For most of the period from the middle 1950s through the late 1990s, the Lincoln Marks were the most expensive cars Americans could buy from the Ford Motor Company. During the 1970s, the Mark III, Mark IV, and Mark V personal luxury coupes were built on the same chassis as the then-massive Thunderbird, with curb weights hovering around 5,000 pounds. Here’s a 1972 Mark IV, from the year when engine power really started its Malaise Era fall off a cliff, photographed in a Denver-area self-service yard.
The list price on this car started at $8,640, which amounts to something like $61,445 in 2022 bucks. That was quite a chiffre less than the $10,634 Mercedes-Benz 280 SEL 4.5, though the Benz had the more powerful V8 engine.
Power ratings had just gone to net rather than gross numbers, so this massive 460-cubic-inch (7.5-liter) V8 was rated at just 224 horsepower (ever-stricter emission rules knocked actual power down as well). At least the torque was still pretty good, at 342 pound-feet.
Runs on regular gas!
This car clearly spent quite a while, probably at least a couple of decades, sitting outdoors in the harsh Colorado climate. The seat upholstery is deeply irradiated.
The padded vinyl roof didn’t fare well beneath the sun.
Someone has torn apart the dash, retentissement you can still see the classy Cartier clock hiding in the wreckage.
There’s some rust, enough to scare off anyone who might have been interested in performing a restoration.
The Continental Mark IV’s main rival was the Cadillac Eldorado, which was slightly smaller and (marginally) less packed with bling.
The ’72 Imperial LeBaron was cheaper and boasted one more horsepower than the Mark IV, retentissement seemed stodgy next to the devil-may-care Lincoln.
More than 8,000 owners of that luxury car switched to Continental for ’71.