Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXXIII)
We continue our Rare Rides coverage of the unfortunate Lincoln Continental Mark VI today, and take a deep dive into its cobbled-together and frequently shuffled trims, the Designer Series in particular. In a last-of moment, the Mark VI quickly lost the exclusivity it once carried as Lincoln’s purveyor of fine designer styling.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXXII)
We return to our Lincoln Mark series today, and the newly Panther-tized Mark VI coupe and sedan. We’ve already examined the exterior differences between Marks V and VI, as Lincoln designers attempted to replicate the successful looks of their late Seventies PLC with much less length and width available. Design freedom was additionally hampered by new platform sharing with the 1980 Continental, for which the Mark VI basically served as a top trim. Today we’ll check out the Mark’s newly modernized interior.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXXI)
During the mid-Seventies, the design team at Lincoln had a tall order in regard to the upcoming 1980 Mark VI. The all-new coupe would need to continue the PLC styling tradition of the Mark III, IV, and V, the former of which dated back to 1968. But for the first time, Mark’s "large and in charge" styling would be applied to a much smaller car. For an added challenge, Lincoln’s brass decided the Mark’s ethos needed conversion onto a sedan. Let’s see how it went.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXX)
It’s our 30th installment in the Lincoln Mark series, and we’re at a low point. As mentioned last time a confluence of different factors forced downsizing across the American car landscape. Money-saving tactics from the accountants at Ford meant the new, “improved,” and much smaller Mark VI wore almost identical styling to its lesser Continental sibling (a first). Both cars even shared a platform, with Mark VI offered in required two- and unexpected four-door guises.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXIX)
The successes the Lincoln Continental Mark series achieved with its triumphant return as the Mark III personal luxury coupe of 1969 ensured the Mark IV of 1972 was also a success. And when the Mark V debuted on its own (reused Thunderbird) platform in 1977, it brought the Mark name to a pinnacle of sales. Laden with trim, designer editions, and special commemorative super lux limited-run cars, it was a last-of moment: Lincoln was still selling true full-size cars while the rest of Detroit had already downsized. But the clock ran out on the enormous domestic luxury boat in 1979, and Lincoln needed a do-over for 1980. Enter a big misstep, the Mark VI.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXVIII)
For our 28th entry in the Lincoln Mark series retrospective, we arrive at a momentous and sad occasion: the end of the traditional full-size Mark V. In 1979, fuel economy concerns of consumers and government meddling in the form of emissions standards were layered onto a car market that contained ever-increasing numbers of economical, reliable Japanese imports. Other Detroit automakers threw up the white flag by 1977 and introduced smaller full-sized cars, but Ford held on to the bitter end. And for its three-year run, the Mark V sold very well, both as Lincoln’s most prestigious car and a full-size holdout at a time when many Americans really didn’t want to buy a smaller car.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXVII)
Making our way through the trim-laden legacy of the Lincoln Continental Mark V has consumed all of our attention over the past few weeks. After spending some time on the mid-tier Luxury Group packages of 1977 to 1979, we pored over the Designer Series editions of 1977 and 1978. The latter of those two years was Ford’s 75th anniversary and saw the launch of the super expensive Diamond Jubilee package to celebrate. For the Mark V’s outgoing year in 1979, the Designer Series cars returned, and Lincoln reworked the Diamond Jubilee package into the Collector’s Series. It’s time to have one final Mark V trim talk.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXVI)
We return with more Continental Mark V Designer Series goodness today, in our second of three consecutive installments on said topic. Last time we took a look at the resplendent luxury of the 1977 Designer Series trims in their respective Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Pucci colorways. An immediate hit with consumers who were in desperate need of luxury gingerbread, the Designer Series trims were reworked in 1978 in the name of visual differentiation. There was also a very special and expensive Mark V commemorative edition in honor of Ford’s 75th anniversary.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXV)
As we move on to the 25th entry in our Lincoln Mark saga, it’s the second week in a row where we’ll focus entirely on Mark V trim packages. Last week we discussed the various iterations of the Luxury Group - a variety of color themes for the Mark V’s interior. Luxury Group options served as a starting place for the customer to custom-order their Mark V. However, the truly well-heeled PLC customer knew such freedom of choice was inherently sub-par: A Designer Series Mark V cost much more than a Luxury Group car, and its appearance was specified for you.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXIV)
We continue with more Continental Mark V coverage today, and hone our focus on the model’s various trims. After their successful (big profit center) introduction in 1976 on the Mark IV, the quite expensive Designer Series trims were a shoo-in for a return on Mark V. Lincoln took full advantage of the popularity of “special” trim and gingerbread during the late Seventies, and went a little wild with the options. New colors, limited editions, and Designer Series layouts that changed by the year! It’s time for some in-depth trim action, and Luxury Group is up first.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXIII)
We return to our Lincoln Mark Series coverage today, near the Mark V’s large B-pillar. While our last installment started on the exterior changes Lincoln designers made for the switch from Mark IV to Mark V for 1977, there’s so much car to cover (over 230 inches) that we had to take an intermission. It’s time for vinyl and big rear ends, and we’ll talk about the Mark too.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXII)
In the last installment of our Lincoln Mark coverage, we learned about some new objectives Lincoln brass pursued for the transition from Mark IV to Mark V. There were two primary goals in mind: Cut development costs, and simultaneously allow the Mark more independence from Thunderbird. As a result, the Mark V of 1977 used the same platform as the old Mark IV, and Thunderbird was downsized to become a Mercury Cougar sibling. Further, in an attempt to move with the times and recognize that fuel economy mattered a little bit at the end of the Seventies, Lincoln engineers reworked the Mark IV platform for Mark V duty.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXI)
When the Continental Mark IV was introduced for the 1972 model year, it wore close visual ties to the smash hit that was its predecessor, the Mark III. After federal safety legislation altered the front of the Mark IV’s appearance in 1973 and its rear in 1974, the visual connection between the two cars thinned considerably. The Mark IV (like other large PLCs of the time) struggled with regard to sales but received a boost in 1976 with the arrival of the Designer Series editions. The expensive high-profit trims saw the 1976 Mark IV go out on a high-ish sales note of 56,110 examples, around 8,000 more than its debut year in 1972. In 1977 Lincoln aimed once more for PLC success with the new, even larger Continental Mark V.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XX)
Today marks the 20th installment of our coverage on the Lincoln Mark cars, and we’ve reached an exciting point in the model’s history. The brass at Lincoln noticed how the Mark IV’s sales were in decline (like all large PLCs of the time) as the Thunderbird-based boat headed toward its final year, 1976. To that end, Lincoln added excitement and luxury to its halo coupe via a new set of very special brand-themed options packages on ‘76 models. It’s time for the Designer Series.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XIX)
When the Mark IV debuted in 1972, Lincoln’s personal luxury coupe was larger than ever before and had even more in common with its lesser sibling from Ford, the Thunderbird. As noted in our last installment, even the dashboards were identical between the two cars in this generation. The Mark IV’s debut appearance was short-lived, however, as the following year government legislation forced Lincoln’s designers and engineers to make some unfortunate-looking changes. Tell me, do you enjoy enormous bumpers?
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XVIII)
Cadillac led the charge into new Seventies-ready personal luxury coupes with their ninth-generation Eldorado in 1971. The following year, Ford followed suit with the Lincoln Continental Mark IV. Bigger and, in theory, better than its predecessor, it was also lesser in terms of Mark-specific sheet metal and quality interior amenities than the Mark III. The exterior of the new Mark IV was very similar to the Thunderbird since it shared a platform and the majority of its body panels. And those similarities continued right on into the interior.
Abandoned History: The Life and Times of Edsel, a Ford Alternative by Ford (Part X)
It’s time for more Abandoned History, where the topic is Edsel and the year is 1960. It was to be the final outing of the Ranger, and the last year of Edsel as an entity. The Ranger had an interesting journey over its short three-year tenure and served as Edsel’s entry-level car in 1958, its mid-level sedan in 1959, and finally as its only sedan offering for 1960. Each of those years saw different styling appear on the Ranger, as Ford tried desperately to save the Edsel brand after its disastrous debut outing in 1958. Even though the Ranger was new in 1958 and heavily revised in 1959, it was all-new in 1960.
Abandoned History: Daewoo Motors, GM's Passport to International Sales (Part IV)
We return to Abandoned History’s coverage of the twists and turns of the Daewoo story, at a time when the company’s predecessor, Shinjin, was no more. After an early Seventies joint venture with General Motors saw the company renamed to General Motors Korea, Shinjin bowed out of the deal after just five years. In 1976 Shinjin’s ownership in the business was sold to a state-owned Korean bank, and General Motors Korea was renamed to Saehan Motor Company. But that didn’t mean GM was out of the picture - far from it.
Rare Rides Icons: In Memoriam, The Chrysler LX Platform (Part IV)
The Chrysler 300 was the first production car to use the LX platform and was arguably the most important as well. We discussed the debut and styling of the exciting new 300 in our last LX platform installment. When it debuted in 2005 with retro-inspired muscle car styling and a good deal of Mercedes-Benz componentry, it garnered an immediate and positive impression from the buying public with its looks. But did it fare as well on its interior? Let’s find out.
Rare Rides Icons, The Nissan Maxima Story (Part VII)
Unlike its third generation which had the upmarket sporty sedan segment largely to itself, when the fourth generation Maxima (A32) arrived in 1995 there were numerous new competitors from all directions. In its home market, the American-centric Maxima faded away and was replaced by the more internationally flavored Cefiro. Notably, the Cefiro wore Infiniti I30 styling in advance of its North American debut. In addition to the handful of variants for other markets like the Maxima QX and QX (which both wore Cefiro clothes), the A32 Maxima was also transformed into a very important car for the Korean market. Let’s talk about some business deals.
Abandoned History: The Austin Allegro Story, a Fine Motorcar (Part II)
When it came time to replace the dated (but very popular) Austin 1100 and 1300 models, British Leyland had many different and conflicting missions in mind. It wanted to turn the Austin brand into an outlet for new, adventurous cars while simultaneously using as many off-the-shelf BL parts as possible. The company also requested a sleek and forward-looking design in the angular early Seventies tradition, but then insisted on making it rounded because of its recent metalwork research for an ill-fated Mini replacement.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XVII)
With its splashy debut and immediate sales success, Lincoln’s Continental Mark II I personal luxury coupe offered up immediate and serious competition to the more established Cadillac Eldorado, which previously had the market all to itself. With its unique styling different from other Continentals and a more upscale interior, the Mark typically won in comparison tests published by the automotive press of the day.
Abandoned History: The Life and Times of Edsel, a Ford Alternative by Ford (Part IX)
We return to our Edsel coverage today during the second model year of the company’s entry-level car, the Ranger. When it debuted amongst the six other Edsel models in 1958 it was the cheapest and the least ornamented of them all. However, it was still more expensive than the nicer Fairlane 500 upon which it was based, and indeed priced similarly to a more upscale Mercury, the Medalist.
Rare Rides Icons: Lamborghini's Front-Engine Grand Touring Coupes (Part XII)
Ferruccio Lamborghini finally realized his dream of a proper four-seat grand touring coupe with the introduction of the Espada in 1968. The Espada entered production after a long and difficult styling process, which occurred simultaneously with a long and difficult engineering process. After multiple restyling attempts (and the use of a canned Jaguar coupe design), the Espada was produced in its Series I format from March 1968 to November 1969.
Rare Rides Icons: In Memoriam, The Chrysler LX Platform (Part III)
Thus far in our Chrysler LX platform coverage, we’ve discussed two designs that never made it past the working concept stage. The first of those was the Airflite, a Crossfire-styled hardtop hatchback, while the second was the larger Nassau which was also a hardtop hatchback. Neither of them had pillars, and both focused on the future of car design.
Journalists made incorrect predictions at the debut of both concepts and stated that the Airflite (in 2003) previewed the upcoming 300’s styling, while the Nassau (in 2007) was a sneak peek at a new styling direction for the 2008-ish revamp of the then-current 300. While those assumptions were wrong, a never-debuted Nassau design from 2000 was the actual genesis of the 300’s styling. And it appeared on the new LX platform in 2005.
Abandoned History: Daewoo Motors, GM's Passport to International Sales (Part III)
After a few successful years building a trio of Toyota models (Corona, Publica, and Crown), Shinjin was forced to look elsewhere for a business partner. Toyota wanted to sell cars in China, and China forbade any company that sold products on its shores from having operations in South Korea. As expected, the government stepped in and assisted in a new deal between Toyota, Shinjin, and General Motors.
The deal was finalized in 1972 and saw Toyota sell its stake in Shinjin directly to GM. The 50-50 GM-Shinjin venture saw the latter immediately renamed to General Motors Korea. GMK was immediately the new face of GM product distribution in South Korea. Let’s embark upon a series of particular business arrangements involving Shinjin that didn’t last very long.
Rare Rides Icons, The Nissan Maxima Story (Part VI)
It turned out that 1994 was a high point for the Nissan Maxima. The third-generation sedan was just about the ideal mix of driving dynamics, quality, luxury, and whiz-bang tech features. It was offered in well-equipped GXE trim for lovers of comfort, and sportier SE for Sports Enthusiasts (or something). After its introduction for the 1989 model year, Nissan made relatively few changes to its impressive sedan.
Sales were around 100,000 units in its first two years, and then around 85,000 for the next two years. But in its final model year of 1994 the third gen’s sales nearly doubled, to 163,138. It was time for a new Maxima in 1995. It was a generation that branched out to become other interesting vehicles but also started the model’s decline.
Abandoned History: The Austin Allegro Story, a Fine Motorcar (Part I)
Today we embark on the story of the small British car made famous long after its demise by a certain BBC car program. It was ugly, poorly made, and had a nasty reputation while it was still on sale. We're speaking of course about the Austin Allegro. Prepare yourself for the forward-looking new car from British Leyland.
Abandoned History: The Life and Times of Edsel, a Ford Alternative by Ford (Part VIII)
Edsel’s first year in 1958 proved very disappointing for the folks at Ford. The company’s unusual styling didn’t click with consumers, there was a sudden recession, and the average American consumer realized they didn’t have to buy a brand new car every year or two. And so it was that Edsel’s seven-model portfolio was reduced to just three for 1959. Leading the charge was the most successful (and cheapest) Edsel, the Ranger. It turned out that for Edsel buyers of 1958, less was more.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XVI)
The new Continental Mark III coupe was a smash hit at its debut in 1969. The Thunderbird-based design proved a cost-saving device for the Lincoln-Mercury Division and put the company’s revenue in the black for the first time in a while. After an exceptionally long model year in 1969, regulatory forces, trim edits, and cost-saving measures took place for the model’s second year in 1970. We covered the exterior changes last time, and today slide into bucket seats in our polyester suits.
Rare Rides Personas: Powel Crosley Junior, Tiny Cars, Radio, and Baseball (Part VI)
Powel Crosley Junior’s life was in expansion mode in the late 1920s, both professionally and with regard to real estate. Previously, we covered his AM radio goals via the ever more powerful 700 WLW station, his new company HQ in Cincinnati, and the growth of his personal real estate with new estates in Cincinnati and Sarasota. But those goings-on didn’t distract Crosley from the entrepreneurial interests he always maintained. Let’s talk about airplanes.
Rare Rides Icons: Lamborghini's Front-Engine Grand Touring Coupes (Part XI)
It was a long, uphill battle to get the Espada into production. Seemingly no designer would deliver on Ferruccio Lamborghini’s desire for a four-seat grand touring coupe. While style was fine, outlandish design was unacceptable. Yet designers disappointed him on the Islero (which was supposed to be a real four-seater) and fought him on what became the Espada.
Marcelo Gandini at Bertone was forced to redesign the Espada more than once to comply with Lamborghini’s wishes, even though its Jaguar Pirana looks stayed intact. Gullwing doors were a favorite feature of Gandini’s, but Ferruccio declared they were ridiculous and impractical for such a car. And while the styling was being settled, there was quite a bit of new engineering taking place for the Espada, too.
Rare Rides Icons: In Memoriam, The Chrysler LX Platform (Part II)
As the Chrysler LX platform heads toward its demise after the 2023 model year, Rare Rides Icons is making its way through the various large-ish vehicles that used the platform these past two decades. The starting point for this series are the original LX concepts that never made production. We covered the Airflite (basically a Crossfire hardtop hatchback) last week. And today we’ll take a look at the larger, more luxurious, and more obscure Nassau concept (of which there were two).
TTAC Giveaway: NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12-Volt UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter Box
It's time for another TTAC giveaway!
The Great Pacific Road Trip: Part 4
The last time we saw the 1975 Ford was when your author dropped it off at the shipping office in Oakland. Readers can review the previous installments of the trip up through California, the prep of the car, and the purchase and arrangements of the trip elsewhere on this blog by following the links.
What follows may be of academic interest only to the American reader but if there are any fellow British folks there wondering about importing a car from the USA then the following may prove useful. It is also interesting to arrange a sort of race between the vehicle registration organizations of the two countries, to see who made it hardest and who did it quickest!
But first, the car had to make it here to the U.K.
Rare Rides Icons, The Nissan Maxima Story (Part V)
The new third-generation (J30) Nissan Maxima went in a bold new direction from its predecessors. Larger, more luxurious, more technologically savvy, and better made than the first two, the third Maxima was the first to cater to the North American market. The Maxima’s sudden transformation was so complete that it diverged from its former sibling the Bluebird to become an entirely separate model. First up today, we consider 4DSC styling.
Abandoned History: The Life and Times of Edsel, a Ford Alternative by Ford (Part VII)
Thus far in our Abandoned History coverage of Edsel, we’ve made our way through four of the company’s seven models, specifically the ones offered in its introductory year of 1958. Pacer and Citation were sedans that received the immediate ax, while the Roundup and Bermuda were wagon cancellations.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XV)
Much to the delight of accountants at Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, the new Thunderbird-based 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III was an immediate sales success. It was a case of the right product (a personal luxury coupe) at the right time. The Mark III went head-to-head with its rival and closest competition, the Cadillac Eldorado.
And though the Eldorado nameplate had a long history and was better established than the Mark, Lincoln’s offering topped the Cadillac in sales in its first year. Part of that was down to an exceptionally long first model year that padded the figures, but credit also went to the excitement generated by the Mark. Mark III was all new in 1968 (for the ‘69 model year), while the front-drive E-body Eldorado had been on sale since 1967. Though a few updates happened within its debut model year (that ran from March 1968 to December 1969), product vice president Lee Iacocca knew his pet project needed additional updates to keep consumer interest going.
Rare Rides Icons: The History of Kia's Larger and Full-size Sedans (Part XIV)
Over 14 installments, we’ve finally reached the conclusion of our coverage of Kia’s midsize and large sedans. The Korean manufacturer’s original offerings were borrowed from other companies, most often Mazda. It’s been a long journey, but we finish our tale today with a promising-looking front-drive sedan that’s off-limits to North America. You might never have heard of it.
Rare Rides Icons: Lamborghini's Front-Engine Grand Touring Coupes (Part X)
In 1968, Lamborghini launched two new front-engine grand touring coupes at the same time. It was only the second time the company introduced two new models in the same model year. The two cars in question were the restrained and conservative Islero 2+2, and the larger more in-your-face Espada. While we covered Islero’s rapid demise previously in this series, the four-seat Espada had a much more successful life.
It was the realization of a large four-seat coupe from company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini, who’d wished for a car of said type since the company’s inception. The short-lived Islero turned into a last-of-moment for Lamborghini, as its sales flop proved the company with the raging bull logo was better served by more exciting, outlandish designs.
We covered Espada's styling in our previous entry. Penned by Marcelo Gandini at Bertone, the Espada was nearly a Xerox copy of the Jaguar Pirana concept, at 125 percent magnification. But its large size and generous interior space for four caused some new challenges for Lamborghini’s engineers; the road to the production Espada was not a smooth one.
Rare Rides Icons: In Memoriam, The Chrysler LX Platform (Part I)
Big change is in the air at Chrysler and company these days, as the rear-drive LX platform heads off into the sunset. With a longevity of two decades - far beyond the reach of the majority of current platforms - it seems fitting to eulogize the LX at this juncture. The end of the LX represents more than just the end of the rear-drive internal combustion vehicle at Chrysler.
It’s also the end of two gasoline-powered Dodge muscle cars, the Charger and Challenger (only the Charger returns as an EV). The LX is also the basis of the last two remaining full-size American sedans: Charger and 300C. In 2023 all the last LX-based vehicles will roll off the line, wearing their various gaudy special edition gingerbread. Before that time comes, we should consider all the cars that brought us to this point.
Rare Rides Personas: Powel Crosley Junior, Tiny Cars, Radio, and Baseball (Part V)
Today we return to the Powel Crosley Jr. story, in 1928. As an aftermarket car parts company owner, Crosley saw business diversification opportunities in the burgeoning field of home appliances. In his first foray, he took on established phonograph manufacturers with his value priced Amerinola.
Then as broadcast radio entered public consciousness in the early and mid-Twenties, Crosley began selling simple radios that didn’t require an outside power source. From there, the new Crosley Radio Corporation branched out into powered radios via the low-priced Pup.
Once again, Crosley took on established players like RCA by offering a comparable radio at a fraction of the price. But once customers had their radios in hand, Crosley ran into an issue: It was 1928 and there was nothing to listen to.
Abandoned History: Daewoo Motors, GM's Passport to International Sales (Part II)
We return to our Abandoned History coverage of Daewoo Motors in the early part of the Sixties. Korea was a newly independent nation still in the process of building its economy after many decades of Japanese occupation. The new Korean government seemingly relied on two tenets in its earliest years: Centralized control and openness to bribes.
Both those factors were at play when the government handed the production of all passenger cars to a single company, Saenara Motors. Via a huge loan and technical assistance from Nissan, Saenara built Korea’s first car, the Saenara (Datsun) Bluebird via knock-down kits assembled in South Korea. But once the government noticed there was too much capital flowing out of the country, they banned Saenara from buying more kits from Japan. The scraps of bankrupt Saenara were picked up by another company, Shinjin.
Rare Rides Icons, The Nissan Maxima Story (Part IV)
After its short-lived first generation outing as a rear-drive car from 1981 to 1984, the PU11 Maxima of 1985 adopted the front-engine, front-wheel drive format the Maxima kept permanently. But that wasn’t the only precedent set by the PU11, as Nissan decided to move forward with V6 engine configurations and leave the inline-six in the past.
The addition of the sporty SE trim with its monochromatic details, and fancy electronic options like a Sonar Suspension System were both indications of where Nissan was headed with the Maxima. It was a sportier and more interesting direction than its stiffest competition, the staid and conservative rear-drive Cressida. Sales showed what buyers preferred, as the Maxima outsold the Cressida many times over throughout the mid-Eighties. And at the end of the decade, Nissan gave customers more of what they wanted with the very first 4DSC, a four-door sports car.
Abandoned History: The Life and Times of Edsel, a Ford Alternative by Ford (Part VI)
We return to our Edsel coverage with the company’s fourth and final launch year model that was canceled immediately. In case you need a refresher, Edsel debuted in 1958 with a seven-car lineup. Four models were sedan-based (with accompanying body variations), while three were wagons.
The sedan models that never made it past 1958 included the lower-mid level Pacer, and the flagship Citation. Immediate wagon cancellations were the base model Roundup, and Edsel’s flagship wagon, the Bermuda.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XIV)
Today we return to the groovy year of 1968 in our Lincoln Mark timeline. In March, the quickly and affordably developed Continental Mark III made its debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida. It generated plenty of buyer excitement overnight, and went on sale immediately. Based on the fifth generation Thunderbird, Lincoln’s most exciting car was once again a halo personal luxury coupe.
After almost a decade where Lincoln offered a small number of variations of the Continental sedan that debuted in 1961, the Mark III was something different. We covered its development and styling in our last entry, and now it’s time to step inside a world of gently tufted luxury.
Rare Rides Icons: The History of Kia's Larger and Full-size Sedans (Part XIII)
Last time in our Kia large car saga, we learned much about the second-generation K9. Kia’s large, rear-drive luxury sedan wore K900 badging most places (including North America) but was also called Quoris on occasion. After a first generation that failed to capture the interest of global consumers, Kia went bigger and better for its second attempt.
The larger, more luxurious, and more refined K900 debuted in 2018 for the 2019 model year. It was as good a car as Kia could offer, a statement that was printed with an asterisk: From inception, any Kia flagship had to be lesser than its Genesis (nee Hyundai) sibling. Not as large, not as luxurious, not as showy, not as expensive, and without a long-wheelbase limousine. Let’s find out how it fared.
Rare Rides Icons: Lamborghini's Front-Engine Grand Touring Coupes (Part IX)
We return to our timeline of front-engine Lamborghini GT coupes, but take a step back in time. Our last entry left us at the conclusion of 1969 when the slow-selling Islero ground to a halt. Dealers had a difficult time shifting all 225 examples of the Islero, comprising 125 regular Isleros and 100 of the upgraded Islero S.
Ferruccio Lamborghini dictated the Islero’s restrained and elegant design to Mario Marazzi, after several concepts to replace the aged 400GT did not meet with the boss’s approval. What Lamborghini was really after was a four-seat grand tourer in the finest tradition of grace and pace. The Islero fit most of those qualifications, but was a 2+2 and (as mentioned) almost impossible to sell. Luckily, there was another front-engine Lamborghini GT that debuted at almost the same time as Islero in 1968. Say hello to Espada.
Rare Rides Personas: Powel Crosley Junior, Tiny Cars, Radio, and Baseball (Part IV)
Powel Crosley Jr. entered a new and much more successful chapter of his life in 1916 when he founded the American Automobile Accessories Company (Americo) alongside Cooper Tire Company founder Ira J. Cooper. One of the earliest large-scale retailers of aftermarket car parts, Americo was a pioneer. The company sold parts made by other firms and manufactured its own parts. Many of the latter were invented by Crosley himself.
After just two years Crosley bought out Cooper’s share of the business and pulled in his younger brother Lewis as a new business partner. Despite not having an eye for the financial part of business, Powel was great at sales, advertising, and anticipating what the consumer wanted and needed most. And what they needed circa 1920 were home radios.
Abandoned History: Daewoo Motors, GM's Passport to International Sales (Part I)
Sometimes all it takes is a Tweet to generate a new Abandoned History series. A seemingly simple request: coverage of some GM models from the early 2000s, specifically a Daewoo. But there’s a long, winding, and dramatic history behind Daewoo Motors. The company’s origins trace back to the 1930s, and the very first Korean car.
Throughout the ensuing decades, Daewoo Motors was formed, reformed, bought and sold, and generally passed around in Korea. Along the way, it offered other brands’ vehicles, its own, and even purchased a smaller carmaker. So sit back and relax as we travel to Korea in 1937, during the latter part of the country’s Japanese occupation.
The QOTD Answer: The FX is the Best Infiniti Ever
Our recent QOTD post asked for your thoughts on the best Infiniti model ever. Therein, I promised a follow-up post with my answer to that very important question. So let’s get right down to it: I think the first generation FX was the best Infiniti ever.
Rare Rides Icons: The History of Stutz, Stop and Go Fast (Part XX)
Rare Rides Icons has been embroiled in the Stutz story since February of this year. Through six months and 20 total installments, we’ve covered the entirety of the Stutz brand’s evolution. Stutz started with a win at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 and eventually morphed into a manufacturer of high-powered luxury cars. After the emphasis turned to safety and away from racing, Stutz lost its footing quickly and went extinct.
Decades later it was resurrected by a wealthy man with a background in banking. In 1970 the new Stutz Motor Car Company capitalized on a wave of gauche neoclassical styling that the well-heeled of Hollywood and the Middle East so lovingly embraced. From there the Stutz lineup grew larger, more ostentatious, and more ridiculous. For a time the company sold its wares almost exclusively to foreign regimes, the exported vehicles long lost to time.
We finish the series with the largest and most exclusive Stutz ever built. Massive in length, it was much larger than the Duplex, IV-Porte, Victoria, and indeed the Diplomatica. We close out the Stutz chapter of our lives with Royale and a very interesting recent announcement.
Rare Rides Icons, The Nissan Maxima Story (Part III)
After its first few years as an 810, 910, Datsun by Nissan, Maxima by Datsun, Datsun/Nissan, and similar, the Maxima settled into its permanent home under Nissan branding. The well-equipped compact sedan sold over 198,000 copies in the United States between 1982 and 1984 (‘82 is the earliest year sales data is available) before an all-new Maxima arrived in 1985. With its second generation, Nissan veered off to distinguish the Maxima from its most direct competition, Toyota’s Cressida. Picture it, October 1984.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XIII)
We return to the Lincoln Mark story at a very promising time for the personal luxury coupe. Aside from Ford’s floundering Thunderbird, several other new PLC models arrived in the late sixties. Every major Detroit automaker had one, and circa the turn of the Seventies even more would arrive!
Together, they formed three tiers of personal luxury, segmented by asking price. At the top was the long-standing Cadillac Eldorado, and in the middle were the Thunderbird, Buick Riviera, and Oldsmobile Toronado. They’d be joined in the Seventies by the likes of the Pontiac Grand Prix, Chrysler Cordoba, and Chevy Monte Carlo.
In 1965 Ford’s VP of passenger car product, Lee Iacocca, decided he’d make some use of the fifth-generation Thunderbird’s platform for a higher PLC purpose. With as much parts sharing and cost saving as possible, he’d create a luxurious new Mark that could take on the Eldorado. Ignoring the Marks III, IV, and V of the Fifties, the new Mark would start at III, and attempt to connect itself with the ultra-luxurious Continental Mark II of 1956. We begin today (oddly) with some endurance racing.
Abandoned History: The Life and Times of Edsel, a Ford Alternative by Ford (Part V)
Thus far in Abandoned History’s coverage of Edsel, we’ve learned about the brand’s introduction to the American consumer, and the immediate confusion its pricing caused. As far as product, thus far we’ve covered two of the four single-year Edsel models: Pacer and Citation. While those two models were sedans, there were also two Edsel wagons that bit the dust after one year. Meet the Roundup.
Rare Rides Icons: The History of Kia's Larger and Full-size Sedans (Part XII)
In our last installment of Kia’s large sedan history, we took a look at the second generation Cadenza. With its second salvo at the likes of the Toyota Avalon and the Buick Lacrosse, Kia planned to capture the near-luxury sedan customer who cared about value. Unfortunately, the Cadenza didn’t excel at anything in particular, and failed to stand out against more established competition.
A similar story played out a few years before when Kia introduced the first full-size rear-drive luxury car it ever designed in-house. Called the K9 (Quoris or K900 elsewhere), the large sedan shared a platform with the new rear-drive Hyundai Equus. Both sedans were the flagship offerings at their respective brands.
The Equus was flashy and almost American-inspired, while the K9 was conservative and understated. But it turned out a large and anonymous looking luxury car was not to the taste of most customers. Even in its home market, buyers vastly preferred the Equus and its large winged hood ornament. What was Kia to do?
Rare Rides Personas: Powel Crosley Junior, Tiny Cars, Radio, and Baseball (Part III)
We pick up our coverage of the life and times of Powel Crosley Jr. in 1916. At 30 years old, Crosley had a spouse of six years and two young children. He’d given up car-selling ventures in Indiana for a permanent return to his native land of Cincinnati.
His experiences in car sales and hype in Indiana turned the inventor into a marketing man, and Crosley’s main source of income was ad copy. He did that in between short-lived side jobs at small local automotive companies (that all went bust). All the while Crosley kept one eye on the automobile market and took notice of just how common and numerous the automobile had become on American roads. It was almost time for a new car venture.
Rare Rides Icons: Lamborghini's Front-Engine Grand Touring Coupes (Part VIII)
We return to our Rare Rides Icons coverage of Lamborghini’s front-engine coupes at a moment of relative triumph. After three earlier design proposals failed to pass muster with Ferruccio Lamborghini, a fourth received approval and was chosen as the 400GT’s replacement. Part of an in-house collaborative effort between Mr. Lamborghini, Carrozzeria Marazzi, and Lamborghini’s engineers, the resulting coupe was sedate, elegant, and not that removed from the outgoing 400GT 2+2.
Rare Rides Icons: The History of Stutz, Stop and Go Fast (Part XIX)
Today we find ourselves in the 19th chapter of Stutz historical coverage. In the early Eighties Stutz (somewhat) successfully branched out from its Blackhawk-only product line, and made the Bearcat targa, the Bearcat II convertible, some SUVs for dictatorial armament and parade usage, as well as sedans and limousines.
We’re in the latter group of automobiles at the moment. So far we’ve covered the one-off Duplex that found no customers, and its successor the IV-Porte that did. After the IV-Porte came the Victoria, which added 10 additional inches to IV-Porte’s base, the B-body Bonneville. Victoria survived the Bonneville’s full-size demise in 1981 and moved its basis to the similar Oldsmobile 88 in 1982. Around that time Stutz added an even more exclusive, larger, and more garish sedan to the lineup. Let’s talk about Diplomatica.
Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XII)
Lincoln was in a bad way at the turn of the Sixties, both financially and in terms of its product. The company lost hundreds of millions (adjusted) in the early and middle portion of the decade, when it invested in and then promptly canceled the Continental Division. Attempting a rebound, Lincoln dumped lots more cash into a new unibody platform that was exclusive to Lincoln models.
The new lineup was on sale from 1958 to 1960 and was unfortunately introduced at the start of a sharp economic recession. However, even after the recession ended Lincoln’s gaudy and overworked styling caused customers to steer clear of Lincoln and purchase Cadillacs instead. Lincoln lost $60 million ($550 million adj.) more.
1961 heralded the arrival of an all-Continental lineup, the Elwood Engel design that was instantly popular and saved the company. However, the new and streamlined (in all ways) Lincoln lineup spared no room for a Continental Mark series. The Mark slumbered until 1968.