By Dave Turner
Photographs of many of the models discussed in the article can be seen after the detailed table listing all known models lower down this page.
Lincoln Mark V1 1980-83
At the end of the 1970s Ford and the US motor industry in general were forced to come up with more environmentally sympathetic vehicles whilst at the same time continue to make their products attractive to their established market. After much shuffling and re-aligning, the Lincoln Division managed to end up with an exceptionally successful range that met most requirements and their sales record indicated that the public were also happy.
First, the huge Mark V had been forced to downsize and the new Mark V1 for 1980 now came in both two and four door form and echoed the lines of the big cars remarkably well, down to the opera windows, triple vents in the front fenders, headlamps hidden by opening doors and of course the spare wheel ‘hump’ on the trunk lid. The two door version came on a 114 inch wheelbase, six inches less than the Mark V while the four door version was on a 117 inch wheelbase. During its four years of production the Mark V1 received annual detail changes and at the same time small reductions in its weight whilst the ‘Designer Series’ of Special equipment and finish was continued from the Mark V. The completely different Mark V11 arrived for 1984, Model Auto Review 103 in July 1996 looked briefly at the Mark V11.
Town Car had been a label attached to the more lavishly equipped version of Lincolns various Continentals since the early 1970s. A new Continental arrived for 1980, inevitably much smaller, trimmer and lighter than the preceding model. In both two and four door form, unlike the new Mark V1 these were both on the same 117” wheelbase but easily identified by the absence of headlamps doors, the front fender vents, spare wheel ‘hump’ and the opera windows – four distinctive long standing features of the Mark Series. Some shuffling around of models took place for 1981, the Continental name was dropped (briefly), Town Car was now the name of the four door versions of what had been the Continental while the two door was called Town Coupe. A new quite different Continental appeared in 1982 featuring semi razor-edge styling.
After 1981 only the four door Town Car was made and it now adopted top of the range status taking on ‘Signature Series’ and Cartier labels for the most expensive options. Very few obvious changes took place during the nine years of Town Car production. The Lincoln name moved around the front of the car a few times, it was top left side of the grille in 1981 but moved over to above the left side headlight in 1985. For its final year the name badge moved to low down on the left side of the grille. The texture of the grille changed a few times while the tail lights were put onto an angled plinth from 1985. Interestingly Lincoln were including illustrations of stretched Town Cars in their sales material in the mid-1980s. A completely new Town Car that had been designed in the UK arrived for 1990.
In view of the popularity of the cars it is perhaps surprising just how few models have been found, at least those that have turned up provided examples of most but not all variants of Mk V1 and Town Car.
Very little in the way of Mark V1 models unfortunately – back in the 1990s, the US 1:25 resin kit ranges included the Mark V1 in both two and four door forms from Guy Cantwell. More recently the big range of Neo resin models in 1;43 included a four door Mark V1 which they listed as a 1979 version. Masses of detail include the wire spoke aluminium wheels and minute Continental script on the left headlamp door. Like many of these recent models. handling them usually results in a few parts falling off, so poorly fixed are they.
Lincoln Mark V1 1980-83
|Guy Cantwell||USA||1990s||4 Door||1:25||resin kit|
|Guy Cantwell||USA||1990s||2 Door||1:25||resin kit|
Illustrations: Lincoln Mark V1
Lincoln Town Car 1981-89
There have been a few more small Town Cars. An interesting model from Neo depicted the huge mid-1970s Continental in Town Car form – all nineteen and a half feet of it. For 1977 the Continental had adopted the Mk 1V style front end while the colonnade style roof had appeared for 1975. Town Car features are the full vinyl roof with coach lamps while options depicted on the model include opera windows and the forged aluminium wheels. A 1:25 resin kit for a 1978 Continental Town Car was produced in the USA by TKM while another US based similar range by Guy Cantwell included an example of the later 1986 Town Car.
Some years ago a German range of 1:87 resin kits under the name BS Design issued a large number of solid resin miniatures that consisted of simply, body, base, interior and wheels on axles. A 1987 Town Car was included.
In addition to their Mark V1, Neo have also produced some models of the very similar Town Car. From the forward slope of the tail light assembly their Town Car has to be an 1985 or later but the combination of the Lincoln badge over the left headlight and the layout of the badges on the tail and position of the twin back-up lights the year is narrowed down to 1988. Neo also did a stretch on their Town Car scaling out to 190”. This has the badges on the rear depicting an 1989 car but the Lincoln badge should be low on the left side of the grille in that case, but it remains above the left side headlamp as a 1988.
Apparently stretch limos are popular at the toy end of the model car scene, a couple of hefty diecast stretch Town Cars are obviously in the toy category. One from Majorette carries the simple inscription “Limousine” on the base but is obviously based on a Lincoln. At first glance the Sunnyside toy looks very similar but closer scrutiny shows that it is to a larger scale and representing a shorter 168” wheelbase. Both feature opening doors and transparent sunroof.
A far more modest stretch is featured on the Matchbox Town Car, in fact based on the toys width it is hardly a stretch at all! Some imagination went into the toys creation, it features a plated tiara over the centre roof section and a ‘discrete’ small rear window while the marking on the rear light indicating where the back-up light resides suggests a 1986 example.
Lincoln Town Car
|BS Design||Germany||1990s||8701||1987||1:87||resin kit|
|Guy Cantwell||USA||1990s||1986||1:25||resin kit|
Illustrations : Lincoln Town Car
We welcome your comments and questions. Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page, or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.