Junkyard Find: 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

1979 was the final model year for genuinely enormous Lincoln sedans, with the mighty Continental moving to the Panther platform for 1980. Today's Junkyard Find, found in a Colorado car graveyard recently, is one of those era-ending Continentals.

Of course, Lincoln shoppers can buy a new truck that scales in at 5,854 pounds right now, which makes the 4,649-pound 1979 Continental sedan seem insubstantial. The '23 Navigator's wheelbase is nearly five inches shorter than the '79 Continental's, however, and its pitifully short hood in no way resembles an aircraft carrier's flight deck.

Like the Eldorado name over at GM or the Fifth Avenue name at Chrysler, the Town Car name started out as a trim package for another model. In 1979, the Town Car package was a $1,527 option you added to the $12,093 Continental sedan (that's about $6,726 and $53,266 in 2023 dollars).

You could get a Town Coupe package for the 1979 Continental two-door as well. The Town Car split off to become a separate model for the 1981 model year, and it remained a Panther all the way until that platform's U.S.-market demise in 2011.

This is one of the finest Bordello Red interiors ever to come out of Detroit.

This car has the "loose-pillow" leather split-bench power front seat setup, which remains in surprisingly good condition for a 44-year-old Colorado car.

The interior looks to have been pretty nice before the junkyard shoppers started tearing it apart.

We can mock Malaise Era luxury cars all we like, but these seats were amazingly comfortable on long road trips.

This is the quadraphonic (or, in Dearborn terminology, Quadrasonic) AM/FM/8-track player, the top-shelf audio rig available in 1979 Lincolns. The price tag: $413, or $1,819 in today's money.

There's no point in having opera windows without opera lights.

Silver-faced gauges were big in the Ford luxury world of this period.

This car appears to have been caught up in a multi-car fender bender, which is the most likely reason it ended up in this place. This damage would have been worth fixing in 1989 and maybe even 1999, but not today. That's a shame because the paint still looks good.

This car has the optional padded vinyl "coach roof," which added 285 dollars to the cost of a '79 Town Car ($1,255 today).

A one-owner car? Could be.

The engine in this car was gone by the time I arrived, but it would have been a 400-cubic-inch (6.6-liter) V8 rated at 159 horsepower and 315 pound-feet.

The downsized members of the 1980-1989 Continental family arrived at the right time, but something was lost when the Continental shed a foot of length and most of its cartoonish opulence.

You've got your standards. Everything you do has to meet them. You won't compromise.

Ride with the cat, at the sign of the cat.

[Images: The author]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

More by Murilee Martin

Join the conversation
2 of 18 comments
  • William William on Apr 03, 2023

    It tears my heart out to see a 70s Town Car looking like that. And I'm sure you're right about the paint. Ford puts really good paint on their cars, even back then it was much better than what GM was painting their cars with, and Ford's Ravin black is beautiful and deep. My parents had a 76, 4 door Town Car. It had the mighty 460 cid under hood with a Motorcraft 4300 4 barrel carburetor. That engine was a perfect fit for the huge Lincoln. The color was Dark Red Moondust Metallic, with the matching padded vinyl top. It didn't have the C pillar Opra Windows but it did have the B piller coach lights on it that added an elegant style. The interior was dark red velour with loose cushion front seats. It was a great, big, Car, once it got rolling, it could cruise for hours at 70 to 80 mph. A very comfortable ride, I put KYB gas shocks at all 4 corners, and Michelin 75R 15 tires that came standard from the factory. It had one of the best dashboards of any car at the time and now. Full gauges, analog Cartier clock and a very cool and very accurate barrel speedometer that was bright orange/red that covered all speeds below the current speed, and was lit up in Ford's bluish green color that was very cool and lit up the entire front seat in that bluish green glow. The ashtray in the dash was lit the same as the rest of the dash and could have been another seat it was so big. Each door had its own lit ashtray with lighter, covered by a latching hinged brushed metal doors. It was everything a Lincoln Town Car should be, and blew the Cadillacs of the 70s clear out of the water. Those Town Cars had it all. The trunk was fully carpeted in dark red to match the rest of the car, and could fit 3 Jimmy Hoffa sized bodies no sweat. The trunk lid was soft close, that was totally classy too. There was nothing quite like it. In 1990, my parents replaced it with the all new downsized Town Car, 5.0 injected engine with duel exhaust, Signature Series in dark blue metallic over light blue leather. Electronic dash and factory installed am/fm radio with CD player. It was also deservingly awarded Motor Trend's 1990 Car of the Year. The 76, with 58,000 miles went to my uncle. I then bought a black with black leather 90, LSC, and a 95, black with black leather Signature Series Town Car, with the 4.6 module, injected V8 with duel exhaust. Another beautiful Town Car that was a fantastic road car. It also had a gorgeous Electronic dash which included a compas and other features that were ahead of it's time. I could go on but I won't. This is making wish I still had ALL of them. Every one of those cars continues to increase in value. Just try to find one and if you do, you will pay top dollar for them.

  • Helen McGee Helen McGee on May 14, 2023

    I have a 1991 Lincoln continental. Do you think it is worth fixing up. The power steering pump went out in 2009 and it has just been sitting every since.