Curbside Outtake: 1990 Lincoln Town Car – Big American Luxury Car, 1990’s Style

The boxy knife-edge Lincoln Town car from 1980’s—a design I could never warm up to—had really worn out its welcome by the end of that decade. So Lincoln decided it was ready get with it…as in actually being in the 1990s. The result was a very conservative dipping of the toes in the new aero-dominated style. The front end came right off the 1983 Mark VII; meaning Town Car buyers had seven years to get used to that. And the rest of the body followed suit: subtle influences from the Taurus and the 1988 Continental, which preceded this by two years. Safe, conservative, and bland.

In other words, perfect for the target market.

Under the hood, the good old 5.0 L Windsor V8 made its final outing, to be replaced by the 4.6 Modular V8 in 1991. Horsepower was stated as being 150, 160 with the optional dual exhausts. Not exactly a Hot Rod Lincoln, but quite adequate for the job.

The interior was certainly a bit cleaner than its predecessor, which was very much still in ye olde brougham mode. But everything is relative, and relatively speaking, this is still very traditional American style. The dashboard does not exactly exude genuine quality and style; the inevitable Mercedesication had not yet happened here. Traditionalists would feel right at home here; younger/import buyers/intenders, not so much. Or at all.

It’s certainly an improvement over what it replaced, but I always thought that the treatment of the rear window/C pillar/opera window was just not quite right. And the 117″ wheelbase is a few inches too short at the rear. But that was a perpetual visual massing issue with all the Panther cars.


In the last few years of my corporate career, these were the “black cars” of choice whenever I went to New York on business, either for budget/management meetings or to go on sales calls to the agencies with our NY sales reps. Taxis weren’t good enough for the Telemundo folks anymore as they had been some years earlier. Too hoi polloi.

I would have preferred to walk and take the subway; I always loved the NY subways since first riding on them as a kid. And the grittier they got in the 1980s, the more I liked them! Yes, I’m a weirdo. But I happen to like mingling with the grittier side of humanity. I walk right by homeless camps here in Eugene every day, and say hi to the regulars. They’re humans too, and looking folks in the eye and saying hello is a good exercise.

I’ve managed to drift off topic here, or have I? Cars like this were designed create as much of a barrier between the affluent and the poor as possible. And these Lincoln Town Cars did the job as well or better than any of them.