I read the other day that scientists are thinking of bringing woolly mammoths back from extinction. This ancient whale appears to have beaten them to the punch; I found it parked in a substantial amount of 37th Avenue just off Victoria Drive one rainy night last week.
It’s many years since last I saw one of these in any condition, let alone one like this time traveller from its own era. Lookit the tires.
With lines and creases this long, any ding or prang would make itself known; I see none.
Nothing bent, misaligned, worn, or faded.
Nothing sagging or drooping, either.
No missing teeth…er…baleen, the pointy turn signal lenses aren’t broken, and the vacuum-operated headlamp doors haven’t sagged halfway (or more) into their failsafe-open mode, as eventually happened with seemingly all these covered-lamp Fords.
Incredible. Like it just emerged from a time capsule.
It always seemed tragic when these aged and the inevitable signs of wear appeared, especially because they were representative of the last gasp of that opulent era.
To see one in the manner in which it was created on display in such an unassuming setting (not protected and prepared at a cruise night or a classic show), well, wow. You hit the jackpot Mr. Stern.
(Are you sure you didn’t stumble into the porthole section of Stephen King novel ?)
No, I’m not at all sure. I wasn’t at the time, either; I took a chance with that front-end pic, but that’s all the closer I wanted to get.
I love the first two photos – no newer vehicles to break the spell. The buildings are period-correct and well maintained also; even roof TV antennas! The rain somehow completes the illusion.
I look at these photos and I’m transported to the late 70’s, when I was graduating college and the world seemed wide open with possibilities.
Thanks for the memories.
That first photo reminds me of an old album cover.
I’m guessing a time machine of sufficient mass will tend to drag some of its environs along with it in its travels.
It certainly doesn’t look like something that someone often leaves sitting out in the rain like that. I agree. It must be a time machine. Kind of like a Tardis, or Bill and Ted’s phone booth. With opera windows.
Assuming no body leaks, rain’s not so bad. Washes the dirt off!
Great photos. I think that due to their ominous presence, Malaise Era Lincolns and Cadillacs lend themselves to night shots better than any other vehicles.
Also, the front 3/4 shots remind me of learning about perspective and vanishing points in high school art class. The straight lines of this Lincoln really accentuate that, making the white Civic look very, very far away.
That’s a good point! I used cars to try learning about perspective and vanishing point in high school art class, too. It resulted in some wobbly sketches of my dad’s 1980 Stinkoln Clown Car, but in the end I got good enough to do this:
If only your father had bought one of these instead of that awful piece of excrement that came afterwards. Every time I start to soften on the Panther body Lincolns, I see a really nice one of these and I have to go back and start the process all over again.
This one is truly gorgeous. In addition to everything you note, I see two more noteworthy things – shiny silver paint (which became a rarity as these cars got old) and those mid-width whitewalls that got popular in the early 80s. Surely these tires are newer than that.
I hope this isn’t a car that 18 year old Caleb got from Grandpa Vern’s estate, and now expects to use as daily transport. Something this nice should be preserved.
18 year old Caleb isnt going to be able to afford to run this unless Grampa Vern left the trunk full of money.
Nice find though.
I certainly see your point, but…I donno. The earlier cars were likely sounder of design. It would’ve been at least as thirsty and athsmatic and gutless. Build quality might have been better—I say might because I’m being charitable with the benefit of the doubt; having read “A Savage Factory”, though, the doubt is at least as big as the car in these pics.
That said, it’s now enough of a rarity, and its condition so anachronistic, that I can appreciate it. I doubt it’s in daily-driver service; regular gasoline is at around USD $5.30 per US gallon here, and it’s expected to go up.
It does have our BC Collector plate on the back (missing on the front) so most likely has a good home and not with an 18 year old, or my daughter.
Great photos of an amazing time capsule.
I have nothing negative to say about these, nor anything particularly positive. Ironically though, the two families I knew who owned these when they roamed the Earth in great numbers both seemed to see them as pragmatic choices rather than displays of wealth and opulence. I was ferried to swim team practice occasionally in one that looked just like this, with burgundy velour interior. The family of four who kept and fed it were all well over 6′ tall, the mother/driver at least 6’3″, Dad probably 6’6″ and both daughters not much shorter, even as early teens. It made sense to them I guess, because they all fit comfortably in it, without having to resort to something like a Suburban. They had it long enough for the eldest daughter to take it to Spring Break with her gaggle of girlfriends in ’89 or ’90. They weren’t “showy” people, it was just their family car. Another classmate’s father owned an auto repair business. He bought one new for his wife, probably a ’75 or ’76, in triple yellow. It was also their longtime family car, his wife still driving it around town when all three daughters were grown and gone, well into the early 2000’s. It was rumored to have gone well over 300,000 miles in its decades of use. They too apparently saw it as a “buy quality and take care of it” kind of ownership experience. It kind of amazes me today to think of a time when something like this could actually be viewed as a practical transportation vessel, but yeah, that happened.
I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know back then.
Hah! Well said.
Now that’s some Joe Dennis-level photography there!
Regardless what one thinks of the car’s merit, these are some great pictures and lighting. I do see these around occasionally, but most are in pretty poor condition… with one exception. I wrote this Lincoln up a few years ago:
…and I saw it around quite a bit for a few years afterwards. Its owner used it regularly, and I saw it at the supermarket once, and driving in the rain, etc. Haven’t seen it for a while though… hopefully it’s still out there somewhere.
Hey, thanks kindly, Eric; that’s a high compliment indeed! I got lucky with the lighting; the street had the usual orange high-pressure sodium lights—they’re a curse equal and opposite to the much-too-blue 6500K LEDs specified by the poorly-educated these days—but there was plenty of blue light, diffused throughout the area by the rain and mist, from the nearby massively overlit Chevron station. Without that, I think I’d’ve been unable to colour-correct these pics to some semblance of white balance.
That red car you photographed would look terrific parked near this silver one…for a minute or two, before the fight broke out. There can be only one. It would probably be protracted and bloody; they probably both have the Cartier –
clock– timepiece, so that’s a draw, but yours has those wheels, but mine has that – sunroof– moonroof, so…difficult to predict a winner.
Amusingly, I assumed the car was underneath blue-hued LED lights. So I think you did a good job with color-correcting. The streetlights on my street were converted to those very bright LEDs about two years ago, and they still irk me.
The worst bit is they don’t have to be that way. 3500K LEDs are just about perfect: not blue, not yellow, not violet, just more or less centric white.
Joseph, thank you! I have been studying your photography for inspiration.
Someone please put it back in a garage where is has been for the past 45 yrs! It won’t last long out in the elements!
SUPERB photos! The views and the “mood” they elicit are fascinating!
A very handsome old “WHALE”!! 🙂 DFO
Great photos! The car may be a 78 or 79 but not 77, which would have full rear wheel skirts that enable the body side molding to continue uninterrupted
…. as well as this real Lincoln-specific dash instead of the generic Ford/Mercury dash used in this car’s last two years. I’ll be nice and not talk about engines.
It falls into the category of “what were they thinking” with those ultra-thin rear wheel skirts!
What they undoubtedly thinking was:
– Cadillac removed wheel skirts from their ’77s, though left a smaller- and squarer-than-typical rear wheel opening.
– Same with the big Olds and Buick C body sedans starting in ’77
– Chrysler was planning to ditch the rear wheel skirts in ’79 too (if Lincoln knew in advance)
– We don’t want to look out of style by retaining wheel skirts on our car when everyone else is removing them. But if you leave them off, they won’t have a wheel lip that matches the front wheels.
– But we’re not going to redesign the rear fenders on a next-to-last-year body style. Hence, the thin rear wheel skirts that do little but add a lip to the opening.
Cadillac did something similar in ’89 when they refreshed their FWD C bodies. The Fleetwood got a nearly full skirt and the de Ville has a non-removable flare around the opening.
Thanks for that—I was hoping someone would help narrow in on the year. (I don’t know what question someone thought had been asked, but those big chrome tailspouts in the pic here strike me as the wrong answer)
Not positive, but the color combo feels like a ‘79. The more open rear wheels were an improvement in my eyes. First thing that struck me is how it’s beading water
Clearly this one is well looked after.
Had you been able to gain visibility into the interior, I am certain it would have equalled the pristine-ness of the exterior.
It would be as if a movie was being filmed in the area at the time, but absent any other evidence of filmmaking, this beast out on its own is remarkable. In the weather also!
Great night shots.
»doffs cap« (I agree about the likely condition of the interior, but…well…see my reply above to Dartmouth D!)
The headlight doors would’ve been perfect to keep modern polycarbonate lenses from UV damage. Too bad the two eras (covered headlights and polycarbonate lens) didn’t intersect.
Bought two sets of Goodyear Arriva radial all seasons with that whitewall, fitted to a ’76 Cutlass and an ’82 Delta 88 coupe. In my mind, they look great on cars of this era.
The Arrivas were my first step in all season tires. My Cutlass came with the traditional 7 wheels (all Superstocks) and the Goodyear store did me a solid recommending the all seasons. The tread was much different from the old school snows, and they worked great with my limited slip diff Cutlass, and just fine on the Delta.
Great pictures. Makes me want one all over again. This also made me think of two things. First, one of my best friends in high school would often drive his parents beautiful 1977 (had the fender skirts). It was a gorgeous light yellow with very dark brown or burgundy velour seats. Although I loved it, I couldn’t let them know because my parents had a 1979 dark maroon Cadillac Deville and the Lincoln was our “competition”. lol. Boy we as kids had some fun with those big cars.
The second thing is that I just looked at a 1991 Town Car yesterday that I found on a cars for sale website. The pics made the car look very nice and he described the car as being very clean, well kept and with everything working and with all new w/w tires. Well, I’m not sure what car he was describing because it certainly was NOT what he had. I could write a chapter on all the bad about this car, but let’s just say it wasn’t even close to his description. The worst part is that he was asking $4,900 firm. The car wasn’t worth $1,900 the way it sat. However, what amazed me is how well the car still drove.
I’ve become a huge fan of Daniel Sterns wit and prose, but was unaware of his photographic abilities. In fact, I hadn’t realized that the article was written by Mr. Stern until I read his name in the comments. Well Done, sir.
Agreed, assumed it was Joseph Dennis at first.
I’m humbled, Dennis and Dave; thank you!
It seems a shame to see this out in the rain.
Great article! Great pictures! Yeah, these were truly Classic great cars. TOO BAD I was only 14-15 yrs old when they were new, couldn’t drive them, definitely couldn’t buy them. But I rode in them and almost bought one, a 1979 Town Coupe when I was 23 . I “Fell” for a 1978 Eldorado Biarritz Classic- last year for the big Eldorado, back in 1987 before they were considered CLASSICS. Funny thing, the Eldorados with the 425 V-8 got about 3-4 more miles per gallon than a 1979 Lincoln with the 400 V-8. Oh well, they were too beautiful cars to care.
Yes, you can take Curbivore photos in the dark and rain.
Great find Daniel!
Thanks, Roger. When I was a kid I spent many years as a photo equipment geek, and whatever images happened to result were just a byproduct of playing with cameras and stuff. Now I’ve got an exceedingly good camera—three of them, actually—clipped to my belt at all times in the form of my phone, fiddling with the equipment is a byproduct of making images. Much better.
Yeah I remember my Dad had this land yacht 79 400 but sold 3 years ago😁
A lovely find. Really stands out as being a prestige car, and not just for its size alone. It seems to have just the right blend of straight lines and curves to look impressive in a timeless sense. The predominantly blue lighting really accents the silver paint. Beautiful.
I was lucky enough to own one. Car was the best…until my wife totaled it. Now I have an MKZ Hybrid.
Nothing like a Lincoln. Lincoln stopped making sedans this year.
I miss those, it fits so well in that neighborhood too. They’re wonderful to drive and even better to look at, I gotta start driving mine more often, like mine that one is truly a time capsule, good pictures too with the rain and reflectance.
Loved its lines in ’79 and still do. Classy looking even today
The first two photos are superb: Worthy of being in Ford’s literature.
Thanks for the article & pics.
Thank you kindly for the compliment!
I have the same car, same color, perfect show room condition. Will sell for $10,000.
Isn’t this is the Lincoln used in Schitt’s Creek?
Similar car, yes. That was a black ’77.
Spectacular photos Daniel! I agree with the others that they are worthy of the Joseph Dennis comparison.
My name is Pete I have a 1979 Lincoln Continental Town car that Lincoln just brought so many memories back when my baby was still on the road I’m trying to restore it but I can’t find parts for it so if anybody knows that they have any parts for a 78 79 Lincoln four-door Continental please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
I had two full size and 1 Mark IV. Best riding cars ever.
I owned one of these land yachts. I loved it!!!
I have an unusual ’77 TC. Deleted side moldings, porthole and partial vinyl delete.
Wow, that’s interesting. I was expecting the absent portholes to make a bigger difference to the appearance, and the absent side mouldings to make a smaller one, but it’s the other way round.
Those deletions give the car a more vintage, early 60’s vibe. More understated. Reminds me of my Dad’s ’63. The latest Lincoln sedans lacked the impact of these huge classics. The Chrysler 300 has managed to carry some of that old time swagger into the modern age.
D’y’think? I don’t; when I look at the 300 through that lens, I see a pretender—the dweeby, clueless schlemiel who tags along behind the badass brigade and won’t quit going “We’re pals, aren’t we? Huh? Huh? Aren’t we?”. Any amount of any kind of dress-up or -down can make it worse, but not better.
I think that the 300 is more successful than even the latest Continental. The MK “whatevers” aren’t even in the running. Too bad, I wish that the Continental had been successful. It wasn’t just the FWD, my 92 STS was FWD and it was never a problem. I loved that Cadillac.
Great photographs here, thanks for running this beautiful car again!
Was this done with a cell phone camera or something more substantial? No flash used? Was this taken in full nightime or dusk? Also, what city’s 37th ave are you on? Sorry, amateur curiosity.
For the record, I like the more open rear wheel openings on the the 78-79, but I like the 77 dash better. Amazing curbside find.
You’re welcome and thank you!
I took these with an iPhone 11 Pro. Don’t recall whether I was using the native Camera app or Halide. This was after dark—as dark as it gets in the middle of Vancouver, anyhow—and I did not use flash.
It’s a beauty and Daniel did a great job of photography. I concur with him on rain not really being a problem as long as the seals are in good shape, it’s the sun and UV that is the killer.
But my gawd that thing looks big, but I was wondering if it was just perspective. Looked it up and Wikipedia says it’s the biggest Ford car ever made. And it looks it. Nineteen and a half feet long. Wow.
Beautiful photos of a ridicuous(ly beautiful) piece of automotive history. The lighting is perfect for the car & the colour. A CC hall-of-famer.
Most of the late 70s Continentals had a half-vinyl roof, which I didn’t think looked good on the 4 door.
Ugh! I wanted to copy the first image for my computer wallpaper but its a WEPB file.
Nice pics. My wife and I were watching an old Hart to Hart episode which featured a stretch Lincoln of the generation featured in the post. She had never seen such a car so I educated her on stretch limos and recalled the time I visited Lehmann-Petersen in the eastern US during a summer road trip with a buddy
Check your email for the .jpg.
Thank you Daniel!
I can no longer save photos from this site as simple jpg files. I simply use the
windows snipping tool to save files from here now.
That’s a function of your browser, not this site. Some browsers have a configuration you can adjust for what format to save images in…and some of those actually work.