Curbside Classic: 1994 Lincoln Town Car – Best U.S. Luxury Car Of The ’90s

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(first posted 6/18/2013)    By the late ’80s, Lincoln and Chrysler were essentially selling caricatures of their ’70s offerings. Hey, I like the square-rigged Panther Town Cars, and the FWD EEK New Yorkers too (well, not the Ultradrive), but let’s face it, the landau-and-opera-lamp look was not going to make it for much longer. A more modern take was needed–sooner rather than later. And thus entered the Aero TC, from stage left.

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The newly-arrived Japanese luxury makes were gaining serious market share, and the Germans were also becoming more and more favored–even in the domestic-loving Midwest. SUVs were also gaining credence with the non-forest ranger set. It was adapt or perish! Ford had more or less started the non-boxy look with the ’83 T-Bird and ’86 Taurus. Time to work some magic on the top FoMoCo product.

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1990 models were strikingly modern for a Town Car (the Mark VII and Continental had already embraced the FoMoCo “aero” look, in 1984 and 1988, respectively). About the only thing that carried over was the 5.0L V8 and basic chassis. Four wheel disc brakes were standard, as were dual airbags, with ABS optional.

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Actually, not all ’90 TCs had a passenger air bag, as supply problems cropped up. Townies with only the driver airbag received a credit on the window sticker for the missing passenger-side module. It must have been a shock to traditional Lincoln customers to not be able to get a TC with factory coach roof and opera lamps!

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Yes, the ’70s look was finally gone. Despite that, it still looked like a Town Car, with wide C-pillar, narrow quarter windows, long hood, RR-esque grille and lots and lots of chrome. It may have looked all-new, but the tried-and-true Panther platform still resided beneath–no bad thing.

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In 1991, the 302 said sayonara and was replaced with Ford’s new modular 4.6L V8. The new mill produced 190-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. As much as I love the 1990-92 Cadillac Brougham, I must admit that the Lincoln was the better car.

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The 1994 model as shown here was largely the same as the 1993 version, when a busier grille insert, taillamps and taillight garnish panel were added.

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1993 was also the first year the lovely turbine-spoke aluminum wheels–first seen in 1977–were no longer available. A shame. It might just be me, but I think these wheels would look great on a new MKZ–then maybe people might actually think it’s some kind of Lincoln. I’d keep the whitewalls, too!

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Inside, interiors were predictably lush, with many square feet of leather (or cloth in base Executive Series models), power everything, and a soft, air-cushioned ride.

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As with many of the other Lincolns I’ve written about this week, I had a close relationship with one of these cars new. The neighbors two doors down, the Kendalls, were in their late 50s/early 60s at the time, and traded in their Academy Gray 1991 Sedan de Ville for a 1994 Town Car.


It was ordered in a rare color, Evergreen Frost Metallic, with Evergreen interior (as above, only in leather) and a dark green vinyl coach roof not unlike the factory version seen on 1985-89 Town Cars. I absolutely loved that car, and remember checking it out when Phil brought it home from the dealer. It was a lovely car.


I only saw one other ’94 TC in that color–actually only a few blocks away. The only difference was it had a full carriage roof in dark green instead of the vinyl landau top. Maybe somebody saw Phil’s car and decided it was a good look? At any rate, I do not recall seeing a Town Car in that color in years. A shame, as it was a really sharp color–almost pearlescent–and really stood out among other TCs, that tended to be either white or light metallic blue.

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We moved out of the neighborhood in 1995, and a few years later I stopped to visit, having recently gotten my driver’s license. I was interested to hear about their new Lincoln, but was a bit disappointed to hear the lovely green ’94 was traded in. The new ’99 Signature Series was nice, but was not as sharp as the previous one, being Silver Frost Metallic with a black vinyl coach roof and light gray leather. Phil let me take it for a spin, and as we rode around the neighborhood I enjoyed the plush ride and comfy seating, but wish I could have taken the wheel of the ’94 before it departed–and maybe even have bought it!

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The truth is, we are all influenced by the cars of our youth. With the Kendalls’ ’94, Bill Yokas’ ’79 Collectors Series, and my grandfather’s five Lincolns owned between 1966 and 1989, I will thus always be a “Lincoln Man,” just as I will always be a “Volvo Man.” I really hope Lincoln gets their act together. We can’t afford to lose another American marque!

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