COAL: 1976 Lincoln Mark IV Jade/White Luxury Group — A Very Special COAL

This car is one that is still in my corral, and while it needs body work it runs very well and has very deep emotions tied to it.

The year was 1994. My wife was still working at Publix and became good friends with a sweet lady I’ll call Debbie. She was married to a true gentleman that I’ll call Mike.

Debbie had just inherited her mom’s last car, a 1976 Lincoln Mark IV. And Mike wanted to restore it so they could enjoy it. The car had started its life in Maine and had lower rust issues, but was super clean with very low miles.

So Mike, knowing I am a car guy, asked me for some help. The first thing to tackle; the rear bumper had fallen off of one side!

Owning a hardware store came in really handy and I brought over stainless steel bolts, nuts and washers (Which are still in place!) It took two men to hold up the bumper while I turned the wrench.

I knew a customer from the hardware store that I thought did really top notch body work and paint, so I hooked the two up. To start things off, I suggested finding a rust free donor car. And being that we lived in the Fort Lauderdale area, it wasn’t too hard. Mike found a clean 1976 Cartier Edition that just barely ran. We didn’t care; we just wanted to strip it.

This old heap was kept at my house and I took everything possible off of it. Once I was all done, I called a junk man who was happy to pay $50 for the shell since it still held the 460 and transmission. So all those parts ended up costing $400! Score!

Mike had been very direct in his instructions: no Bondo and no body fillers of any kind. And we left the donor fenders, doors, hood, trunk lid, etc. with the body shop.

After a year, it was time to pick up the Lincoln. It was beautiful. Everything seemed to be done to Mike’s specifications. We all went out for a steak dinner in that car. What a great time!

Fast forward to 2015, Mike and Debbie had moved to central Florida and we were looking for a home in that area. So I went to see them and asked about homes in the city. When I got to the driveway, the garage door went up and there sat the Lincoln! I couldn’t believe it! It now had 83,000 miles, up from the 48,000 or so when I’d seen it last.

However, the rust had taken hold. But now, instead of just lower body, it was under the vinyl roof, on the trunk lid and a little under the chrome door pieces. When the rust came back, we found that the original white paint was still underneath, meaning the body shop didn’t use the donor doors, fenders etc.

Mike had decided that he was done, and Debbie agreed. So they were looking to sell it. Mike thought of parting it out, but I knew it was a low production car, and Debbie couldn’t support that idea. I mentioned that I knew a young man back in Fort Lauderdale who I felt sure would bring it back to life.  I didn’t have the money to own it, but fully understood the emotions with that car.

While Debbie appreciated that, she said she’d rather I had the car. She knew that I’d give it the attention it needed and it wouldn’t end up in a crusher or a buy here-pay-here lot. So she came up with a fair price: Free! I was honored.

When we were going through all the paperwork, I found the original window sticker, build sheet, sales brochure and a complete shop manual set from Ford. I was thrilled! I don’t know, but I feel having all this paperwork makes a car more valuable. It tells a story.

I started out by installing a new fuel pump, rebuilding the carburetor and my son rebuilt the power window motors. Then, out of the blue, my health went downhill –quickly. I was on short time disability but it wasn’t enough for me to continue working on the Lincoln. There was just no extra spending money.

By 2019, I was fully disabled. It seemed that, after being seen, poked, X-rayed and examined by 30 doctors, that my spinal canal is too small for my spinal cord. So, every movement is a thrill!

Back to the Lincoln…

Cindy and I decided that, since I was not able to work, we would move to Tennessee where we both wanted to retire anyway. I told the realtor that a large garage was a must. And she found it; a home in our price range with a 24×32 foot garage with heat and air conditioning.

The Lincoln, now referred to as Jade, resides in her cocoon! She has 89,526 miles on her.

She is a rare (1 of 4 per Marti report) Jade and white edition, as seen in the photos. I drive her every week or two, and get looks, and lots of questions. As money comes my way, I’m slowly continuing the restoration. About a year ago, I had a “moment of stupid,” and a guy asking if I’d sell the car. I thought about it, but cooler heads showed me that it would be a very dumb thing to do.

I’m keeping it! Mike is not in good health these days and that really makes the car’s value to me priceless.