With a from-the-ground-up redesign in 1993 and meaningful updates along the way, the Lincoln Mark VIII was a car that had a lot going for it. Unfortunately, it existed in an era when demand and interest in personal luxury coupes was rapidly shrinking.
Between its sleek and striking exterior styling, sumptuous and smartly-designed interior, and robust performance from its state-of-the-art 4.6L DOHC 32-valve Modular InTech V8, the final iteration of Lincoln’s historic Mark Series was a confident, competitive entry in the personal luxury coupe segment.
A rather significant mid-cycle refresh for 1997, which included revised fascias, the first standard HID headlights in an American car, full-width neon brake lights, interior ambient lighting, aluminum hood, and improvements to the engine and transmission. Sales, however, were continuing their decline, and with little interest left in the car, Lincoln pulled the plug towards the end of the 1998 model year.
One might suggest that the convenience of four-door sedans was the reason, and while a contributing factor, it was really the rise of the SUV, especially the luxury SUV that killed the personal luxury coupe. Though the Lincoln LS sport sedan that arrived in 1999 (as a 2000 model) is the most logical successor to the Mark VIII on paper, in reality it was the 1998 Navigator that assumed the role of Lincoln’s ultimate status mobile.
Even at two decades old now, the Mark VIII’s design has held up well, still looking imposing and elegant. Will it ever achieve the same level of desirability among collectors as the iconic Mark V? Probably not. But one thing is for sure in that the Navigator will never hold a candle to what is quite possibly the last great American personal luxury coupe.
Photographed: Hingham, Massachusetts – March 2017