The last of the notable Continental Mark Series…
The 1979 model year released a significant milestone. It is the last of the full-size Continental Mark Series. To commemorate this historic event, Lincoln created the Collector’s Series Continental MK V. The MK V was built from 1977 until 1979. It is the last real American personal luxury car. Ford Motor Company gave America just what we wanted: a full-size luxury automobile.
While other auto manufacturers diced and sliced their luxury cars transforming them into assorted death traps and elegant puddle-jumpers…Lincoln remained true to form offering the Continental MK V and the Continental TownCar to the traditional luxury car buyers. These are the largest production passenger cars ever to roll off an assembly line. The Continental MK V Collector’s Series is the essence of unconstrained American eloquence –
1979 Collector’s Series Continental TownCar
The Lincoln Continental Mark Series are various personal luxury vehicles from Ford Motor Company serving as top shelf Flagship models. The very first Continental was developed as Edsel Ford’s one-off personal vehicle. Its design is based upon the Lincoln Zephyr with its long front fenders, short rear deck, and the externally mounted covered spare tire which became the signature feature of the Continental Mark Series. The original Continental is rated as one of the world’s most beautiful automotive designs from the pre-world war II period.
1956-1957 Continental MK II
1969-1971 Continental MK III
1972-1976 Continental MK IV
1977-1979 Continental MK V
The Continental Mark Series began with the Continentals built from 1939 until 1948. After an eight year hiatus, the Continental MK II was introduced as a stand-alone brand which built this car from 1956 until 1957. The Continental MK III…another of the world’s most beautiful designs challenged the Cadillac Eldorado running almost neck-to-neck. The Continental MK IV stole the entire world’s heart from 1972 until 1976; it IS the world’s most beautiful automotive design. And last but not least…the Continental MK V precludes the notable Continental Mark Series built in the traditional manner.
The Continental Mark Series maintained a signature styling continuity. They are typified by a long hood, low-slung roofline, and short rear deck complete with ersatz spare tire design. These two-door personal luxury coupes are the Flagships of Ford Motor Company in every respect. Their design was often imitated but never replicated. The notable Continental Mark Series from the original Continental up to and including the MK V are the most desirable regarding collector interest. Each will always retain its avant-garde appeal –
The subsequent models in this series are austere; their lack luster presence became redundant. By the time the last model in this series was produced, the Continental Mark Series slipped into an obscurity from which it never recovered. The MK VIII reminded me of a cross between a Frisbee and George Jetson’s car that folded into a briefcase when not in use. Lincoln sullied the Continental Mark Series identity and eminence through repetition. There are way too many models released too close together to remain exclusive. Once the prominence left…so did Lincoln Continental buyers –
The Continental MK V is designed for specific weight reduction due to the rising cost of petrol and federally mandated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ). This is achieved through the use of plastics, high-strength lightweight steel, and thinner glass. Even the engine is refined though the use of aluminum for parts such as the intake manifold and water pump. The result is a 1979 Mark V less 400 lbs. compared to the 1978 model –
Body Style code #65D 1979 Continental MK V coupe had a base price at $13,067. Total production for the 1979 model year is 75,939 vehicles. They were introduced October 6, 1978 as a 1979 model. The final day of production is June 8, 1979. This option added $8,000 to the base price which could exceed $22,000. The Continental MK V with the Collector’s Series option totaled 6,262 vehicles. The color breakdown is as follows: The Midnight Blue version delivered 3,900 vehicles, the White version delivered 2,040 vehicles, the Silver/Blue version delivered 125 vehicles, and The Diamond Blue version delivered 197 vehicles.
This was the final opportunity to buy a brand-new full-size American personal luxury automobile. This is Lincoln’s highest expression of luxury. The Continental MK V Collector’s Series is the formal farewell to a legend. The MK V was the very essence of the brand. Virtually every Lincoln option was standard on this elite Flagship personal luxury coupe.
These fine automobiles are designed to become highly collectible…look at the Continental MK II, it held all of its original value and is now gaining favorable appreciation. The Continental Mark Series celebrates the pomp and splendor of the American luxury automobile. The Collector’s Series MK V is the pinnacle of Lincoln eloquence and style –
The Collector’s Series MK V was offered in two colors initially. Midnight Blue Moondust Metallic and White versions were joined mid-year with Light Silver Moondust Metallic and Crystal Blue Moondust Metallic. Both of the latter two selections featured Midnight Blue Landau vinyl roofs. There are a few rare variants built as White with Midnight Blue vinyl roofs, and there were a few ordered without a vinyl roof at all. The richest looking color combination is the Midnight Blue Moondust Metallic…it really shows off the elegant gold pinstriping. The Collector’s Series MK V does not use an opera window.
Signature exterior features for the Collector’s series MK V includes a Valino Grain Landau Roof treatment, unique hood ornament, gold tone radiator grille, a contoured padded vinyl deck lid accent, unique paint stripes on body sides and hood, Landau Roof molding with coach lamps, bright edged fender louvres, wheel lip/rocker panel moldings, color keyed bumper guards and bumper impact strips (Midnight Blue on the Blue & Silver versions, Gold on White cars).
Color keyed turbine vaned cast aluminum wheels, Appearance Protection Group, and Michelin radial white wall tires are also included at no extra cost. “Collector’s Series” nomenclature is proudly affixed to the rear roof sail panels to alert the world to the fact this is no ordinary motorcar. This is the Continental MK V on the grand Continental scale. The large American luxury cars used to be the finest, most comfortable, and most prestigious automobiles in existence –
The standard interior for the Collector’s Series MK V is luxurious Kasman II luxury cloth upholstered bucket seats with locking center console. The luxury cloth interior started at $21,326 plus options. Twin Comfort Lounge Seats in the Luxury Group option were available in either Midnight Blue or White leather starting at $20,926. A price reduction was provided with leather trimmed versions. The instrument panel features brushed chrome inserts and unique appliques in Ebony wood tones. An umbrella is provided and is stored in the center console.
Power windows, power seats, power locks, power 4-wheel disc brakes, Automatic Temperature Control, Automatic Speed control, Tilt steering wheel, Headlamp Convenience Group, and Illuminated Entry System are just a few of the myriad comfort and convenience features and accessories standard on the Collector’s Series MK V. This is the most comprehensively equipped personal luxury coupe for the day…even more so than the Cadillac Eldorado.
The Collector’s Series MK V is powered by the Ford Cleveland 335-Series 400 CID 16-valve V8 engine. It is equipped with a Motorcraft 2150 2-bbl carburetor. The engine is mated to the Ford C-6 Select-Shift 3-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 159 hp @ 3,400 rpm with 427 Nm of peak torque @ 1,800 rpm.
Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 15.4 seconds, 0-100 mph in 67 seconds with a top speed of 106 mph ungoverned. It can do the ¼ mile @ 71 mph in 20.9 seconds. The Collector’s Series MK V is a very large front engine rear drive vehicle. It has the luxury length of 230.3”, rides upon a long 120.3” wheelbase, and is 79.7” in width.
This engine never should have powered such a large automobile. Like the Collector’s Series TownCar, the Collector’s Series MK V is all flash and no dash. The 460 CID V8 with 4-bbl carburetion was no longer available. It has a better power-to-weight ratio to power a vehicle of this magnitude. If this engine had electronic fuel injection it could have been more efficient.
Carburetors waste gasoline, I am surprised that the industry stayed with them as long as they did. Mechanical fuel injection was out in the 1950s via the 1957 Chevrolet “Fuelies.” It is the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) federally mandated mpg requirements that forced Ford into subservience like all other auto manufacturers.
The Wixom, Michigan plant had a reputation for building vehicles of the highest quality. Lincolns for many decades rolled out of the facility with pride. There was, however; a melancholy atmosphere as the last full-size Lincolns were built. Unlike previous days when a new model or restyle was released, there was a certain excitement…the long time employees knew things would never be the same.
They realized the once grand vehicles they had built previously would never roll down the same lines again. At its peak, the Wixom plant produced 280,659 vehicles per year. During its 50 years in operation, Wixom built 6.6 million cars. The last vehicle rolled off the assembly line at 12:55 p.m. on May 31, 2007. This was the historic end to the plant that produced some of America’s finest automobiles.
The 1979 Continental MK V is the last personal luxury automobile to be built on a full-size platform. On June 8, 1979, the final Continental MK V rolled off the assembly line into history. To commemorate this milestone event, Lincoln offered a limited edition celebrating the large American luxury car. American luxury automobiles are the epitome of eloquence. We have built some of the finest, most comfortable, and most prestigious automobiles in existence.
The 1979 Collector’s Series Continental MK V is one of the largest post WWII automobiles ever built. For around $22,000, a piece of automotive history could be parked in your garage. This was the final opportunity to buy a brand-new full-size Lincoln Continental. The Collector’s Series was available as the MK V and the formidable Lincoln TownCar.
These big ole’ rollin’ Barco loungers epitomized the American luxury automobile. A total of 75,939 Continental MK V’s were built for the 1979 model year of which 6,262 of these are the elite Collector’s Series. Ford was the only automaker that gave America just what we wanted: A full-size luxury automobile –
Special Thanks to Bob Adams
Special Thanks to MJC Classic Cars
Special thanks to Daniel Schmitt & Co
Special thanks to Rik Gruwez at Liberty Oldtimers
The last of the full-size luxury cars