Buying an older car with 135000 miles is always a gamble, especially not knowing the service history. This car sounds like it was not maintained very well. I disagree with the Town Car being expensive to maintain and unreliable; I have owned a few myself and they have been bulletproof. There is a reason they are used as taxi fleet cars all over the country, as they are reliable and cheap to maintain. If you think this car is expensive to own, I guess you have never owned a VW or Benz.
My family has bought new Lincolns and Cadillacs for many years.
A person buying new with a high disposable income isn't fretting over repairs as much. We never owned cars like this 15 plus years with 150k-170k plus on the odometer. We traded every few years, seeing likely 40k miles.
A person buying a car that's highly depreciated and old will probably buy cheap, but the repairs are and can be significant to them.
Lastly, why go backwards. A person buying a Lincoln isn't likely going to a Honda or Toyota. Maybe to a Mercedes or Infiniti, or one of the new world class Cadillacs.
My experience on luxury cars is you expect to pay more in the new purchase and service thereafter. The most costly thing to me is the inconvenience, not the repair bill. Ride, comfort, amenities. Luxury is what these cars are made for. You are not going to get that in a smaller Honda or Toyota.
This car seems like it was poorly maintained by the previous owner. I wouldn't be surprised if he/she sold it to avoid paying the inevitable repair bills as a result of such negligence.
You are complaining about an aging luxury car. I don't think a Japanese or German luxury car of the same vintage and mileage would have done any better, and would have cost far more to maintain. Don't buy an aging luxury car or any aging car and expect it to be low maintenance. The electric trunk pull-down came about in the 60's on Cadillacs, because back then, trunk latches weren't designed very well and trunks had to be slammed or in some cases slammed several times to be closed. Although trunk latches have improved over the years, the average Lincoln or Cadillac owner had become accustomed to gently closing the trunk - it's just one of those things owners of these cars expect to have - it's luxury - it's class.
We're talking about a 17 year old car here. ANY car regardless of brand is bound to have some problems when they get to being that old.