And all these years I’ve been calling the Mark’s neo-classical grille a “faux-Rolls-Royce” grille. Turns out that Henry Ford’s 1901-1902 “999” racer had one several years before there ever was a R-R. And it’s not just the 999’s grille either that was such a big influence on the Mark.
The 999 was one of the very first cars ever—if not the first—to have the classic “long-hood, short deck” proportions that would soon be adopted by all racing cars in the aughts, and then by sports tourers in the teens, and then by sports cars in the twenties, and then by sporty coupes and cabriolets in the thirties, and then by the 1939 Continental, and then by………the 1965 Mustang, and then by the 1968 Mark III. No more need to apologize for the Mark’s grille. And the look didn’t originate from “the continent” either.
Amazing how much prettier the 999 is without a vinyl roof. Or opera windows. And it has real wire wheels.
Although I like the face of the Lincoln Mark IV, the rest of the car looks way too bourgeois for my tastes.
The 999 is even wearing wire wheels and they’re ‘dubs’ too! Bet that car uses real leather and wood too – none of yer cheap plastic.
Don’t forget the 999’s pioneering use of hidden headlights. Don’t you see them? That’s how well hidden they were.
Although the 999 did not offer an opera window, you could equip it with an opera singer, which provided actual stereo sound – quite the luxury at the turn of the last century.
To have actual stereo sound, wouldn’t you need two opera singers?
Not as long as you have two ears. 🙂
Nothing broug-hammy or malaise-y about this bad boy! That is the one in the black and white photo of course. Love the drivers steampunk style goggles.
The 999 is not BOF, but SOF, ‘seat on frame’, no body!
And no suspension either!
Ol Henry only bought the Lincoln car company to exact revenge against Henry Leland, he had zero interest in the cars themselves and gave the company to Edsel to play with.
OK That made me laugh out loud
If the 999 rolls over you’ll have a hell of a ride.
I got it. 😉
The Devil you say…
The whole line of Marks are the best riding most comfortable cars ever built. A frend of mine commented to his boss that his Mark 4 handled and ran better than his bosses Rolls. His boss called him out when he visited the States. The boss ended up buying one and shipping it back to the UK. He was impressed.
Extreme example of parts left off cost nothing and cause no service problems. Must be the inspiration for GM’s Alfred Sloan’s famous remark.
Interesting parallel between the tiller in Barney’s hands and that crossbow held by Mr. Earthtones Seventies. Was a crossbow-shaped tiller an option on the Mark III?
Beat me to it on that bow! I was wondering if anyone else noticed that….it made me laugh, the idea of bowhunting from a brougham!
And going hunting in a triple white brougham, no less!
I’d love to have seen what this guy did with what he shot. Or then again, maybe not.
The two-handed tiller makes ergonomic sense, unlike the one-handed tiller that was nearly universal in the first decade. It’s a version of handlebars.
Those early experimental cars were often built from motorcycle parts; why didn’t they simply USE the handlebars instead of MAKING a non-intuitive tiller? I guess we’ll never know.
Maybe they wanted the extra leverage you get with a longer tiller lever?
You can see the 999 at The Henry Ford, it’s quite striking in person. While touring the Ford Piquette Ave plant, the tour guide told us that Henry was afraid to drive the car at first and got one of his buddies to do it quite successfully. He then got the nerve to race it himself on a frozen lake St Clair, breaking some record.
The image of the 72 Mark IV reminds me of the exact same model owned by my friend’s parents. Best looking year of the Mark series with clean lines, no 5 mph bumpers. Even the little porthole windows looked good. Few Mark IV’s went out the plant door with them deleted I’m sure.
For its time I remember well how good a highway car this model was and the amount of space inside. My friend had the privilege of taking the white Mark from the lake cabin to home one weekend as I rode shotgun beside him. Wonderful cruiser and one of the few big luxury sedans I lusted after as a 17 year old.
Early Ford & RR grillls looked similar because they had the same function; when RR adopted modern. pressurized radiators after the War (or whenever), they committed the same Modernist “sin” the Iacocca Lincolns did in retaining the grill as a non-functioning ornament.
In Modern Architecture, you’re not to supposed to have non-structural ornamental elements, hence glass-box skyscrapers & Ville Savoye. Obviously the auto industry repudiated this principle long ago.
And yet in the 1970s, while American car makers were pumping out Broughams, European companies were coming up with cars like the VW Golf. The ultimate in European modernism, the Golf was pure function and efficiency; there was not one unnecessary frill or feature on that car. Amazing how such strongly divergent design philosophies were represented in the automotive market at that time. These days, except for makers like Subaru (all AWD and boxer engines), all cars are basically coming from the same place. And even Subarus aren’t that different.
Couldn’t it be argued that the 999 has a grille that is “vaguely” similar to that used by R-R and later Lincoln? It’s a small point, but R-R and Lincoln use grilles with vertical bars while 999 used horizontal bars. If anything, the 999 “inspired” the 1970 Thunderbird.
The 1970 TBird nose was a result of newly-hired-from-GM Bunkie Knudsen’s decision to put his influence on the car. Shown the concept he wanted to change everything but timing only allowed him to put the Pontiac nose onto the car.
Seeing Barney Oldfield here reminds me of the great silent film “The First Auto” (1927) in which he drove the 999 in his role as the “Master Driver.” If you haven’t seen it, look out for it–it comes on TCM every so often. In addition to the charming portrayal of the early automobile era, it features the greatest acting performance by a horse pre-Mister Ed.