Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XLII)

We bid a sad farewell to the Mustang-adjacent Mark VII in our last installment. The first Continental Mark to adopt modern styling and disconnect itself from the Mark III of 1968 was also the last of its kind to wear a Continental badge. And as Lincoln sought to clarify its product lineup by separating the Continental sedan and allowing the Mark to stand on its own, the company also attempted to bring in a new, sportier customer. And that customer became the target at which the Mark VIII was aimed.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Datsun 200SX Coupe

Nissan sold two generations of Silvias badged as Datsun 200SXs in the United States from the 1976 through 1983 model years, then sold the subsequent Silvia generation here as the Nissan 200SX until 1989. Today's Junkyard Find, found in a yard just south of Denver, is a nicely preserved example of the final year of the S110 Silvia, as well as of the Datsun name.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XLI)
We last left the Mark VII story - sans Continental - in 1988. Through the annual color and trim changes for the Designer Series and an eventual simplificatio…
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Junkyard Find: 1986 BMW 325es

When I first became a wise and fair judge for the 24 Hours of Lemons race series, back in 2008, I got a lot of static from Internet Car Experts who noted the large quantity of BMW E30s in every race and proclaimed that any E30 in any condition was worth at least ten times more than the Lemons $500 limit on car cost. Because I spent a great deal of time in self-service junkyards and saw that—at least in California—such places were overflowing with unwanted E30s, I knew they were wrong. 15 years later, though, E30s have become fairly rare in junkyards, so this fairly complete 325es in a Colorado yard caught my eye a few weeks back.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XL)

Here we are, the 40th installment in the Lincoln Mark series cars. After the debut of the exciting new Continental Mark VII in 1984 heralded the arrival of modern styling and a Luxury Sports Coupe (LSC) trim, Lincoln’s management made minor trim alterations in 1985 before Big Time Changes in 1986.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXXIX)

As we’ve learned in the prior two installments to this series, the Continental Mark VII was a new take on Lincoln’s halo PLC theme, inside and out. With a distinct move away from huge chrome bumpers, excessive trim, and bench-style seating for six, the Mark VII also wanted to move its trim designations beyond the leisure suit era that affected the prior two generations. The new trim hierarchy would end up the final time a Designer Series was available on a Mark.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXXVIII)

After a review of the Lincoln Continental Mark VII’s completely revamped and modernized styling in our last entry, we’ll spend this today on its interior. As Lincoln attempted to draw a new, more youthful well-heeled customer base to the Mark, the PLC traditionalist of yore faded away. And said youthful customer - usually with an eye on European cars - was less interested in acres of faux wood panel, ruched velour, traditional instruments, and overstuffed button-tufted interiors.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXXVII)

As we learned in our last entry, the new for ‘84 Lincoln Continental Mark VII headed in a different direction than any of its PLC predecessors. It was smaller and lighter than even the downsized Mark VI that came before it and rode on the newer Fox platform shared by the Mustang, Thunderbird, Cougar, and indeed the Continental sedan. The Mark’s Eighties evolution was a necessary measure as European luxury competition came in hot, and the disco-traditionalist type PLC customer of the past was no more. Lincoln’s designers had a tall order in the earliest days of the Eighties: Maintain the Mark’s identity generally as a Lincoln and a luxury coupe, and move its looks beyond everything prior to 1984.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXXVI)

When Lincoln’s new Continental Mark VII arrived for the 1984 model year, the sleek new coupe offered immediate relief from the tired (and lousy) Panther platform Mark VI that languished at dealers between 1980 and 1983. The move to the Fox platform with the likes of the Thunderbird and Cougar was accompanied by a big step forward in drivability, technology, and general modernization for the Mark. Finally!

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXXV)

It didn’t take very long for the chilly reception of the downsized and Panther-based Mark VI to reach Ford HQ in Dearborn. Despite the seductive and elegant four-door Mark VI’s presence, sales were nowhere near those of the outgoing Mark V. Things continued on their downhill trend for the model’s four-year duration. It was time for an all-new take on the PLC from Lincoln.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Toyota Camry All-Trac

When American Motors introduced the Eagle for the 1980 model year, followed by Audi beginning Quattro sales here a year later, it was finally possible to buy cars—not trucks—that powered all four wheels with no confusing decisions demanded of drivers. Toyota's response to this was the All-Trac AWD system, which first appeared here in 1988 models. Here's one of those first-year cars: a Camry All-Trac found in a Denver self-service yard recently.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXXIV)

In today’s Lincoln Mark coverage, we reach the conclusion of the ill-fated and unpopular Mark VI. Though the Mark of 1980 to 1983 was arguably the least interesting entry in the model’s history and the one with the least amount of effort put into it, Lincoln still charged a pretty penny for its PLC. But the market was changing, and so was Lincoln’s lineup.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

Cadillac began using the Biarritz name on the high-zoot Eldorado in 1956, dropped it after 1964, then revived it for 1976 on an Eldo distinguished by its extra-squishy "Cabriolet" vinyl half-roof. The definitive Biarritz came a bit later, though, with the downsized 1979-1985 generation of Eldorados. Here's one of those cars, found on the outskirts of my very favorite Colorado car graveyard.

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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.

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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.

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  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂