Rare Rides: The Exceptionally Emerald 1977 Lincoln Continental Mark V Givenchy
The other day a fellow friendly Car Twitter user tweeted a Craigslist link to me. And when I clicked on it moments later, a fantastical sight presented itself: A rare and enormous Lincoln Mark V, in ultra luxurious Givenchy Designer Series trim.
It’s a must see.
We did cover a later generation Continental coupe before, in the much maligned Mark VI. That particular example was a Bill Blass trim, and hailed from 1983. But to tell the story of today’s Mark V, we head back to 1977. Lincoln needed to update the Mark IV which had been in production since 1972. As America headed into the prime of the personal luxury coupe era, Ford knew they needed to do everything bigger, bolder, and more polyester-er. They kept the Mark IV’s platform underneath, but carried out extensive revisions to the exterior and interior.
When the new Mark V debuted for ’77, it carried sharp styling and more baroque detailing on its body, which grew in size to become the largest coupe ever sold by Ford. Spanning a full 230.3 inches in length and 79.9 inches wide, Mark V filled all parking spaces easily. The new styling was a preview of what was to come for Lincoln in the Eighties, as the brand filtered the sharp edges of its flagship down to its other offerings.
Standard on the Mark V was a 400-cubic-inch (6.6L) V8, with a 460 V8 (7.5L) offered as an optional extra. All examples used the three-speed C6 automatic, which was also found in the F-150 through 1996. The 400 engine was a concession from Ford in a nod to fuel economy, as it was the smallest displacement fitted to a Lincoln product since 1957.
There were several groupings of luxury equipment available on Mark V, but as before, the pinnacle was the Designer Editions. Special paint, detailing, and interior colors were hand-picked by the designers themselves, supposedly. Editions for the 1977-79 run were Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Pucci. The color combinations varied with each year, so it was obvious to other Lincoln customers precisely which Designer Edition you owned. All ’77 Givenchy cars were metallic Dark Jade on the outside, with matching Dark Jade interior materials in leather or velour. Worth noting, the Givenchy was the only Designer Series to receive a reverse landau treatment (half roof and A-pillars), and the heavily pillowed velour seats were only an option for 1977. Other years offered leather only.
The Mark V was the most successful of the Mark series coupes and sold 228,262 in a three-year run. Its changeover and downsizing to the Mark VI marked a real change for the model and a sales decline (like in all PLCs) from which it would not recover.
Today’s Givenchy is, of course, fully loaded and powered by the 460 V8. The seller indicates just 1,716 were made in this specification for 1977. Cruise control and power everything is made better by functioning air conditioning. With 61,000 miles, Monsieur Givenchy requests $14,700.
Oldschool on Oct 22, 2020
I own a 79 Mark V Cartier edition, and it’s one of the coolest most bad ass classics I’ve ever owned. It’s a cross between being a pimp mobile to a gangster ride. One thing I will say that I don’t like about the car is the really cheap interior plastics and loose fitted trim. The upper half of the door panels are nicely padded, but the lower half of the panel is hard plastic that has cracks in it. The steering wheel is another super cheap piece that feels too thin. It’s strange how on my 78 Lincoln Continental ( not a Mark) the door panels are much better quality including the glove box which is is this padded or soft squishy vinyl, but on the Mark V the glove box is hard plastic and tiny as can be. Same goes for the instrument panel, flimsy when pressed and not high quality at all. Although it looks amazing at night and the speedo is especially cool, but the interior quality is lacking in these cars. I will say that I think Ford/Lincoln’s of the 70’s tend to have better quality exterior trim/body/frame structure and exterior fit and finish compared to many GM vehicles especially Cadillac. Lincoln’s used more real metal pieces and chrome instead of plasti-chrome like Cadillacs and I’m a Caddy man! The Mark V is eerily quiet and you don’t even notice the drivetrain all that much that’s how well insulated the car is. It’s probably the last Lincoln that’s truly impressive and stood out. The downsize models that came afterwards were nice too, but they simply lost the imposing boss like styling and presence that these cars have. I’ll take a mint condition 77-79 Bill Blass version over any Modern day Rolls Royce. These Lincoln’s put modern day Rolls to shame in the styling department. These Marks were very well sculpted and designed, there’s nothing cookie cutter or cartoony about them like the majority of cars you see on the road today.
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