CC Outtake: 1970 Lincoln Mark III – Hauling the Saturday Shopping

(first posted 5/22/2018)         I finally found a genuine CC Mark III, at the Bi-Mart parking lot, no less. The last one I found, which led to a proper CC write-up, was five years ago on a trailer out at the coast. And here’s this one, being used as a daily driver to haul home the weekly shopping, a dozen blocks from my house. So I’m not going to repeat myself in-depth, but stick to a few details, like the not-quite closed headlight covers, a common Mark III old-age malady.

Once its owner finished loading up his goods in the Mark’s fairly ample trunk, he let me look inside and told me that he’d bought it about a year ago. One thing is clear: what looked like a mighty big car in 1968 looks downright petite fifty years later.  My, how we’ve all grown, along with our cars. This is the anti-CUV: long, low and very modest interior space.

And what was pretty much the most “luxurious” interior 50 years ago looks pretty hum-drum now. But that was then, and in 1968, the Mark was hot stuff. Unless you had already succumbed to the lure of Mercedes, which was happening to a whole lot of the Mark III’s demographic, at least on the coasts.

Sorry, but I could never warm up to fake spare tire humps, of any sort. Just not my thing…

The longer I look at it, the stranger it looks. But it sure had a powerful attraction to lots of folks, for a long time.


The Mark III was a big hit hit for Lincoln, and its daddy, Lee Iaccoca. The original concept lacked the classic grille on the front, and supposedly looked pretty weak (I can’t find any images of it on the web).

But then Lee had a sudden inspiration, either from likely having seen Virgil Exner’s 1966 Duesenberg renderings (or the earlier Stutz revival), which were very influential at the time, or from a bad dream, or something he ate, or a bolt of lightning from heaven. Whatever it was, slapping that classical grille transformed the car and delighted Henry Ford II. And thus was launched not just a car, but the beginning of an era.

Due to a common old-age malady of a leaking vacuum reservoir, the headlight covers tend not to stay closed all the way. The owner wanted to show me how it’s really supposed to look, so took to starting the engine. Which turned out to be easier said than done. I was getting a bit worried. Actually, I wish I had turned on my video, so that the repeated efforts to crank the big 460 V8 could have been enjoyed by all. It seemed like the started didn’t want to stay engaged more than a couple of seconds. Or maybe that was the owner’s doing.

Yes, it did finally start. And yes, the eyelids closed up. And suddenly fifty years ago seems like an eternity, not the wink of an eye.


My full write up on the Mark III