(first posted 8/20/2015) Continuing with its very full-sized cars through the 1979 model year, Lincoln was the last holdout in the face of CAFE and its downsized, more fuel-efficient vehicles from every other American car brand. Despite its inefficiency (averaging in the 13 mpg range), the 1977-1979 Mark V personal luxury coupe was an immensely successful model. When it came to downsizing the Mark for the 1980 model year, Lincoln sought to effectively duplicate the Mark V’s styling with hope of continuing that success.
Moving to the Panther platform, the 1980 Mark VI lost 6 inches of wheelbase and over 14 inches in overall length. In any form, the first generation Panthers were not tastefully proportioned vehicles. But of them all, the Mark VI coupe was unquestionably the worst-looking, in your author’s opinion. As Paul has shared before, the Mark VI might just have had the greatest overhang ratio of all time. With over 100 inches of overhang, making for an astronomical 47% of the vehicle’s overall length, the Mark VI was quite disproportionate. Its upright styling and narrow track didn’t help either.
Mark VIs simply didn’t convey the sheer presence and power of the Mark V, a car I feel is one of the best-proportioned designs of all time. Buyers seemed to agree, with total Mark VI sales never topping a single year of the Mark V’s. Thankfully, Lincoln would redeem itself, performing a complete 180 with the 1984 Mark VII.