  • avatar

    I am LOVING the white letter tires. Looks like a grandma in combat boots!!!! Not that I am into that kind of thing… I just found it to be a pretty funny contrast.

  • avatar

    There is an 84 or 85 Lincoln Mark VII floating around on craigslist somewhere with a BMW diesel in it. I haven’t been able to find it again. Not that I would want the thing. I’d rather buy one with a 5.0, but i have one already so it’s kind of a mute point.

  • avatar

    My memory of this car was around 1986. A Ford New Holland tractor dealer that I dealt with drove up in one. Jay was an absolute certified diesel nut and did his share of tractor pulling in the Super Stock class. He knew exactly what the powerplant was, were it was made, and was very proud of his diesel Lincoln. I suspect that the injection pump eventually was set outside of manufacturer parameters.

  • avatar

    Do you think 1500 was a canceled fleet order? Wonder who it would have appealed too. Only a German could invent a poison like diesel.

  • avatar

    Thanks TTAC, I had no idea Ford had ever done anything like this. But, even by 1984 standards, seems like it is way down on power. Didn’t my ’85 VW with a 1.8 almost match this? And to quote that pawn shop Rick guy, just because it is rare doesn’t mean it is valuable.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    I remember reading somewhere that a tiny number of the Lincolns with the diesel option were equipped with 5- speed manual transmissions .

  • avatar

    Oooohh Steeenkin Lincoln indeed!!

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