Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XI)

We resume our Mark sequence protection in the 1960 model 12 months, which took place to be a previous-of for numerous reasons. It was the previous of the unibody Lincoln lineup that debuted in 1958, the Continental Mark line of versions, and for Lincoln’s product naming scheme as a entire. We coated the visual edits in our very last entry a return to some of the garishness of 1958 that Elwood Engel tried using to tone down in 1959. With the more gingerbread hanging off of every possible area of the Mark V Continentals for 1960, the lineup grew more substantial in every path and heavier than ever ahead of.

The visible edits made the Mark V the premier and heaviest Continental of the unibody generation. Length amplified from 227.1 inches in 1959 to 227.2 inches in 1960. Right after all, length bragging was crucial for advertising and marketing reasons. Width also enhanced even although the Lincolns of 1958 had been some of the widest passenger vehicles on the highway, from 80.1 inches to 80.3″. Height enhanced as very well, most likely down to a new suspension (see below), from 56.5 inches in 1958 and 1959 to 56.7″ in 1960. The Mark V claimed a record as the longest sedan ever generated by Ford prior to five-mile-for each-hour bumper regulation (we’ll get to these sooner or later).

There were also a handful of modifications under the skin for the 1960 Mark Vs, while most consumers have been almost certainly not conscious at the time. The rear suspension layout was “updated” from coil springs to simpler leaf springs. And although that may well have been a specialized downgrade, the leaf spring set up was a lot more able to cope with the massive weight of the 1960 Marks. Benefit of servicing enhanced as properly: The Mark V’s fuse box was moved under the hood rather of inside of the cabin, for greater accessibility. Some thing a prospective customer certainly cared about, cruise handle, was a new product on the possibilities listing.

System designs remained as they have been in 1959, with Continental’s expanded range. Two-doorway selections incorporated the hardtop coupe and convertible, and there was a base 4-door sedan, hardtop Landau sedan, as nicely as the really costly City Automobile and Limousine.

However the complete Lincoln lineup was a continuation for 1 ultimate 12 months in 1960, one model did not make the lower: Capri. The entry-stage Lincoln was rebranded as only “Lincoln,” to contend with the new base product Chrysler New Yorker (1960-1962) and Collection 62 Cadillac (1959-1960). Of all those, the Chrysler was noteworthy for its new unibody design and style. Said structure was not shared with the upmarket Imperial types, which utilised the overall body-on-frame D platform from 1957 to 1966. 

The foundation Lincoln was a combo of the 1959 trim of the Capri with the new front and rear clip patterns from the Premiere and Marks. The only middling product was the Premiere, when all above have been Continental Mark V variants. Lincoln rolled them out on the showroom flooring a single much more time, but they most definitely did not fly off the whole lot. 

Lincoln’s overall revenue fell about 8 p.c in 1960, a calendar year that saw basic stagnation in the U.S. vehicle marketplace. Complete enterprise gross sales were 24,820, which was much better than Imperial’s 17,719 determine, but pathetic in comparison to juggernaut Cadillac and its 142,184 sales. Edsel offered 3,008 cars and trucks that calendar year, as the brand was place out of its misery. 

Not fairly 50 % the Lincolns marketed that year were being Mark V Continentals, 11,096 examples. The most popular entire body style was all over again the Landau hardtop sedan, with 6,604 income. The convertible remained the future most well known decision, with 2,044 profits. The hardtop coupe observed 1,461 buyers, considerably extra than the fundamental sedan’s profits of 807. The 2nd 12 months of the City Auto and Limousine noticed an enhance in profits for the Town Vehicle (136 vs . 78 the past year), but the Limousine take fee dropped from 49 to just 34. 

It is not tough to comprehend why consumers had been not eager to pony up for the sticker of the Town Car or truck and Limousine. Apart from their ahead slanted rear window and added leg place, there was minor to distinguish them from any other Continental sedan. And they were not readily available in pillarless hardtop guise with their “formal” attitudes, at a time when the hardtop was a large seller. 

In their remaining yr, the Landau sedan asked $6,840 ($69,172 adj.), although the convertible was $7,055 ($71,347 adj.). City Car or truck requested $9,205 ($93,090 adj.), and the Limousine demanded $10,235 ($103,506 adj.). Rates for the Mark V autos were being nearly equivalent to Mark IV pricing of 1959.

The 1960 Mark Vs represented a tipping level of dimensions, body weight, garishness, and lack of purchaser fascination. The 1958 to 1960 styles would afterwards be considered the “forgotten Marks,” though other garish luxurious styling of the interval was celebrated (particularly for Cadillac). The people at Lincoln’s marketing office understood change was in the wind in 1960, and manufactured it apparent through an alteration in the brochures.

In 1959, the “Mark IV Continental” branding was an update to the former year’s “Continental Mark III,” as it put the Mark identify entrance and center. In 1960 brochures stated “Lincoln Continental” and “Mark V” individually, but never ever collectively.

“Ever considering that its beginnings as a custom made-constructed automobile for a privileged couple of,” the brochure reads, “the Lincoln Continental has been famous as America’s most exclusive and magnificent motorcar. The Mark V now carries this custom to a new peak of perfection.”

The separation was of program intentional, as in 1961 Lincoln unceremoniously killed off the Mark cars and trucks and all other types apart from Continental. Lincoln missing $60 million among 1958 and 1960 as it floundered about, a stunning figure of about $550 million in today’s cash. In a sea transform instant for 1961, all Lincolns were abruptly Continentals. Mark, Premiere, Capri, base versions? No. 

There were two overall body kinds on present: a 4-door hardtop sedan, and a four-doorway convertible. No two-door convertible, no coupe, no pillared sedan, no City Vehicle, no Limousine. And indeed no garish styling, as Lincoln went entire mid-century modern with a new seem penned by Elwood Engel. The new Continental looked smooth and streamlined and was an almost instant style and design typical. The new 1961 Continentals experienced a wheelbase that was 8 inches shorter than in 1960, and an over-all length 15 inches shorter.

And while I’m absolutely sure you’d like me to wax on a bit about the 1961 styles, it is outside the scope of this series. Remember, there had been no Mark cars and trucks on offer you in the course of the Sixties. It was all Continental, all the time. Factors did not transform right up until 1968 when a vice president at Ford named Lee Iacocca wished Lincoln to build a new own luxurious car or truck (a style for which he held an everlasting flame). 

We pause there for right now and consider what could have been. An upscale halo in 1961 termed the Mark VI? A two-door convertible Continental like the authentic of 1939? Oh, the very long-extinct alternatives.

[Images: Ford]

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