Ooh boy, am I going to get into it for this one! The 1980-83 Continental Mark VI is a car I like, but even some true-blue Panther fans do not, ahem, care for them, to be polite. Even JP Cavanaugh, Indiana’s #1 Panther fan, did not seem exceptionally enthusiastic about this model when writing his ’83 Mark VI Bill Blass CC.
I got into Marks and Lincolns thanks to my paternal grandfather, Bob Klockau. He had a Mark III, Mark IV and Mark V, but when the VI came out, he did not exactly race down to South Park L-M to order one. Indeed, he kept the ’77 midnight-blue Mark all the way to 1987, when it was traded for a new Rose Quartz Continental sedan–last year for the Fox Continental.
So yes, the Mark VI may not have been a huge draw to previous Lincoln and Mark owners–as my own grandfather proved. And even I can admit that the proportions are not the best. It essentially looks like what it is: A Mark V adapted to a smaller and lighter chassis.
But since it shared the same dimensions as the also-shrunken 1980 Continental, all the stylists could really do was change the nose, tail and roofline. The VI coupe also got a shorter wheelbase than the Continental coupe, sedan and Mark VI sedan, resulting in the world’s largest overhang-to-wheelbase ratio.
Despite the compromises of downsizing the Mark, I still like these. And when I spotted this one on eBay, I knew eventually I’d have to share it on CC, as it is the same color as a neighbor’s ’80 Continental when I was a kid.
Phil and Luray lived two doors down from our house. While Luray (Punkee to her friends) drove a 1980-84 navy blue Ninety-Eight Regency sedan, Phil had a Pine Opalescent Continental sedan, with a white coach roof and dark green cloth interior. It also sported the rarely-seen full wheel covers–the ones that would not have looked out of place on a ’30s Cord or Stutz. I rode my Knight Rider Big Wheel past it all the time, and vividly remember the “Electronic Fuel Injection” plaques on the front fenders.
Being a Continental, it was basically the same as this car, save for four doors, a longer wheelbase and hidden headlights. Also, no fake continental spare in the trunk lid. He kept that car for years, until rust got the best of it in about 1995. It was more or less replaced with an Evergreen Frost Town Car Signature Series, though they owned both cars for a year or two (more on that car can be read here).
That was my favorite color on these cars, and Phil’s was the only one I ever saw on a Panther in the metal. And there were plenty of Continentals, Town Cars and Marks in our area. Offered only for 1980-81, apparently it was not a hot seller. But I love this color! And the green leather on this ’81 Mark VI only makes it better.
This is a really pristine example, and loaded with leather, cruise, the Quadrosonic AM/FM stereo with 8-track, turbine alloys, and more. Oh, and plenty of chrome! Remember when cars had chrome trim? The only factory chrome on my Volvo wagon is the badging, grille surround and grille emblem, and the steering wheel emblem. Enough to maybe cover one-fifth of this Mark’s pseudo-Parthenon grille!
The last Mark VIs came off the line in 1983, to be replaced by the oh-so-modern Mark VII. It was as different from the Mark VI as you could get and still have a two-door luxury coupe, but the Mark was so much more capable. The Mark VI cruised; the VII went! It handled! And lasted over twice as long as the VI, to 1992.
But while a Mark VII LSC will run rings around the Mark VI, I still have a soft spot for them. It was the last “old guard” Mark, before the Yuppies and forward-thinkers thoroughly remade Ford into perhaps the most successful of the Big Three in the 1980s. And for those who mourned the loss of the old-style VI, they could console themselves in a new Town Car.
All in all, a real beauty. Best of all, pretty much everyone but me and Eric Van Buren loath these cars, so if I ever decide to get one, it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. I mean, come on! What’s wrong with getting 3/4ths of a Mark V, and with double the MPG of the 1977-1979 model? Nothing, I say.
The original listing for this car is long gone, but more Mark VIs can be seen here on eBay.