Home » Why Torture Yourself With A Cheap S-Class When You Can Just Buy 19 Feet Of Lincoln?

Why Torture Yourself With A Cheap S-Class When You Can Just Buy 19 Feet Of Lincoln?

Gg Lincoln Continental Mark V
ADVERTISEMENT

If you’ve ever thumbed through the used car classifieds, an old Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, or Audi A8 may seem mighty tempting. After all, where else can you get so much space, tech, and comfort for such little money? Well, there’s a reason why these vehicles depreciate so quickly, and the hammer of reality hits in the form of repair bills.

Thankfully, there’s an antidote to the old German flagship luxury sedan maintenance train of wallet-crushing pain and misery, and that solution is 19 feet of Lincoln.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Yes, there used to be a time when America made astonishing, monumental luxury cars, and many of these grand specimens have survived to become bonafide classics. However, classic status doesn’t always mean big money, and you can buy a leisure suit Lincoln for the price of a heavily-depreciated Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

What Are We Looking At?

1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V Img 4941 43651 Scaled Copy

From the turn of the ’70s through 1979, Lincoln made some of the biggest and greatest sedans and coupes ever to grace American roads. We’re talking velour-lined machines frequently measuring in over the 19-foot mark, vehicles magnificent enough to make most used S-Classes seem a bit common.

ADVERTISEMENT

Img 5273 2 51268 Scaled Copy

In an S-Class, you can run over the gnarliest expansion joints on the planet and not feel anything. In 19 feet of Lincoln, you can run over a water buffalo and not feel anything. That’s because the suspension is only there to make the car comfortable, meaning it has more dive than a Guy Fieri show, more roll than a Texas Roadhouse franchise, and more pitch than the Europa League. This genre of car is as close as you can get to a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier with license plates, and if that isn’t perfect for pockmarked stretches of interstate, I don’t know what is.

1973 Lincoln Continental Mark Iv Img 0205 2 1 Scaled Copy

Sure, you can get a fast S-Class rocking an AMG badge, but you know what 19 feet of Lincoln has? Something called BFC — big freakin’ cubes. Aside from the 1979 Mark V, these Lincolns were available with a 460 cubic-inch 385-series big-block V8, and the aftermarket is ready, willing, and able to hop these up to whatever horsepower goal you could possibly want. You can build one of these engines out to 500 horsepower at home without forced induction or streetability sacrifices, or go all-out and let it eat. The only thing you’ll have trouble passing is a gas station.

While Mercedes-Benz had its Designo division for upgraded interior trimmings, 19 feet of Lincoln can give you Cartier, Givenchy … real luxury stuff. See, the Mark-series Lincolns used to have Designer Series models, where Lincoln would offer special color and trim combinations with the names of actual designers. Think Virgil Abloh Maybach, but make it old.

ADVERTISEMENT

Img 4942 05852 Scaled Copy

Want a different personality, or even your first personality? An S-Class won’t fix that, but 19 feet of Lincoln and the right set of shades will. Has your sex life gone stale? Fire up 19 feet of Lincoln and take your partner or polycule to the nearest drive-in, then blame getting kicked out for lewd behavior on the bench front seat. Some might think that street parking 19 feet of Lincoln might be a problem, but the sheer horizontal surface area means you can probably create parking for 13 more cars overtop of one Lincoln. We’re talking about the last true stand of American excess after the fuel crisis of 1973, true statement vehicles for those who want to be seen.

How Expensive Are We Talking?

1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V Img 4938 43675 Scaled Copy

So, what does one of these slabs of excellence cost? Well, if you want a car near the top of the market and are okay with a mere 400 cubic inches, this 1979 Continental Mark V just sold on Bring A Trailer for $20,000 and it only has 39,000 miles on the clock. We’re talking about an immaculate slice of Americana for the price of a well-used S-Class, and if that isn’t a tempting deal, I don’t know what is.

1973 Lincoln Continental Mark Iv Img 0140 2 1 Scaled Copy

ADVERTISEMENT

Live in California and don’t want to deal with the hassle of smogging a post-1975 car? No worries. This 1973 Lincoln Mark IV with the big-block V8 and just 32,000 miles on the clock sold on Bring A Trailer back in January for just $7,200. I repeat, $7,200! That’s about $378.78 per linear foot of car. At that price, you legitimately can’t lose.

Img 5206 50793 Scaled Copy

However, what if two doors simply won’t do for you? What if you’re the type of person who needs four? Well, check this out. Here’s a 1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car that sold on Bring A Trailer in November for $9,700. From a physical standpoint alone, that’s so much car for the money.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong With 19 Feet Of Lincoln?

1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V Img 4976 45573 Scaled Copy

Unlike a used S-Class, these Lincolns have no electronically controlled air suspension with adaptive damping, no expensive radar-guided cruise control sensor, no complex massaging seats, and no GPS navigation system. However, don’t take that to mean that these Lincolns are spartan. Expect automatic climate control, an available digital trip computer, more ashtrays than you can handle, and the respect of powerful octogenarians across the country. Now that’s first-class stuff.

ADVERTISEMENT

Oh, and because they’re Fords, general parts for these Lincolns are cheap and plentiful. Don’t be surprised to see front brake discs for around $30 apiece, spark plugs for less than $2 apiece, shocks for $25 apiece, and reputable tires for less than $120 each. I don’t know about you, but that seems a hell of a lot better than S-Class maintenance, and while these Lincolns may suffer from old car fluid and vacuum leaks, they’re typically cheap to fix and easy to diagnose, even at home. How about that?

Is It A Good Idea To Buy 19 Feet Of Lincoln?

1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V Img 4943 43630 Scaled Copy

So long as you’re okay with pumping a whole lot of gas, 19 feet of Lincoln will give you a true luxury experience, the maintenance costs of an old domestic sedan, and a rolling talking point wherever you may go. It’s definitely a better sort of used flagship to buy than a used S-Class, and so long as you’re going for smiles-per-gallon, this sort of car can gobble up decaying North American infrastructure like nobody’s business. So if you’re suffering from the used German luxury car blues, ask your mechanic if 19 feet of Lincoln is right for you.

(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer)

Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.

ADVERTISEMENT

Relatedbar

Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
82 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Drock87
Drock87
25 days ago

I love these so much. I’ve had a few.

So….when you look at the way MOST people drive (not like assholes), the power on these is completely fine. And, driving around town, they don’t feel slow at all. My last 78 got like 12-14 mpg on the highway. Which is like 2 mpg worse than my 6MT Tacoma. So, who cares.

The ride is not comparable with anything else.

The handling sucks. Again, who cares; buy a Miata as a second car. (However, secret here….stiffer springs/shocks make a HUGE difference)

They are reliable. They are cheap and easy to repair. They are perfect.

Waremon0
Waremon0
1 month ago

Driving an old car-boat is on my bucket list. To own one? Well, if I could EV Swap it, that would take care of the slowness, the dismal mileage, random leaks, and smog.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

Now to find a steel-roofed Mark V with a white leather interior in reasonable shape, then swap in a Coyote + 6R.

Kendall Gray
Kendall Gray
1 month ago

No way in hell. Lived through this era. For every well kept survivor, there are at least ten with hideous lurking problems that will at best randomly disable the car, and worst, kill you dead. None of which are immediately obvious.Even if you get lucky with one? It’s an unsophisticated blunt edged brick which is going to be a nightmare to manuver on anything but the superslab, and impossible to park in any city.

MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
1 month ago

This makes me miss my ’56 Lincoln. It had 6.0L of power, a stock Dana 44 rear axle and power bench seating, power windows, and best of all, it didn’t buffet you with wind when all the windows were down. We comfortably fit 9 people and a dog and took the kids to get ice cream.

AlterId
AlterId
1 month ago

I’ve always regretted that I was too young to ever drive my mom’s ’76 Custom Cruiser, which my dad traded for a year-old ’78 Bronco after my brother did something to the transmission racing the Olds 455-equippef wagon in high school. (The Bronco lasted less than six months before a trade for a new 1980 Delta 88 with a vinyl bench and crank windows because my mom was 5’2”.) I’ve never driven one of the pre-downsizing big boats, and while I doubt I’d want one for a daily (although I wouldn’t turn down an EV-converted suicide-door Continental convertible, especially if it got some kind of parking assist in the process), I definitely get the appeal.

Bryan McIntosh
Bryan McIntosh
1 month ago

These cars look like what the Villain Of The Week drives/is driven in on an episode of Murder She Wrote. I see this and immediately my mind goes to someone trying to cram Angela Lansbury into the back seat for a not-so-friendly chat.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago
Reply to  Bryan McIntosh

I’m always reminded of Jock Ewing…
…and Tom Selleck in a dark blue suit in the pre-Magnum PI days.

Kevin B
Kevin B
1 month ago

Don’t forget the bulletproof C6 transmission.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
1 month ago

This article sent me straight to Facebook Marketplace, which sent me straight to this big beautiful green machine. Um, yep, that’ll do just fine.
https://m.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1008986500384927/?ref=search

James Colangelo
James Colangelo
1 month ago

Growing up, these were the $1,500 beaters we drove in the mid to late 90’s. Grandpa cars with 20K on the clock, still free. They were pretty terrible, but I have good memories for the most part. I had a ’77 Grand Marquis 2-door that clocked in at nearly 22 feet long. 8 MPG. I couldn’t afford to drive it, gas was 98 cents a gallon.

The thing that killed me was that it had this huge 460, and was so terribly slow but also, they aren’t good highway cruisers. Almost all of these have 3 speed transmissions geared for a 55MPH speed limit. Try going 70, that engine isn’t happy, and at 80 it’s screaming. No thanks, unless I could swap in a modern transmission and free up some horsepower. I do like the styling still though.

Phil Layshio
Phil Layshio
1 month ago

Dammit. I miss my Lincolns. Anyone wanna by a 35 year old XJ6 and two parts cars?

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
1 month ago

My dad had one of these Lincolns, almost exactly like the one in the article.

This is another example of people being nostalgic for something that just wasn’t that good. These luxo-coupes were so dumb because they were huge without being useful, the styling sucked (Sorry, I just never liked it), and 1970s Ford products quality was garbage.

At the same time we owned the Lincoln, we also had a 70s Jeep Wagoneer. The Wagoneer was much easier to park, handled better, was more usable in every situation, wouldn’t try to kill you in the winter time, and returned the same (or better) fuel economy, and was somehow MORE reliable…. a WAGONEER.

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
1 month ago

Agree. I own a 1955 Mercury and if I were to totally ignore the styling and nostalgia factor its a pretty bad car. Its molasses slow, get awful fuel economy, clunks and rattles, and handles pretty badly- as in it digs into the corners even in a gentle turn.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
1 month ago

I’ll keep my old, diesel powered 80s S Class, thank you very much!

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago

these Lincolns were available with a 460 cubic-inch 385-series big-block V8, and the aftermarket is ready, willing, and able to hop these up to whatever horsepower goal you could possibly want”

But you’ll still have those 1970s car brakes and suspension.

I’ve always liked how these looked but never considered getting one due to the shitty fuel economy, it being impracticably big for city driving and the generally shitty driving dynamics you get in a 1970s luxobarge.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
1 month ago

You can upgrade those these days, you know.

And no one is buying a Lincoln for fuel economy.

FrontWillDrive
FrontWillDrive
1 month ago

Growing up my grandma handed down two of these to my dad, both were 460 cars, one was a gold over tan leather Continental four door, the other was a white Mark V two door, I can’t remember what interior it had but it was white with something. I loved both of those cars and they probably had a lot of influence on my preference for bigger cars. I remember many times while washing them that you had to keep wetting the opposite end of the car, otherwise the soap would dry before you could take a city bus back to the other end of the thing. Being carted around in those cars sure did make a kid feel special though.

I don’t remember what made him get rid of the Mark, but I remember the Continental somehow catching the brakes on fire, after which my dad sold it. Long before they became worth what they are now obviously.

Another one around would be cool to have, but after 560SEL ownership, I’m ready for another S class first.

Last edited 1 month ago by FrontWillDrive
Banana Stand Money
Banana Stand Money
1 month ago

Sorry, I’d put a few extra coins in my rainy day repair fund and get a nice W126. I had enough experiences in my grandparent’s pre-malaise and malaise era land yachts (Lincoln and Caddy) to know that I don’t want to relive those bouncy house road manners ever again.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
1 month ago

That’s what QA Suspension is for…

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
1 month ago

I spoke to a Continental Town Car owner at a gas station (of course); he had had several and said that the 400 used a lot more gas than the 460 because it had to work that much harder. Meanwhile, my Honda has 40.032 cubic inches which leaves me wishing for 46 of them.

82
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x