By on September 21, 2020

1989 Lincoln Mark VII in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsFord began selling Lincoln Mark Series cars starting in 1956, with the hand-built Continental Mark II, then mass-produced the first go-round of the Mark III, Mark IV, and Mark V for the 1958-60 model years. Fast-forward to the 1968 model year, for which Lee Iacocca decreed that a luxury-for-the-well-off-masses Thunderbird-based Mark III would be built, and we get to the period of Lincoln Marks that I’ve covered in this series; we’ve seen discarded examples of the III through the final VIII, but no Mark VII… until today.

1989 Lincoln Mark VII in Colorado junkyard, fender badge - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Mark VII was the smallest and most nimble of all the 1968-1998 Marks, based on the same Fox Platform as the Mustang. Built from the 1984 through 1992 model years, the Mark VII dropped all Continental badging for 1986 and became, simply, the Lincoln Mark VII.

1989 Lincoln Mark VII in Colorado junkyard, RH rear view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThese cars are tough to find in junkyards today (Mark IVs and Mark VIs remain plentiful), but this one got hit in an expensive spot and ended up taking that final tow-truck ride to this place.

1989 Lincoln Mark VII in Colorado junkyard, LSC badge - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsFor 1989, you could choose one of two flavors of Mark VII: the Bill Blass and the LSC. Each started at $27,218, or about $54,400 in 2020 dollars. That was just a bit less than half the price of a new BMW 635CSi coupe that year.

1989 Lincoln Mark VII in Colorado junkyard, engine - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThere was a time, extending well into our current century, when the 5.0 HO engine in this car would have been yanked within hours of appearing in the junkyard, since this is the same 225-horse V8 that went into the hotter Mustangs of the era.

1989 Lincoln Mark VII in Colorado junkyard, air compressor - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsHere’s the air compressor for the adjustable air suspension. You often saw these cars sagging low, sometimes just in the rear and sometimes all the way around, after failures in the air system.

1989 Lincoln Mark VII in Colorado junkyard, HVAC controls - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe LSC was supposed to be sportier than other Mark VIIs, so it didn’t get the space-age digital dash. The Electronic Climate Control, with its jarringly contrasting typefaces, came as standard equipment.

1989 Lincoln Mark VII in Colorado junkyard, speaker - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe audio system was serious stuff for 1989; an eight-speaker system came standard in all Mark VIIs, and buyers could opt for a JBL 10-speaker rig with an extra 140-watt amplifier.

1989 Lincoln Mark VII in Colorado junkyard, decklid badge - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsRemember the “I Like Turtles” meme of 2007? Decals were available, it turns out, and this Lincoln wears one.


To understand the handling of the Mark VII, you had to do three things: 1. Drive it. 2. Drive it. 3. Drive it. In fact, it handled pretty well, like a heavy Mustang.


Move over, Mercedes and BMW!

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23 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1989 Lincoln Mark VII LSC...”


  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    I had three of them, all LSC’s. Wonderful cars!

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    I well remember the days of replacing stock radios and speakers. The choice of coaxial, triaxial, or quadraxial speakers was only limited by how much you could spend.

  • avatar

    NOOOOO! CLASSIC RUINED!!!!! #bittertears

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      Shouldn’t have left the keys where Sanjeev could get them.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      +1, Sajeev, this one’s sad to see.

      Thoughts on the air suspension? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “saggy” Mark VII in the wild. Now the two points of context to that are that (1) I’m old enough to have seen them new and (2), Fox underpinnings or not, they really weren’t a high-volume model and subsequently I’ve only ever seen one or two that could be considered old. Certainly air suspension seems like a likely fault point for any car so equipped, but Murilee’s take seems a little snide.

      I actually know someone who had one – a conquest sale from a W201 Baby Benz, no less. She is neutral on hers. She liked it well enough in terms of performance and comfort–and this is someone who’s definitely to the Eurosnob side of the average buyer–but hers also had some ankle biter issues, particularly with electrics. She traded it in after only about two to three years.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    168K miles before it was broad-sided tells me these were pretty stout cars for the late 80s. No telling how far it would have gone

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Darn. Even on a Fox platform, a classic. I embrace the rise of electric vehicles if only because then the restrictions placed on size, weight and shape could be lifted and we could once again see the rise of large, ostentatious, cars for the masses.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    If you see one today, it’s usually a hooptie. But, last summer one of these cruised past me and it was in remarkable condition, shiny waxed paint and glossy chrome, nothing damaged or missing. The older gent driving was well-dressed and distinguished, his female passenger was elegant and her silver hair freshly coiffed. They looked like they were starring in a tv ad for the car. I half-expected to see a camera crew following them.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    What a nostalgia trip. My dad bought this car, in this color combo, new in ’89. As a grade school kid I thought it was way less cool than the ’78 XJS that he traded for it, as well as a stodgy choice for a 35 year old guy. Maybe it was a reaction to the high maintenance nature of the XJS. The JBL cassette stereo was good for the time, and came with a demo tape that stuck around our house much longer than the Mark, which was traded for a red Corvette 2 years later when he went full midlife crisis.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    When these came out for the 84 model year and in subsequent years the car magazines favorably compared them to the Mercedes Benz 560 SEC. Also called the gentleman’s Mustang GT.
    When my 87 Thunderbird bit the dust I considered an Mark VII LSC but couldn’t find a decent one since there were so few for sale at the time in the mid 2000’s. Many owners thankfully prized them and replaced the problematic air suspension with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 95 Thunderbird LX with the 4.6 modular.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    Even in the era where these were considered late model, you just never saw that many Mark VII’s on the road. When I was a teen, the later Mark VIII was my dream car, so it always caught my eye.

    A Mark VII with the LSC package was also something I lusted after, seemed a perfect combo of old school muscle in a luxury package. Ford’s equivalent of a G-Body. The headlights though just never looked right, the inner lens was always yellowed and just didn’t flow. Other than that, I was into it.

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    Motor Week did a test on both the:

    ’84 Mark VII:

    ’88 Mark VII LSC:

    It got good reviews

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    ” the inner lens was always yellowed”

    Well that is because the inner lenses are the parking lights/turn signals, and have orange bulbs!

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I love these cars and now having a Fox Mustang in the garage, I love them more. The air suspension, though problematic, is what gave these cars their handling abilities, it’d be nice to drive one let alone own one that still has it intact.

    Long live the Lincstang! Ford definitely got their money out of Fox, from the basic Fairmont to the LSC as well as T bird and Cougar.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ gearhead77 – I have next to no experience with these, but the air suspension parts don’t strike me as *that* expensive. About $200 for a compressor and about $90 per corner for a new bag. Maybe there’s some subtle stuff that can go wrong. Everyone has his own time/money/aggravation math, and rightfully so.

      Decade-old thread, but some owners advocate repairing the air suspension rather than doing a spring conversion kit: thelincolnmarkviiclub.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=1264

      – – –

      A more general point: This, IMO, is platform sharing done right. FoMoCo saved money with the Fox bones underneath, but they also did a lot to distinguish this car from the Mustang, Thunderbird, and Cougar.

  • avatar
    kinsha

    Had a young executive friend who has since passed back in either 84 or 85 who purchased one of these with the BMW turbo diesel in it. I remember him bringing it over my house after he bought it, and let me drive it. I can distinctly remember that drive all those years ago, and him in the passenger seat saying floor it. He wanted me to hear the turbo kick in. I remember being unimpressed with that drive train, but the car itself was dazzling to me back then.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    My dad had one, an ’89 LSC (in 88.5 they got the Mustang GT 5.0 HO). There was a lot to love about it: the exterior styling was nothing short of magnificent, it had blue perforated leather seats, it had a comfy air suspension paired with anti-roll bars the size of your thigh, and it had the kind of bank-vault solidity I associated with a proper Mercedes-Benz. He called it his “old man’s Mustang.” By the time he got it, he legitimately was an old man, so I got to drive it a lot.

    But somehow it didn’t quite come together in the driving. The big motor was geared tall for the EPA test, so performance wasn’t thrilling. Over a big bump or dip, the soft independent front suspension would bottom out and the crude live rear axle would jounce and skitter. The vaunted 140 watt JBL stereo was fine, but not impressive. Those swooping rear pillars created absolutely epic blind spots that made the car frankly dangerous for high-speed passing. The dash styling was disappointingly old-fashioned for something so modern on the outside.

    But the biggest problem was just that it was made by Ford. The first hint of trouble was when the tacky plastic trim on the doors detached itself. But worse, the alternator malfunctioned…and somehow, in a car where everything was electronically controlled, Ford hadn’t included adequate protection against spikes or surges. So stuff just randomly stopped working correctly, at the most inconvenient times. Example: you say it’s a hundred degrees out? Neat, because the climate control just decided you want MAX HEAT, and there’s nothing you can do to convince it otherwise.

    So I *know* better, but I still really want one. Teenage me was sure that the signs of success for 50 year old me would be having one of these cars, a circular driveway, and gray hair expensively styled. The driveway isn’t happening in my condo, and there’s no way in hell I’m paying a hundred bucks for a haircut, but I *could* still have the car. I found a high-mileage but beautifully maintained example, and it’s taking every ounce of my good sense not to fly up and get it.

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