Yeah, the 1979 Lincoln Continentals were kinda stripped down from the last year's models. Many of the standard features were made optional in an attempt to keep the price stable and fuel economy from violating the government's CAFE standards. The big 460 was also discontinued that same year as well.
The 1977 was the best year for the 1970s Lincolns, as it had the classic Rolls-Royce grille, and as many standard features as these cars would ever have.
In 1978, nothing was really changed except the dashboard, which was redone in the style of the Mercury Marquis, which in my opinion kind of a shame, as the 1970-1977 dashboard was better and added differentiation from the Mercury.
I believe the Continental had the same interior from 1975-1979. The Mark V and Mark IV were the ones that had dashes similar to the big Mercurys, and I think it was largely unchanged from 1972-1979.
No, they changed the dashboard in 1978 to a plushier version of the one used in the Mercury Marquis for the sedan Continentals as well. The move created a small controversy back in the day, as many people saw it as a simple cost cutting. I think most people nowadays like the 1970-1977 dash better too.
I agree with all of the comments about the 400 cu in 6.6L V8 engine. Another problem you'll have with it is that there's less info on the Internet about the engine, and less overall support.
The 460 cu in 7.5 L V8 engine was probably the most famous big block V8 engine Ford ever made, and you'll definitely benefit from the vast repositories of info on the web available. Something that doesn't exist to the same extent for the 400.
The 400 CID Cleveland didn't used to be such a lousy performer. Back in 1971, the year it was introduced, it produced 260 HP and 400 lb-ft of torque. Not bad if you ask me.
Of course, after 1972, the engine was de-tuned more and more each year; by 1979 the 400 only produced a meager 159 HP and 315 lb-ft of torque, which was pathetic even by the standards of the time.
I own a 78 Continental. These cars are awesome and relatively simple to work on yourself. At the same time, the materials that were used were kinda cheap for being a luxury car. They would be OK in a standard Ford, but not in a Lincoln. But this goes for all 70's American cars back then, where more and more plastics were being used for the interiors over metal trim.
Everything feels pretty solid besides for the dash. I've never sat inside a 75-77 Lincoln Town Car before to know how those dashes feel in person, but I am sure they're cheaply made as well. I personally don't like the looks of the 77 dash, as it's sorta plain looking. The 78 dash, although it's a Mercury, has better accents to it with silver whitish facing and nice outline trim, and a different looking speedo font that has a very upscale look, even if it's super cheap plastic.
Other than the cheap feeling dash on these cars, they ride extremely well and are surprisingly really quiet to drive, being the age that they are. I've driven in many newish cars over time, and my 78 is quieter on the road than a majority of them. You truly buy a Lincoln of this vintage especially for its ride qualities and full size comfort, not for its performance, that's for sure.
The 1970s Lincoln dashboards weren't that cheap feeling. They're no better than the crap used today, but no worse either. It's mostly because Ford at the time wanted to chase Cadillac in sales, and had to spare some expense, even on their finest models.
The 1970s Lincolns were excellent full-size cars that are without equal. It's just sad that CAFE and emissions standards practically sucked the life out of them by 1979.
Indeed. Other than Rolls-Royce or Bentley, there are no other serious luxury cars out there to choose from. Mercedes-Benz and BMW are all about performance, and their quality is sagging in recent years due to their new focus on volumetric sales over all else. Hyundai will never convince me that they are serious in luxury cars. Lexus is also too focused on performance over comfort and ride. Cadillac is no longer a luxury brand in my opinion. And Lincoln just sells Ford ripoffs nowadays, and lacks a distinctive model to itself.
The luxury car market has changed over the past two decades. No brand offers the luxury, comfort, and ride combined with the style seen in these older cars. On top of that, luxury car manufacturers try to market these upscale models the same way they would market "lesser" models, robbing them of exclusivity.
I agree, too many standard mid-size cars are becoming too luxurious in some ways, such that it really defeats the purpose of spending thousands of dollars more on a luxury car, where the premium features can already be had in much less expensive cars.
What I consider real luxury, is having that extra size and styling, and not necessarily just features. Unfortunately all the true full size luxury cars have been extinct for years now, therefore everyone is left to buy expensive luxury rides that are much smaller than their previous models were. It's like all the people that bought Lincolns in the 70's, and thought it would have been better to downsize in 1980 with extra tech gizmos on the feature list, modern drive trains and what have you, found out how much they were actually losing instead of gaining in terms of luxury, comfort, prestige, class and overall size. That was lost after 1980 for Lincoln.
Not saying that 80's Lincolns were bad, because they weren't, it's just they were no way in hell better or improved upon compared to their predecessors. In some aspects, the older, heavier duty Ford engines and the Ford C6 trans, was the most bulletproof, solid, reliable combo anyone could've ask for in those days, even if there was no power left to spare after all the life sucking emission equipment in late 70's. The 80's Linc's had all kinds of problems with their transmissions, they had electrical issues, interior door rest panel cracking, and the list goes on.
I bet the Detroit 3 wished they could have continued to be able to build the giant boats of the 70's, but the Feds came in and stopped the party in its tracks. So who knows, if the government didn't get involved, maybe we all would have seen huge Cad's and Linc's all the way into the 90's; that would've been great!
As for 70's quality, some bits here and there are actually made better in the older cars vs new ones. It seems like in modern cars, the interiors lack a lot of detail, and feel extremely cheap. But in a 70's Conti or Cadillac, the interiors used much better, soft touch, thick plush vinyls, leathers, and various fabrics, while in a new car, it's all hard plastic and hard vinyl wrapping. You can include real metal to that list too, which is totally absent in any modern vehicle, unless you step up into something very expensive.