Find of the Week: 1979 Lincoln Continental

The Find of the Week this week is a car for buyers who want the most boat for their buck. For those who want to buy cars by the pound or the centimetre, as much as they do for content. Not that this one won't be loaded with content too. But it's a car that's likely big enough to put another car in the trunk and maybe a helicopter on the hood. It's a 1979 Lincoln Continental.

The Continental brand, not to be confused with the boring breakfast that shares its name, was a big deal for the Ford Motor Company. It was also a bit of a confusing brand. The very first Continental was the Lincoln Zephyr–based model that launched in 1939. Those cars were sold as Lincolns, and when production ended in 1948 (with a few years' hiatus in the middle) they were the last big three cars sold with a V12.

The second-gen Continental didn't arrive for eight years after the first-gen had disappeared. And it wasn't a Lincoln. The Continental Mark II started Lincoln's Mark naming scheme, but it was sold under the Continental Division of Ford name – above Lincoln. It competed with the likes of Rolls Royce. The experiment lasted two model years, and then future Continentals became Lincolns again.

When it comes to the best-known Continentals, the honour probably goes to the fourth-gen. The mile-long convertibles with rear-opening back doors.

But the car we've found is a fifth-gen. Still badged as a Lincoln. These were massive cars. Though the size of them varied depending on the particular bumper treatment that year, in 1978 and 1979 the Continental was 5,916 mm long. Nearly as long as a modern Super Duty Crew Cab and the longest cars ever built by Ford.

And that was the point. These were designed to be big. They used a body on frame instead of the unibody chassis everything else was moving to (including the previous Contis). The only vehicles longer in 1979 were limos – cars like the Mercedes-Benz 600. Surprisingly, at about 2,200 kg, this is lighter than most modern midsize crossovers.

1979 was the last year of the fifth-gen car. In 1980, the car would be gone. Replaced by a smaller new model with smaller engines and just everything smaller.

This was a big car, and it was a luxury car in the traditional sense of the word. Massive presence, massive torque, and massive amounts of tufted pillow velour. And since it was the late 1970s, you could get it all in turquoise. So very much turquoise. We were hoping that Lincoln had given this colour a special name, but even they know that it's just plain turquoise.

We said that engine was big too, and we meant it. The 7.5L V8 was gone, but the 6.6L V8 remained. Power, on the other hand, wasn't as big in those years. 159 hp and 315 lb-ft or so.

But that colour for the Valleao velour fabric tells you something else about this Continental. It's a Town Car. That's because while the Town Car name would later come to represent the largest and fanciest of Lincolns, back in the 1970s it was just a higher trim level. Not even the highest trim, since Lincoln built a handful of special editions and collector's series cars to mark the last year of the generation.

What made the Town Car a Town Car? The half vinyl roof. Making this 1970s car look even more 1970s. It also got coach lamps, which are those strange lights on the B-pillar. Inside, Town Cars got more plush carpeting. Power seats. The velour upholstery. Armrests front and rear and power vent windows. And a seat belt chime. Which might be one of the strangest up-trim features we've ever seen.

The 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car is unmistakably the end of the era of American Land Yachts. A style that could only have been given the green light for production in that short era. Today, its massive size is a novelty. Even if it's smaller than the pickups that are today's best sellers. But more than just being big, this is what luxury used to be. Before luxury became how much tech you had and if your car could massage your backside. It's a time machine. And this one, for sale in Powassan, ON, just south of North Bay, is one of the most stand-out examples of this car we've ever seen. Though by that we mean how much the colour stands out as much as anything else. If you want to experience how the dinosaurs roamed the highway, then this might be exactly what you're looking for

We do boats, too 8/21/2019 8:55:00 AM