The cars we loved.
The Mark V was Ford’s replacement for the Mark IV in 1977. The V represented the highest
level of luxury in American automotive design (from Ford at least). A full-sized coupe, it
featured a massive 6.6 and later 7.5 L V8. Even with the massive engines offered, power was
no more than 210 hp and as low as 159!
The angular styling with its steeply raked windshield and hide away headlights pointed to
Ford’s future design direction for the 80’s. Trademark Continental features like rear opera
windows returned as did the distinctive grill. The Mark V attractive design had a slightly
sporting appearance. At 4500 lbs. and riding on a 120″ wheelbase, the Mark V was no quick on
its feet sports car. In fact the Mark V was one of the last big American cars, as offerings from
Cadillac and Chrysler were in the process of being downsized. It seemed to be what
wealthy Americans wanted, as sales were good – even with the expensive special editions that
were offered almost every year.
Even as other luxury car makers were trying to squeeze higher mialage out of big V8, Ford managed to keep low double-digit mpg figures. But who cared about saving gas? To increase sales (and profits), Lincoln offered the Mark V in many designer editions including Bil Blass, Givenchy and others. This practice of
offering designer edition of cars started with American manufactures and continues today with nearly everyone (Lexus Coach edition being a recent example). For the Mark V, various luxuryeditions could add as much as $7k to the base cost of around $12. During the late Seventies, most wealthy buyers had not abandond Lincoln as they would later to imports, so this was a reasonable price to pay for exclusivity. The term “land yacht” may have originated with the 1979 Bill Blass edition which featured nautical theme inside.
To ride in a Mark V was to float over the road. Its suspension protected driver and passenger from
the bumps and irregularities of the road using a traditional coil spring/live axle rear and independent front setup.
It’s almost impossible to find a clean road worthy Mark V in anything but a auto show now. The lavash over the top style of the Mark V gave Cadillac serious competition for the hearts and wallets of the wealthy. Nowadays, the focus on old school aesthetics has a new generation rediscovering the charms of the Mark V as would be pimps and gangsters seek out the few remaining examples of this most excellent example of American automotive excess.