American luxury today lacks the grandeur and optimism of the past, a fact driven by a generation raised with no appreciation for hoods long enough to land a Dreamliner, or the mystique of the opera window. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Lincoln Mark V serves as a stoic reminder of what luxury once was, but is its price a little too reminiscent?
Yesterday we eschewed luxury for the penitent minimalism of a 1977 Datsun F10. Unfortunately, that little front-driver's price failed to align with its mission, a fact reflected in both its 80% Crack Pipe loss and multiple comments equating its presence here to someone having shat in your oatmeal.
Today's candidate is big enough to befoul your whole breakfast buffet.
The heritage of Lincoln is truly that of American luxury. The company was founded by Henry Leland, who had previously founded Cadillac, which incestuously was what became of Henry Ford's first car company. Ford eventually bought the Lincoln brand in 1922 after it had fallen into bankruptcy, and from then on, Lincoln was Henry's rich bitch.
The Mark series debuted in 1956 as a companion brand for Lincoln - Continental. The Mark II, hand built with no expense spared, was at the time the most expensive automobile offered by an American manufacturer. Not unsurprisingly, its ten thousand dollar price tag proved too rich for cold war America and both it and Continental as a separate brand were gone after only two years. Lincoln absorbed both like the blob tried to do to Steve McQueen, and a panoply of successive Marks - each one bigger and more ostentatious than its predecessor - ensued.
That all stopped with the V.
The Lincoln Mark V is the last of the breed to walk in lockstep with America's need to go big or go home - the Panther-based MkVI that followed playing shrinky-dink in comparison. A little over 75,000 of the 230-inch long, 120-inch wheelbase, cars were built before its mini-me successor kicked it to the curb. Special Designer editions went under the Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Pucci names. And that was real luxury.
This 1979 Mark V doesn't sport a designer label, but is claimed to be visually refreshed and customized, featuring not just new beige paint - the most luxurious of colors - but also a re-vinyl'd landau roof, and custom leather interior. Mechanically, the Mark - which rests on a hefty perimeter frame - is said to have recently also received a new carb, alternator, complete ignition system, and radiator, all luxury items. The massive V8 - which is the 159-bhp, 400-cid Cleveland - could be the OPEC poster child despite being only able to sip through a Motorcraft 2150 2bbl straw. It should however, still manage to move the car's 4,589-lbs with the stoic dignity of an ocean liner through calm seas.
That custom interior, which includes tri-tone leather on the seats and a rosewood imprinted steering wheel cover, is complemented externally by a set of chrome 20" donks. Traditional elements such as the faux Rolls Royce grille and faux spare in the trunk, also known as a Continental kit, remain. The entire package exudes not just traditional American luxury, but also our nation's sense of entrepreneurial spirit as this could very well be a working man's car, but not just any working man. If you happened to be some sort of whore-master by day, crime-fighter by night (or vice-versa) - a Charlie to a band of angels who, you know, put out - this could be your car. Batman has his Batmobile, Pimpman should have his Pimpcar, crystal Courvoisier snifter included.
Luxuriously refreshed, this Mark still has less than 100K on its clock, and with all the renewed bits it should be good for many more. Plus, the upgraded 4-wheel discs should make the act of stopping it more actual that hypothetical as was with the old set up. The air suspension - claimed leak-free - will make for a ride equatable to riding on a sea of marshmallow fluff.
And it all could be yours for $12,000. That's not even what the car cost new, and it's not only new-looking but generally improved - 20" wheels in ‘79 pretty much being relegated to tractors and commercial aircraft. There's also that killer stereo system that probably sounds better than most home units did when the car came out of the factory, and the seller's ALL-CAPs declaration that the car is so good he'd drive it to China if he thought it would float is the kind of advocacy that Lincoln could have used, back in the day.
But should someone float that twelve grand to buy it? Sure, it represents luxury that is uncommon today, but that's still a lot of bank for a 32 year-old car. The upgrades may sway the decision one way or other, depending on just how pimp you think you are. So what'll it be, is this donked Mark V worth $12,000? Or, is that too many Washingtons for this Lincoln?
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