Mileage: 23,500 Miles
Exterior color: Black Exterior (1C) w/ Red Pinstripe
Interior: Red Leather Interior
400 Cleveland Engine with less than 6000 miles
New Landau Top
Twin Comfort Power Lounge Front Seats
Rear Bench Seats (with room for 4 adults)
Cartier Clock (it quit working in the ’80’s, but dam it looks good)
Original AM/FM 8-Track 4-Speaker Stereo
Almost Everything Works
Rust Free Colorado / Wyoming Car
I’m selling this 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V on consignment for a friend. He owns a performance shop in Northern Colorado and took it in on trade. It was originally purchased in January of 1980 for $15,316 ($44,296.70 in today’s money) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and driven to Cody, WY, where it remained until coming to Colorado. I have the temporary tag issued for the cross-country drive, along with the original window sticker. Once it got to WY it spent the majority of its life indoors and is rust free as a result. With only 23,000 miles I would describe it as a survivor in exceptional driver condition. It presents fantastically, yet can be enjoyed regularly without guilt. All original options are present and almost all of them still work. It has had a high quality repaint and received a new landau top, but in the original colors with all original trim and bright-work intact. The paint is nearly perfect and presents fantastically. The motor was replaced with a correct Cleveland 400 V8 crate motor less than 6000 miles ago. It has had the front brake rotors, all brake pads, shocks, air filter, and driver’s side window motor replaced along with a fresh oil change. There are 7/32” tread remaining on Michelin Rain Force tires. This is a turn-key classic that is ready to be driven anywhere.
The 1979 Continental Mark V (the word Lincoln did not appear anywhere on vehicle, the owner’s manual, or even the window sticker) was the last evolution of a legacy dating back two decades. In 1980, when the platform was downsized, Motor Trend called the Mark V “the last traditionally full-sized American car”, also noting that Cadillac had ceded its models size to fuel economy and emission demands 3 years earlier. At nearly 20 feet long, over one third of that being hood, this 2-door “coupe” is the last of the giants. The black exterior over red interior with red pinstripe is one of the best color combos, retaining its classic appearance, but not dated like some 70’s era colors. It turns heads everywhere it goes with a presence and form that is unmatched. You will smile every time you look at it.
The driving experience is quintessentially classic American Luxury. As you open the door and settle into the plush leather seat you are engulfed in cardinal red, square gauges, and a comically thin steering wheel that transports you to an age when size mattered. I am old enough to have spent only few early years in the 70’s, yet I remember them well. It was an age when everything was big from trousers, to shirt collars, to mustaches. In fact, the biggest complaint I have in driving this beast is the extra shaving – it makes my mustache hair grow at triple speed! Looking out over the crack-free dash, the hood is vast and extends to the horizon. The sharp creases at each side frame the picture forming blades protruding well beyond the hood’s leading edge. At front and center is the Lincoln Star, which vaguely resembles crosshairs overlaid on top of those who dare venture in the path of the 5000 pounds of iron at your fingertips. It doesn’t happen often, people see you coming and admire from a safe distance. Just as it did in 1979, the Mark V commands respect.
Turn the key and the 6.6-liter big block 400 Cleveland V8 fires up on cue. When it’s cold it prefers a little gas on start up, but soon settles into a smooth and quiet idle. The vacuum actuated headlights flip up on command with a subtle hiss behind the switch. Pull the column shifter down into Drive and the parking brake automatically disengages. The ride is as smooth as glass. The power steering requires only the gentlest touch. On the road the big Lincoln is remarkably civilized and surprisingly nimble for its size. Power delivery is smooth and ample; speed builds quickly as a result. The sensation of that speed is soaked up well before it reaches you in the driver’s seat. You are gliding along blissfully free to enjoy the stares of those you pass. Traffic parts ahead of you from nearly 9 feet of black hood eclipsing their rearview mirrors. As you glide along, you are reminded of how such novelties as cruise control (called Speed Control by Ford) and power everything were cutting edge options that defined the Mark V 36 years ago. The power vent windows are my favorite. A glance in the brushed aluminum mirror and you notice the word “heated” in cursive in the upper left hand corner. The visibility in all directions is fantastic, even through the oval Opera windows housed in the C-pillar. When it’s time to throw out the anchor, the Bendix Hydro-Boosted brakes bring you to a stop with ease. The experience is one that can be enjoyed equally on daily commutes to Sunday drives, with enough room to share it with more than a few friends. In fact, at 6 feet, 2 inches I fit comfortably in the trunk – without removing the spare tire, should you ever need to do such a thing.
The mechanical condition of this Mark V is true to its low mileage. In addition to the items replaced in the opening paragraph, it has no glaring issues and is ready to be enjoyed thoroughly by its new owner. The previous owner reported that the original engine was replaced with the correct 400 Cleveland engine less than 6000 miles ago. He did not say why it was replaced, but the new engine runs fantastically. The 3-speed C6 transmission shifts smoothly. The heat is warm and the air conditioning is cold. The Motorcraft AC compressor is massive (like everything else). The power steering and hydro-boost master cylinder work fantastically and show no signs of leakage. The rear brake rotors pulse slightly only under heavy braking, but do not warrant replacement at this time. There are no oil or coolant leaks. The vacuum actuated headlight doors work correctly. The cruise control works on command, as does the power antenna, which can be activated by a switch under the dash. All interior accessories work except for the Cartier clock, and one of the 6-way driver’s seat adjustments. The turn signal corner lights do not work. Finding a Mark V with so many of the original accessories in working order is super rare. This example had $2,249 worth of options in 1979 money and they nearly all work!
“Striking” is the best word to describe the exterior. The black paint is excellent and the red pinstripe accents it perfectly. It was a high quality re-spray with consistent orange peel that looks factory. The red pinstripe is vinyl, so it could be removed if desired, but that would be crime in my opinion. There are a few paint chips, which I have photographed accordingly and a crack in the left rear fender paint. The body and frame rails are clean underneath, with no rust. There is some superficial corrosion on the exhaust and fastener heads, but nothing abnormal. All chrome trim is in exceptional condition from the grill to the wheels. The front end has been spared the winter sandblasting most Wyoming / Colorado cars get, indicating it was a fair-weather driver. The Landau top vinyl is in very good condition. The window glass is free of excessive pitting or cracks. The forged aluminum wheels and caps are in excellent shape, with no bends or curb rash. The white-walled Michelin Rain Force tires look correct and have 7/32” tread remaining.
The interior is also very good and notably original. It has that wonderful classic leather smell, there are no offensive odors and the car has never been smoked in. The dashboard is crack-free (another indication the car lived indoors). All trim work is present and intact, although there are a few small cracks in the driver’s door trim that can be found if searched for. The steering wheel plastic has three small cracks, the worst at the 12:30 position. The wood trim is in great shape. The front seat leather is in good shape, but there are creases that could benefit from being re-dyed and a very small tear below the steering wheel. The rear seat leather is nearly perfect. The carpet is also very good and the headliner does not sag. The radio works great, but I have no clue about the 8-track because I don’t have any!
This 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V is fantastic find. It is mostly original survivor in a tasteful color and well optioned. We have priced it accordingly and would like an owner who will continue to care for it and enjoy it for years to come.