1978 Lincoln Continental Reviews from North America

1978 Lincoln Continental Base 400

Model year1978
Year of manufacture1977
First year of ownership2012
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 400 Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired75000 miles
Most recent distance78000 miles
Previous carLincoln Town Car

Summary:

The Godfather "Gangster" Lincoln... An American Classic

Faults:

Drivers power window is slow and gets stuck.

Rear passenger windows doesn't work.

Power door locks are stuck and also don't work.

Needs new rotors.

Vinyl top is cracked and peeling.

Some very minor surface rust here and there.

Replaced spark plugs and wires.

Replaced vacuum advance diaphragm on the distributor.

Changed oil and all fluids.

New muffler and tail pipe.

Replaced leaky valve cover gaskets.

General Comments:

I love this car!

It has a very comfortable "sleepable" interior with space for the entire family to spread out and relax in peace. It's massive, including the trunk.

The power seats are cloth bench style and not individual, I have the base Continental. But still these seats are extremely soft and comfy, both front and rear, even if there is no back support...

I actually prefer this dash over the 77's, it just looks more stylish to me with the silver finish and speedo number font, even though it's shared with the Mercs of the same year. The Baby Blue color really makes it stand out as well.

Some dash fitting is off and is not lined up correctly, and some plastics used are very cheap feeling.

Other than some very minor issues, which are mainly cosmetic and electrical, this Lincoln is a wonderful car to drive. I mean nothing today can compare with its sheer size and mass on the roadways; it's like driving a bus, or commanding a ship! The mechanics are bullet proof for its age, and it runs and operates flawlessly.

Although it's a huge car, it's really easy to handle, with its super light steering, and very good braking abilities due to it being Hydro-boost power braking; it makes the driving experience feel very modern and safe.

The engine is the weak "400", so it doesn't get up and go fast due to all the emission equipment, but the car does fine cruising around town. It's only when you are trying to pass people on the freeway that the lack of power truly shows up. It's pretty gutless, especially when mated up to the slow shifting C6 tranny.

I plan on upgrading to dual exhaust with high flowing CATs, in order to hopefully boost some power by helping the engine breath better.

This car is one of the most beautifully designed and styled cars I have ever seen. I just love the 77-79 Continental's, it's sad that this grille was only a 3 year run, because the Rolls Royce inspired grille looked the best. In person, these cars are extremely massive, handsome, and very impressive at the same time. It's hard for me to imagine that cars this big were built when they were. The resources it had to take to construct each one of these beasts must have been brutalizing. All the steel, glass and trim used is amazing. I would feel totally safe if I crashed through a brick wall; that's how beefy these cars are.

Lincoln did a great job with its styling towards the end of the 70's with the Continental's and Mark V. They're cars that are literally works of art, built to skyscraper specs.

The quality is solid, you feel like you're in a tank. The driving experience is soft, quiet and all about extreme comfort. If you love smooth riding cars, the Lincolns of this era were the best. Better than the 90's era and on, I mean nothing compares. The A/C blows ice cold, and still works great.

For being a car of the 70's, not everything is great about this car though. I feel like Ford cheapened out during the 70's. The Lincoln's didn't have the greatest or the most stylish interiors like the Cadillac's did, too many parts shared with other Ford vehicles, like Mercury. It doesn't feel as special like the 60's Lincoln Continental's do, there's a lot of plastic inside, but overall, 70's Continentals are very reliable and well made compared to the rest of the junk being built during that decade.

I've owned a couple of classic cars in the past, a 72 Cadillac Deville, a 68 Cadillac Deville, also owned a 93 Town Car as a daily driver, and currently own a 61 Lincoln Continental. Out of those 4, the 78 Lincoln has the best ride. It's the most comfortable car I have ever driven, even though the 61 Lincoln is a close second, but that car feels more sporty and has a firmer suspension.

The 72 Caddy had a cheaper feeling interior, and rattled badly over potholes. It didn't feel as well put together as the Lincoln. The body of the Caddy didn't feel as tight either, like the Continental does.

I recommend these cars to anyone that is looking for a smooth classical cruiser. Gas mileage is horrible, but this thing isn't a daily driver of course, it's all about enjoyment and pleasure during my free time, so gas prices aren't really an issue for me. Getting behind the wheel of something this big is frightening at first, but after a few trips around the block, it becomes a piece of cake. Parking can be a challenge, I don't go through drive thru's, and make sure if I do park somewhere, I take up 2 parking spots on purpose, just so no one gets close to me; it also gives me enough space to pull out without hitting anybody.

I get stared down by certain people while driving the Lincoln. My guess is either these people are jealous of my car or are sick to their stomach by the grotesque size of this boat! On the other hand, other people give me props, and complement it, so it's a win win LOL.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th October, 2012

18th Oct 2012, 15:44

Although quality control was not at its best in the 1970's, & emission equipment of that era strangled engines to the point that we were driving 145hp 5.7 liter engines, I don't agree that everything built in the 1970's was "junk". In fact there were a lot of interesting vehicles built during that era, many of which are still on the road.

Perhaps the best styled came before the massive 5mph bumpers, and after manufacturers learned to integrate & cover them.

That being said, there were some rolling works of art during that decade.

One more thing, remember the horrible seat-belt interlocks of 1974, where you couldn't start your vehicle without being buckled up? Although I am a proponent of wearing seat belts, this was a misguided and thankfully short lived regulation. They were also easy to disconnect.

1978 Lincoln Continental Town Car 460ci (7.5ltr)

Model year1978
Year of manufacture1978
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 460ci (7.5ltr) Automatic
Distance when acquired151000 kilometres
Most recent distance153200 kilometres
Previous carLincoln Town Car

Summary:

A big, roomy, comfortable, quiet and powerful enough car that is a pleasure to own

Faults:

The gear shifter broke inside the steering column at 153,000 klms.

Since 1980, the previous owner properly maintained this car using only quality parts so the future looks bright.

Had the car sprayed at a rust control place, as did the previous owner. Will do it every year. Best $109 (cdn) I could spend.

General Comments:

For all practical purposes it's quick enough, but it really shines above 80 klms an hour. Had a tach in my last car, which was the same car as this one, and at highway speed 100 klms an hour, the engine's only doing about 1,850 rpm. Factory rear end gear was 2.50,and 2.75 optional.

If you only do city driving and like quick standing starts, get some stiffer gearing out back as I later did in my last Lincoln. The car felt like it shed 1,000 lbs.

The thing I like best about my Town Car is how relaxing it is to go from point A to point B. With the arm rest down, I feel like I'm in my living room. The car is quiet and the engine has the torque to make the car move around with ease. Anyone who's driven a compact car and then drove a 70's Lincoln will know what I mean. Fatigue free driving is the best I can describe it.

My previous '78 460 Town Car that I bought for $100 lasted 6 years. It still runs great, but the body was in terrible shape when I bought it. My present Town Car being in great shape all around should last me 'till I croak.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th February, 2009

27th Feb 2009, 14:52

While I've never been into the Town Car series, I do know what you mean about the comfortable ride. I always pefered the Mark III's IV's and V's over the town cars, but they are cool too. I would take nothing for mine.

16th Mar 2009, 19:15

I would cut off a finger for a '78 Mark V, but they go for big bucks up here when in good shape like the the Town Car I settled for. Maybe one day.

7th Jun 2011, 20:26

About that steering column shifter breaking. I think it's a design flaw. The shifter actuator is too weak to handle the load of such a massive car.

I've replaced mine 4 times in 15 years

and I bought a fully restored Lincoln Town Car 1979 and the shifter broke in that just the other day! I've also noticed the same flaw is not found in the Lincolns with non-tilt steering. The shifter in them is more solid.

27th Jun 2011, 12:54

The Mark Series look great from the outside, but the back-seat is too small for tall or long-legged passengers. The length is very deceptive from the outside. Make sure you consider this before you purchase one. Just found a '78 Town Car (4-door). Much more spacious, and the trunk is a tad bigger too. Good luck guys!

27th Jun 2011, 18:01

Yes, back in those days they were a lot less efficient with interior space, even though the cars were huge. Even after the 2nd down-sizing of cars in the mid-eighties, most were just about as roomy as their predecessors from the mid-seventies that were in many cases 2 feet longer. The one place that you really notice the downsizing is in hip room, in those days most full-sized cars were 80 inches wide, now the norm is about 72-75 for a larger car. I still think that those behemoths from the '70's are some of the best looking cars that will ever come out of Detroit.

Average review marks: 8.4 / 10, based on 10 reviews