The Mark IV is no stranger to these digital pages, various of us have written at length about them and all y’all out there in commentary-land have added even more to the subject. Surprisingly these are not all that uncommon in the junkyard, I see several every year in various states of distress, but cannot recall the last time I actually saw one in the wild. So I figured I’d better get on it while they’re still being plucked from barns, the back forty, the side spot next to the garage or wherever one stores something this large.
I will say that nothing screams “America” like a mid-70’s Lincoln coupe, perhaps even more so than the Cadillac of the day. That gigantic bumper, the way the turn signals jut so far forward just because they can, and that runway of a hood combine to present a giant middle finger to any thoughts of conservation back in the day.
I will concede that parts of it do look magnificent, some of the details are superb. Even if I did have to use a hidden thumb to hold the headlight cover down… I love the ribbing on the light here. I can’t decide if it’s there more as decor or to protect the relatively fragile lens from minor impacts but either way, it’s pleasurable.
The grille too is quite the item, new for 1974 with this slatted design replacing the previous eggcrate it out-baroques the Mercedes as well as the Rolls. All the better to slice the traffic in front into thin wafers with.
228.1″ of length, or 5793mm for the Continental fans on the old continent. The current 2021 Lincoln Navigator L (the extended wheelbase one) is 6″ shorter (and almost exactly the same width). And it seats 8. Maybe big modern SUVs aren’t that big after all. Eh, they are of course, but this fatty from the good old days is bigger.
It’s hard to keep the front and back both in some sort of focus when it goes on and on for so long. Oh, I almost forgot, who was it popping off about the gunslit windows on today’s “modern” cars? Yeah, this Lincoln’s got the bunker look down too. I don’t think old Abe himself could fit into this, the roof’s too low. Would you believe that at 53.3″ of height, the roof of this is 4.5″ lower than that of the 2021 Mazda3 we reviewed earlier this week? It also has 1″ less headroom than the 2021 Chevy Camaro (37.5 vs 38.5)
But forgive me, the hood was already popped and I went around the side without opening it. Let me rectify that forthwith.
Four hundred and sixty cubic inches of all-American power. Well, four hundred and sixty cubic inches of displacement might be a better way of phrasing that. As far as “power” goes, it puts out 220hp so less than half a pony per cubic inch. And 335lb-ft of torque, which is a better number.
Yes, the car is slightly raised in the air here but there is zero frontal access to anything without laying on top of the fan shroud and having the hood ornament right where you definitely do not want it. Over the sides is a stretch as well. What’d this get with the 4-barrel back then? ConsumerGuide says the ’73 did about 7.5mpg. The good news is that wasn’t last place, just second to last. The bad news is that last place went to its 4-door cousin at 7.0mpg. The 2021 Navigator L referenced above averages out at around 18mpg for reference. Progress!
Anyway, hiking around to the back shows off the new for ’74 rear bumper which resulted in the lights moving up to the bodywork.
Somebody’s got a coffee can with half of the alphabet rattling around in it as the letters spelling out the name from the “spare tire” affectation are gone. What’s inside?
Hmm, it doesn’t look as large as it would appear to be, it holds 14.8 cubic feet of stuff, half a cube more than a current Nissan Sentra. And that opening is the definition of awkward. You’d have to heft your golf bags or dead bodies over about 24″ of bumper and rear chassis before dropping them down about a foot. Yeah, no thanks, that Navigator is looking better and better.
But I know you’ve all been eyeing the roof. And wondering just exactly what is going on up there with that vinyl.
Holy crap! This, my friends, is why you stay well away from the vinyl roofs! I don’t know if this car was flipped upside down for a decade in a 3″ salt bath and immersed the way Madge used to soak her fingers in the Palmolive but this is horrific.
Perhaps this angle is a bit better. Nope, it wasn’t just the lighting or me trying to make FoMoCo look bad. It is bad.
Just in case the last two pictures still left some doubt, this is from the other side. Still bad. I don’t think there’s any coming back from this without a roof transplant. But they’re probably all like this to some extent, the others maybe still have intact vinyl on top to hide it.
After that we probably need a little rest, the knees are a little shaky. Plop on down into those magnificent blue button tufted seats that the Chrysler New Yorker has nuthin’ on! Be careful though, you have to wedge your knees around the bottom of the dash there, don’t whack it. This car only has 42″of front legroom, or 2″ less than the same 2021 Nissan Sentra we just compared the trunk space to.
This is on the door sill right next to the driver’s seat. I never understood why they’d put the Ford logo there, you just signed on the dotted line for the big daddy Lincoln and then you need to get reminded that it’s a fancy Ford.
It does lounge well though. And you can flip those armrests up and slide the missus over towards you, these appear to be what Lincoln calls the “Twin Comfort Lounge Seats” in leather and vinyl (optional, Westminster knit cloth was standard) and, I kid you not, available in no less than nine hues, this one looks to be Medium Blue. It looks like you sit low though, even me with my 32″ inseam, not that I actually tried it.
The sofa in back looks even more comfy, well, maybe loveseat is a better term, it doesn’t look that roomy either actually. I’ll concede though that it does have 1.7″ more legroom back here than that same Nissan Sentra compact (36.4 vs 34.7). With 13.6″ more wheelbase of course the Lincoln should have more legroom somewhere. The back seat is also 1.3″ wider so maybe it’s not that bad for two after all.
A little room with a view. And a light! It could use it actually, it seems a bit dark in here. I’m going back up front.
The cockpit. In more ways than one; did women ever drive these? The thin rim here has been beefed up with a color matched cover, and the view through it is of, what, three gauges?
I’m not a fan of square gauges or roman numerals on them, even the clock. Why is it that everyone will bag on a VW Dasher or a Volvo wagon with a speedometer and a clock of the same size but when it says Cartier on the clock and is in a Lincoln it’s the height of fashion? It’s a good thing that fuel gauge is front and center as that’s where all the eyeballs need to be focused all the time. The tank only holds 26.5 gallons (100.3 liters) and I’m thinking that the way it reads right now is how it likely read most of the time in its younger days.
To the left of the wheel we have the light switch that looks just like a cigarette lighter, the HVAC module and a vent. I do like the slider for the automatic climate control, just slam that thing all the way to the left at the beginning of June and all the way back to the right at the beginning of November and you’re all set, it does everything. It’s a good idea it’s over here on the left too, lest the passenger get it into their head that they know better how to control this. Hopefully the driver didn’t drive around with those tetanus-spikes facing his left knee for too long though.
Note that there is fake wood (burled walnut?) SET INTO DIFFERENT FAKE WOOD! Is that other stuff supposed to be regular non-burled walnut or? I have no idea, maybe there are different classifications within the Di-Noc strata. All the way at the bottom is the lever for the “Electric Deice”, i.e the defroster.
To the right of the column we can see the mileage of 46,887, who knows if that’s original or should have a “1” in front of it, it may well be accurate as is. Then more fake wood within more fake wood and more warning lights than some small airplanes (that probably ARE smaller than this), the wipe-wash lever next to the lighter (see, those do all sort of look alike or at least they seem sized the same). There’s also another small vent. And at the bottom the Philco AM/FM Stereo!
What’s the passenger get? A divider to keep to their side of the dashboard.
And of course more wood within wood and a full description of what this conveyance is. Flanked by another small vent on either side and topping the tiniest glovebox ever seen which might hold one glove. Why it can’t extend further to the side is a mystery, surely the behind dash area can’t be that full of stuff, this is a big car.
Built in Wixom, Michigan, this looks like one of the first of the ’74s to make it out the door. The color at first seems to be white, but no, the 9C code means it’s actually “White Decor” and available by special order only, it is not mentioned in the brochure. Someone can likely enlighten us here, some of the other colors are called out as extra cost or limited availability, I’m not sure what a special order color would entail or how one would be qualified and why it’d be more special than the other 25 colors on offer. On this day to me it looked just as white as any other plain white car.
A GVWR of 6545 pounds is higher than that of many three row SUVs these days. This has two doors and seats four people smaller than me. I guess it can probably tow the boat pretty well though.
They don’t build them like this anymore, that’s for sure. Now they build other things that are smaller outside and bigger inside no matter how much space we think they take up. Godspeed, little Lincoln, perhaps you’ll come back as two others!