The Lincoln Continental is a model name that has been used several times by the Lincoln division of Ford for their top of the line luxury cars. For most of its lifetime, the Continental nameplate referred to the four-door Lincoln flagship. In 1981 the Continental's reign as the Lincoln flagship ended when the Town Car, a trim-level up to then, took over as the new flagship.
In 1961, the Continental was completely redesigned by Elwood Engle. For the first time, the names Lincoln and Continental would be paired on a car other than one in the Mark series.
The Lincoln Continental Mark III was a personal luxury car produced by Lincoln and sold in North America in the 1969 through 1971 model years, although it actually became available in early 1968. Intended to compete with Cadillac's new front wheel drive Eldorado, which was launched as a 1967 model, the Mark III slotted in at the top end of the personal luxury car market alongside its Cadillac competitor, priced higher and better-appointed than such cars as the Ford Thunderbird, Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado. The Mark III shared another feature with the Eldorado; both were based on the underpinnings of another car in the same parent company's range. In the Eldorado's case it was the Toronado; Lincoln, similarly, took the underpinnings of the 1968 Ford Thunderbird, built alongside Lincolns at Ford's Wixom, Michigan plant. The side-rail frame was identical to the Thunderbird's, but the Mark III bore more massive, taller and heavier by almost 300 pounds bodywork. The engine was Lincoln's all-new 460 cid V8, generating 365 brake horsepower. The Lincoln 460 along with the Thunderbird's 429, were part of Ford's new-for-'68 385 engine family.
Styling-wise, the car definitely looked like a Lincoln; squarer and more upright-looking than the sleek Thunderbird, with a typical Lincoln grille, very Rolls-Royce-esque, smooth doors to cover the headlights, and a fake spare-tire bulge on the rear deck reminiscent of that on the earlier Continental Mark II. The rear quarters had the typical late 1960s-early 1970s coke-bottle upward bulge, but otherwise, the looks were rectangular. As befitted a luxury car, and in order to justify the $1,500 price jump from the equivalent Thunderbird (a substantial amount of money then, given that the Thunderbird cost only $5,000), the Mark III was sumptuously equipped. Everything was power, of course; steering, brakes, windows, headlamps, and both front seats. The instrument panel and trim panels on the doors featured simulated wood appliques in either English Oak or East-Indian Rosewood, depending on the interior color chosen. After a few months, a Cartier-branded clock took pride of place among the instruments. The upholstery was expertly done, either the standard vinyl with cloth inserts, or the optional leather. A vinyl roof in cavalry twill pattern was technically an option, but they were so popular that a plain-roofed car is the rarity. One reason for the rarity of the plain-roofed version is the fact that the roof was made in two pieces and required extra preparation at the factory to conceal the seam; consequently, its availability was not widely advertised. Other options included the aforementioned leather interior, air conditioning, further power adjustments for the front seats, a variety of radios and 8-track tape players, tinted glass, power locks and all the rest. A limited slip differential could be ordered, as could anti-lock brakes, called "Sure Trak". Cruise control was also an option. Finally, an automatic headlamp dimmer that dimmed the headlights for oncoming cars without driver intervention was available.
A Certified Milestone Car these are arguably the finest cars produced during the 70's. They have exceptional engineering and build quality, and legendary styling. They are rapidly rising in value, although they have always been collectible.
This very nice example has covered just 87,000 miles from new and has been well cared for its entire life. The car runs and drives very well and could be driven home. The top appears to be new, as it was covered in a plastic wrap when we acquired the car. The nice color combination make this one of the more attractive Mark III's we have had the pleasure to represent.