The personal luxury car forged a path to profitability via padded roofs, neoclassic opera windows, formal grilles, and needlessly ornate trim atop an otherwise pedestrian vehicle. These posh features weren't unique to Detroit, however: Toyota Celicas sported plasti-chrome, faux-woodgrain interiors, the Mazda Cosmo (CD) had opera windows and extensive chrome plating. Meanwhile, Datsun stole the show with the most decadent TV commercial of the Malaise Era. So what exactly distinguished Lincoln’s 1977–79 Continental Mark V? Its many elaborate, designer-label special editions crowned the Mark V king of '70s personal luxury cars.
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I think part of the sales success at the time was that people knew/feared these were going to be the last truly big cars.
In a sense they were, since big car drivers are all in 4 door trucks/SUVs today.
As far as the younger (Gen X and Y) it is the presence, sofa yacht luxury and solidity that appeals to myself and peers. There has been no reasonable priced big car in a long time, and some rather over-priced pretenders (last Impala I name you...). That's without getting into the 2 door vs. 4 door debate.
These cars were generally bought by people that used them sparingly and carefully and stored them well. High survivor rate compared to a 70s Civic or Vega. Also not horribly overpriced to entry-level collectors today.
You can also customize these cars and arguably improve them in many people's eyes, without dealing with archaic mechanicals (i.e., if doing a 50s Cadillac or Lincoln).
Mark Vs make some of the best lowriders too, I must admit. The long lines are great for those custom paint jobs and the full length grille looks amazing when you modify the bumper to let it breathe.
Rust is a big problem on these cars, particularly down around the front cornering lights and on the trunk. Gas mileage is about 11mpg IF the carb is set up right. They are HUGE & parking ain't easy (no backup camera here!). The velour interior is luxury personified & super comfortable; I'd like to see that available today.
Also crazy amounts of rust around the opera windows, rear window trim, and the rear/bottom trim that secures the vinyl roof. A lot of nice ones died for these sins!
These were attractive (more so than the Mark VI, and certainly more so than the Mark IV), but my favourite is still the Mark III, followed by the tough, bluff, buff Mark VII, especially in LSC monochrome form.