It may not surprise you that I happen to be a fan of the Lincoln Versailles. Yes, it was a crass and cynical marketing cash grab, gilding a Granada and pricing it above the REAL Continentals and Mark V coupe, but I always liked the looks, despite that stupid gas-flap in the spare tire hump. But what if the Versailles was given a bit more identity from the start?
If the Versailles was to be the most expensive Lincoln on offer for 1977, why not give them a “wow” factor with a Landaulet version, with vinyl-covered targa top for the rear seat passengers? I also integrated the door handles into the bodyside molding, horizontally sectioned the car a bit, and moved the front wheel further forward.
Not enough? OK, how about a LWB model then? This ’80 model shows the much more Lincoln-like roofline that was added for the 1979 model year. They should have done this from the beginning. I’ve extended both the front and rear passenger compartments for more good old stretch-out room. After all, why buy a luxury car if not for expansive space?
And I had to right the biggest wrong with this car: the aforementioned gas filler flap. Not only did it look dumb, it moved the Lincoln emblem too high up on the trunk lid. I modified this ’78 I shot over a year ago and think the backside looks much better now. And the radiused rear wheel opening had to go too, as mid-’70s Lincolns were known for their squared-off wheel cutouts and fender skirts.
Are these Versailles coulda-beens still a pig in a poke? Perhaps, but Ford jumped the shark even more in reality: The Granada ESS, the “European Sport Sedan.” You could tell them by the rip-off MB color-keyed wheel covers, rip-off “pointy” MB headrests, black-out trim and other “refinements.”
Not to be outdone, Mercury also offered a Euro-inspired Monarch. And much like the Lumina Euro ten years in the future, it was about as European as a Big Mac and fries.
Oh yes, they look just like a W123, do they not? Me, I’d rather have a Dual-Shade ’80 Versailles. Now if you’ll excuse me, Heidi and I are going to lunch…