Home » The Nicest 2000s Lincoln Town Cars Now Cost As Much As A New BMW 330i

The Nicest 2000s Lincoln Town Cars Now Cost As Much As A New BMW 330i

2010 Lincoln Town Car 46k Ts
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A decade ago, if you wanted a fancy ride home from the airport, you didn’t order a limo — you ordered a town car. Despite having gone out of production nearly 13 years ago on Aug. 29, 2011, the Lincoln Town Car is still a fixture of the American automotive psyche. It’s still being used in stretch limo applications, still revered by lovers of American luxury, and still the final brick in the classic American sedan wall to tumble. Hell, it even made it to China as a Hongqi.

As many of the last Town Cars were destined for fleet use, nice ones are becoming fewer and further between, something we’re seeing in the used market. For every octogenarian and nonagenarian who’s given up driving their low-mileage Town Car, some strong retained value may await.

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In fact, the cream of the crop is now worth as much as a brand new BMW 3 Series, a car that’s still the gold standard for entry-level luxury sedans. That’s an incredible amount of money for a Ford product on a platform that started life during the Carter administration, but evidently, some are willing to pay it.

What’s The Appeal?

2003 Lincoln Town Car 1

There’s often great historical value in automotive lasts. The last of the Hellcats, or the last of the front-engined Corvettes, or the last of the Honda S2000s, for example. Whether or not the end of a model’s production run is a Concorde moment, if it’s heavily ingrained in the automotive psyche, a handful of people will take a shining to it. The final generation Lincoln Town Car is the last body-on-frame American luxury sedan, bowing out of production after the 2011 model year. The darling of livery companies and airport rental counter splurges, it harkens back to a time on American roads when more really was more.

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2010 Lincoln Town Car 2

In long-wheelbase post-facelift Signature L trim, we’re talking about 221.4 inches of car. That’s more car than a new Mercedes-Maybach S 680. That’s more car than a Rolls-Royce Ghost. That’s more car than two Smart Fortwos welded nose-to-tail Human Centipede-style. The hood is bigger than most high-rise balconies, each door feels like it weighs as much as a moon, and even the indicator lenses are comedically long, yet seem sized just right when they’re on the car. Driving a Lincoln Town Car Signature L is like captaining a dreadnought, you’re constantly aware that you could make mincemeat of 90 percent of all cars in traffic in a slow, unyielding manner.

2010 Lincoln Town Car Engine

Under the hood sits a 4.6-liter V8 making 239 horsepower and 287 lb.-ft. of torque, and it’s hitched to a four-speed slush-o-matic torque converter transmission. This is good for what can technically be classified as acceleration. In Car And Driver instrumented testing, a third-generation Town Car ran from zero-to-60 mph in 9.5 seconds, which is 1.1 seconds slower than a Toyota Echo. Handling is best described as aquatic, and if you tried to hustle one of these land yachts through a slalom, you’d get the impression that anyone who said the words “precision” or “dynamic” at any point during the development process was promptly taken out back and shot. This isn’t a BMW 7 Series competitor, and it’s all the better for it.

2010 Lincoln Town Car Interior

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Huh? Yep, instead of wheeling in a globe, landing a finger on a country called Germany, and discovering the existence of the Nürburgring, the people at Lincoln set the Town Car up for Florida — it will do 70 mph on tedious arrow-straight freeways in the utmost comfort endlessly. The springs and dampers are so pocket-coil soft that passengers in the back won’t wake up if you accidentally run over an alligator, and the air conditioning is so powerfully frigid that you might want to pack a sweater. The Lincoln Town Car is a purely American expression of luxury, a car for a place with all the space and distance in the world but major infrastructure dating back to Eisenhower. It simply makes driving unbelievably relaxing, and that’s something more cars could stand to do.

Are They Seriously That Expensive?

2010 Lincoln Town Car 1

If you want the absolute cream of the crop, absolutely. A brand new BMW 330i with no options caries an MSRP of $44,595, and ultra-low-mileage Town Cars go for more than that. Take this 6,000-mile 2010 Town Car Signature L, for example. It sold this week on Bring A Trailer for $46,007. That’s not a typo. Sure, the black paint has a mirror gleam, the interior plastics look brand new, and the sale price has depreciated over the new MSRP of $54,560, but we’re still talking serious money for a top-notch example.

2003 Lincoln Town Car 2

Mind you, it’s not the only nearly-new Town Car to recently sell in the mid forties. This 2003 Town Car Cartier sold on Bring A Trailer in December for $45,000, with two previous owners and 5,000 miles on the clock. The Cartier trim is unique in that it got monogrammed grey leather, a Cartier-branded clock, black badges, and unique chrome wheels. It’s also a bit of a throwback to the Designer-series Mark models of the ’70s and early ’80s, back when you could order a Lincoln with Givenchy, Pucci, or Bill Blass branding.

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Is A Collector-Grade Lincoln Town Car Worth It?

2003 Lincoln Town Car Interior

As a recovering former Panther owner myself, probably not unless you already have six figures worth of Lincolns in your garage. Sure, there’s a corner of the internet that believes the Panther platform is God’s gift to mankind, a slab of American excellence that can shrug off bingo hall bollards, and in Lincoln trim, do it with mafioso style. Sure, the Watt’s Link rear end was better than any solid axle setup ever put under a Mustang. Sure, the ride quality is serene enough to make a Bentley Flying Spur shatter its monocle on the marble floor in astonishment. Sure, the trunk is bigger than most studio apartments. None of that makes an ultra-low-mileage example a good buy.

2010 Lincoln Town Car Rear

The best part of owning a Lincoln Town Car isn’t looking at it, it’s driving the damn thing. Static, it’s a curiosity. In motion, it’s eye-opening. You can pick up a Town Car with somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 miles for a fraction of the price of these top-tier examples, and you can actually drive it without feeling guilty that you’re taking some sort of pristine reference piece out into the world of debris, weather, and homicidal rideshare drivers. I totally understand why these cars have collector appeal, but most people would be crazy to pay for a top-tier collector-grade example.

[Ed note: It’s worth it to me if I get to put on a cowboy hat and pretend I’m Raylan Givens – MH]

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(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer)

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Jonathan Jones
Jonathan Jones
1 month ago

I have one of these, ’06, acquired ’11. Had to have it, to ferry my 90+ father, stiff-necked and tall, in comfort.

Hated it, at first, as it was dangerously soporific, esp. at night.
Sense-deprivation tank, par excellence. . .

After a month, I learned how to stay awake while piloting.

I still have it, and will keep it, barring catastrophe.
It’s now at 150k miles, has had its common foibles fixed:
intake manifold replaced,
and the rear air-suspension “downgraded” to the simple passive,
and the common cowl-leak fixed.

I’ve aged into it, and it has aged well.

The engine is under-stressed and uncomplicated. And, accessible!

It has never needed a window regulator.
No switches have failed. The seat leather is all of piece,

and it has never needed an alignment
(how much $ is one of those now? I am blissfully unaware. . )

(I know, who can tell, what with all the cushy bushings, right?)

(but it’s never eaten tires, on that or any account.)

If I need parts, a fallen trooper comes to the scavenge yards
about every week in my USA midwest metro of a million+ (STL).

The “Panther” platform is lovely evolution,
yet even to the end, the nautical references were apt,

but a little less so, post ~’03: Family rented a ’95,
and man that thing had its own bilge-wake,
as in no dampers but the great wide sea!

Paint, clearcoat? Still fine.

And yes, it has bingo-bollard marks on both sides
of the front bumper-skin: fond memories, those small scars.

I’ll now name it “GrAF”, as in ‘Great American Fossil’.

And yes the turning circle is tidy for such a beast.
But hey it evolved as Police Vehicle and NYC Limo, so,
that’s an essential metric, yes. . .

Mine is the “use-case” for these, as I book under 6k miles/yr.

They do cost money to maintain, like any thing made of moveable parts,
but it’s in the hundreds/year.

I never thought I’d like the thing but so it goes. . .

Jeff Jordan
Jeff Jordan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan Jones

My wife named mine FOMAC (for “eFfing Old MAn’s Car”

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
1 month ago

I kind want to buy one of these and hop up the engine a bit. Just a bit, and don’t make it loud, but a little burble. If you paid attention to it, you might know it isn’t stock.

And I’d have to get an autodimming mirror put in somehow if it didn’t offer one. Riding in a car these days is just begging to have your retinas burned off by an increasing number of blinding headlights.

Jonathan Jones
Jonathan Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Vic Vinegar

I have a dead-stock Town Car but my ideations run the same.

Miles ahead with the mill in a Lincoln Mark VIII, but you lose the ‘sedan’ aspect.

Where I am, STL USA, a guy punched a supercharger out the hood
of a Mk VIII Lincoln. The fab work was beautiful,
but I haven’t tracked whether that machine, his personal vision,
found a buyer down the road.

Matthew Hogan
Matthew Hogan
2 months ago

This is one of those times where the market is right, Please post a link to another vehicle with that rear seat space and that type of highway ride for that money. You cannot. You might find something close…but close only counts in hand grenades. There is literally nothing that compares to those available on the market now. Small market, but it is a market and these are market-driven prices.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
1 month ago
Reply to  Matthew Hogan

My local limo company switched from Lincolns to a mish-mash of Lexus & Cadillac.

None of them have the headroom & legroom in the back seat as the old Lincolns. But those more modern vehicles don’t have that floaty oceangoing vessel feel that can make you feel nauseous on a long drive.

Though the drivers mentioned that the total fuel consumption on a vehicle that lasts well after the odometer trips into 7-digits – it’s a massive portion of its running costs. A balancing act that the limo agencies ultimately boil down to money.

Myk El
Myk El
2 months ago

One of my favorite road trips was taken in a rented panther platform with my dad. 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis (alas, not in de Sade trim). White and folks just thought it was an unmarked cop car. It was my dad and I, we were given a wide berth by everyone and even cops thought we were one of them until we got close, as in literally we saw a cop at a speed trap lower his speed gun when we appeared. I wouldn’t want one as a regular ride, but for a long road trip, I’ve been in nothing better.

LongCoolLincoln
LongCoolLincoln
2 months ago

As the owner of a 97, I’m thrilled to see these going for ridiculous money that I would never pay. Paid $3.5k four years ago for mine in excellent condition from a boomer guy whose dad had left it to him (really, the only true way to obtain one of these) and it has been dead reliable as a daily driver and classy as balls as, I’m pretty sure, the only car in town that’s maroon with chrome rocker panels.

We talk about them being large, but really, with everyone driving some sort of damn SUV derivative these days, it’s a little longer than average but is dwarfed in all other dimensions (including/especially danger to pedestrians and bicyclists) by your average Highlander, not to mention every roided-out pickup.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

The entire section about how it drives is something else:

“…is like captaining a dreadnought, you’re constantly aware that you could make mincemeat of 90 percent of all cars…”

“This is good for what can technically be classified as acceleration…”

“Handling is best described as aquatic…”

Granted, I have never driven a Town Car, just Marquises and Vics, but Panther is Panther. I could not disagree more with how they drive.

First, these are not actually that big. Yeah they’re big for a sedan, but they’re grossly smaller than every fullsize and some midsize pickups. Remember that the 1992 Panther platform was a significant downsizing from the 1991 Ford fullsizes. And the weight isn’t that bad either.

Second, these accelerate rather well. 9.5 seconds 0-60 is literally fast, but these cars are typically geared tall as hell and aren’t that good 0-60. Try taking one of these cars 70-100 and it will do it faster than any other car, and without downshifting too. They feel powerful and effortless more than fast.

They also handle decently. No, it’s not a BMW, but the steering is tight and they corner decent. On a scale from Honda Accord to jeeps and pickups, they’re most certainly on the Accord side of the spectrum.

Mazzaratti5
Mazzaratti5
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

A Grand Marquis was my first car around the turn of the century and while I definitely agree that the V8 and trans had pickup for days at-speed, there was still a reason my friends and I called it the hovercraft when turning.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Mazzaratti5

Have you ever been in a pickup?

Donovan King
Donovan King
2 months ago

I still miss my 1992 Lincoln Town Car Cartier Edition. There is something special about something that big, that soft, and that puts out way more noise than speed. It was a perfect car for a high school kid from the perspective of a high schooler.

  • V8
  • Could do donuts
  • Factory JBL sound system
  • Bench seats
  • Kind of hilarious because it was a grandma car

In reality, this was the last car that should be given to a teenager because of everything mentioned above. What were my parents thinking?

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Donovan King

More noise than speed? These cars are pretty much silent.

Jonathan Jones
Jonathan Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Donovan King

I think they were thinking, “Hmm, teen boy; what’s the maximum crumple zone cocoon we can give him, while he flogs some corners?”

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
2 months ago

I did a quick look and luckily you can still get these cheap. But there is a good reason these are starting to come up in value. They are one of the few American cars that will absolutely give you Toyota-like reliability but in a big floaty barge package. That and for such big cars they get surprisingly good fuel economy. These cars were made for so long that all of the bugs and kinks were long worked out. And you can beat the crap out of them. That’s why Taxi companies and police forces loved this platform.

Donovan King
Donovan King
2 months ago
Reply to  Robot Turds

You are totally right. It was a lovely lump of polished Americana. I remember seeing 36 miles a gallon on the highway in my ’92 according to the instant mileage readout. May not have been accurate, but it was definitely more efficient than anyone expected.

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
2 months ago
Reply to  Donovan King

My Grandparents owned a 1988 Crown Vic with a 5.0 V8. We used to drive it down to Florida. It still got over 25MPG. They never had an issue with that car. Wish we had kept it.

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