Fresh Metal: 1973 Lincoln Continental Coupe
“The Bold & the Beautiful Lincolns”
The Lincoln Continental was a formidable Cadillac rival…
The Lincoln Continental gave Cadillac stiff competition. The 1973 Continental was designed to be even quieter than its predecessor the 1972 model. Its ample dimensions were visually balanced by subtle body lines in the Lincoln Continental tradition. It was a comprehensively equipped luxury car even in its most standard form.
Long, low, and wide describes its physical attributes. The Lincoln Continental coupe for 1973 was designed and built to provide riding comfort and handling characteristics to compete with the finest automobiles in the world. Everything about the 1973 Lincoln Continental coupe was designed with maximum comfort in mind. The Lincoln Continental coupe makes its cameo appearance…in the continuing saga of “The Bold & the Beautiful Lincolns.”
The Bold and the beautiful Lincoln Continental coupe was a rarity for the 1973 model year. Style code 81-65A Continental coupe had a base price of $7,230 and only 13,348 were built. Compared to style code 82-53A Continental sedan with a base price of $7,474 and 45,288 were built, the Continental coupe was built at a restricted pace. It was the Continental sedans that made up the bulk of the sales figures. The 1973 model year broke previous sales records by 28% over the 1972 Continental.
The Lincoln Continental for the 1973 model year was a design carry over from 1972 with subtle refinements. The most noticeable feature was the new front bumper impact system. The bumper was moved forward and surrounded by thermoplastic filler panels.
It was designed to yield upon a 5 mph impact with no sheet metal damage. The rear bumper could survive a 2.5 mph impact without damage to surrounding sheet metal. The Lincoln Continental had undergone two major body style changes in 1966 and 1970. The extensive style updates occurred in 1964, 1965, 1968, and 1972.
The 1973 Lincoln Continental coupe retained the classic Continental architecture. The chrome laden knife-blade fenders spanned the bodywork from front to rear. The authoritative front end styling was augmented by concealed dual headlamps. The silhouette of the Continental’s side view was elegantly finished with classic rear fender skirts. The 1973 Lincoln Continental coupe was a most elegant personal expression of Lincoln luxury.
The interior of the 1973 Lincoln Continental coupe was a special place equipped as a fine automobile should be. The comfortable deep-seated lounge seats had energy absorbing steel frames and were covered in polyurethane foam. A choice of power bench seating or Twin Comfort Lounge seats were available in either cloth or glove-soft leather.
Luxurious cut pile carpeting was lavishly under foot. Standard interior features included: courtesy lighting, power steering, power windows and seat, Automatic Air Conditioning, electric windshield wipers/washers, 3-spoke Rim-Blow steering wheel, folding center armrests front and rear, automatic seatback release, trip odometer, door pull assist straps, and electric clock.
The 1973 Lincoln Continental coupe was powered by the Ford 385-Series 7.5 litre 460 CID 16-valve pushrod V8 engine. It was constructed with a cast iron block and cylinder heads. The engine was equipped with a Motorcraft 4-bbl carburetor, mechanical fuel pump, dry-type air filter, and hydraulic valve lifters. The “385” is the 3.85” crankshaft stroke of the 460 CID V8. This was Ford’s last big-block V8 engine.
The 7.5 litre V8 produced 219 hp @ 4,400 rpm with 488 Nm of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm. The engine was mated to Ford’s “SelectShift” C6 3-speed automatic gearbox. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 10.8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 33.9 seconds with a top speed of 121 mph. It did the ¼ mile @ 79 mph in 18.4 seconds. The 460 CID V8 could be ordered in the Police Interceptor package with heavy-duty refinement for super-duty law enforcement vehicles.
A national survey released in 1973 revealed that 20,000 drivers of “The other luxury car” had switched to Continentals during the previous two years. This was attributed to the Continental’s outstanding riding/driving qualities.
The secret to Lincoln’s silicone-smooth ride was its tuned suspension. The Lincoln Continental coupe had an extra-wide stance of 79.6” riding on a long 127” wheelbase. It had the luxury length of 229.1” limousine-like comfort. The Continental’s front suspension used independent dual ball joints with the upper joints spring-loaded, helical coil springs, and double-acting shock absorbers.
The rear suspension was a three-link design using deep coil springs, shock absorbers and a transverse track bar. Rubber bushings were used throughout the suspension to absorb road impact and isolate road noise. Standard whitewall steel-belted radials were part of this tuned suspension system. A Lincoln Continental rode like a big ‘ole rollin’ Barco lounger.
The 1973 Lincoln Continental came standard with power brakes. The system used a dual hydraulic master cylinder with vacuum power assist. This self-adjusting braking system and its dual hydraulic master cylinder provided independent operation of front and rear braking systems.
The parking brake was a true auxiliary brake. Its automatic vacuum release would not lock with the engine running and transmission in gear. This system provided smooth, straight, fade-free stops. The front axle was fitted with ventilated discs while finned and flared drums were fitted to the rear. “Sure-Track” computerized braking system was optional. It was a primitive version of today’s ABS.
The 1973 Lincoln Continental coupe was created out of a tradition of excellence. It was a legend of automotive superiority in all its facets. The 1973 Continental coupe continued this legacy of automotive greatness. Lincolns were historically designed and built to provide comfort and handling among the finest automobiles in the world. The 1973 Lincoln Continentals were engineered to be even quieter than its 1972 counterpart.
The inexhaustible power supply came from the spirited 460 CID V8 engine. The silicone-smooth ride was due in no small part to its tuned suspension. The standard comfort and convenience features and accessories made it a luxury car complete. With the available options, the 1973 Lincoln Continental could be as individual as one’s finger prints. This was another dramatic cameo appearance…in the continuing saga of “The Bold & the Beautiful Lincolns.”
Special thanks to Michael at Fiore Motor Classics
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