After coming a cropper and loosing US$1000 on each of the 3000 odd ultra luxurious ’56 and ’57 Continental Mark II’s the Continental name reverted to model name under the Lincoln brand and it was not until 1969 that the Lincoln Continental Mark III would see the light of day, although there had been a 1959 Continental III that retrospectively became known as the Lincoln Continental Mark III just to confuse the issue.
When the 1967 fifth generation Ford Thunderbird started under performing in the market place Ford President Lee Iacocca decided the best way to recoup the companies investment was to use to use the 4 door Thunderbird’s floor plan for the new Lincoln Mark III. Allegedly Iacocca instructed Ford Design Vice President Gene Bordinat to ‘put a Rolls Royce grill on a Thunderbird’ in September 1965.
The Continental Mark III’s 2 door body worked out 300 lbs / 140 kg heavier than the 4 door Thunderbird but it was powered by a larger more powerful 365 hp 7.5 litre / 460 cui V8 motor than the 345 hp available to Thunderbird owners.
Interior trim included leather and real wood on the dash which kept the cars press rating above the nearest nylon cloth trimmed Cadillac Eldorado competitor as late as the Mark IIIs final year 1971, with a Cartier branded clock becoming standard soon after the cars launch in 1968.
Sales of the Mark III never bettered the lesser trimmed Eldordo but were over 20,000 a year for 1969/70 they rose to a high of 27,091 in 1971 which coincidentally marked Lincoln’s Golden Jubilee Year.
Today’s featured 1971 model belonged to my facebook acquaintance Lori Munro in the 1980’s when the photo’s were taken. Lori, who co founded Race Talk Radio, says that her Mark III “was great …. when fuel was just US$0.60 a gallon”, but decided to sell it after it had been in storage for a couple of years.
My thanks to Lori Munro for sharing her photographs and story, please drop by Race Talk Radio’s facebook page and “Like” to show your appreciation.
Thanks for joining me on this “Rolls Royce Grill On A Thunderbird” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !