1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IVA
lthough gasoline prices were skyrocketing, demand for the long and low Lincoln hardtop coupes continued to escalate, with substantial year-over-year sales increasing from 1975 to 1977. Lincoln's lineup for 1976 included the Continental hardtop coupe and sedan resting on a 127.2-inch wheelbase and priced in the low $9000s. Although the Mark IV hardtop coupe had a shorter, 120.4-inch wheelbase platform, its base price was much higher, at $11,060. Both were listed at weighing over 5,000 pounds, and the engine was an overhead-valve V8 with a cast-iron block and head, five main bearings, hydraulic valve lifters, a four-barrel carburetor, and delivered 202 horsepower at 3,800 RPM and 352 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 RPM.
The history of the Lincoln marque and the Continental nameplate dates back to 1938 as a one-off custom built by the factory for Edsel Ford. The design was very well received and put into production for 1939. The original Lincoln Continental, with its V-12 powerplant, lasted until 1948. In 1956, the Ford Motor Company revived the Continental name, this time as a standalone brand placed above Lincoln at the very top of the market. As an homage to the original, the car was known officially as the Continental Mark II. It was one of the most expensive vehicles on the market, with a base price of approximately $10,000. The cost was matched by its equally high degree of complexity, and both contributed to its relatively brief production lifespan, with the Continental nameplate rolled back into the Lincoln line up for 1958. After the success of the slab-side, suicide door cars of the 1960s the Continental 'Mark Series' was revived in 1968, again as a large two-door personal car.
Lee Iacocca of Ford discussed the styling of the new Lincoln model with top designer Gene Bordinat, essentially directing him to place a 'Rolls-Royce grille on a 1965 Thunderbird.' The result was the Lincoln Mark III, a combination of the grandiose and boxy styling of the fourth-generation Lincoln Continental and the fifth generation Thunderbird. Production lasted from 1968 through 1971.
The Mark IV was introduced in 1979 with a similar profile, albeit growing slightly in size and incorporating opera windows in the c-pillar, plus adding 5 mph bumpers in 1974. It shared a common chassis with the Ford Thunderbird, measuring 120.4-inches at its wheelbase, a height of 53.5-inches, and an overall length of 228.1-inches. In the front were a radiator-style grille and hidden headlights, with a Continental spare tire trunk lid in the back.
The 1976 Mark IV had a padded halo vinyl roof with color-keyed surround moldings, vinyl-clad color-keyed rear window molding, concealed headlamps, and the traditional radiator-style grille. The grille was slightly narrower than the previous year, comprised of thin vertical bars and a heavy upper header bar that flanked the grille along the sides. On the front center of the hood was a Continental star stand-up hood ornament. Combination wraparound parking and turn signal lamps were located in the leading edges of the front fenders, and horizontal wraparound taillamps were located just above the rear bumper. Small oval opera windows with Continental star ornaments were located in the wide rear pillar, to the rear of the quarter windows. There were 'Continental' block letters and script, 'Mark IV' block letters and plaque, and the doors had the buyer's initials. Along the bodyside were bright rocker panel moldings and extensions.
The interior represented the pinnacle of luxury with Twin Comfort Lounge seats in cloth and vinyl. Previously standard equipment that was now on the options list included an AM/FM stereo radio, speed control, paint stripes, power decklid release, power door locks, appearance protection group, and tilt steering column. There were nine standard exterior colors and thirteen optional colors.
The big news for 1976 was the addition of four new Designer Series - the Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Pucci - named after famous fashion designers. The Bill Blass Special Edition
had a blue metallic body, cream Normande grain landau vinyl roof, cream and gold paint/tape stripes, and either dark blue or cream bodyside moldings. The Twin Comfort seats were either blue leather or blue majestic cloth, with cream accent straps and buttons.
The Cartier Special Edition
had a dove gray exterior body and a Valino grain landau vinyl roof. There were red and white paint and tape stripes, and dove gray body side molding. The interior had Twin Comfort Lounge seats in either gray leather or dove gray Versailles cloth seating surfaces. The opera windows had the golden Cartier signature.
The Givenchy Special Edition
had aqua blue (a.k.a turquoise) Diamond Fire exterior with white Normande grain landau vinyl roof, black and white paint and tape stripes, and white or aqua blue bodyside moldings. The seats were done in aqua blue velour cloth or aqua blue leather.
The Pucci Special Edition
was finished in dark red Moondust (burgundy) and a silver Normande grain landau vinyl roof, with silver and lipstick red custom paint and tape stripes. The bodyside moldings were red or silver. The seats were done in dark red majestic cloth.
All four of these Designer Series rode on forged aluminum wheels and had the designer's signature on the opera windows and on a 22K gold plate on the instrument panel. The 22K gold plate also had the original owner's name.
1976 was the final year of the Mark IV and sales remained strong with 56,110 units sold, an increase of 8,965 over the previous year. The best year of sales of the Mark IV was 1973 with 69,437 units sold, followed by 57,316 in 1974, then 56,110 in 1976, 48,591 in 1972, and 47,145 in 1975.by Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2021
The name Continental was inspired by the 1940s Lincoln Continental powered by a large 12-cylinder engine. Bentley had used the name Continental on their model line, adding to the ambiance and prestige. In 1956 the Ford Motor Company formed the Continental Division for the production of the Mark II. Its general manager was William Clay Bill Ford, son of Edsel Ford and grandson of Henry Ford. Many....Continue Reading >>