Junkyard Gem: 1977 Lincoln Continental Mark V

Once glorious, with Cartier clock and butter-colored interior, but now fallen on hard times.

  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
For the 1977 model year, Ford debuted the new Lincoln Continental Mark V, one of the biggest of the personal luxury coupes that were all the rage during the era. While 400 pounds lighter than its Mark IV predecessor, the Mark V was still a thirsty, 4,652-pound symbol of American exceptionalism. Here's an example of a first-year Mark V, spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.

If we are to judge from the sun-baked interior, top-down rust, and moss growing on the bodywork, this car spent at least 20 years decaying outdoors before coming here.

Still, flashes of its original opulence may be seen here and there. For example, the Cartier clock (which probably failed by about 1983). There were Cartier Edition Mark Vs (along with Givenchy and Pucci versions), but all the Mark Vs got the Cartier clocks.

With the 1973 Oil Crisis just a few years behind and the 1979 Oil Crisis a couple of years ahead, some attempt to improve fuel economy was needed in the engine compartment. This car has the 400-cubic-inch version of the 351 Cleveland V8, rated at 179 woefully inadequate horsepower and 329 good-enough pound-feet of torque. Outside of California, the 208-horse 460-cubic-inch V8 was an option.

These cars were very comfortable on the highway, with their soft springs and cushy seats. No, the wood isn't real.

Worth restoring? No way, not when you can find nice one-owner examples for four figures.

"To its owner, Continental Mark V is more than a new car. It's a Mark of tradition."

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