If you know nothing about cars, then you should not try to purchase a 33 year old car that you are unsure of. Because even if it were in pristine shape, stuff is gonna break. And not too many people know how to work on these old cars, it's becoming a lost art.
You find a good tech who still knows carburetors, distributors, and points systems (I'm well aware these use electronic ignition systems, so be quiet), then I'll show you a dying breed.
My recommendation to you is to let it go, or buy it and start learning, but be prepared to spend some $$$$. I daily drive a 1978 Lincoln Mark V 460, it gets expensive, and I don't mean in gas, but I do it because I love my car, and I am a professional automotive diagnostic technician. My money just goes into the parts I require.
Best of luck, you just have to figure out what it's worth to YOU.
If the car has never been winter driven and is in mint condition, $2500-3000 would be a fair price to pay. If you have a hard time building up cash, a classic Lincoln is probably not the best investment.
Hey, this is a reply to the person who is thinking about buying the Lincoln.
If you really feel that this car is the one, go for it. You only live once. But make sure the car is worth it.
Myself personally I would offer the deal $800 cash. It is the middle of the winter, not many people are buying toys of any kinds. This is not a super collectible car either; even the 2 door coupes of that era don't sell for very much. When compared to let's say a 79 Camaro, 79 Monte Carlo, or 79 F-150 or 79 Chevy pickup, which in very condition will go for $5k-$10k, a mint condition 79 Thunderbird coupe or Lincoln Town Car will go for $1k to $2k. Very good for the buyer, as you can get these cars at a great price if you are into them.
I would buy it if it is safety certified, after taking a good test drive and making sure everything runs well. Make a checklist, and check all items like turn signals, lights, everything outside the car. Check all features like wipers, power windows, AC, heat, locks, mirrors, seat belts, rear view mirror, etc. Check inside upholstery for tears, damage, odor, carpet stains. Run the car at idle, see if it idles smooth and check for engine noises, loose belts, etc. Check oil levels, color of oil, coolant levels, transmission fluid level and color.
Check shocks and suspension, tires, brakes (test while driving).
* Very important * check underneath for frame rust, panel rust, or rusted out exhaust and manifold.
If the car has a few problems or things that are wrong, you can bring that up before making your offer. I would start at $800, say that is all you can offer. They would maybe take it, or you could negotiate up to $1000. If they say no, just come back in a few days, it will still be there, and maybe they will take it.
These are such great cars to drive, the last V-8 rear wheel drive luxury land yachts. I have had a few classic cars over the years and they are a lot of fun. Just make sure you have enough to cover the cost of the car, and some more money put aside for oil change, tuneup, plugs, tires, little things it may need, as most likely this is a senior citizens car that has been sitting for a while or rarely driven. Most likely an estate sale or an unwanted inheritance traded in.
The best thing to do is fill the tank with premium gasoline and add a bottle of carburetor cleaner formula. Best cheap tuneup, and it will clean out the engine and carburetor.
Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
You probably have a bad sending unit in the gas tank. It's a very easy replacement, but I would recommend you have a shop do it unless you know for sure that you can drain the gas without any chance of igniting the fuel.
You can find the sending units online. Figure the better part of $200 for OEM, but I found mine for under $100, but it's aftermarket (for me, who cares. Nobody goes under there to check for a part number!).
When I bought my Mark, the gas tank gauge didn't work at all. Now, it's perfect. From what I understand, it's a very common problem with the Mark V's.
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