Rare Rides: The Double-breasted 1983 Lincoln Continental Mark VI Bill Blass

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

A short while ago, we ran a QOTD post about special branded editions, gauging our readers’ desire to see them return in 2019. Today’s Rare Ride is one of the special designer brand editions of yesteryear (the Eighties), which represented luxury, taste, and wealth.

Grab your wide-lapel blazer. It’s time for Bill Blass and the Lincoln Mark VI.

The Mark line began in 1956 as Ford’s pinnacle of luxury, positioned above Lincoln. In its debut year, Ford created a new, short-lived division to market the coupe: Continental. That first generation carried the Mark II name, and it was the most expensive car offered from an American brand.

Cut to the fifth generation model, the Continental Mark VI, which arrived at the height of North American malaise in 1980. No longer the most expensive American car offering, it was also considerably smaller than the prior Mark V. A full 14 inches of length was lost from the large coupe two-door sedan.

Issues didn’t stop there; for the first time, Lincoln applied the Mark moniker to a sedan. It was easier for Ford to add a four-door to this generation, as the Mark was no longer based on the Thunderbird luxury coupe. This iteration shared roots with the Panther-platform Continental sedan (called Town Car from 1981 onwards).

Engines of 6.6 and 7.5 liters of displacement in 1979 were reduced by the Malaise Era to 4.9 and 5.8 liters for 1980. After that debut year, the 4.9-liter (“5.0”) Ford engine was the only power plant available. Said engine had fuel injection, as Ford got a leg up on domestic competitors. The four-speed AOD automatic motivated all Mark offerings of this generation, distributing all 130 horsepower to the rear wheels.

In an attempt to increase distinction between standard Continental and Continental Mark models, special trims were made available for the latter. Base model Signature Series cars were available in two- and four-door configurations, but played second fiddle to the real desirable models — the Designer Editions.

Initially offered only on coupes, Lincoln commissioned four designers to put their personal touches on the Mark VI. Givenchy, Pucci, Cartier, and Bill Blass were offered in 1980. In 1982, some reworking in the designer trim department occurred, as the Pucci edition became a four-door-only trim. Cartier left the Mark fold and moved to the new Town Car. 1983 saw further changes: Givenchy went away, Bill Blass remained as the only designer edition two-door, and Pucci was the last man standing for the four-door.

In addition to the nautical blue and white coloring available on older Bill Blass Lincolns, a black and cream three-zone scheme was available in this generation. Paint was either two-thirds black, or two-thirds cream. A full carriage roof was retained for a more classic look.

The Mark VI would last just four model years before the model returned to a more traditional format. With the introduction of the Mark VII in 1984, a more stylish coupe roofline returned, and the door count stopped at two.

Today’s Bill Blass Continental Mark VI is located south of San Francisco, which is in California. With a high 126,000 miles on the odometer, it asks just $4,300.

[Images: seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Nightbird Nightbird on Jun 05, 2019

    It's pretty clear all these awful, disparaging, insulting remarks about this wonderful vehicle are being made by people who never had the pleasure of driving it. The ride this beautiful vehicle had surpassed anything made by Rolls Royce. This car was made to take you in comfort anywhere you chose..and feel refreshed and relaxed when you got there..no matter how long you've been driving. The seats were pure heaven. The air conditioning able to freeze you on the hottest 100+ hot and humid Texas days. The stereo sound was rich and full. The digital dash was ahead of it's time..even telling you how many miles you had until your tank was empty. And other features such as automatic high beams that lowered when they detected another cars headlights made this the ultimate cruiser. I've owned Mercedes Benz S Classes, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar's, Rolls Royces and Bentleys...but NOTHING compares to the feeling of comfort and luxury my Lincoln Mark VI Coupe gave me. And I feel sorry and pity for those here insulting this grand carriage which was the pinnacle and last REAL Lincoln luxury coupe made. You have no idea what you missed.

  • Vincent Vincent on Feb 11, 2023

    Agree completely with the last commenter. I bought one used about 15 years ago. Redid everything needed. And I still drive it as much as I can. No other car I’ve had compared to the quiet, smoothness, and basic drive-ability for such a large car. It owes a lot of that to the Panther platform. Sure, the overhangs are a bit out of wack. But choosing shorter platform made for this ease of driving. Wouldn’t trade it won’t sell it.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.