The LS was the last Lincoln sedan offered with a manual transmission although few buyers took the company up on the offer. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice candidate is one of those few. Could that factor make its price a deal for many?
When attempting to sell anything via the classifieds, it’s always best to present your wares in the best light possible. In the case of yesterday’s 1997 Toyota Land Cruiser, that best light was total darkness. I mean like the inside of a well-digger’s ass dark. That’s not to say that the truck lacked any appeal, it just didn’t hold $7,000 worth according to most of you. The result was a decisive 83 percent No Dice loss for the big Toyota wagon.
Toyota is one car company that has never really had to reinvent itself. Oh sure, over the years the Japanese automaker has adjusted course a few times. Mostly, however, it has stayed true to its roots of making solid if only marginally aspirational cars and trucks.
The American luxury brand, Lincoln, on the other hand, is presently on about its fifth reinvention. Ford, the marque’s parent, really hasn’t seemed to be able to figure out what Lincoln is or should rightfully be. At present, it’s settled on being a maker of competent and extremely luxurious crossovers and SUVs that are all just fancy-pants versions of existing Fords. Who knows, maybe that will work.
Today’s 2001 Lincoln LS represents one of Lincoln’s furtive attempts to reinvigorate the brand, taking it for a short time into BMW-fighting territory. The effort was an abject failure, but the fruit of that labor — the LS — turned out to be a fairly interesting car as a result. It debuted for the 2000 model year, with an RWD, all-independent suspension chassis shared with the two-seat Ford Thunderbird, released a year later, and the Jaguar S-Type which hit the streets at the same time as the LS. Both of the Lincoln’s platform mates looked longingly backward for their styling cues, and in many opinions, suffered for it.
In contrast, Lincoln’s designers took a clean-sheet approach to the LS’s lines. Countering the puffy Continental and Town Car or even the money-minting Navigator, the uncluttered and sharper-edged LS really stood out. The car’s simple lines and restrained trim look passable even today, 20 years after the car rolled off its Wixom, Michigan assembly line. Credit that to Helmuth Schrader, the car’s German-born design lead.
This one is particularly interesting since it’s one of the rare few to have been optioned with a Getrag five-speed manual transmission. The LS was designed to be sold in two models — one with a 3-liter Duratec V6 and another more upscale version with a 3.9-liter AJ V8. Only the V6 model could be optioned with a stick. With the V8, an automatic was the only choice.
In this model year, the naturally aspirated V6 offered up 210 horsepower and 205 lb-ft of torque. Those may not be stellar numbers, but with the stick, a V6 LS should be able to hit sixty in around nine seconds. That was par for the course back when these were new.
There are just 106,000 miles on the clock and the car comes with a clear title. Those are low miles and the car seems to show pretty well for having been around for more than two decades. The black paint still seems to pop and is complemented by some subtle brightwork and a set of handsome alloy wheels. The chromed license plate surround on the back end is a bit garish but is the only real flourish the car presents. The gray interior looks livable, with just some crazing on the leather seating surfaces and a general need for a good vacuuming to note. The LS shared its dashboard with the Thunderbird and both the styling and the materials seem to have held up over time.
The seller claims the car to be an excellent highway cruiser and to have no issues with either the engine or gearbox. There is one fly in this Lincoln’s ointment, though. That’s a cracked K frame that will need to be replaced. If you’re unfamiliar, the K-frame is the structure to which the rear suspension is bolted and serves to reduce vibration and road noise in the rest of the unit-body car. The seller claims that a new K-frame is on the way from California and will come with the car, just not installed on it.
That’s kind of a big deal since the entire rear end needs to be dropped in order for the sub-frame to be replaced. Unless you have a four-point lift or a lot of jacks on hand, that’s going to be a horrendous job.
But then, that’s probably why the seller is only asking $2,500 for this rare and tidy LS. The question for all of you is whether anyone ought to take the plunge even at that low price. What do you think, is this sub-frame-needing LS worth that $2,500 asking? Or, is it a car that should more rightfully just go the junkyard route?
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