BMW Turbo Diesel: 1984 Lincoln Mark VII Diesel

Here’s one you may have never heard of, may have forgotten about, or may have wanted to forget about. It’s a 1984 Lincoln Mark VII Diesel! It’s on craigslist with an asking price of $3,500 or best offer and it’s in absolutely stunning condition. It’s in Kingwood, Texas, about a half hour northeast of Houston.

The Mark VII, as you probably already know or can tell from the profile photo, shares it’s lineage with the Ford Thunderbird, Mercury Cougar, and my personal favorite, the Lincoln Continental sedan. It’s a Fox platform car and 1984 was the first year that it was sold.

Prices are all over the board for these cars, from $1,500 to $9,500 or more. I think this one is right on the money, but the “or best offer” part is always a welcome thing to see in a car ad. This is an all original, garage kept, elderly owned car. Three more things that are nice to see in a car ad! It doesn’t stop there, “Non smoker. No rips. No tears. No rust no dents. Original paint.”

Insert Bobby Vinton’s “Blue Velvet” music here. That’s a lot of perfect-looking blue velour! This car is as close to being in showroom condition that it’s making that $3,500 or best offer really tempting. I’m guessing that the rear seats aren’t the most comfortable in the history of Lincoln cars, but they look perfect.

Here’s what all the hoopla is about, a BMW-sourced turbo diesel! Well, it sounds pretty fancy, but with 115 hp and 155 ft-lb of torque, the BMW M21, 2.4L inline-six turbo diesel isn’t a tire-burner. Lincoln wanted a higher MPG engine choice for Lincoln buyers and at around 26 mpg combined, it fit the bill. The 140 hp V8 engine Mark VII got around 17 mpg combined and it was only a couple of seconds faster to 60 mph than the turbo diesel is. Lincoln buyers don’t typically care about such things as mileage, or I wouldn’t think that they do, maybe they do? When was the last time that you saw a diesel Lincoln? What’s a good price for this almost perfect car?

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Comments

  1. Jamie Jamie Staff

    Let’s see. Interesting car–check (I lusted after an LSC when I was younger). Upgradable–check (LOTS of stuff available for fox bodies). Comfortable–check. Cheap–check. Decent highway mileage–check.

    I have a 45-60 minute, 30+ mile commute each way daily.

    Gee, I wish this were closer.

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    • Tirefriar

      You can by that and make it a 90 minute, 30+ mile commute. Then you’d really wish you were closer…. 😉

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      • Jamie Jamie Staff

        Hi, Tirefriar! I’m generally not setting the world on fire during my commute anyway, unless I’m taking the Boss 302. Sometimes it’s in a 1967 Spitfire with over 100k miles on the original 1147 🙂

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  2. gene

    These were super nice with a 5.0 .
    With that German sewing machine for an engine , these were not.
    This engine in a 5 series BMW is great otherwise.

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  3. Chris in WNC

    I love diesels, so this is interesting.
    one of my buddies bought one for his wife to drive in the early 90s.
    it was a very nice car and he said they were dirt cheap on the used car market then…..

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  4. geomechs

    Now this is interesting. I heard of the possiblity of Lincoln using this motor but I thought that was on the back burner and never materialized. I will say that this motor is a lot better than some of the small inline offerings on other Ford products. It will cost you a small fortune to fix it. I see that it uses a Bosch VE injection pump so that won’t cost much different from a pre ’94 Dodge/Cummins to keep that on the road. Just don’t let any water get into the system. I think it’s worth what they’re asking….

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  5. nessy

    Oh how I am into oddball diesel cars. This Lincoln is very rare. I have a number of those unloved 350 Oldsmobile diesels that were built from 78 to 85. Most people never understood the extra care that was needed when owning a diesel. You just can’t drive them like a gas powered car. Let them warm up first, oil changes every 2 to 3k, never floor them off the line, ect and they last. I never had an issue with my GM diesel cars.

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    • Ed P

      For a log time, I have believed that the Olds diesel suffered from improper maintenance. The lack of a proper water separator was a real killer.

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      • nessy

        It was a combo of both Ed P. I installed a water separator on my GM diesels. The early D blocks from 78 to 80 were weak but still lasted for the most part, if you really cared for them, the DX block from 81 to 85 was much improved, however, at that point, the damage was already done. I still enjoy my diesel Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs and everywhere I go, car guys stop me and say they can’t believe a diesel Olds is still on the road!

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      • geomechs

        Hi guys. I worked for GM when the diesel came out and almost till the end when the last ones were built. I always said that the biggest problem with them was that they were misunderstood. The vast majority of owners bought them because of the (alleged) excellent fuel economy, which was a big mistake. The stopping-starting routines that gas pots went through didn’t transfer to diesels well at all. Those who understood them and drove them accordingly had few problems….

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    • ACZ

      My 81 Coupe DeVille diesel went 270,000 miles and was still running when I sold it. Original engine. I just got really tired of driving the same car that long.

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    • Sam Young

      My parents bought a black ’80 Park Avenue diesel and we loved it. Six of us went to Florida in it (from Kentucky) and was able to get 30mpg loaded down like that. He was in the farm machinery business and many of his buddies in the business had Olds/Buick & Cadillac diesels. I remember seeing a bunch of them at the auctions in Ocala. They’d leave them running and go sit in them from time to time to cool off and often do business. The problem for us wasn’t just the engine; it was the transmission that went out time and again. When I turned 16, I got to drive it quite a bit and it was a heck of a date (and parking) car. I can’t believe they let me drive it for that reason alone!

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  6. EU Broker

    Price is down to $3k. If I still lived in the states I’d buy this in a heartbeat. I love diesels, my last 2 cars were Mercedes diesels.

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  7. Larry K

    Asking price $3000. I’m In.

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  8. Jason

    Interesting. Sounds like electrical problems are the biggest issue here.

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    • Dan h

      I’ve got a client with this car. The BMW engine is actually fairly reliable and not terribly difficult to work on. They only made a few hundred in diesel. Almost as rare as the El Camino diesel that I get to Wrench on. The electrical would be the most troublesome for this car. Cool find!

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  9. Danno

    So that I6 will bolt into a Fox body? Interesting…

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    • tugdoc

      My thought exactly Danno, a diesel mustang!!

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  10. Mark Hoffman

    A neighbor had one of these back in the day. But he had all kinds of cool cars over the years.

    First 1970 Monte Carlo sold in our town

    And a huge 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood.

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  11. That Guy

    Dang, that is a rare and really cool car. I think I might have seen one of them, once, but I’m not sure. I was also an LSC fan when they were new. My first wife’s dad test drove a standard Mark VII, and didn’t think much of it. I convinced him to drive an LSC, and he ended up buying one. It was an awfully sophisticated and well-made car for an 80’s Detroit product.

    It’s good that this is half a continent away. Even though it’s not an LSC, if it was close by, I would buy it just because.

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  12. Cubs win

    I’m buying a 98 LSC for a dd. It’s got the Cobra motor in it and is night and day to this car but to each his own. Not cool to me.

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  13. boxdin

    This is the same BMW diesel used in the Vixen motorhome tied to a manual 5 speed.

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  14. Dave Wright

    I am not a Ford guy at all but have some experiance with this BMW diesel in boats. They run pretty smooth but parts and knowledgeable techs were a real problem. Even….or especially with BMW mechanics……they were a mystery. I have seen several sets of them replaced with more common diesels when realitivley new. In the marine world, there horsepower was exaggerated and when the boats were operated at there designed speeds causing early engine failures. Many were replaced with Cummings 6BT’s with very satisfactory results.

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  15. Tirefriar

    I remember when the E28 with TD and the slush box came out, everyone thought they were slower than molasses. I thought E28 M20 (528e) with an auto trans were slow, but these were a complete disappointment. The inline 6 gas motor made more HP and more torque than the turbo diesel. Now consider that E28 weighs 700 lbs LESS than the Lincoln LSC and,,,well, you get the picture.

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  16. Mr. TKD

    This Lincoln was an object of my teenage lust. This example looks great, but that diesel engine is an exotic but of kit I’d probably want no part of. I’d be pricing a Coyote swap.

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    • Mr. TKD

      If that diesel can be run without breaking the bank, I’d keep it. Otherwise, it’s got to go.

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  17. Larry S

    I worked for Ford Motor Company in the early eighties. We were assigned Mark VII’s as Field sales cars. (How about a 23 year old “kid” driving a brand new Lincoln). I had 2 of these- one was an LSC, same color as this one. Upper echelon in the field offices made certain that they ordered either the gold “Bill Blass” edition, or the brown “Givenchy” model.

    This was the first year of a significant downsizing of the Mark series. My Dad took great pleasure in asking me to ” please move your Thunderbird” when I had parked in his driveway, and he needed to get his car out.

    Brand new, off the lot, that German diesel was so tight, you had to floor it just to back up out of a parking spot. Once these cars accrued about 3000 miles though, performance and fuel mileage both improved dramatically. I can recall getting 38 MPG on the highway.

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    • Tirefriar

      You mean you can recall getting up to legal highway speed in this car? Ok,ok, I’ll just show myself out…

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  18. Tom Driscoll

    These are nice cars, I’ve had a few of them…interiors never seemed to hold up well, car war heavy, but fun to drive. I remember that on take off, the rear end would lift, rather than squat like most cars…always thought that was kind of cool.

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  19. John H

    Price seems really good for an oddball with the unexpected addition of a diesel!

    I forgot that a diesel was offered in these. If it was a lot closer it would make a nice “errands” car for me!

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  20. Car Nut Seattle

    Lovely looking car. It’s unforgivable that diesel didn’t sell very well here in the USA. When you consider that the EPA demands that we drive fuel efficient vehicles, I would’ve thought that such engines would remain on the market for longer than they were. 🙁

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    • Bryan

      Unforgivable that diesels didn’t sell in the USA? In fact, they sold quite well from the late seventies into the eighties largely because of GM’s aggressive marketing of 4cyl, V6, and V8 diesels in everything from Chevettes to Cadillacs. Based on GM’s sales success, other manufacturers like Isuzu, Mazda, VW, Nissan (International Scout), Lincoln, and Mercedes (of course) introduced or stepped up production in response. I remember clearly how diesel fuel began to appear almost overnight at every gas station.

      GM owned almost 60% of the American market at the time and had the influence and marketing might to affect change and sway consumer’s backward views of diesels. It was an incredible opportunity and GM seized it. Full size V8 diesel powered GM luxury cars that returned 26 or 27 mpg was a godsend to consumers…almost too good to be true!

      It was. The 5.7L diesel, specifically, proved to be unreliable for most buyers (I’m aware there were exceptions). Consumer’s perceptions of diesels soured and resale values plummeted; a $500 deduct for ANY diesel powered car by 1985 (except Mercedes). Used car dealerships were swapping out diesels with GM gas motors and removing diesel badging and hood ornaments to sell cars! GM ceased diesel production for passenger cars after 1985.

      Yes, diesels were economical but also loud and slow. Long lasting? Most diesels were, but GM clearly stated in 1978 that their Oldsmobile 5.7L diesel had the same lifespan of their gasoline engines.

      Lincoln offered a diesel to capitalize on GM’s success in the diesel market…too little too late. Outside of pickups, Ford never really embraced diesels domestically, even at their height of popularity. Chrysler Corp didn’t even offer a diesel until the 91 Cummins in the Dodge truck.

      VW’s recent scandal has only hurt consumer’s confidence in diesels further. Prior to the scandal, VW sold more diesel cars in America than any manufacturer. Now they intend to step up electric car development because their current line of diesel engines can’t legally pass emissions.

      Lastly, as long as gas is cheap, diesel cars don’t stand a chance of being widely popular here. Domestic fracking and shale production has made the United States a leading oil producer….oil prices are down and we’re no longer a slave to OPEC.

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      • QMopar

        “Chrysler Corp didn’t even offer a diesel until the 91 Cummins in the Dodge truck.”

        Actually, Chrysler offered a diesel engine option to truck buyers in 1978 and it wasn’t a Cummins but a Mitsubishi.

        http://www.allpar.com/mopar/Diesel.html

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  21. Bryan

    Here’s a look at those Oldsmobile diesel hood ornaments that were stripped off of most when they became used cars.

    A clever design….note it is a piston with a red combustion chamber at the top.

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  22. Richard

    Wow, bring back the memories! My dad and I looked at one new here in Seattle. He had a 1985 Ford Thunderbird Elan with the 5.0. We drove the Lincoln, and it had zero power, just felt like a slug. Got back to the dealership, and the sales manager said “it can take 30 minutes for the turbo to warm up”! Really, thats what we were told, needless to say, he kept his Elan…

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  23. chad

    I know this is off the point but I didn’t stray (blame it on Bryan 8^0…

    Y aint diesel fuel cheeper than gas? It takes less to refine it – the motors should burn cleaner than the gasser (high compression). Y aint the country on ethanol (gas) or soy oil (diesel) as a bridge to the renewables and move away from the internal combustions?

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  24. BillW`

    I just had a crazier idea than a diesel Mustang. Isn’t this M21 engine a distant relative of the M3 S52? An M3-powered Lincoln.

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  25. Bryan

    Thanks Qmopar for the information regarding the introduction of a Mitsubishi diesel in a full-size D-100 pickup…back in 1978! That vehicle sounds as rare as the Mark VII diesel!

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