Today, manufacturers think luxury means heated and cooled seats, voice command and one-touch trunk closure. But Nice Price or Crack Pipe knows that true luxury means hidden headlights, landau roofs, and driving dynamics that are like a Nyquil-induced coma.
Yesterday's '78 Volvo 262C must have been rocking a nasty yeast infection or something because nobody wanted anything to do with it. The $7,500 asking price didn't help any, and that, as well as a general abhorrence, led to a 57% Crack Pipe loss for the Swedish meatball.
The inspiration for that Volvo's chopped, vinyl-clad roof and luxuriously appointed interior was the Lincoln Mark IV. And while the Swede is significantly shorter than its influencer (perhaps the root of its awkward appearance and lackluster sales) at least it had the idea right. That Mark IV, sharing much of its metal with the largest thunderbird in history continued to inspire many of the white shoes and belt crowd, as did its equally ginormous followup, which was logically branded the Mark V. But when that model's short run ended, its successor had to face the realities of higher gas prices, shrinking parking spaces at Applebee's, and a consumer mind set that was getting comfortable with the idea of smaller, and more importantly, foreign cars.
The Mark VI kept its smooth-riding body-on-frame platform, but, in a move that Kirstie Alley rues to this day, simply switched to a smaller size - easy peasy. The Panther platform had been underpinning the Crown Vic for a year before Ford felt it ready for the big time, and as today's ultra-low mileage 1983 Lincoln Continental MKVI demonstrates, while shrinking in size, it still maintained its largeness in luxury. With this nearly showroom fresh MKVI you'll greet the world with a knock-off Rolls Royce grille, surrounded by seductive hidden headlamps and stately vertical corner lamps set into sharply creased double prows. That severe and elegant line continues straight back, defining the vented front fenders and leaping up at an angle to describe the trailing edge of the side glass and the border of the landau roof. Set into that roof are a pair of opera windows that are as much a traditional expression of the Lincoln heritage as is the faux spare tire hump in the boot lid. The metallic teal paint on the this example shines like new, and establishes an excellent canvas for the generous profusion of chrome covering both front and rear bumpers as well as the entirety of both rockers and the aforementioned grille.
The interior continues the color and chrome but adds crushed velour to the menu. If you haven't seen Avatar, and were wondering what all the fuss was about - what was so visually stunning - well don't bother. Just take a gander at the seats in this car as they're quite possibly the inspiration for that movie's palette. Bench seats don't get much benchier and you've got two of them here, front and back, although the front one is one of those "split-bench" seats so carrying a third up there's an iffy proposition. The rest of the passenger compartment is a testament to petrochemical engineering and ‘80s technology. There's an acre or so of wood in there, and not a tree was felled for it. The spindly hard plastic steering wheel harkens back to an era when that wasn't the driver's focal point. The dual, illuminated vanity mirrors speak to what was.
Under the hood purrs Ford's tried and true 302-cid V8, with, for the first time, a throttle body fuel injection set up. When the VI was first introduced a carbureted 351 was also on tap, but by '83, only the 200-bhp 5.0 could be had. Mated to that is Ford's then-new AOD four-speed automatic, actuated by a steering column-mounted chrome lever, just as it should be.
This '83 has been kept in pristine condition, and it's unlikely you'd come across another so nice anytime soon. The clean appearance stems partially from the low miles which are claimed to be only 25,282. The seller also says it's riding on its original Michelins, but that might be a bit of authenticity you could do without.
So what does it cost to drive the automotive equivalent of the Vegas Strip? Well, I'm sure you could pick up a rust-bucket MKVI with a couple of meth heads living in the back seat for next to nothing. But to slide your ass into the cosseting confines of this fine example will set you back a Hamilton shy of eleven large. Not only are you getting one of the best of the breed left on the block, but it's a Signature Series too, so they don't come much more bedecked in frillery.
So, would you pay that $10,990 for this ode to American luxury from the Reagan era? Or, does that price make this Lincoln marked for extinction?
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