Rare Rides: A Gigantic 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car Williamsburg Edition
The end of the Seventies was a time of quiet reflection. A time where Americans pondered things like fuel prices, polyester suits, and what a large sedan should be. As the reality of automotive downsizing moved ever closer to realization, one or two of the large sedan dinosaurs had a last hurrah. Today’s Rare Ride is one such example.
It’s a 1979 Lincoln Town car; more specifically the extra-luxurious Williamsburg Edition.
The dawn of the Seventies was a much more hopeful time for the large car market in the United States. Ford was riding high on the success of its long and low fourth-generation Continental, which entered production in 1961, and the Continental’s revamped fourth generation remained in production for nine years. The Blue Oval sought modernization and cost savings when the time came for a fifth edition.
The outgoing generation was expensive to produce thanks to a model cycle separate from Ford and Mercury products, as well as an extended unibody chassis borrowed from the Thunderbird. For 1970, the Continental Town Car moved to a more affordable body-on-frame chassis shared with the Mercury Marquis. Said sharing meant the Continental’s now-famous suicide doors were no longer an option.
Already imposing, the new Continental’s length increased around five inches in 1973 (to 229.9″) after the installation of mandatory 5 mile-per-hour bumpers. Ford held onto its large sedans while the competition downsized. The Town Car gained roughly three more inches in 1974 (232.6″), and rounded off its last three years of tenure at 233 inches in length. For 1977, it was the largest mass-produced automobile in the world. For 1979, Ford and Mercury debuted downsized offerings while Lincoln marketed the Continental as the last large sedan. Time for a party in Williamsburg.
Introduced in 1977, the Williamsburg Edition added different visuals and standard equipment over other Town Cars. Two-tone paint worked with a vinyl roof and luxurious pinstripes. Inside, top of the line leather seats were six-way adjustable, and everyone was cooled via power vent windows. The first Williamsburg showed its conservative roots by omitting opera windows and exterior coach lighting. The flash returned in ’78 and ’79, with windows and lights aplenty.
Alas, the Williamsburg party was over for 1980, as the introduction of the Mark VI took everything down a peg.
Today’s Rare Ride enjoys the additional rarity bonus of a location in Ye Olde England, where it was driven by someone who enjoyed fitting large cars into small spaces. It’s equipped with the smaller 6.6-liter 400 V8 and shows in stunning apricot over dark cordovan. With 7,200 miles on the odometer, a British person is asked to pay $31,800.
86er on Jun 12, 2019
I own a '79 Town Car, and these truly are the 'last hurrah' of uncompromised size and an emphasis on supreme comfort. Often, sitting in that vast cabin made more vast by the white divided headliner and seats, I feel like it harkens back to the glory days of the 1950s cars, when long, low, and wide was reaching its first evolutionary headwind.
427Cobra on Jun 12, 2019
my grandfather bought a Cartier Edition town car new in '78... Jeez, I loved that car... crushed velour seats & all. In the early 80s, he traded for a Chrysler Fifth Avenue... which he absolutely HATED. In less than a year, he went back to a Grand Marquis, and remained with them for the next 20+ years. Both sets of grandparents drove the required Grand Marquis in South Florida. However, once I showed up with a '98 Mark VIII LSC, my grandfather was not about to be up-staged. Two weeks later, he bought a Town Car. I have a nostalgic twinge for the 70-79 Town Cars, but my personal fave is the '90-'97 Town Car...
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