1974 Lincoln Continental Mark IV Coupe, 2-door; Ford 385 Series
Owners: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original cost: $10,194.00
Number made: 57,316
Engine, etc.: 460 cid, 220 hp; V-8, overhead valve; 3-speed automatic; 120.4 in. wheelbase; 5,362 lbs.
The name “Continental” came from the 1940’s Lincoln Continental powered by a 12-cylinder engine. The name stayed with the Mark line until the introduction of the Mark VII in 1984. There never was a model designated as a Continental Mark I.
The Mark II was an elegant, expensive car considered a rolling work of art. The $10,000 price was equivalent to a Rolls-Royce, when top American luxury brands like Cadillac were selling for around $5,000. Even at this price, Ford lost about $1,000 per car, which it was willing to do when it was still a private company. When it became a public company such losses were not permitted. It was estimated that the Mark II convertible conversion cost $18,000 to custom build – which is why there are so few Mark II convertibles.
The Continental was sold to the rich and famous including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Nelson Rockefeller, and the Shah of Iran. Introduced in 1955, only 1,300 Mark II’s were sold that year.
The Mark IV was introduced in 1972 and stayed in production through 1976. It was similar to the Mark III but grew in length and width. It shared a platform with the Thunderbird and was in many ways similar.
The Mark IV was slightly rounder than the Mark III, the wheel openings were a little different, and optional opera windows were available. The grille was longer also.
Mark IV options included an anti-theft alarm system, dual exhaust, radio with stereo tape system, power sun roof, space saver spare tire, leather trim, velour interior trim, and internal windshield wipers (also available on other Continentals). The popular vinyl roof was standard. Beginning with 1973 models, the federally mandated 5 mph bumper was installed.
Sales were strong for the Mark IV with 69,437 sold in 1973. The lowest production year was 1975 with 47,145 sold. A total of 278,559 Mark IV’s were sold during its five years of production.
Sources: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946 – 1974. John Gunnell. Rev. 4th ed. Krause Publications, 2002.
See also: http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Lincoln/1974_Lincoln/1974_Lincoln_Continental_Brochure/dirindex.html (Original 1974 brochure, Mark IV; pdf)