27th Aug 2015, 15:25
There is no way a Park Avenue (which is a very nice ride) is smoother than a TC. I love both and they each have pros and cons, but BOF beats unibody any day for ride quality.
28th Aug 2015, 10:26
My father use to say his mid 70s loaded Chrysler Newport rode better than his Town Car. Likely due to the far more comfortable double padded factory seating on the Chrysler. It was a big model at the time with hideaway lights and non post windows. He owned the Chrysler prior and never sold it through 2 new Town Cars he bought later.
28th Aug 2015, 19:25
New isn't always better. My father also owns a Town Car, it's a 2001 Cartier L edition similar to that of a 99 TC, and even though that car is extremely soft, smooth, and floaty feeling, every time you hit a pot hole or a small bump in it, the entire cabin shakes and the vibrations from the bumps enter the cabin very easily, rendering the whole "smooth ride" worthless. A car can ride smooth, but what matters the most is how it can withstand the bumps and irregularities of the road's surface. This has to do with body construction. Although the TC is full framed, it actually allows more road harshness into the cabin than you would expect. If anything the 80s and early 90s TCs were built better, thus making those models more comfortable to drive.
Now compared to my 94 Cadillac Fleetwood, my Cadillac doesn't ride as soft as the Town Car, but it takes the same bumps and pot holes much better than my pop's TC. The cabin doesn't shake, the interior doesn't creak, and the car is quieter. It's better built as well.
If you go older, like Lincoln Continentals from the 60s and especially the 70s, the rides of those cars are miles better than the late model TCs. In a 70s Lincoln, it's like driving in a tomb, and is very isolated from the road. Bumps are hardly felt, and the highway ride is unmatched by anything today. Even the newish TCs don't compare.
29th Aug 2015, 18:23
I think a lot of that harshness you speak of was taken out with the 03+ redesign for the Town Car (stiffer frame, more controlled suspension), but the ride was no longer smooth, you feel every bump. I got the Touring Sedan because I knew the ride would be kind of harsh, so I figured it might as well be stiffer too so it handles nice.
The newer Lincolns aren't really worth the money over a Grand Marquis, for ride or comfort. My mom had an '09 Grand Marquis LS; that was a solid feeling car, nice leather seats, rode softer than any newer TC I've driven. Bulletproof too, she put like 50 thousand on it no problems whatsoever.
I think the Panthers from the 80s were the last good riding ones, my grandfather had a '90 Grand Marquis and that thing rode silky smooth, very floaty, and the seats were soft and plush. But there was a little shaking over certain bumps, especially washboard surfaces. I think the key was wheelbase and weight; the old Continentals rode on a 127 inch wheelbase and weighed 5000 lbs or more. The newer stuff is a 117 inch wheelbase and around 4000 lbs.
I'm hoping to get a '75-'79 4 door Continental in the near future and probably sell the '99, I've wanted an old one for years, just seems that whenever a nice affordable one shows up I'm already knee deep into another project! I still see a few of these beasts roaming around, the rust seems to be the death of 'em here in New England, but they just run and run.
30th Aug 2015, 03:07
Ratio of sprung to unsprung weight. The older, mid-seventies vehicles were much better in this regard, hence the better ride.
30th Aug 2015, 16:51
I believe the Grand Marquis still used the old coil spring suspensions to the end, hence the better ride. The Town Cars used that buggy air suspension which rode well during the 1990s, but got stiffer in 2003.
The 1970s Lincolns were solid vehicles, but compared to the Panthers, they are much less efficient for what they do. I would say that they're not even practical for everyday driving unless you have a lot of money. A 1980s-1990s Panther will do the same and get much better fuel economy, more power, plus they'll drive much better with the 4-speed transmission.
If you really want that 1970s experience, there's also the 1980s-1990s GM B-C-D bodies, which offer the same experience as the Panthers and are just as good, but offer more of that old-school feel.
31st Aug 2015, 00:19
The 70s Lincs are great for weekend getaways or a night on the town, but yeah to drive everyday is a bit too much. I will say this, the Chrysler 300 actually rides a lot better than a Town Car. It's so silent on the freeway too. The only problem with the 300 is that it's not that spacious and the seats are very firm for long drives.
Weight and wheelbase really does make a difference on how a car rides and feels. This is why most luxury cars weigh more in the first place; just think of an S-Class Benz. The added structural integrity, better suspension setup, and noise dampening material is increased. But some cars are too heavy, which weigh themselves down up front, causing a harsh ride because the suspension travel is limited by the down force of the car's weight.
If any of you has had the pleasure to drive a land yacht from the 70s, you know exactly what I mean!
31st Aug 2015, 02:00
Yes, the Grand Marquis did use the coil springs, but the air suspension was an option; same with the Crown Vic. I swapped out the air bags on my '96 Town Car to the coil spring set up, and found the ride to be the same.
2nd Sep 2015, 00:06
Sorry to say, but I was behind the wheel of both, and the Park Avenue was more softly sprung IMO. I can see that the body on frame might make for a more solid feeling, but to me the suspension tuning makes all the difference. The 2010 Town Car was still body on frame, but with the stiff suspension it was no comparison to my Buick with unibody. The '99 Town Car and my Buick were very close, but to me the Buick suspension was tuned slightly softer. To me, after 2002 Lincoln ruined their suspension. That 2010 didn't even ride like a full-size luxury car. Maybe after the springs got some miles on them, they would soften up a little?
2nd Sep 2015, 13:54
Buicks always had a nice ride up until now because they don't make a full size car anymore.
My pop just traded an '03 Park Avenue, which rode the same if not better than my Town Car. Years back he had an '82 Electra and '85 LeSabre; both were body on frame and rode like a dream.
The best in my theory were Cadillac Fleetwood Broughams, RWD if you stay away from years '82-'85 with the dreaded HT-4100 motor.
3rd Sep 2015, 06:58
The extra soft spring rate and soft shock valving is what makes the ride of the older Buicks, Cads and Lincs from the 60s-80s ride so comfortably compared to the newer models. Back when the older Buicks and Town Cars were new, their cars were specifically calculated and designed to ride a certain way using ONLY OEM parts. In those days, they were multiple companies making parts, so the variations were more drastic if one was going to replace shocks in their Lincoln with an aftermarket shock that was spec'd differently from the OEM version; the owner risked losing or ruining the original ride quality.
You're 80-90 something Town Car will never ride as soft like it did when it came from the factory, mainly because there's only 2 companies which are the most popular (Monroe and Gabriel) that manufacture shocks for our cars, and the problem is, if you go to purchase new shocks for a Town Car from a parts store, that shock might fit hundreds of other cars, so the valving and damping rate might be a little stiffer than the originals. Also the travel length of the shock could be different; some are longer than others, the longer the travel rate the better. Softy shocks are long gone though, including ultra soft springs, unless you have them custom made, as well as somehow finding original NOS OEM shocks on eBay.
People don't realize, that when rubber ages, it gets hard and brittle, and because Town Cars are framed using rubber mounts, this also goes for control arm bushings; the ride can deteriorate over time as the miles rack up. Vibrations, road harshness, and noise will enter the cabin more easily when all that rubber starts to fall apart. I have found that some full size uni-body cars actually ride much better than a Town Car; the Chrysler 300 is one example, and the newest Impala is another. Very smooth and quiet cars. You don't get that isolated, floaty ride of a framed car, but because their bodies are engineered so well in the latest models, they make a Town Car feel loose and flimsy in comparison. Ford seriously cheapened the TC over the years, and you can tell the difference as time went on. The 2000s models were the worst IMO.
6th Sep 2015, 07:43
The Chrysler 300 is a very nice car. I agree that it drives and rides better than any late-model Town Car. With the Hemi V8 engines, they also perform much better as well. They even get better fuel economy despite the bigger engine. I've driven cross country in a 2007 model with the 5.7 L V8 and it was great.
While the difference between unibody and body-on-frame definitely exists, I think the car's suspension makes the biggest difference. The unibody Lincolns from the 1960s rode pretty decent and would've rode better if they had a softer suspension like the Cadillacs. Rolls-Royce vehicles are all unibody and they've had insanely good rides since the mid-1960s because of their suspensions. The later model body-on-frame Town Cars rode poorly compared to their predecessors because Ford retuned the suspension in 2003.