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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XV)

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Substantially to the delight of accountants at Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, the new Thunderbird-primarily based 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III was an fast revenue success. It was a scenario of the correct item (a private luxury coupe) at the right time. The Mark III went head-to-head with its rival and closest competition, the Cadillac Eldorado. 

And though the Eldorado nameplate experienced a extended history and was much better founded than the Mark, Lincoln’s featuring topped the Cadillac in sales in its 1st 12 months. Component of that was down to an extremely extensive first product 12 months that padded the figures, but credit rating also went to the enjoyment produced by the Mark. Mark III was all new in 1968 (for the ‘69 product 12 months), even though the entrance-drive E-overall body Eldorado had been on sale because 1967. Although a number of updates transpired within its debut model 12 months (that ran from March 1968 to December 1969), solution vice president Lee Iacocca understood his pet project required further updates to continue to keep purchaser curiosity likely.

At this juncture, it is correct to get some context on the over-all Continental line. The two- and 4-door Continental styles of Elwood Engel’s design and style ended up on sale because 1961 devoid of main updates. For its last calendar year, the outdated Continental coupe was sold alongside the Continental Mark III. It was older, a lot more conservative, and a lot considerably less well-known (and no person remembers it). 

Lincoln debuted a new technology Continental for the 1970 product yr that was more substantial, more slab-sided, considerably less dignified hunting, and a return to body-on-body building. The new Continental was also quite related in visual appearance to the Mercury Marquis and Grand Marquis. In 1970 Continental moved to share a platform with the Marquis that debuted in 1969, and in essence previewed Continental styling of 1970. In retrospect was that a excellent concept? Certainly not.

Together with the revised 1970 Mark III at Lincoln sellers were being the Continental coupe and pillared hardtop sedan, and the reintroduced Continental Town Automobile. The Town vehicle was notable for its obligatory vinyl roof therapy and extra standard products and was once once more deemed the flagship Continental sedan. 

Nevertheless modifications were being required in a new product yr, designers at Lincoln chose not to fettle the Mark III’s prosperous seems to be all that much. The entrance clip of the Mark III remained largely untouched, help save for an edit to the corner marker lenses. On ‘69 products the lens was very clear and lacked any amber tinting. In 1970 an amber area appeared and was positioned vertically on the outside corner of the lens. 

Close by there was a new optional wheel address design. Mark III’s wheel handles for 1969 were being Sixties-looking and fluted, with veining (like on the aged Mark II). In 1970 the new wheel go over was up-to-date to a flatter disc layout. It had a central chrome area that was flat like a meal plate. The plate was surrounded by more compact, fewer notable veins. 

Other visual identifiers of the 1970 Mark III included the redesigned wiper arrangement. The wipers on all 1969 illustrations have been uncovered and mounted to a panel in between the hood and windshield. In 1970 that panel was elevated and redesigned to conceal the wipers and make the hood glimpse like a person steady piece of metallic. Comparing the two, the concealed wiper look was a great deal cleaner.

And while it was additional challenging to hide the wipers, a further transform made factors less complicated in 1970: the roof. In 1969 a painted roof was regular, which produced fewer financial gain at the time of sale and needed far more work at the factory for its smoother, paint-all set roof seams. The vinyl roof turned a regular aspect in 1970. No much more problems about roof top quality control at Wixom Assembly!

There was only a person other visual transform for 1970, as the aspect profile and rear layout remained pretty much precisely as they have been in 1969. The aforementioned amber lens edit was part of a new federal security regulation for 1970, which also mandated purple reflectors at the rear. Complying with authorities interference as cheaply as doable, cut-outs ended up created to the bumper at possibly corner, and a smaller purple lens was mounted. As a consequence, subsequent a long time of Mark III have been never ever as clear wanting at the rear as in 1969.

In other places Ford manufactured enhancements in the title of protection. A locking steering column turned conventional devices, as did a redesigned steering wheel. The wheel dropped its horn ring and was swapped for a rim blow structure.

Carried out throughout many makes for a quite brief although in between 1969 and 1974, the rim blow wheel had a rubber pad and wires in place of the common horn ring, or the less widespread (at the time) horn buttons or central horn pad. The rubber pad had wires underneath and was mounted all-around the interior part of the whole wheel. 

This was deemed a safer design and style since the inside of the wheel rim could be pressed in any place to honk the horn, and that intended fingers could keep on being on the wheel. Nonetheless, time proved not so kind to the style and design as growing older took result on the rubber padding. 

Normally, rubber shrinkage would cause the horn to honk unintentionally at random. Alternatively, if shrinking were not an problem the rubber would harden and make the horn constantly far more difficult to honk. Commonly, individuals disliked the inadequately thought out wheel design and style, and it was not employed in any cars and trucks soon after 1974. Ford and Dodge were the previous to allow go of the rim blow wheel.

Other safety adjustments integrated the introduction of a lot more modern 3-level seatbelts. And in a nod to the potential, radial tires became a typical characteristic of the Mark III in 1970. It manufactured Mark III the very first American auto fitted with radial tires as typical. At the time, a 1968 Consumer Experiences research had not too long ago proved cross-ply tires inferior to radial tires in just about every way. The Mark III was the to start with in a speedy industry conversion that observed 100 per cent of North American automobiles adopt radial tires by 1976.

There was supplemental federal intervention in 1970, as the govt turned its eye to emissions specifications. New emission regulation demanded Ford to include air injection to the Mark III’s 460 V8, a system they known as Thermactor. Thermactor was a secondary air injection system to reduced emissions, an thought developed in 1966. Contemporary air was injected (pumped) into the exhaust, which aided in fuller combustion and meant cleaner emissions. The pumped air injection was usually named a “smog pump.” It had no outcome on the 460’s 365 horsepower, still.

In our following entry, we’ll evaluate the inside modifications on the 1970 Mark III, and include alterations manufactured for 1971. We’ll also explore the product sales figures and pricing for the ultimate two a long time of the alternatively limited-lived Mark III.

[Images: Ford]

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