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.
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.
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.
DETROIT -- The 2024 Ford Mustang arrives early next summer, but Ford isn’t waiting for next year to take the wraps off.
In an attempt to own the 2022 North American International Auto Show/Detroit Auto Show news cycle, Ford has set up a “stampede” of Mustang owners who are traveling here to the Motor City. That’s ahead of a prime-time unveiling in downtown Detroit.
I should point out, for the sake of context, that as important as the reveal of any new Mustang is, it is not hard for Ford to own the news this year, since there isn’t much else going on. Unless hot-rod Tahoes and special-edition Jeeps tickle your fancy.
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.
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.
A common knock on dealers these days is the propensity for some of them to slap an asking price over MSRP on what few cars they do actually have in stock or on allocation. We’ll leave discussion of free market practices to the B&B for now but, in the wake of several announcements this summer ahead of the 2023 model year, it seems manufacturers are upping the table stakes before dealers can even ante.
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.
While not as popular as the full-sized Ford Transit, the smaller Transit Connect makes an excellent vehicle for small business owners and families that want something that offers an abundance of cargo space but is still easy to park. Though it doesn't seem that enough of those people existed in North America because the automaker has reportedly opted to make the model a European exclusive after 2023.
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.
Those who’ve studied the build and price site for the Ford Bronco will note that the company labels the upper trim Badlands and Wildtrak versions as the ones you should select if you plan to go wheelin’ often. That’s before even thinking about adding the Sasquatch package.
The "Save the Manuals" crew will also note that the Badlands trim is the only way to get a loaded Bronco with a clutch pedal.
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.