1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III
A Car For Vinnie
The Mark III is a car made up of parts and ideas taken from somewhere else. The engine, chassis and front cowl are from the Ford Thunderbird, the massive upright grille is "inspired" by Rolls Royce, the Continental "hump" on the trunk lid is from the Mark II and the long nose/short deck styling is from a '61 Plymouth. The name is stolen from the 1958 Continental Mark III, which Ford Motor Company has conveniently forgotten.
When you read the previous paragraph you realize what a cobbled-up car this is. But when it's all put together, it works. It should. It's the brainchild of Lee Iacocca, the same guy who took a bunch of Ford Falcon parts, assembled them, put a pseudo-Ferrari grille on the front, added fake airscoops on each side and created the Mustang, one of the hottest selling cars of all time.
The 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III was introduced in April of 1968. It was 216 inches long, had a 117 inch wheelbase and was powered by a 460 cubic inch V-8 engine with 365 horsepower. Although it weighed 4,800 pounds, it could go from a standing start to 60 miles per hour in 8.3 seconds. It was luxurious and cost $6,585.
The motoring press hated it. They whined about poor space utilization and laughed at the styling. Design critics called it "...a Thunderbird designed by seven guys named Vinnie." It didn't make any difference. The public loved it and the car sold like hotcakes. (Those design critics wouldn't buy a Mark III anyway. They buy more esoteric cars ... like Citroens. You'll often see these people by the side of the road with the hood up on their Citroens, jumping around and cursing while frantically trying to put out an engine fire with an elegant, tastefully-patterned blanket.)
The Mark III was a big success. In 1969, a year after introduction, there were still waiting lists for Lincoln Continental Mark III. There must have been a lot of guys named Vinnie out there!
In 1969, Neil Armstrong is the first man to set foot on the Moon. Richard M. Nixon is inaugurated in January. Earl Warren retires from the U.S. Supreme Court and is replaced by Warren Burger.
The Woodstock Festival is held in August. New products include Penthouse magazine and the first automatic teller. Coffee grower Juan Valdez first appears in coffee ads. Thunderbirds offer a primitive form of ABS brakes as an option. Front headrests are now government mandated safety equipment on all new cars.
New TV shows include 'Let's Make A Deal,' 'The Brady Bunch,' 'Sesame Street' and 'The Merv Griffin Show.' The comedy sketch group Monty Python first appears. Movies in '69 include 'Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid,' 'Easy Rider,' 'Midnight Cowboy' and 'Sweet Charity.' Top songs are 'Aquarius (Where's The Sunshine),' 'In The Year 2525,' 'Get Back,' 'Everyday People' and 'Suspicious Minds.'
Deaths include Joseph P. Kennedy, Jack Keroac, boxer Rocky Marciano, Boris Karloff, skater Sonja Henie, former president Dwight Eisenhower, car stylist Harley Earl, Judy Garland and cowboy sidekick Gabby Hayes. The Chevrolet Corvair also died, a victim of Ralph Nader's book, 'Unsafe At Any Speed,' and the public's desire for musclebound pony cars instead of rear-engined sporty cars.
The NY Mets defeat the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.
Drawing and text copyright 1991, 1999 Joseph M. Sherlock. All Rights Reserved.
The Continental Connector is the official publication of the Pacific Northwest Region of the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club. All of these AutoSketch and Remember When articles have previously been published in the Continental Connector newsletter.
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