By on May 14, 2019

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]

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49 Comments on “Rare Rides: The Double-breasted 1983 Lincoln Continental Mark VI Bill Blass...”

  • avatar

    $4,300 ? Not bad for a fine old land barge like this. With a little work it would make a fine wedding carriage.
    With a pitiful 130 ponies from 4.9 liters it’s clear that little work with cams, injector sizes and exhaust could free up quite a few more.

  • avatar

    The only reason I ever wanted one of these was to give it a more worthy engine (and transmission) a fuel injected, either 302 or 351 V8.

    That would make them much more enjoyable.

  • avatar

    I keep thinking about the Key & Peele Continental sketch.

    I’m in continent, I’m incontinent!

  • avatar

    I love it! The height of “Brougham” it’s so cheap looking it’s beautiful and actually not a half bad car in it’s day. The asking price seems pretty reasonable

  • avatar

    It’s awful, but I kind of love it.

  • avatar

    My neighbour has four of these in his driveway. I think he has a problem.

  • avatar

    I have seen one of these at an auction. It was the Cartier. It had very few miles and still had the sticker on the window. The bidding was a joke. They took it off the block. The only bids were house bidders, and they stopped in the low teens… after that, I would guess the market value was 10K … if that. Still had the factory plastic on the interior.

  • avatar

    Can’t tell if its black and tan or dark brown and tan – either way – here is the plan: buy car; get Guinness sponsorship; put logo on side of car; become the official car of St Patrick’s day parades and use giant trunk to house giant cooler of Guinness and distribute such to crowd.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Please do not use the phrase ‘black and tan’ around anyone of Irish (Catholic/Green) descent. For many it has a very ‘unpleasant’ connotation.

      Otherwise, Ford trying to hang on to the glamour of Marks III, IV and V.

      Would still appreciate a car with a ‘continental’ style trunk. In the 1970’s you could purchase kits to ‘continentalize’ many different cars, including VW Beetles and Cordobas.

      • 0 avatar

        I made the mistake of ordering a ‘black and tan’ from a bartender just off the boat from Ireland and he got quite irritated with me. And gave me a “half and half” (Guinness and Harp lager) instead…

    • 0 avatar

      For accurate description of color, read article.

  • avatar

    If I remember correctly, this is the car with the all-time highest overhang to wheelbase ratio – it looks like a 5 year old trying NBA center daddy’s shoes on. It must also have one of the all time longest hoods proportionally (2/3 ahead of the front axle), which sadly covers a motor of tragically short power pretensions. Despite its awful driving dynamics and inept styling, someone really cherished this Lincoln – perhaps they were blind?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, maximum overhang was a thing with these Lincolns. Also, notice that everything about this car is fake

      Stand-up radiator, fake
      Wire wheels, fake
      Side vents, fake
      Canvas convertible top, fake
      Spare tire hump, fake
      Bill Blass designed, fake, he just licensed his name

      Should have named the car the Lincoln Kardashian

      • 0 avatar

        Not quite:
        1. Unbolt the hub from the backside of those wheels and all the wires fall out. Real wire wheels were optional and there they are.
        2. The side vents were functional on the 77-79 Mark V, and I was pretty sure the VI followed suit.
        3. Blass and all the other designers were supposedly flown into Dearborn to personally approve all the trim/color choices, but honestly, that doesn’t count even to me.

        • 0 avatar

          Well, ok then ;-)

          What function do those vents serve?

          Come on, Sajeev, tell me there’s a spare tire under that hump

          • 0 avatar

            It’s extra space for the bodies.


          • 0 avatar

            No spare tire after the Mark II.

            The vents on the Mark V are for cooling, and many a summer day I felt the hot air from a 460 V8 radiating from them. Now to find a Mark VI fender for sale and see if it has holes that correspond to the vents.

          • 0 avatar

            Here’s a piece you might find interesting about the Mark VI


            Wikipedia had this to say, “The Mark VI had more ornate styling than the Town Car, befitting its place on top of the model line. It sported vacuum-operated concealed headlamps, non-functional fender vents”


    • 0 avatar

      Highest overhang-to-wheelbase for a production car perhaps, but the Ford Nucleon concept car beats it by a mile:

    • 0 avatar

      It looks like the Mark V is actually worse, with 47.7% of the length being outside the wheelbase, versus a mere 47% for the Mark VI.

  • avatar

    Not my cup of tea but I must admit that those seats look absolutely heavenly.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Mother of God. This is Peak Panther!

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    A manufacturing company I worked for back in the 80’s that went under had one of these left over in champagne and brown with opera windows. It was from one of the CEO’s when the assets were sold off. It was sitting in the warehouse that I had access to so I took it out for a lunchtime drive in the South Bronx. Neat ride I had visions of the Royal deluxe.

  • avatar
    Polka King

    The front overhang is as long as the rear overhang. Way to make a big car on a small car structure. You could hide a body in there. Who’d ever look under the hood?

  • avatar

    Egad! Piloting that monster must be like trying to drive a king sized waterbed, and that wasn’t even the biggest Lincoln at the time.

    Looks real nice though.

  • avatar

    This car is at least elegant. So much different where today’s luxury equates to everything looking like a “Black-Ops” vehicle. The good guy drives an elegant finely designed luxury car. Today, it appears many of my fellow men of my age feel to show off their status the need to connect with their inner tough guy.
    Their BMW has to look like a modern version of the Batmobile. Childish in my opinion. …..and look an interior color other than black!

  • avatar

    My fav is still the Lincoln Versailles A Ford Grenada, done to the nines. I knew a guy who had one, and loved it to death.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    “A short while ago, we ran a QOTD post about special branded editions, gauging our readers’ desire to see them return in 2019.”

    I unfortunately missed that but yes, it’s time for the Designer Series Lincolns to return. Not on a Connie but on the current crop of CUVs and SUVs. Their owners often justify these vehicles by citing ease of entry, smooth ride, and comfort. Yet, for some reason, automakers keep insisting on making these vehicles sporty. Why? I bet they’d sell a lot more Lincoln Nautilus Givenchy, Pucci, Cartier, and Bill Blass models than Edge ST models.

  • avatar

    It’s a beautiful car. /Cannon, Private Investigator

    Actually I would drive his Mark III and IV.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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 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.

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