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Monday, March 5, 2012

1972 Lincoln Mark IV

The Lincoln Mark IV was all new in 1972.

Lincoln had been the Blue Oval flagship since Henry Ford purchased the floundering luxury make in 1922. Edsel Ford made the car unforgettable with his design magic.

The 1961 Lincoln.
 Its creators rescued it from a dowdy fate and made Lincoln stately in 1961. The classic body style carried the prestige marque for more than a decade. Lee Iococca was the man who been responsible for the revival-look Mark III and its success. He stood behind the refined Mark IV that bowed for the 1972 selling season.

From the boldly elegant radiator-inspired Rolls-Royce grille--with its stand-up hood ornament to the whisper of the spare tire outlined on the rear deck sheet metal, to the genuinely inspired opera window in the sail panel--one replete with an etched silver leaf star at its centre--this motor vehicle radiated discrete priveledge on an elevated plane. 

The 1972 Lincoln Mark IV was a revival model. Stylists paid homage to an era when spare tires were carried on the rear of the car.

Available only as a two-door hardtop coupe, the Mark IV’s side envelope was seamless and breathtaking. The design carried front fenders tapering inward every so subtly, flaunted a massive bodyside “blade” in the rear quarter panel and a sharp and shapely crease in the lower third of the panel. It shared a roof with Thunderbird. 

The Lincoln Mark IV sold for $10,613 f.o.b. Oakville, Ontario.
Powering this majestic maharaja of the motorways was the magnificent 460-cubic inch overhead-valve V-8 engine that ran on 91-octane gasoline. The mill generated 212 horsepower at 4400 RPM. Transmission of power to the road was by use of the three-speed Select-Shift automatic with a 12-inch hydraulic torque converter.

Surprisingly, the Mark IV’s frame was a lengthened version of the Mercury Montego’s undercarriage. It did have wider front and rear treads, a STABUL rear suspension, a linkless brake booster and a centre-fill fuel tank with a capacity of 18.7 Imperial gallons.

Visit my old car website at: The Oilspot Eh! 

The launch of the Mark IV was tasteful. “It stands alone in a world where individuality has all be disappeared.” Advertising spoke of the “graceful sweep of the roofline,” the subtle refinement of a contemporary classic” and a 120.4-inch wheelbased personal luxury car kissed with the hallmarks of concealed headlamps and Michelin steel-belted radial ply tires.

Interiors were surprisingly large for such a sleek envelope and were upholstered in Dark Blue, Black, Dark Red, Dark Green or Light Grey Gold Lamont tricot biscuit-pattern cloth. An appropriate upgrade was white, Black Dark Blue, Dark Red, Medium Ginger, Dark Green, Light Grey Gold or Dark Tobacco leather. Seats were six-way electric Twin Comfort loungers operated from consoles built into the door armrests.
The instrument panel of the Lincoln Mark IV was placed in a rectangular console for the operator’s convenience and passengers’ safety.

The instrument panel was finished in a combination Kashmir Walnut Woodgrain Matina and Baby Burl Walnut Woodgrain appliqué. All instruments were placed in rectangular, silver faced pods in a console, positioned directly in front of the driver, including the Cartier timepiece—a clock crafted by one of the world’s most famous jewellers—and exclusive to Lincoln Mark IV. 

No less of a company than Cartier the jeweller provided the Mark IV with a chronometer.

Auto historian Gregory Von Dare tells of early quality control problems at the Wixham, Michigan plant where Continentals, Mark IVs and Thunderbirds were assembled. The two cars’ interiors were very similar in look. More than one Lincoln-Mercury-Meteor dealer received Mark IVs with Thunderbird logos on the instrument panel. Similarly, not a few Ford dealers discovered Thunderbirds that proclaimed themselves Lincolns! Auto historian Tom Bonsall notes with humour that Thunderbird owners didn’t seem to mind the mix up.

The optional AM/FM stereo radio came with ten pre-set button positions.

These Lincoln Mark IV passenger cars were born with power steering, power disc brakes front and power drum in the rear, an Automatic Temperature Control (heater and air conditioner to ordinary Canadians), power windows, power seats, an AM radio and 100-percent long-shear, cut-pile carpeting—colour-keyed in the cabin and black in the luggage compartment. Other standard features included electric wipers and washer, a three-spoke rim-blow steering wheel, folding centre armrests—fore and aft—keyless door locking and a reversible key, triple-note horns, trip odometer, door assist straps, cornering lights and curb mouldings.

Visit my old car website at: The Oilspot Eh!

Acrylic enamel exterior finishes included 15 standard colour choices: Black, Maroon, Dark Green Metallic, White, Yellow, Pastel Lime, Light Blue, Light Grey Metallic, Medium Green metallic, Medium Blue Metallic, Dark Brown Metallic, Grey Gold Metallic, Green Gold Metallic, Dark Blue Metallic and Light Yellow Metallic. In addition there were eight optional “Moondust” metallic colours consisting of Gold, Light Ginger, Ginger, Blue, Light Ivy, Ivy, Red and Copper. To top things off, at no extra cost, padded roof colours were Black, White, Dark Green, Dark Brown or Dark Blue.
The 1972 Mark IV was the first Lincoln to carry opera windows.
One could invest further in one’s Lincoln Continental Mark IV with such convenient lifestyle add-ons as front bumper guards, a rear window defroster, automatic headlight dimmers, a stereo tape player, reclining seats and a tilt steering wheel.

From St. John’s to Victoria and from Windsor to Tuktoyaktuk, Lincoln racked up 2,498 sales for calendar year 1972. That made folks in Oakville very happy, as this was a very healthy increase over the 1,777 units delivered in 1971—making Ford’s most luxurious offering less popular that year than AMC’s Javelin. Even more Lincolns would sell in 1973, no doubt helped along by the beautiful lines of the Mark IV.

Visit my old car website at: The Oilspot Eh!

Copyright James C. Mays 2004
All rights reserved.

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