By on February 5, 2018

Image: 1983 LINCOLN QUICKSILVER GHIAToday’s post serves as a couple of milestones at TTAC (for me, anyway); 200 articles written, and a year of Rare Rides. Since I did not plan this in any way or think about it in advance, I thought we might make this post a bit special. Bringing us back to the very first Rare Rides entry of one year ago, we have another concept car Ghia designed for Ford which never saw the production green light.

Presenting the 1983 Lincoln Quicksilver.

Image: 1983 LINCOLN QUICKSILVER GHIAWhile the Probe concept from 1979 was all about the angular wedge, the Quicksilver offers a much smoother teardrop design to carry out its sedan mission. More on that in a moment.

Though several designs produced by Ghia wore a Probe name, the Quicksilver was a one-off for the Lincoln brand. For years, Ford was keen on investigating what aerodynamics could do for design, which they’d prove three years after the Quicksilver with the production Taurus and light bar Sable (mmm).

Image: 1983 LINCOLN QUICKSILVER GHIAYou might think underneath the sweeping lines of the body lies some European Ford chassis, perhaps a Capri or Transit. Nope, there’s an AC under there, specifically the 3000ME. On sale between 1979 and 1984 (a total of 101 cars), the 3000ME was mid-engined, two-seat, rear drive vehicle, equipped with a 3.0-liter V6 Ford engine.

Image: 1983 LINCOLN QUICKSILVER GHIAGhia extended the 3000ME chassis by 11 inches to accommodate the larger body, keeping the mid-engine layout and the manual transmission. Quite the odd arrangement for any Lincoln; think of the Quicksilver in 1985’s showrooms, next to a Town Car and a Continental Valentino. I mentioned before it’s a sedan — the rearmost side windows, louvres, and spoiler are for show. They’re merely decorations over the horizontal engine cover.

Image: 1983 LINCOLN QUICKSILVER GHIAAround the front we find the only design feature implemented in production Ford models. Does it look familiar? With minimal changes, what you have here is the front end of the Probe for 1989.

Image: 1983 LINCOLN QUICKSILVER GHIAIt’s worthwhile to mention the deep-dish alloys, which are really working for me. I’d put them right on a Mark VII (LSC, of course).

Image: 1983 LINCOLN QUICKSILVER GHIAThe interior accommodations are starkly different from standard Lincolns of the time. Rounded surfaces and radial gauges remind the driver and passengers this is the Lincoln of a new age.

Image: 1983 LINCOLN QUICKSILVER GHIADespite the generous exterior proportions, rear leg room is not quite what one might expect. It’s another downfall of mid-engine placement, which eats up the rear third of the Quicksilver.

In the end however, the craziness of the Quicksilver was not realized. Stored for decades with the other Probe series design studies, it was sold around 2003 for the paltry sum of $8,000. Mecum sold it again in 2014 for $27,000, with proceeds going to charity.

Maybe after a second year of Rare Rides, we’ll find another Ford Ghia to showcase. I’m always telling Sajeev how the internet can only handle so much Ghia style at once.

[Images via Mecum]

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44 Comments on “Rare Rides: A Year Later, Ghia’s 1983 Lincoln Quicksilver...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Those seats will come in handy if you ever have surgery for hemorrhoids.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Lincoln reinvents the Citroen DS.

  • avatar
    bpsorrel

    Or, A Citroen CX

    https://a.d-cd.net/a262714s-960.jpg

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Usually Corey’s rare rides are things I’ve seen before but had forgotten about and my reaction is “Oh yeah.”

    This one, I’ve never seen, ever. Hats off. It’s like Ghia’s response to the Citroen CX.

    ***

    My own collection changed a bit over the weekend… got taller, and about a Volkswagen Beetle heavier.

    • 0 avatar

      Tiguan?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Hahaha. No, a Beetle heavier compared to the LS460 that I traded in.

      It’s a 2011 LX570 Luxury Package that turned up locally on Saturday, pearl white on tan. 66K miles, super clean inside and out, every option except the unobtainium radar cruise. I’m gonna try out the truck life.

      In the time it took the selling dealer to get me through the paperwork process, two other people tried to buy it.

      • 0 avatar

        My my, fancy man now.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Take it off-roading.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Didn’t I remember you saying the LX rode too stiffly, dal?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Yes, and I decided to deal with it. (Not so much too stiffly as too bouncily — you’re always aware of heavy hardware down below pushing the body around.)

          I’ve gotten addicted to Lexus levels of interior refinement and quiet. I poked around a very nice near-new MDX and couldn’t deal with the cheapness everywhere.

          I’d still rather have a three-row crossover based on the LS platform.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        very nice, congrats Dal.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Uber Land Cruiser, very nice.

        The LX has the same clearance and approach/departure angles as the Cruiser, so you’re not missing out on anything getting the nicer interior. Congrats, that is a nice rig.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Differences between the LC and the LX off road are these:

          – 20 inch wheels with insufficient sidewall on the LX (favors LC, which has 18s)
          – Permanent fixed running boards on the LX (affects breakover angle, favors LC)
          – Active shock absorbers with adjustable height (favors LX, adds a couple degrees to approach/departure/breakover angles when in high mode)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Adjustable height as in air ride suspension?

          • 0 avatar

            Think that’s right, as the GX has air suspension as well. Dal specifically selected against the air suspension in the LS, IIRC.

            I don’t fancy the associated costs with air suspension parts and maintenance.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I found an aftermarket site who sold air ride conversion kits for the LS430 which looked similar to the ones we used to order to convert Lincolns. I’m sure such a thing exists for LS460 and probably GX/LX, but I’m sure Dal wants the suspension as-is and probably has a warranty. As these vehicles age, I’m sure long term owners will desire air ride conversion kits as opposed to 1-2K a wheel replacement from Lexus.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It’s not actually air, but hydraulic. Similar potential maintenance costs, though. You need to change the suspension fluid every 60k miles and shocks are quite expensive.

            I’ve got a warranty and will make sure the suspension is perfect before it expires. “Access mode,” where the car lowers automatically to the low height when doors are opened in Park, is a neat party trick.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I actually think the LX uses a *hydraulic* adjustable suspension instead of an air suspension and the North American version of the current gen LC uses the hydraulic set up too.

            Back a generation I believe the LX470 was hydraulic and the LC was conventional.

            A person that knows more about Yota SUVs can correct me if I’m wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It’s actually the other way around (and I didn’t know this until I started reading up about these cars before buying). In the previous 100 series, LC and LX both had AHC (the hydraulic height-adjustable suspension). For the current 200 series, the LX retained AHC, but the LC went to a much simpler setup (KDSS) that uses hydraulics only to determine when there is extreme articulation for the purpose of automatically (and mechanically) disengaging the anti-roll bars. Wheelers definitely prefer the LC setup. There have been kits to remove AHC from 100-series LXes but nothing for the 200 series, which has kept 200-series LX values lower than 200-series LC values.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Had a nice response written, and then almost as if it was planned, the website crashed. Really need to fix this site for iPhones.

    Anyways, this is what all cars should look like. Instead, we get cars that look like hydrogenated dog turds with 20” wheels bolted on.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      All of these 1980s jellybeans look so clean and sleek. It almost makes me cry to see where it lead us to today; though most of today’s dog turd look was driven by a truckload of new safety regulations (collision beams, side air bags; pedestrian collision standards; rollover protection, etc.)

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I vaguely remember seeing this thing in either Road & Track or Car and Driver. These Ghia studies from the early ’80s certainly haven’t aged well, styling-wise. The AC3000ME was an odd duck as well.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    Clearly they had the design laying around already and just slapped badges on it and called it a day.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Looks like it should have a starring role in “Blade Runner.”

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      It’s stablemate, the Ford Probe IV; did appear in Arthur C. Clark’s “2010.” The Quicksilver was probably not dystonian enough for the world of Blade Runner.

      http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_456565-Ford-Probe-IV-1983.html

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    Reminds me of a Deloren….ssstttrrreeetttccchhheeeddd out.

  • avatar
    jhefner

    Corey;

    What a great find. I thought I knew most of my Ford concept cars; but never heard of this one; maybe because it was a Lincoln.

    This one it reminds me of is it’s stablemate, the 1983 Ford Probe IV concept car. It’s overall profile is very similar; but it is a far more conservative design that did not push the limits of aerodynamic design like the Probe IV:

    * Retractable headlights instead of flush headlights; Ford had not yet gotten the government to allow flush (composite) headlights to be used instead of sealed beams
    * No wheel stakes or full covers for the front wheels
    * Plug doors instead of clamshell doors

    I find it both odd and fascinating that they used the mid-engine 3000ME as a starting basis. A front engine arrangement with maybe a rear mounted radiator like the Probe IV will seem to be more space efficient. Where it not for that one detail; it seems like a more practical design and perhaps capable of mass production than any of the Probe series. Another website states that it had a Cd of 0.30; the Probe IV’s more radical aerodynamics beat it with a Cd of just 0.15.

    Team Taurus was also working on the Taurus/Sable when this concept was being made. So where did it fit in Ford’s vision for the future? Maybe it was a look at moving the aerodynamic revolution up from more plebeian cars to the Lincoln badge; though Lincoln never built anything that radical.

    One of the Probe IVs ended up being displayed at a dealership in North Houston after that 2003 auction; it has since disappeared. I wish I could have seen it.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/17399562900/in/datetaken/

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I’m really liking the clean DLO on this car.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      It also has a fairly flat tumblehome, so it has conventional windows instead of tiny “toll booth” slots like the Probe IV and Probe V. I also assume it is drivable, and not a push mobile.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Can’t say I’m disappointed this didn’t make it to production. Never been a fan of the wedge look, at least not this radical (nor on some famous 1980s super cars, just not my style).

    The idea of a mid-engine, manually shifted Lincoln is fascinating, but it shouldn’t be a sedan since the rear seat is useless. Maybe a ultra-PLC (what could be more personal than a two seater?) with a dash of sport, with about 50% less wedge, a high-output 302 or 351 V-8 (it was 1983 after all) and fixed headlamps (yes, I know being 1983, they’d be sealed beam, but maybe by production, say 1986ish, they could’ve used modern flush headlamps).

    I do like the wheels.


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