On your Mark VII
Classic American|August 2021
In our sixth instalment of the Continental story, we’re looking at the seventh iteration of the Continental Mark series: the evergreen Mark VII, a powerful, aerodynamic coupe that looks as fresh today as when the covers were first pulled off 37 years ago…
Huw Evans

While we still may find it hard to appreciate the greed decade, the eighties introduced us to many things which have since become a staple part of our daily lives – mobile phones, compact discs and cable TV. In terms of automotive technological development (particularly in North America) it was also a time of immense progress and change. Right at the forefront was the Ford Motor Company, which, after having languished in the Seventies, came roaring back with a whole new line of products, many of which were spun off the extremely versatile ‘Fox’ platform, begun with the Ford Fairmont/Mercury Zephyr in 1978. The new-for-1984 Lincoln Mk VII was no exception.

Replacing the slow-selling MkVI duo, this new car signalled a change of direction for Dearborn’s upscale division and at the time, more than a few critics wondered if it would work. Whereas the Mark VI was essentially a tarted-up full-size town car/coupe, the new Mark VII had its own distinct identity and was aimed at buyers of imported luxury coupes like the Mercedes 380 SEC and BMW 6-series, something which Lincoln-Mercury hadn’t even considered before. Built on the same 108.3-inch wheelbase stretched Fox chassis as the new-for-1982 Continental ‘bustle back sedan, it was clearly derived from the then current T-bird/Cougar. The new Mark sported distinctly smooth aero styling, with flush ‘euro-style’ headlamps (the first domestic car ever to use them) and soft contours, resulting in the lowest drag coefficient (0.38cd) seen on any US luxury automobile, something which Lincoln was keen to mention in contemporary sales literature.

However, not wanting to alienate traditional Lincoln buyers, the division made sure to dress its slippery new coupe with plenty of gingerbread, including extensive use of chrome trim on the window surrounds, mirrors, bumpers and door handles, along with a traditional (albeit smaller) Mark grille, vertical tail-lights and humped trunk lid with faux spare tyre. Underneath, the basic Fox architecture was clearly evident (read front engine, rear-drive and solid axle), though in Mark VII iteration there were a few differences, particularly regarding the suspension. Here, FoMoCo engineers went down a different path. In place of the conventional front MacPherson struts and coil-sprung rear with trailing arms as found on other Fox cars, the Mk VII employed air suspension front and rear.

Jointly developed by Ford and Goodyear, the system employed a cylindrical rubber bag in place of a coil spring at each location. Pressure inside the bags was monitored by an electronically controlled onboard compressor, via sealed plastic tubes, which adjusted the settings according to changes in road conditions (between 75 and 100psi). The result was a traditional style pillow-soft ride (something most buyers of Lincoln products at the time expected), but tauter handling on the twisties – standard front and rear sway bars also helped. Inside the Mk VII’s interior smacked of the latest T-bird/Mercury Cougar and in the typical Lincoln idiom, was loaded to the gills, featuring, among other things, six-way power front seats (with optional heating), full-length centre console, premium AM/FM sound system, tilt steering, cruise control, power windows and full instrumentation, albeit in digital form.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM CLASSIC AMERICANView All

On your Mark VII

In our sixth instalment of the Continental story, we’re looking at the seventh iteration of the Continental Mark series: the evergreen Mark VII, a powerful, aerodynamic coupe that looks as fresh today as when the covers were first pulled off 37 years ago…

7 mins read
Classic American
August 2021

Mercury Cougar

A ‘posh’ Mustang? It could only be the Mercury Cougar …

3 mins read
Classic American
August 2021

Chrysler Concept 70X

Safety as a marketing concept for cars? Well, Richard Heseltine reckons we have Ralph Nader to thank for that. This month Richard examines a concept vehicle that was a direct result of the sudden interest in vehicle safety after Nader’s campaigning…

2 mins read
Classic American
August 2021

Stock or modified?

Evans debates the merits of keeping your classic in factory condition or adding upgrades to make it more suitable for today’s roads

3 mins read
Classic American
August 2021

HEAVY METAL COLLECTION

With a bit of luck we might be able to fly to the US again by the end of the summer. If Los Angeles is on your itinerary, then make sure you include the Petersen Museum for a very special exhibition that’s been extended due to the pandemic. Keith Harman explains why…

3 mins read
Classic American
August 2021

Patience is a BARRACUDA 1970 Plymouth Barracuda

We’re often reading about people who have an ideal car in their mind, and who wait decades until that dream becomes a reality. We meet another beautiful dreamer, Tom Aspinall, and his Detroit-inspired dream from Mother Mopar…

8 mins read
Classic American
August 2021

1960 Cadillac Sedan De Ville Johnny Cash's CADILLAC?

Country crooner Johnny Cash famously sang about a Cadillac created by a worker at the Cadillac factory – One Piece at a Time – as he, errr… took bits of car home over a period of years to create a car… but was it a ’60 or a ’61 or a…?

6 mins read
Classic American
August 2021

1929 Lincoln Limousine NICE JAG MATE!

It’s not often we come across a Gatsby-era luxury car that has been in the UK since the roaring Twenties and with the same owner since 1966! Meet Derek Brown’s magnificent 1929 Model L seven-passenger Limousine…

6 mins read
Classic American
August 2021

Idaho Red!

This early 1965 Ford Mustang still looks to be wearing most of its original paint and proves the point: it’s only original once!

7 mins read
Classic American
February 2021

DREAM BOAT

This absolute dream of a drive that’s travelled three times across the Atlantic proved to Mark Spaulding that his DeSoto is definitely a ‘keeper’…

6 mins read
Classic American
February 2021
RELATED STORIES

BROAD STROKES

Robben Ford goes bold with Pure, the new instrumental outing he calls “the most complete expression of a musical life.”

10+ mins read
Guitar Player
November 2021

The Heartful Innovator

3 WAYS TO OVERCOME MENTAL OBSTACLES.

3 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
September 2021

FORD HIRES EXEC FORMERLY IN CHARGE OF APPLE'S CAR PROJECT

Ford Motor Co. has hired a former executive from Apple and Tesla to be the company’s head of advanced technology and new embedded systems, a critical post as the auto industry moves to adopt vehicles powered by electricity and guided by computers.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #515

Hundreds attend Blue Hill Maritime Heritage Festival

BLUE HILL—More than 300 visitors braved the heat and oppressive humidity preceding Tropical Storm Henri on Saturday, August 21, to attend the Blue Hill Maritime Heritage Festival.

1 min read
The Weekly Packet
August 26, 2021

The Right Way To See Florida

Great Climate, Crops Mean Opportunities for Agritourism Abound

4 mins read
Central Florida Ag News
August 2021

SERIOUS STOPPING

We add a hydro boost power brake system to our early Bronco

5 mins read
Four Wheeler
October 2021

2021 FORD BRONCO

Committed and “all-in,” Ford flexes its muscles with new Bronco lineup

9 mins read
Four Wheeler
October 2021

KILLER INSTINCT

As The Walking Dead returns for a fifth season, stars Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus talk about teaming up to lead in a world gone mad

9 mins read
TV Guide Magazine
The Walking Dead: The Ultimate Survivor’s Guide

FIVE DECADE SLUMBER

Built in the ’30s. Forgotten in the ’50s. How a barn find 1933 Ford was resurrected as the Devil’s Coupe.

5 mins read
Hot Rod
October 2021

Out with the new…

Glacially paced progression

5 mins read
Flying
September 2021