QOTD: The Best and the Worst?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd the best and the worst

As you read in the previous post, Lincoln has finally admitted what everyone by now knew — that the Continental’s days are numbered. The marque plans to shelve the model after pulling the plug on production at the end of the year.

Big sedans have all the appeal of an uncontrolled cough in a crowded elevator right now, so there’s dim hope that the Continental name will ever grace a stately, rear-drive sedan or coupe in anyone’s near future. At least we have our memories, though… not all of which are good ones.

Perhaps this writer is speaking for himself. Maybe you’ve never seen a Continental you didn’t love. Others will disagree and choose to play favorites.

There’s certainly a long list of vehicles from which to choose. The first-generation, Tinseltown Contis never did it for me, style-wise, but one can appreciate their presence and panache, as well as their V-12 powerplants. The exceptionally expensive, crafted-with-care Mark II of ’56-’57 was a jewel, but maybe too much of one. The unibody behemoths of the late Fifties, so hated by Robert McNamara, were Exhibit A at the Dangers of Capitalism trial.

Ah, but the slab-sided Sixties… Mmmmm, that was where it’s at. The best Continental, in this writer’s entirely subjective opinion? The ’64. Stretched three inches for that year, it best combined the minimalist elegance that defined the Kennedy-era Continentals with the hulking size that emerged later in the model’s run.

A close runner-up is the Continental Mark III (1969-1971), which deserved top billing in The French Connection. A money maker by design, the quintessential personal luxury coupe came into being after Lee Iacocca looked at the floundering four-door Thunderbird and figured its underpinnings could be put to better use. The idea certainly panned out. With margins as wide as its split front bench, the Mark III was a license to print money, as well as a gorgeous thing to look at.

Maybe your tastes lie elsewhere, though. Maybe a two-tone Mark V with the faux cabriolet roof is your bag. Maybe the bustleback of the Fox-body Continental of 1982 gets you hot under the collar — especially when you think of the oh-so-rare BMW diesel engine option. Then there’s the Mark VII and VIII coupes that aimed to inject a much-needed dose of sport into Lincoln’s calcified veins.

Is it possible your favorite Continental emerged after that date? Maybe a late-’80s example — the kind often seen with a blown rear suspension, its bumper bouncing off of speed bumps in a mall parking lot? We won’t judge you if that’s the case. Not publicly, anyway.

There’s lots to choose from here, folks. A lifetime of Continentals, but for each of you, there can be only one best and one worst. What are they?

[Images: Lincoln Motor Company, Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Jul 03, 2020

    There can be only one best and @GS455 named it. The Mark IV Pucci edition. The ultimate in brougham. Yes it was the height of the 'malaise era' but every other manufacturer was toiling under the same restrictions.A wonderful highway cruiser. A true 'boulevardier' Whether when it was new or now, if you show up in one, you will attract a crowd.

  • El scotto El scotto on Jul 06, 2020

    A Mark V for me for sentimental reasons. On warm summer nights I'd get selected to pilot a Mark V back from Cincinnati Reds games. Maybe because dad had a few too many Hudepohls and grandpa would say something about having to get up early the next morning and slipping into the back seat. Of course the AC would be off and the windows would be rolled down. 700 WLW on the AM radio and dad's 8 track tape needing pushed in. Rolling west on U.S. 50 I'd catch glimpses of small Indiana towns early in the morning. For those who raised crops and animals or knew up such things, the cool night air would bring in usually subtle scents of their activities. Freshly mowed grass, hay that had been cut that day and humus that had just been disked. Sadly, my grandpa has passed on and the small towns I passed through on U.S. 50 are slowly dying. Lincoln is going out with a fight, offering superb customer service. However, showing my mom how to play music from her phone does not nearly equal opening up a 460 Ford engine on a long straightaway.

  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.
  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"