Auction Classic QOTD: 1985 Lincoln Continental – What’ll She Fetch? (UPDATE: SOLD – We Have A Winner!)

(10/2/2019 Update at end) I realized today that my local Ritchie Brothers Auction site has one occurring this week, so I decided to take a gander (online) at what will be available.  Between the cement mixers, F-350’s, and assorted other stuff I found this 1985 Lincoln Continental.  While not a particular fan of the car going in, I freely admit to not knowing all that much about it either beyond what I’ve seen on these here pages (still not much to be frank).  However it’s older, well preserved, and perhaps worthy of us deciding what we think it will end up going for.  So let’s see what we have.

Downsized for 1982, the Continental more or less took over from the ill-fated Versailles that was chopped in 1980.  Now  Fox-based, it no longer shared any panels with the LTD/Marquis as the Versailles had with the Granada.  Instead it got another controversial feature, the bustle-back, in an effort to compete with the Seville and Imperial. I don’t really think that the bustle-back worked all that well for those two, so imitating it was perhaps not the best way to go, but what do I know beyond it being pretty much a styling dead-end and now somewhat interesting only because it’s not seen anymore.  At least the standard “Electronic Air Suspension” seems to be working just fine in these pictures.

Of course no matter what it’s based on, it’s still a Lincoln Continental, or perhaps it was really just the Continental as the 1985 falls within the years (’82-’85) that this had a separate manufacturer ID “1MR” at the beginning of the VIN  as opposed to Lincoln’s “1LN”  The rear end spells out Continental instead of Lincoln on the fake spare tire hump.

By 1985 the most popular engine offering was the injected 5.0 (Ok, 4.9 for the pedants), the other option was an imported 2.4l turbo-diesel I-6 BMW unit of all things.  That particular engine saw very few takers upon introduction in 1984, and was shelved after even less buyers chose it in 1985.  Before these two engines, though, there was a carbureted version of the 5.0 V8 (with a whopping 131hp) and as a no-cost option a 3.8l V6 (from Thunderbird and Cougar) was available if desired.  This particular buyer chose the best option in my opinion.  Transmission duties were provided by the Ford AOD 4-speed unit except for the turbodiesel which used a ZF-sourced 4-speed.

For me the big surprise was the inside.  Instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever been in a Fox LTD or Marquis (we had two in the family), this though looks significantly nicer and far less baroque than I would have guessed.

The wood veneer (It is real, correct?) from here looks very attractive with a hue and grain never before seen anywhere near a Detroit offering.  It looks more Scandinavian than anything else.  The dash itself, while still clifflike, looks as if some thought were given to it with a very rectilinear feel but also a balance between form and function.

The seat fabric and design looks far more sporting than anticipated (as well as looking very comfortable and perhaps even, gasp, supportive!), and only the door pulls and the small chromey knobs and buttons give the game away.

Of course there is a column shifter and variation on the Ford A-Frame steering wheel, but the wood continues all the way to the end of the left side of the panel with a digital dashboard inserted into it.

Well then, only 105,498 miles and likely being garaged most of the time it wasn’t on the road would explain the very good condition of this car.  The only damage that I can see is a very shallow scrape on the driver side rear quarterpanel which seems like a relatively minor issue to have corrected.

No, not the rear quarters space one might imagine in a Lincoln, but acceptable for a ride to lunch.  It looks pretty plush though, better than an LTD, and supposedly by 1984 the rear seats got their own HVAC vents.

Looking beyond the door gap that you could lose a thumb in, I thought those were wire wheel hubcaps, but it turns out they are wire-spoke aluminum wheels with whitewall tires, that while I suppose appropriate here, would need to go to be replaced with something from a Thunderbird or Mustang, or perhaps the concurrent Mark VII coupe which shared this car’s chassis.  With the 5.0 engine and that interior this aspect deserves an upgrade.

After perusing the brochure it turns out that these wheels were standard on both the Givenchy and the Valentino edition, and this one would have much plainer cast-aluminum wheels as standard  Apparently these were available on standard Continentals too as an option (except in California for some reason as the brochure takes pains to point out)

Also according to the brochure, this car was available in seventeen different exterior colors and then various two-tone combinations on top of that along with eight, yes, EIGHT interior colors, only one of which was limited to leather only.  It seems a bit of a shame that they picked a silvery color (there are multiple colors that it could be), but back in 1985, who knew?

I sort of like it.  Actually I like it a lot more than I thought I might.  But I’m not buying it, although someone is guaranteed to.  So, what do YOU think it will go for?  This is a standard in-place auction although one can also bid online and even submit an early proxy bid and there will be the standard 10% bid premium for the house.  The auction closes this Wednesday and I will be sure to check back to find and report on the final sales price.  My guess is US$3,750.  The Price Is Right rules apply here, so the closest without going over wins bragging rights.  I’ll put Paul down for one dollar.

UPDATE 10/2/2019:  We have a winner!  The car ended up selling for $1250 and commenter G. Poon takes the prize with his bid that ended up exactly right.  As we were playing with The Price Is Right rules, technically he should win BOTH showcases by being right on the money but we only have one today.  Maybe we can all chip in to get him the LeMans too, it’s not too far away.  So G. Poon,  you have three days to come on out, get your car and give me a ride in it before heading west for home.  Thanks for playing, perhaps we’ll do this again!

Related Reading:

Eric703’s comprehensive write-up on this generation of cars

Jim Grey’s slightly less charitable take on one in a parking lot