Welcome to Used Car Face Off, where we find two similar or similarly priced used cars and ask you which one you would buy. Choose wisely!
Last week, we honored the latest Bond movie, Skyfall, with a couple of posts. But there's another long-awaited movie going nationwide this weekend: Lincoln. And how are we going about honoring that? Ask no more.
Lincoln, named that because Honest Abe one of the founder's heroes, has lived most of its life as an also-ran against its crosstown luxury rival Cadillac. That's not to say Lincoln hasn't turned out good cars in its nearly century-long existence. And while it's stuck right now between a state of complacency and rebirth, it's hard to argue LIncolns aren't some of the most iconic cars produced in this country.
Let's start with the iconic and this 1979 Mark V. What started out as a massive, yet personal, luxury car with a thumping V8 in front turned into something like a living room with two doors, four wheels and a heavy engine in front that produced the power of a manual pencil sharpener. But you have to remember this is the Cartier Edition. Cariter, which starts with C that stands for classy, so you can forget that it does about 10 MPG and only has about 180 horsepower from that whopping great 400 cubic-inch V8.
This particular Mark is actually a nice one because it has fewer than 7,000 miles from new and is unblemished by the ravages of time, right down to the "Lifetime Rustproofing" sticker on the window. The interior has the same sort of "wood" as a Lipton microwave from the same period and the same kinds of fonts, but you can't argue with the space. There's plenty of room to wear a top hat and I don't even know if seats that wide would fit in my living room. As a ‘70s American cruiser, they don't get much more loungier than this.
But what a difference a decade makes, right? Because by the time Lincoln got to Mark VII in 1984, they had a genuine luxury coupe that could be called good in its own right. The ones to go for, though, were the performance LSC coupes. This 1991 Mark VII LSC, also in bland beige, is one of the last examples of the Mark VII line. For a 21-year-old car that's done 75,000 miles, it's nice and clean.
I think the VII's lines have held up better than the bulbous Mark VIII's or just about any recent Lincoln that isn't a limo. Those snazzy alloys also remind you what 1991 looked like. But under the hood there's a V8 that actually makes power, 225 horsepower to be precise. It's typical ‘80s Ford inside, but for the time this was a viable option to a BMW 6-series.
I've always had a secret crush on the Mark VII LSC, perhaps because it's probably the most European-looking American luxury coupe. I'd still trample over one to get to a nice 635CSi or 300CE, but the still-low asking prices for these make them tempting every time I see a clean one. Of course, you'll probably think the bigger Mark V looks more, um, presidential than the slim VII. And you'd probably be right.
Which one would you pick?