Lincoln Continental Mark VII
|Assembly||Wixom, Michigan, USA|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Personal luxury car|
|Body style||2-door coupe|
|Platform||Ford Fox platform|
|Related||Ford Mustang Ford Thunderbird|
|Engine||4,942 cc (302 cu in) Windsor V8 2,443 cc (149 cu in) BMW M21 TD I6|
|Transmission||4-speed AOD automatic 4-speed ZF automatic|
|Wheelbase||108.5 in (2,756 mm)|
|Length||202.8 in (5,151 mm)|
|Width||70.9 in (1,801 mm)|
|Height||54.2 in (1,377 mm)|
|Curb weight||3,748 lb (1,700 kg)|
|Predecessor||Lincoln Continental Mark VI|
|Successor||Lincoln Mark VIII|
The Continental Mark VII, later shortened to just Mark VII, was a rear wheel drive luxury coupe from Lincoln. Introduced in August 1983 for the 1984 model year,the Continental Mark VII shared its platform with the Ford Thunderbird, Mercury Cougar, and Lincoln Continental (the Ford Fox platform from the code name of the first program using the platform). The Fox platform was originally introduced for the 1978 Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr. The same platform was also utilized as the base for the 1982 - 1987 Lincoln Continental sedan - the Mark VII's four-door companion. Like its predecessor the Lincoln Continental Mark VI, the Mark VII was manufactured at the Wixom Assembly Plant in Wixom, Michigan through 1992. It was replaced by the Lincoln Mark VIII in 1993.
The Mark VII held a lengthy standard equipment list, including an onboard trip computer / message center and digital instruments (on all except the LSC models after 1986). Mark VII's also came with full air suspension at all four wheels. The 1985 LSC was the first American vehicle with electronic 4-channel anti-lock brakes (6 months before the Corvette). Mark VII also had the distinction of being the first American vehicle since 1940 with composite headlights and it was the first of the Lincoln Mark models to have exposed headlights since 1968.
There were 4 trim levels to start with: Base, Gianni Versace Designer, Bill Blass Designer, and LSC. The Versace had unique stitched seats, the Bill Blass had pillow top seats with the initials "BB" etched in the backrest. By 1988, only the Bill Blass and LSC remained.
The LSC was a performance oriented model, designed to compete against European luxury coupes like the BMW 630/635CSi and the Mercedes-Benz 500/560SEC. It had a stiffer suspension, dual exhaust, sport leather seats, a higher output engine (until 1988 when all came with the 225 hp (168 kW) 302 from the Mustang GT) and sport styled 15-inch (380 mm) rims. Base Mark VIIs and the designer series had wire rims and even an optional geometric rim. In 1988, 16 in (406 mm) turbine rims appeared on the LSC. For 1990, 16 inch rims based on the BBS RA Series appeared on the LSC. In 1991, the wheels became standard on both the Bill Blass and the LSC as the LSC suspension was standardized across the board. The LSC also had analog gauges (1986 onward) with a speedometer, tachometer, fuel level gauge, coolant temperature gauge, and separate trip and regular odometers. The Bill Blass model continued with digital instruments - just a speedometer, fuel level gauge, and trip odometer. All Mark VIIs featured a power deck-lid release (through an interior mounted button) and electric pull-down, in which the trunk lid was partially lowered by hand, and then automatically pulled down about an inch by a motor mounted inside the trunk latch. Also standard on all Mark VIIs was an automatic dimming high-beam module. This worked via a sensor located adjacent to the rear-view mirror, and sensitivity could be adjusted by a dial located on the dashboard. Of notable mention is the Mark VII GTC, a Lincoln-Mercury dealer-sold car built by Cars & Concepts with monorchromatic paint, a body kit, and available performance upgrades. A select few were sent to Jack Roush Performance for suspension enhancements and optional 5.8L and T5 manual transmission conversions. There was also a 'Comtech' Mark VII, with a CRT touch screen, which did exist in at least one vehicle, it was on loan to Bob Bondurant while he had his driving school at Sears Point Raceway. Ford Motor Company allowed him to have a fleet of new vehicles every year, and one of Bob's choices was the Comtech Mark VII. Larry Albedi Motors (Lincoln-Mercury) in Vallejo, California serviced the vehicle a couple of times before it was returned to Ford at the end of the year. The Comtech parts that were unique to that Mark VII were also listed in the Lincoln Mercury parts catalog, but when the Merkur arrived the Comtech pages were removed and the Merkur pages replaced them. The Comtech model being a prototype, they saw no reason to keep it in the parts catalog.
In 1990, the LSC Special Edition was added to the lineup, as Ford prepared to segue to the Mark VIII. Since that car was still a few years away, and the VII was quickly becoming one of the more dated production cars on the road, a serious interior redesign took place that year, along with the introduction of the driver airbag. Other new features included a radically different dashboard and middle stack, a more sophisticated optional autodimming interior rearview mirror, the 120 mph speedometer on the LSC/LSC SE, and a more sophisticated oil monitoring system. However, the "antenna" switch disappeared on the '91-'92 models. The seats had equally been "downgraded" and while remaining unmistakably luxurious lost one of the bolsters and, perhaps more regrettably, the tall headrest (only found on the '84-'89 models). In spite of these minor deficiencies, the 1990-92 Mark VIIs are generally very coveted cars among collectors, boasting a unique exterior and interior. The '91-'92 Bill Blass and LSC/LSC SE are essentially the same car, as both use the stiffer LSC air springs. This makes the '90 Bill Blass a unique Mark VII - while retaining the distinctively ultra-soft Bill Blass ride from the 80s production run, the car features a 90s interior. It is thus, in a way, the last "true" Bill Blass Mark VII, and the collectors frequently will joke that the '91-'92 Blass is an LSC with a digital dash. To be sure, the '91-'92 Bill Blass still retains the unique to that edition exterior and interior. In the meantime, the LSC SE was offered in three colors (red, black, grey) and was entirely devoid of chrome save for the grille; instead, all exterior trim was blacked out, rendering the SE different from both the base LSC and the Bill Blass edition. The taillight trim was unique to the SE and reflected the exterior paint color (red or black), the same applied to the lower body trim. The 1992 models quietly introduced, as often is the case with the final production year, a few other unique features, including the extremely rare green exterior color option and the non-perforated leather steering wheel (these have generally survived better than the perforated ones over the decades).
The engine choices were a 5.0 L V8 and rare (approximately 2,300 made) 2.4 L I6 diesel. The diesel was a BMW design with a turbocharger and only available in 1984 and 1985. At least one diesel Mark VII was reportedly equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission.
|MY, trim||Engine displacement, type||Fuel system||Power||Torque||Transmission|
|1984–1985||2,443 cc (149 cu in) BMW M21 I6||Diesel||115 hp (86 kW) at 4,800 rpm||155 lb·ft (210 N·m) at 2,400 rpm||4-speed ZF automatic|
|1984–1986||4,942 cc (302 cu in) Windsor V8||CFI||140 hp (104 kW) at 3,200 rpm||250 lb·ft (339 N·m) at 1,600 rpm||4-speed AOD automatic|
|1987||EFI||150 hp (112 kW) at 4,000 rpm||270 lb·ft (366 N·m) at 3,000 rpm|
|1986–1987 LSC||SEFI||200 hp (149 kW) at 4,000 rpm||285 lb·ft (386 N·m) at 3,000 rpm|
|1988–1992||225 hp (168 kW) at 4,000 rpm||300 lb·ft (407 N·m) at 3,000 rpm|
Lincoln Mark VII in Licence to Kill, film from 1989