By on June 14, 2021

It seems like we talk about personal luxury often here at Rare Rides, not that the topic could ever be discussed too much. Even though we discussed personal luxury just days ago via the Chrysler LeBaron, we’re back with more PLC today.

Let’s check out the 1988 Lincoln Continental Mark VII, in fashionable Bill Blass trim.

We’ve covered some Continental content before in this series, in the Taurus-based sedan from 2002, a Mark V Givenchy from 1977, and a Mark VI Bill Blass born in 1983. And 1983 is where our story picks up today. After the rather unsuccessful Mark VI series which was available only from ’80 to ’83, Ford was ready to move Mark away from the Panther platform, and onto the more daring Fox.

Introduced for model year 1984 alongside its companions the Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar, the Mark VII sought to reestablish the Mark’s credibility in the luxury coupe segment. Ford targeted its European competition with the new Mark and made sure it wasn’t stodgy and living in the past like its predecessor.

To that end, in addition to the base and Designer Edition (Bill Blass and Versace varieties) trims was the sports-oriented LSC, or Luxury Sports Coupe. The new Mark’s first two years were the last where it had a Continental moniker in front of it. From 1986 onward the coupe was Mark VII and wore Lincoln badges.

Seeking to reassure the public the Mark VII was modern and contemporary, all coupes arrived with a long list of standard features. Digital dash with message center and trip computer, climate control, air suspension, disc brakes, power trunk release, keyless entry – all included even on the base model.

Power arrived via the Windsor 4.9-liter V8 which Ford called the 5.0. The early V8 customers enjoyed a not-impressive 140 horsepower. Optional (and seldom selected) was a 2.4-liter turbocharged inline-six diesel borrowed from BMW, good for 114 horses. The only transmission available was a four-speed auto, either an AOD from Ford or a ZF (with the diesel).

The diesel engine and the Versace package were both unpopular options and were discontinued for 1986. At the same time, Lincoln worked to improve the LSC trim and set it further apart from standard Marks. The LSC’s digital gauges became analog in ’86, and LSCs enjoyed a power bump to 200 horses. Some LSCs in 1987 were also built with a high-output 225-horse version of the 5.0. In 1988 additional changes saw the deletion of the base trim, and meant all examples were LSC or Bill Blass Editions. Buyers could focus on luxury or sporty driving for the same price, and all versions received the 225-horse engine from ’88 onward.

Through the rest of its run, the Mark was fiddled with by Lincoln with trim and additional safety content like airbags. Mark VII remained in production through the 1992 model year, and by that time the LSC and Bill Blass had mostly merged. The largest difference between the two was a digital dash for the Blass. A sales peak in 1988 of over 32,000 Marks had dropped to 8,880 in 1991, and 5,732 in 1992. Personal luxury was fading away, and the Mark VII was getting pretty old. In 1993 the Mark returned for one glorious final personal luxury chapter: VIII. But that’s for another day.

Today’s Rare Ride is a Bill Blass Edition from 1988, with just 31,000 miles on the odometer. It appears in excellent condition, though the taste of the carriage roof is questionable and certainly not stylish. Yours for $7,500 in Kentucky, and the seller threw in an extra photo of an Eldorado interior.

[Images: Lincoln]

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49 Comments on “Rare Rides: The Intensely Stylish 1988 Lincoln Mark VII Bill Blass Edition...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    YES!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Dal, would you consider a Z4 ‘vert/manual in lieu of an E46?

      https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/valencia-bmw-z4-roadster/7336492733.html

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Not enough seats, but otherwise appealing. Want to be able to take the kids.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’ll keep my eye out for the E46 but it occurs to me if four person size matters to you the Volvo C70 Mark I (which I have one of downstairs) may be a consideration. One of the goals was space for a family of four and it was available as a manual but they are very rare, maybe 1,000 of the 25,000 imported from 98-05. Several sticky points with these, including wrong wheel drive, but rather unique as well.

          “According to Peter Horbury, Volvo’s design chief from 1991 to 2002, with the C70, Volvo threw away the box, but “kept the toy inside!”[17] “Our vision was to design a convertible that would meet the needs of a family of four looking for comfortable blue-sky motoring in a vehicle also providing stylish looks, performance and faultless driving and road-holding.”[18]”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_C70

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The C70 is very pretty indeed, but not necessarily the most engaging driver’s car. Still something I might consider if the right car came along.

            I hope at some point we will get to see pictures of yours.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “and the seller threw in an extra photo of an Eldorado interior.”

    Probably a curbstoner.

    I like the Mark VII although this example is a little fussy.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I believe its a photo of a newer Mark VII LSC in the same color. Ford added an airbag I think in MY90 and I don’t recall the LSC ever having embroidered seats. I find it bizarre a picture of a *different* Mark VII is included in the ad. Perhaps the seller has two Mark VIIs?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Quite a lot of switchgear in there (including the shifter, minus its cheesy leather wrap) that I recognize from my ’87 Taurus! These were not the fabled days of divisional independence.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I still pine for the days of long hoods, hood ornaments, plush velour interiors, continental kits and chrome.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Live the 80 – 90 s lincolns. But, i hate the fake – ‘Florida special ‘ convertible roof tho.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I know of an ’84 for sale with similar mileage in decent but not clean condition (which also needs an AOD). I was considering it before I got Volvo’d but by the time you fix it you’re sitting 5/5+ in a car worth… not sure anymore. Maybe if it was an ’88+, the first model year uses early TBI type injection (CFI IIRC).

  • avatar
    swester

    0-60 in under 10 seconds? That’s preposterous. Who could ever need such power?!

  • avatar
    brett

    Im gonna start calling Cory Sanjeeve.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Not Lincoln related but this is what’s wrong with, well a lot.

    “Odometer reads 96,000 but Volvo performed complete factory engine replacement at 91,000 miles under certified Volvo warranty.”

    2016 XC60, $25,500

    https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/sewickley-volvo-xc/7336014153.html

    I know the later 90s-00s White Blocks can blow up (which were first introduced in 1990) but Christ on a Bike they are still failing in MY16 when in use by the well-to-do original owner (and likely dealer serviced correctly) under 100K?

    • 0 avatar

      I was going to post you an 03 LS 430 in custom burgundy/burgundy for sale here for $8k, but it’s been removed!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Yeah there’s a lot wrong with that too unless its at the very least cherry if not extra clean.

        Clown World:

        https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/ctd/d/north-versailles-2004-lexus-ls-430/7330677857.html

        Clown World II | The Search For More Money:

        https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/daisytown-1995-lexus-ls400/7322304245.html

        Did we do the SC430 yet?

        https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/irwin-04-lexus-sc430/7334198151.html

        The screwed up thing is, even prior to Clown World this wasn’t that far off the mark.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Here’s a limited production ride for you in your neck of the woods, the LX450 (*not* 470). This is the model Biggy was rapping about.

        https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/d/melbourne-1997-lexus-lx450/7333201857.html

        Oh and found your third car:

        https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/d/cincinnati-1995-mercedes-sl-320-roadster/7332343405.html

        • 0 avatar

          That LX has been for sale for a long time and that seat is revolting. $7k indeed.

          Here’s that LS interior.
          https://twitter.com/CoreyLewis86/status/1399573682893340672?s=20

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            People are stupid about the Land Cruiser/LX and always have been. I don’t know enough about them to accurately value them but I’m sure someone would buy that for the right money. I want to say that period LX has true 4×4 and not whatever AWD is used in the newer one so if I’m right the rock crawlers may want that.

            Too much red on the Lex IMO, but agree super clean and desirable for some amount of money.

            No thoughts on the SL?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The LX and Land Cruiser are the only vehicles remaining that are heirs to the old Mercedes-Benz way of building cars: don’t build to a price point. You can tell that any time you look under the truck.

            I’m not the right person for them, but I still enjoyed my relatively brief ownership of a LX570, and I still admire clean LX450s (and Series 80 Land Cruisers) when I see them.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        …or this if you think you can put it back together:

        https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/d/newport-2005-mercedes-slk-350/7324440987.html

        • 0 avatar

          I never cared for the SLK, especially this one with the SLR nose on it. It seems like too much trouble for what is a small and not really popular Benz.

          Rather a Z4.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s an SL but…

            https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/d/cincinnati-1995-mercedes-sl-320-roadster/7332343405.html

            This is a Z4 M for a lot more coin.

            https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/valencia-bmw-z4-roadster/7336492733.html

            also another Z4 with 36K:

            https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/murrysville-bmw-z4/7336477269.html

          • 0 avatar

            That SL is lovely, didn’t see the link before. Looks like new, and I think the price is reasonable as well. Looking to those to increase in value here soon.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I didn’t think it was too bad given what it was as well. There are a few in this market around the same money though a few model years older. I’m happy with my PITA C70 though its status as an “investment” vs a cherry SL is 50/50 at best.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Here’s an XC90 that needs transmission valve body work for a mere $1700. I see plenty of these in fairly good shape reasonably priced.

      https://newyork.craigslist.org/que/cto/d/south-ozone-park-2008-volvo-xc90-32/7332947158.html

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        F that my man. P2s are PITA and even if you drop a whole new transaxle in it, the motor, body, suspension etc have 200K otc. Without receipts for maintenance of everything else its a fools errand. I’d wager the current owner is dumping it because he knows its a money pit and just wants it gone.

        I wouldn’t recommend one but if you’re going to consider a P2 XC90 get one from the final few years of production ideally with average miles not from NYC/NJ area (or anywhere in the salt belt unless the undercarriage is very clean). If one is shopping Volvo in the period for something similar, the P3 XC70 (or cheaper V70) is the model you want.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          There are first-gen XC90s all over the place here, at what were reasonable prices until recent events. Get one with a naturally aspirated inline six, not the overstressed five or the exotic V8 with unobtainable parts

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Even though this model is two downsizings away from the gigantic ’76s, it looks massive in these photos.
    What’s the modern equivalent of a PLC? What would a Cutlass Supreme or Cordoba driver buy today?

    • 0 avatar

      Automatic V8 Mustang seems to be the only answer here.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “What would a Cutlass Supreme or Cordoba driver buy today?”

      I’m pretty sure they buy a high trim half-ton truck. The pony cars and German coupes are a little too hot shoe (even the Challenger).

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Mike, as someone who had/owned a Mark IV, ‘big’ T-Bird, downsized T-Bird, Grand Prix SJ, Gran Torino Elite, and one of the very first Cordobas in Canada, what I would buy and what I can buy provide 2 very different answers.

      Personally I believe that a fully dressed full sized, pickup is the modern equivalent of the PLC. The seats are big, it has ‘presence’, you can get it with a ‘big’ engine, and it probably is from a ‘domestic’ manufacturer.

      For those like My Old Man who drove only full sized Cadillacs or Lincolns, I believe that he would be riding in an Escalade now, and loving it.

      As for me, a midsized SUV.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    We need another Fox sized RWD platform. Hey BMW has the 2-series.

    I saw a new Mustang parked next to a Fox Mustang, sidebyside in front of a garage. Because the steep driveway you got a back aerial view and holy sh!t the size difference.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsjEZ42Dycs

    Pure awesome 2.4L turbo diesel joy. Just in a 1984 Lincoln Continental. But those numbers on the digital speedo are moving up SLOWLY!!!

  • avatar
    crispin001

    I’m not a Ford person but would seriously consider a non-LSC, non Bill Blass gray/gray cloth example….these cars are seemingly all gone….it’s a shame.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I was always a fan of these in base or LSC trim, less so the rococo Bill Blass and Versailles (talk about a reuse of a Lincoln name) or Versace versions. Before I bought my MN12 Thunderbird I considered one but didn’t find one to my liking. The optional or dealer installed simulated convertible on many of these put me off. I once spoke to a body and upholstery shop owner about removing them. He said that it was tough because you had to remove the fiberglass cap with the glue pads but was do able.
    The BMW 2.4 diesel was offered in these and the Continental in 84 and 85 but they’re a rare beast.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I loved my 88 LSC in the burgundy interior/exterior. Quite the step up from the Fury….what ever happened to the Ford from late 80s/90s? They were on a roll…

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