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

rare rides the double breasted 1983 lincoln continental mark vi bill blass

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 [s]coupe[/s] 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]

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  • Wodehouse Wodehouse on May 15, 2019

    The Sad Sack Continental Mark VI. As much as I love Brougham-tastic Special Editions this is just yuck, excepting, those terrific front seats. Terrible body proportions in comparison to the perfectly balanced Mark V and not even close to being as cool as a Mark VII. Actually, I'd rather have an '83 Imperial or a more plebeian '80-'82 Granada/Cougar 2-door sedan.. At least the Imperial's ugly was interesting while the Granada/Cougar is sad in a "when did they make that" way.

  • 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.

  • 2ACL What tickles me is that the Bronco looks the business with virtually none of the black plastic cladding many less capable crossovers use.
  • IBx1 For all this time with the hellcat engine, everything they made was pathetic automatic scum save for the Challenger. A manual Durango, Grand Cherokee, Charger, 300C, et al would have been the real last gasp for driving enthusiasts. As it is, the party is long over.
  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.