The Ford in Miniature – Lincoln Mark V 1977-79

By Dave Turner

“Destined to Become a Classic” – Lincoln Mark V

The Author’s photographs of some of the models discussed below may be seen at the end of the text.

When Ford introduced the last of the massive Marks for 1977, they knew this would be the final fling of such immense motorised luxury in the face of various pressures to reduce fuel consumption in line with rising gas prices. In fact during the three year run of Mark V the list price was intentionally inflated in an attempt to slow sales and help the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency figures and so avoid gas-guzzler penalties. Ironically the buying public also realised this was the last opportunity to enjoy the experience of a new car in this class and went out and bought Lincolns like they were going out of fashion…they were! In just three years total Mark V production was 228,862.

With styling that was based on the theme of angularity and based on the same 120” wheelbase the Mark V looked bigger than the preceding Mark 1V whilst at the same time was 800 pounds lighter. With triple functioning louvres on the front fenders, the Mark V came with either 400 cubic inch or 460 cubic inch V8s depending on where they were sold. Interiors of Mark Vs were finished to a degree of opulence not found on any other cars worldwide, on top of that there were four “Designer Series” specials at much greater cost that offered even more luxury. Given names of prominent fashion houses of the time – Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy and Pucci they came in different distinctive colour finishes each year.

An additional and yet even more lavishly equipped special came in 1978 as the Diamond Jubilee Edition honouring Fords 75th Anniversary, while this continued for 1979 as the Collector Series. By the final year of the Mark V, Lincolns were the only cars of this size in production in the US with the result that Ford had the market to themselves, for just one year.

Models of Mark Vs cover a vast spectrum of size and quality, from a simple diecast Matchbox toy, a crude lump passed off as a “Promotional Model” in 1989, some exceptionally good depictions of various Designer Series cars and a huge but relatively simple 1:18 model.

Produced contemporary with the real thing, the Matchbox toy was made for only two years and apparently didn’t sell very well. It had a simple diecast body and plated base the latter incorporating bumpers and the headlamps – obviously with their doors open. There was a simple plastic interior and plastic textured roof section with the outline of the opera window cast into the plastic. At the other end of the scale is the big 1:18 Mark V from BoS Models. Lacking much of the fine detail one has come to anticipate with models of this size the BoS catches the character and slender lines of the Mark V. Marked 1978 on its base the silver finish with deep red landau roof together with the turbine style wheels suggests that it depicts a Designer Series car but one that matches these colours has yet to be found. Beware, the extremely delicate upright Lincoln star on top of the grille falls off at the slightest touch – then try to find it!

The “Promotional Model” was featured in Model Auto Review 40, Autumn 1989 as a result of a very dissatisfied customer of a certain James Wieland sending in a short feature. The accompanying illustration of the $130 model supports the criticism!

The popularity of 1:25 promos, kits and models in the USA inspired an active cottage industry producing numerous resin kits in that scale. A late 1990s listing from Guy Cantwell included 1979 Mark Vs with either full or coach roof while a list by S.C. Miller from the same period also listed a 1979 Mark V. Another similar kit comes from TKM featuring one-piece resin body with separate resin grille and bumpers.

Along with the Matchbox, the only other two miniature Mark Vs available for many years were the Japanese diecast Sakura and Diapet offerings. Apparently the Sakura range enjoyed but a brief period of activity while Diapet was part of the long established Yonezawa group of toy producers. The latter’s Mark V came with opening doors, hood, moonroof and trunk while headlight doors were operated by a lever in the base. the wheels depicted the turbine style alloys but the whole thing had a slightly clumsy character.

Now producing only aircraft models Western once listed a Mark V in their range of model cars although finding proof of its existence is proving quite a problem!

There have been several 1:43 Mark Vs from Neo, some of which were sold under the American Excellence banner. For some reason they were not usually described exactly as to which they represented, as a result some detective work is necessary. For example, one model that is described as a 1978 came in dark metallic green with turbine pattern wheels, it could be meant to depict a Givenchy apart from the fact that the model has a tan coloured landau roof, the Givenchy has a tan coloured front section roof covering. Neo also produced this same Mark V in 1:87. Back in 1:43, another Neo finished in Midnight Blue metallic and white with turbine pattern wheels is definitely a ’79 Bill Blass complete with the white full carriage roof covering.

Scaling out a tad larger at 1:42, the Premium X Mark V came as a ’78 Diamond Jubilee in gold or its successor the ’79 Collector Series in Midnight Blue Metallic. The “Collector Series” script is present on the sale panel of the model, if almost impossible to decipher.

Lincoln Mark V Models

 

BoS China 84 2014 1978 320mm 1:18 resin
Matchbox UK 28 1979 1978 77mm 1:75 diecast
Cantwell USA 1990s 1979 full roof 1:25 resin kit
Cantwell USA 1990s 1979 coach roof 1:25 resin kit
Miller USA 205 1990s 1979 1:25 resin kit
TKM USA 1979 1:24 resin kit
Diapet Japan G84 1978 147mm 1:39 diecast
Sakura Japan diecast
Neo China 43550 2014 1978 Givenchy? 136mm 1:43 resin
Neo China 43552 2014 1979 Bill Blass 136mm 1:43 resin
PremiumX China 001 2013 1978 Diamond Jubilee 138mm 1:42 resin
PremiumX China 002 2013 1979 Collector Series 138mm 1:42 resin
Perfect ?
Western UK 104 1977 if made 1:43 metal

 

Illustrations: Lincoln Mark V 1977-79

 

BoS 1:18 resin from China: 84, 1978 Mark V

 


Matchbox 1:75 diecast from UK : 28, 1979 Mark V Outline of opera window embossed into plastic roof.

 


Diapet 1:39 diecast from Japan: G84, 1978 Headlamp doors operate from a lever in the base but don’t close properly.

 


Neo 1:43 resin from China: 43550, 1978 Almost a Givenchy but roof covering would be at forward end not the rear

 


Neo 1:43 resin from China: 43552, another of several from Neo, this is a 1979 Bill Blass

 


PremiumX 1:42 resin from China: 002, 1979 Collector Series

 


Neo 1:87 resin from China: 87255, 1978, miniature version of the the Neo 1:43 43550

 


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