The Lincoln Versailles was Ford's reaction to the success of Cadillac's Seville. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe custom Grandeur Coupe Royal will get a reaction — likely regurgitative — but will its price as well?
When competitor Cadillac sought to go toe to toe with the insurgent import luxury offerings from the likes of Mercedes Benz and BMW, they brought forth the Seville, a car smaller and more cleanly styled than anything else in their lineup. That I will call it mini-me Caddy became a raging hit, and caused Ford to do some quick work in order to catch some of that same lightning in a bottle. Much like the Seville, the resultant Versailles was built on humble underpinnings — in this case the platform that originally was designed for Ford's Falcon compact, however its execution was a lot more traditional that Teutonic.
The ubiquity of common parts that made up the little Lincoln has over the years made junkyard Versailles' excellent sources of disc brake back axles that can be retrofitted to classic Mustangs. Long before they started showing up in the wreckers' yards however, someone also though the Granada-based car - available from the factory in a lone 4-door body style — would make for a top-notch foundation for a custom coupe.
This 1979 Grandeur Coupe Royale could have originated at an Amsterdam Mickey-Dee's because — as Vincent Vega would describe it — it comes with cheese. Instead it was built in Pompano Beach Florida, more a bastion of leisure suits than loose drug laws. The Grandeur conversion maintains the Versailles' 109.9-inch wheelbase, but eschews the original car's five-seat sedan sensibility for a wackadoodle two-door, two seat coupe aesthetic.
Replacing the rear doors with the fronts and moving the whole kit and caboodle back allows room for a pair of fiberglass faux sidemounts. That might seem like overkill since Grandeur didn't see fit to remove the Versailles' existing trunk lid-dominating fake spare hump, making you wonder just what kind of road hazard expectations the potential buyer must have had. Underneath that rearmost not so lovely lady hump is an oddly-shaped trunk that you'd think the sellers would have made time to clean the Meth lab out of before snapping the pics. Maybe they didn't notice due to the padded roof's remarkably poor rear-visibility.
If you think the silver over black bodywork on this pimp-daddy of a Lincoln is unusual, wait until you pop the U.S.S. Enterprise flight deck of a hood to discover the 133-bhp 302 nestled back behind a radiator fan shroud that could double as a curb-side refuse container. Freakishly, the move of the engine back along with the firewall means that this Coupe Royale is in a sense a mid-engine car, proving that it takes more than that check box to be filled to make a proper sports car. Behind the smog-strangled V8 is Ford's tried and true C4 automatic, which is controlled via a chrome column-mounted lever.
That's not the only thing chrome in the bordello that is the Royale's interior, and while the rubber floor mats are likely not from the factory, their cross-woven molded pattern is like the cherry on top of the crazy cake that is this baroque redrum. Six wire wheels and 4 wide white wall tires extend the look externally.
There's only 16,100 miles on this Coupe Royale, which indicates either that driving this car was left for special occasions, or it was too embarrassing in which to be seen. Either way, it's unlikely that this classic will be piling on the miles any time soon. If you wanted to do so however, the seller claims that it starts and drives as well as a '79-Versailles can be expected to, despite being all original with the exception of the shark sex organs 4-port exhaust.
He also claims that the original price - back when Carter was lusting in his heart - was $34,000. That anyone could have lusted that much for this car back then is surprising, but today one only needs to lust $8,500 to be its loud and proud owner. What do you think, is that a price that makes this a Versaille for sore eyes? Or, does that dollar amount make this a custom Lin-con?
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