Requiem For A Legend: 1976 Continental MK IV

This is the finale for the beautiful MK IV

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The only luxury car to place the Cadillac Eldorado in 2nd place

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The grand finale for the most beautifully designed automobile in the world came with the 1976 model year. The Continental MK IV is a stunning example of American ingenuity and luxury at its finest. Ford has always been successful with marketing special limited editions. The Continental MK IV in its basic form has more luxury as standard equipment than any other personal luxury car at the time.

The eminent Designer Series provided the buyer with more distinction than traditional models. The luxury of choice was alive and well back in the good old days in America. Our luxury cars put the rest of the world to shame. The Continental MK IV is powered as a true American luxury car. Luxurious appointments and classic styling made the MK IV the obvious choice in personal luxury cars…the Lincoln Continental MK IV is what a luxury car should be…

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Black Diamond Luxury Group

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Style code #65D Continental MK IV coupe had a base price of $11,060 and 56,110 were built. It was introduced on October 3, 1975 as a 1976 model. The 1976 edition is one of the most popular model years for the MK IV. Here are the production numbers for model years 1972-1976: 1972 had a base price of $8,640 and 48,591 were built; 1973 had a base price of $8,984 and 69,437 were built; 1974 had a base price of $10,194 with 57,316 built; and 1975 base priced at $11,082 with 47,145 built.

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The car that began it all was the original Continental built in the1930s as a one-off custom car serving as a concept car directed by Edsel Ford. It was a modified Lincoln Zephyr. This first creation gave birth to the Continentals built from 1939 until 1948.

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Continental 5

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In 1955 Ford Motor Company set out to introduce an all-new personal luxury car. It was to be one of the most exclusive and expensive automobiles in the world. This is the beginning of the ultra-exclusive Continental MK II and the brand new “Continental Division.” The Continental MK II was the most expensive model in Ford’s model hierarchy. They shared no sheet metal with the other Lincolns…in fact; the Continental MK II is NOT a Lincoln. Ford used a naming convention to denote the version. (MK II, MK III, MK IV etc.) This all-new approach to luxury carried a price tag of $10,400 which was almost twice the cost of a Lincoln.

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For the 1956-1957 tenure, 2,996 were built. Almost half of these remain road-worthy and will carry a hefty price tag today. The Continental Division of Ford Motor Company was a stand-alone brand for these two years only. It was integrated into Lincoln in 1958 dubbed the MK III and was not restricted as a two-door coupe but also offered a four-door hardtop sedan and a convertible.

These are some of the largest cars ever made. The 1958 Lincolns were even longer than Cadillacs. They are the longest Lincolns ever built. The MK III/MK IV convertibles are the longest American convertibles ever built, with the exception of the extremely rare 1934-1937 Cadillac V16 convertibles. Back then, bigger was supposed to be better…

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1959 Continental MK IV

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To make the Continental MK IV even more exclusive, there were Luxury Group and Designer Series packages available. The 1973 MK IV introduced the Silver Luxury Group which was so popular; it was repeated for the 1974 model year. Also available for the 1974 model year was the Gold Luxury Group which attracted more buyers. It was expanded to include the Blue Diamond, Saddle/White, and Lipstick/White Luxury Groups which attracted even more traffic to Lincoln showrooms.

The 1976 MK IV was available in Blue Diamond, Black Diamond, Saddle/White, Lipstick/White, Gold/Cream, Red/Rose, Jade/White, and Dark Jade/Light Jade Luxury Groups. Another popular Luxury Group was the Versailles Option. It was available in four interior colors with special “floating-pillow” style cushioned seating. This exclusive velour trimmed not only the upholstery but the headlining, and door panels as well. Each Luxury Group and the Designer Editions had a color-keyed luggage compartment with the same carpet that was used for the interior. Each Luxury Group was the epitome of Lincoln luxury and elegance.

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Blue Diamond 1

Blue Diamond Luxury Group

Blue Diamond 2

Blue Diamond 3

Blue Diamond 4

Blue Diamond 6

Blue Diamond 7

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Lipstick and White 3

Lipstick and White Luxury Group

Lipstick and White 1

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Lipstick and White 6

Lipstick and White 5

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Dark Jade Light Jade 1

Dark Jade Light Jade 2

Dark Jade/Light Jade Luxury Group

Dark Jade Light Jade 3

Dark Jade Light Jade 6

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Real excitement came the final model year for the MK IV in 1976. The illustrious Designer’s Series combined spectacular color combinations and special features and accessories to complement each in a unique manner. The eminent designers that coordinated these works of automotive art include Bill Blass, Cartier, Huber de Givenchy, and Emilio Pucci with each being a Mark of distinction. Each exclusive limited edition features a 22-karat Gold plaque for engraving the owner’s name. The designer’s signature was etched in gold into the opera windows.

The Bill Blass Edition features Dark Blue Diamond Fire Metallic with a Cream Normande Grain vinyl landau roof. It is highlighted by Cream and Gold pinstriping with either Cream or Dark Blue body side moldings. The interior is elegantly tailored in Blue Versailles cloth ($2,000) or Dark Blue leather with Cream accent straps and buttons. ($1,500) This Designer Group was also available for the 1977-1979 MK V. There were 3,213 built as Bill Blass Editions.

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Legendary Cartier, the famous Fifth Avenue Jeweler presented his edition in Dove Grey, the color of fresh water pearls with a matching Valino Grain vinyl landau roof. Dove Grey bodyside moldings blend in for a monochromatic look. Red and White pinstriping adds a luxurious contrast and intrigue. The interior is graciously tailored in Dove Grey Versailles cloth ($2,000) or Dove Grey leather ($1,500). This Designer Group was available for the 1977-1979 MK V with a color change to Light Champagne for the 1978-1979 model years. For the 1976 model year 4,786 were trimmed in leather and 930 with velour trim.

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The Cartier Edition MK IV

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The Givenchy is finished in Aqua Blue Diamond Fire Metallic with a White Normande Grain vinyl landau roof. Black and White pinstriping is used to extend the color combination. White or Aqua Blue body side moldings allowed the buyer to blend or contrast the color combo. Aqua Blue Velour or Aqua Blue leather were the choices for the interior upholstery and trim. The dash was highlighted by light simulated wood grain with black-grained inserts. This Designer Group was $1,500 extra for both velour and leather choices. Huber de Givenchy used his talent also for the 1977-1979 MK V.

Emilio Pucci chose Dark Red Moondust Metallic with a Silver Normande Grain landau vinyl roof for his elite edition. Silver and Lipstick Red pinstriping added a startling contrast. Red or Silver body side moldings were available. The interior is tastefully trimmed in Dark Red Versailles cloth ($2,000) or Dark red leather ($1,500).

Pucci

 

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The ultimate personal luxury car is powered by the Ford 385-Series 7.5 litre 16-valve 460 CID V8 engine. It is equipped with a Motorcraft 4350 4-bbl carburetor, “Stay Full” radiator system, and Ford’s C-6 Select-Shift 3-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 202 hp @ 4,000 rpm with 478 Nm of peak torque @ 1,600 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 12.6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 42.7 seconds, and 0-110 mph in 91.9 seconds. Don’t scoff, this is an enormous vehicle with a cast iron engine and the body has NO aerodynamics. The top speed is 114 mph ungoverned. It does the ¼ mile @ 75 mph in 19.2 seconds.

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The 1976 Continental MK IV is a personal luxury car that is luxurious and fully equipped in its base model form.  Standard equipment includes: Automatic Temperature Control, Twin Comfort Front Lounge Seats with 6-way power for both driver and passenger, power steering, power 4-wheel disc brakes with dual hydraulic master cylinder to facilitate independent front and rear braking systems, Dual-Note horn, Cartier electric timepiece, power windows, Power Lock Group, front & rear center folding armrests, AM/FM Multiplex radio with power antenna, automatic parking brake release, opera windows, full vinyl roof, cornering lamps, and Sure-Track Braking system.

Popular optional features and accessories for the 1976 Continental MK IV includes: Power Glass Moonroof, Custom Landau Vinyl Roof, power vent windows, rear window defroster, “Quick Defrost” rear window, leather trim, Versailles Luxury Group Option which includes floating pillow-style seating in elegant velour, illuminated visor vanity mirrors, Moondust Metallic paint finishes, Diamond Fire Metallic paint finishes, tilt steering wheel, premium bodyside moldings, forged aluminum wheels, Security Lock Group, custom paint stripes, and wide-band whitewall tires.

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Special thanks to Rik Gruwez at Liberty Oldtimers, Bob Adams Classic Cars, and Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars for allowing me to make this tribute to the Continental MK IV possible.

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The 1976 Continental MK IV is a large front engine rear drive vehicle. It rides upon a long 120.4” wheelbase, has the luxury length of 228.1”, and is 79.8” wide. Its styling is the main focal point. The long, low silhouette boasts a long hood and short rear deck. The front end styling ensemble is augmented by hidden headlamps and unique radiator grille design with stand-up Lincoln star. The rear is exceptionally classy with its ersatz spare tire design. The Continental MK IV is the quintessential personal luxury coupe.

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The Continental MK IV is indeed a classic in its own time. It is the personal luxury coupe that the competition was judged by. A MK IV offers a quiet ambience with comfort and conveniences beyond the norm, smooth handling with outstanding workmanship, and luxurious appointments. The Continental MK IV is a car complete with more features and accessories as standard equipment than any of its competition.

For 1976, there was a new approach to luxury and distinction. Some of the world’s most significant designers coordinated and put their names on limited editions of the Continental MK IV. In addition to the opulent Designer’s Series, the MK IV was available in special Luxury Groups to further enhance the experience. There were features and accessories available to make the MK IV as distinctive as its owner’s requests. Power, performance, and presence are yours in the 1976 Continental MK IV. The legacy of the illustrious Continental Mark Series will live on forever…

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The End

1976 Continental MK IV

2 Responses to “Requiem For A Legend: 1976 Continental MK IV”

  1. CHARLES RANDOLPH Says:

    MY FATHER HAD A 75 MARK IV…..I MISS THAT GLORIOUS CHARIOT TO THIS DAY! ONE OF THE FIRST CARS I EVER DROVE! THAT WAS WHAT A ‘LUXURY CAR’ SHOULD BE! TOO BAD LINCOLN HAS ‘FORGOTTEN’ WHAT THAT MEANT, AS THE NEW ‘CONTINENTAL’ IS ANOTHER ‘JAPENESE-GERMAN LOOK-A-LIKE, GENERIC AS HELL! THANK YOU FOR THE ‘GREAT MEMORIES’!

    • Hello Charles! The new Continental caused quite a raucous when it made its debut! The designer of the Bentley Flying Spur went into a rage in front of everyone at the auto show accusing Lincoln for blatantly copying the Flying Spur’s styling cues! If you place the Bentley Flying Spur beside the new Lincoln Continental, you will see a striking resemblance! It is sad American cars no longer carry an American styling continuity!

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