Flying from California to Detroit for a press event was a frigid shock; as my Bostonian editor strolled breezily in a sweater, I was parka’d up like an eskimo. They tell you to leave Northern California before it makes you soft, and it looks like I’ve missed my window.
Another shock was the rusty cars. Cars don’t rust much in California, and so it was like being on safari – look, there’s a rusty car! There’s another! Two in particular from the Ford’s full-size Panther platform were impressive for their stick-to-it-iveness, even as their skins were rotting away. First we’ll look at this Lincoln Continental Mark VI, and then we’ll check out a Ford LTD Landau.
The Continental Mark VI had a brief run from 1980 to ’83, after which the Continental name was applied to the smaller Fox-body platform. This larger one is basically a Lincoln Town Car with minor trim differences.
The Panther platform may be familiar and common, but in 1983 (the year this Mark VI appears to be, with its ’83-only carriage roof), the Continental was not cheap. The Town Car and Mark VI came in three flavors – base, Signature and Designer Series. The Town Car’s top Cartier Designer Series would be about $47,100 in today’s dollars, while the base Mark IV would start at $49,750, and this one added the carriage roof ($2,600), a power sliding moonroof ($3,100), and wire-spoke aluminum wheels ($2,100), among other options.
Funny that the wheels would be so expensive when they seem so small compared to the rest of the car.
These front fender louvers were one distinguishing styling element over the cleaner Town Car…
…as was this hallmark of the Lincoln Mark, the fake spare-tire bulge.
Enough about the car: back to the rust, which here is being dispatched with blue duct tape.
So much blue tape.
In some places, the tape is structural.
The Town Car continued on after 1983, and its flossier Mark VI sister ended its run on a high note, with strong sales over the year before. This rusty survivor still serves up luxury to its owner, duct tape notwithstanding.
Tell us in the comments – what do you think of this Mark VI and its novel approach to bodywork?