1986 Lincoln Continental Review

1986 Lincoln Continental 5.0 liter from North America

Model year1986
Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 5.0 liter Automatic
Performance marks 1 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.5 / 10
Distance when acquired218000 miles
Most recent distance230000 miles
Previous carFord Ranger

Summary:

So ugly it's endearing

Faults:

Two different alternators died. (Can probably thank Napa for their cheap rebuilt alternators on this one.)

Air conditioning keeps leaking all the freon out.

Cruise control went 'kaput' shortly after I bought the car.

Power antenna jammed at half mast and broke.

Heated rear window doesn't heat.

The interior is worn and most of the (fake) wood paneling has come off the front door interior.

All of the power windows in the car have failed at least once. I have become a master of removing door panels and re-greasing the tracks/replacing the window motor, depending on what is needed.

The catalytic converter needed to be replaced.

The clearcoat is peeling worse than a redhead after a week on the beach.

The ABS warning and brake warning lights come on whenever I touch the brakes, but still seem to function.

The front air suspension airbags had to be replaced.

General Comments:

I bought this magnificent silver beast when I was still in high school for $1000. Although it looks awful, there is a certain amount of character and charm to it. Granted, most of the "luxury" features have ceased to function, but I still love this car more than life itself. It starts without fail, and has always managed to limp home on me, even when suffering some sort of malfunction.

Engine and drivetrain parts are dirt cheap, being that Lincoln is a part of Ford. However, Continental specific parts for this body-style are just about nonexistent, besides finding wrecks in the junkyard.

The '86 Continental is your stereotypical luxo-liner freeway boat. If you are interested in going 0-60 in under a decade, this car isn't for you. I have no idea how Lincoln managed to get so little horsepower out of a massive 5.0 liter V-8. Likewise, if you corner at anything above 15mph, there is so much body roll that you are liable to scrape the door handles on the ground. However, this car is ENORMOUSLY comfortable. The air suspension (when it's working) is ridiculously smooth and comforting.

Fuel economy is reasonable, so long as you never drive anywhere but the freeway. I average around 22mpg freeway, but only 12 in the city.

Things that are totally awesome:

All digital dashboard. Necessary? No. Totally awesome in a retro-futuristic '80s kind of way? Yes. Will even tell your fuel quantity in gallons, your average speed, fuel economy, ETA, etc. Will NOT tell you oil temperature, or other useful information related to the vehicle.

3 cigarette lighters and ashtrays. Yes, THREE!

An excessive amount of interior lights make the car explode into illumination at night.

Cornering lights that come on when you toggle the blinkers, so you can see into the corners.

All in all, this car has been dirt cheap to own, given that I have resigned myself to live without some of its intended features, and that I have performed all other maintenance myself. For $1000, this car was a steal. It is also remarkably unique, as there are few of this body style still on the road.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th June, 2010

6th Jun 2010, 00:47

"Continental specific parts for this body-style are just about nonexistent, besides finding wrecks in the junkyard."

Lincoln Land and Baker's Auto specialize in classic Lincoln parts. They can likely help you out!

13th Jun 2010, 14:47

Personally I always kind of liked the look of the '82-'87 Continental. I think they were better looking than the last two generations of the Continental, and far better looking than their main competitor; the "bustleback" Seville of that time. They were a very rare car though.

Average review marks: 5.5 / 10, based on 1 review