The Lincoln Mark VII was introduced by Ford at a strange automotive time with emission laws and the oil crisis occurring. None the less, Ford wanted a new flagship for the Lincoln brand and they needed something to compete with it’s European rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz SEC-Class and the BMW 6 Series. Unfortunately, the Lincoln Mark VII never really earned the respect it deserves but that doesn’t mean it can’t get it now. This thing is a classic and let me tell you why.
The Lincoln Mark VII is a rear-wheel drive luxury coupe that was formerly known as the Continental Mark VII. The Ford Thunderbird, Mercury Cougar, and Lincoln Continental all used the Ford Fox chassis, which was first introduced in August 1983 for the 1984 model year. The Continental Mark VII and its successor, the Mark VII, were both produced in the Wixom Assembly Plant in Wixom, Michigan, until 1992. In 1993, the Lincoln Mark VIII took its place.
In order to impress buyers and really drive home the fact the Mark VII was a luxury car, Ford made sure to go over the top on the Mark VII. As a result, the Mark VII had a long list of standard equipment, including digital instruments and an onboard trip computer (on all except the Luxury Sports Coupe (LSC) models after 1985). All four wheels of the Mark VII were equipped with full air suspension as well. The first American car with electronic 4-channel anti-lock brakes was the 1985 LSC (6 months before the Corvette). In addition, the Mark VII was the first Continental Mark model to use exposed headlights since the 1960 Continental Mark V and the first American vehicle with composite headlights since 1939.
The Mark series was included in the Lincoln brand for 1986, removing the naming ambiguity after spending 18 years as part of the Continental line. The first three numbers of the VIN were changed from 1MR Continental to 1LN Lincoln, and the Continental Mark VII was christened the Lincoln Mark VII and given Lincoln badges. To set the LSC apart from the rest of the Mark VII range, a number of modifications were introduced for 1986. The 1986 LSC’s engine power was boosted to 200 hp, and analogue gauges were installed in favour of the dash’s all-digital layout to refresh the vehicle’s performance image. A running change made late in 1987 manufacturing added the 225 horsepower 5.0L “H.O.” to a select few LSC vehicles, otherwise mostly remaining unmodified from 1986. The Mark VII would no longer be available with a CB radio as an option after 1987. Vent windows were no longer an option for American cars starting in 1987 because they had all but vanished by the 1980s.
So what makes it a classic? Well, the Lincoln Mark VII is essentially a sleeper luxury car. It had essentially the same engine as the 5.0L Mustang which itself is highly respected and a classic, but also came with luxury features that were never available on it. The Mark VII was meant to compete the BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi cars of the 80s and on paper it certainly did. For a buyer today, the entry cost into owning a Mark VII is going to be significantly less than any 80s BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Audi and maintaining it will be the same. If you can find one of these, you should buy it and appreciate it like it’s meant to be.