1978 Lincoln Continental Base from North America - Comments

11th Dec 2012, 11:43

Again - Most of the comments I seem to be reading here that blindly assume 70's land yachts are better than today's "newfangled cars" are based on nothing more than romantic nostalgia. That is all. Styling and design are all in the eye of the beholder, and to say ALL older cars look better than today's cars because today's look anonymous isn't making a point. I go to a lot of car shows, and about 99% of the time ALL you see are the same 5-6 classics over and over: '57 Belairs, Corvettes, '59 Caddys, and a slew of Mustangs, Camaros, and the Charger. 95% of the models that were everyday cars back then never make it to the shows. Take a look at any picture of a downtown in the 50's: The cars look the same more or less with the same styling and tastes. Chrome grills, either fins or other space age type embellishments, curved glass, etc. I am sure older people back then complained too about "All those new cars look the same".

To say that today's cars aren't innovative is an understatement: Today we have not only hybrid vehicles, but purely electric ones as well. Engines use extremely sophisticated engine management systems as well as modern injection systems. That's why you can go out and buy a V6 family car that will just about smoke any number of muscle cars from the 70's. It will have more horsepower, torque, and on top of that, some of these V6 engines are getting close to 35-40MPG. Amazing. It's also a cliche to claim that "All young people only want gee-wiz gadgets" or whatnot. Guess what? People back in the 50's said the same thing: "Those young kids only like those new gadgets!" AKA - color TV, transistor radios, FM stereo, Quadraplex speakers, and electronic calculators. "New gadgets" are a way of life.

Lastly, I don't own a Montclair, and yes, my car is 22 feet long. But even so, the conversation wasn't about comparing car lengths. That's called an aside. But either way, even if my car were 10 feet long, the point being made was that I own a classic, have for well over 12 years, so I know what I'm talking about when it comes to comparing older to newer cars. That was the point. Not nit-picky details.

12th Dec 2012, 11:06

What is the appeal to prompt you to keep your 4 door Mercury for many years? What do you like most about it? It seems you are the resident expert. The cars you mentioned earlier are big buck cars, which I have owned and grew up in that era. I also made a lot of money off them.

12th Dec 2012, 12:22

Try again. A Montclair is 211" long. My '98 Crown Victoria is an inch longer at 212 or 17'6".

12th Dec 2012, 15:55

OK, so which '55 Mercury model do you own, because according to the Standard Catalog of American Cars, the '55 Mercury was 206 inches long. Just because you say your car is 22 feet long, doesn't make it true. I suppose you measured it with your tape measure in the garage?

12th Dec 2012, 16:01

I would also like to point out that most of us on this thread have mentioned full-size luxury cars from the 70s, not the 50s (since this review is on a '78 Lincoln after all). Just because you own a car from 1955, certainly does not make you an expert on luxury models from the 70's. Your car has about as much in common with a 70's model as a modern car does. All those technical advances that you want to keep bringing up that make modern cars so great. Well the same rule applies for comparing cars from the 50s and 70s.

12th Dec 2012, 16:45

Again with the misquoting, nobody is blindly saying that cars from the '70s are straight up better in every way. Fuel injection was a great invention that helped the big '80s Lincolns meet the stricter CAFE standards. But do cars today really need built-in movie players, computers, and internet?

The sad truth is that back then, people viewed their cars with pride, as an extension of themselves; hence, the styling had to be great and bombastic. Today, lots of people don't think much about their cars, and only see them as petty appliances to get them from point A to B. Back then, people actually worked on their cars and took care of them. Today, a lot of people just suck up the costs and take them to the overpriced dealers and mechanics for almost every repair. Why should cars be styled elaborately, when the market doesn't care and just wants a boring, reliable, efficient commuter car to get them around without problems? I'm not saying that the big cars from the '70s were unreliable, they were quite the opposite, but the market of today has to commute and drive around a lot more, and as a result, practicality is now a huge factor in cars.

CAFE standards played a huge role in destroying the larger cars; hence the switch to SUVs, which are completely impractical, but great for hauling stuff. But the market of today is being driven by other factors as well. Because of the lack of good jobs nowadays, people often have to commute long distances everyday. Most people, other than the better paid executives, need practical vehicles and don't have the time to pay personal attention to their cars anymore. It doesn't help that today's workforce in the US also works longer hours and gets paid less than previous generations.

If you have the time and money to pay personal attention to your cars and work on them yourself, good for you, you're one of the last people around who can do that. Practically all of the kids I graduated school with a few years back didn't know crap about cars, and didn't want to either. They just let some mechanic do all their work for them, and bit the bullet on servicing costs.

12th Dec 2012, 18:08

As a car enthusiast, I have to take issue with the idea that all cars of the 50's looked even remotely similar. Not only was each manufacturer's styling totally distinct and unique, but in that era you could actually get cars in colors other than black, white or gray. Today not even the sporty Mustang comes in anything other than "old lady" colors (though thankfully the Camaro and Challenger do). All modern sedans are virtually carbon copies of each other, regardless of what country they are made in or how much they cost. You can hardly distinguish the new Jaguar sedans from cheap domestic models. All Japanese cars are virtually clones of each other, and domestics are likewise all too similar.

And although modern cars definitely do offer more in the way of safety features, I'm not sure I can agree that the increased mechanical complexity is any advantage. At best it is a mixed blessing. My current GM car has gone over 110,000 miles without a tune-up, brake job or ANY repair of any kind. That's great and is typical of new domestic cars. However a tune-up on it (when it is required around 200,000 miles ) will set me back about $1000 or more. Our 70's Ford, which was bought new, was driven well over 300,000 miles with less than $500 in total repairs, because it was so simple I did all my own tune-ups and the three required brake jobs myself. Financially I came out way ahead.

Now that I am semi-retired, my next car will be a pre-1973 car, because I enjoy working on cars and could keep an older domestic car running virtually forever on pennies. I will, of course, ensure that it has seat belts and shoulder belts for safety, and I will use them religiously. I am a staunch supporter of modern safety devices, because they definitely save lives and reduce injuries.