2,500 Original Miles? 1979 Lincoln Mark V

If the mileage claim for this 1979 Lincoln Mark V is correct, you have to be intrigued about how a car like this could find itself parked for decades with a mere 2,500 miles on the clock. There may well be a real story behind that, but it’s probably one that we’ll never know. The Lincoln, located in Sweeney, Texas, is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $3,051, but the reserve has not been met. There is also a BIN option of $8,500.

The Lincoln is said to have been stored in a barn for more than 20-years, and during that time it was covered with blankets to protect the paint. This seems to have done the job quite well, as the paint, panels, and trim all seem to be in pretty good condition. There are no obvious signs of rust or corrosion, but what I did notice is some black paint on the driver’s side quarter panel, just in front of the wheel arch. At first, I thought that this was a trick of the light, but it appears to be there from two angles, so I’d like to know the story there.

This is the only shot that we get of the interior, and it does look quite promising. The upholstery on the passenger side door trim looks a bit odd at the top, but otherwise, it looks to be in quite nice condition. Of course, you get power windows, power seats, power locks, cruise control, and air conditioning as part of the package, but there is no indication as to whether any of this functions after all of these years. Unfortunately, the same is true of the engine. The owner says that the 400ci V8 probably doesn’t run, which I would take as meaning that it actually doesn’t run. After at least two decades of inactivity, you can be sure that there will be some work to do before the car hits the road again, but deterioration may have been aided by the dry Texas climate. We can always cross our fingers on that.

After sitting for so many years, it is really difficult to tell just how healthy this Lincoln is, or how much work it will take to bring it back to life. If the mileage claims can be confirmed, that will make it a pretty special vehicle, and place it amongst the lowest mileage examples in existence today. That’s if this can be verified. Some people think that these are a bit of a boat, but the reality was that they were right for their era and the tastes of the time. The Mark V doesn’t command big money today, and a good one can be bought for between $9,000 and $14,000. If this one is solid, clean, and the mileage can be verified, then it could be worth quite a bit more than that. There is every possibility that $25,000 or more could be a realistic value if all of these factors come together. This is one where I would definitely be asking the owner a lot of questions about its history.

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  1. KSwheatfarmer

    A friend of mine has two of these in his shed, a 74 and a 77. About the same mileage on both of his. I’ve looked at them a couple of times and they appear as new and both the same paint color. I’m with Adam, the mechanical issues related to getting them up and running again scare me to death.

    Like 5
  2. Bakyrdhero

    $9,000-14,000 is actually big money to some (including myself) as far as buying a hobby car goes. These are nice and that interior would be great for cruise nights, but for that kind of money I personally would rather something more fun and less late 70’s excess. That’s just me though. This strikes me as something I’d be stoked to pick up in the 4-6k range. I don’t know if that’s realistic, just my thoughts.

    Like 5
  3. Miguel

    The buyer will have to replace miles of vacuum hoses just to get it running and get the accessories to work.

    It is a big job indeed.

    If it has been stored for only 20 years, why does the plate have a 1986 sticker on it? Where was it from 1986 to 1998?

    Like 6
    • Howard A Member

      Bingo! They were driving it. Texas a big state, could rack up 100g’s like nothing.

      Like 1
      • Dane U

        These Continentals and Country Squires back then have style and nice lines..look sharp on the road…Dane U.

  4. Paul

    2500 miles for only $8500……looks like a great deal to me for a nice car!

    • Howard A Member

      102500, maybe,,,

      Like 1
  5. daCabbie

    Even if it only has 2,500 miles on it… it is still a 40 year old car that has been sitting for 20+ years.

    Maybe someone disconnected the speedometer cable at 2500 hoping to extend their warranty or to increase resale value.

    For $150, I know a guy who can turn back the mileage on any vehicle.

  6. Howard

    The front wheels are pointing straight ahead and the steering wheel is at 90 degrees. Usually a sign of a worn out front end on fomoco products of this era and it didn’t get that way with 2500 miles………

    Like 2
  7. JagManBill

    2500 miles should still be wearing the original tires wouldn’t ya think? Brake pedal will tell a story as well. No engine shots but hood is open.


  8. Wayne

    Hey daCabbie, that is illegal! Back when it wasn’t, ( it has always been dishonest) the dealership I worked while in college had a guy that would come by once a week to roll odos. He usually drilled a small hole in the clear plastic faceplate and inserted a hook(s) to roll it back. We had a “new” demo that was ordered with just the right combination of options that everyone in the dealership used to borrow it for vacations. In about 10 months it had approx 30k on it. They decided it was time to cycle it out of “loaner service” and had the odo rolled back to about 3,600 miles. This was a good looking car. (1972 Pontiac Ventura 2 door, green with the white Rally package stripes and wheels, bucket seats and the Pontiac 350.) The first weekend it was put out on the lot for sale it sold to one of the local policemen. He loved the car ( as did everyone in the dealership) When the odo went to flip over to 4,000 miles it rolled over to 34,000 miles. The customer got his speedo/odo “warranted ” and the dealership eat a new speedo.

    Like 1
    • Brian B

      The Chrysler-Plymouth dealer I worked at while in HS in the early 70s used the undercoat guy who had his door close all the time. We sent over a 68 LTD with 84,000 miles for “undercoat” and it came back with 44,000. Neat trick

  9. Anton

    If one was to have to replace the engine what would be a more modern one to get a better balance between power and economy?

    • Morgan Winter Member

      I would look for a Ford 3-valve 4.6L V-8…worked great in my ’07 Mustang GT.

  10. robert g

    I just bought a car identical to this. I have two others as well. The mileage is correct. I can tell from the wood grain on the steering wheel because it cracks and wears off at the ends of the steering wheel spokes from being rubbed with your thumbs, This wood grain is very thin simulated plastic and it seldom survives to 80,000.
    And you will not have to replace miles of vacuum hoses.
    You will though probably have to clean out the fuel tank and replace the sending unit and all fuel hoses, (there are only three), and replace the fuel pump plus rebuild the carburetor.
    I am sure that the tires are dry rotted as well.
    It gets about 11 to twelve miles to the gallon due to a very low compression engine, and a retarded cam timing with a emissions cam also, (most vehicles of this time were all like that). In order to get good power and fuel economy you have to increase the compression ratio, and get a new low end toque cam and use the cloyes roller timing and gears so you can take out the cam retard. They do make an aluminum intake manifold for this 400 Cleveland engine.

    You will probably have to go through the entire hydraulic brake system.

    Now, why would you want to go through the engine as I have suggested? Because the front main seal for the harmonic balancer will begin to leak from dry rot, and then the rear main seal will also go out because they have hardened from dry rot as well. The front seal requires you to remove the timing chain cover which will expose plastic timing chain gears which are hardened from dry rotted and also cracked just like the seals. Get rid of the timing gears with an updated cloyes roller set so you can take out the retarded cam timing or you will be doing the job all over again in a few months. Then there’s the rear main seal you will also have to change.

    Now, if you are going to do all this you might as well take the engine out and update it. This engine is very easy to remove and replace.
    The 400 Cleveland engine has plenty of potential, you can use one of several aluminum cylinder heads from a 351 Cleveland with the small combustion 72cc combustion chambers. Roller cams for the 351 Cleveland engines will fit the 400 as well. The intake manifold for the 351 can be used on the 400 with spacer plates, but the 400 cannot be used on the 351 because it is too wide.
    Most of the updated engine parts can be found used on craigslist or ebay at bargain prices
    Pistons are another story, no one makes them. You need a flat top piston or dome top piston to raise the compression ratio, (unless you use the 72cc heads). Do not use the dished pistons unless you plan to turbo charge it. Most piston manufactures will make a piston for you if you decide to go with a domed top piston.
    This vehicle is a decent buy at $8500. This vehicle has almost all the options you would want on it including the factory installed CB radio with the 8 track amfm radio

    Like 3
    • Miguel

      Robert, how do you figure you won’t have to replace miles of vacuum hoses? The headlights are operated on vacuum as well are many other devices under the hood. Those hoses are 40 years old now.

      • Robert G

        Because I have two of these cars , a 1977 and a 1979 (bought new in 79) and I have never replaced any hoses on it yet. Knock on wood.
        Besides these vehicles are extremely easy to work on, there’s tons of room

        Like 2
    • Robert g

      This vehicle was arguably the best looking car on the market in 1979.
      It was about $22,000 in 1979 about $100,000 today. This is the collectors series Lincoln Cartier Mark V, The flagship of distinction, and the salesmen would tell you they were meant to be a part of a coveted collection, not a daily driver.
      And when you arrived in this vehicle, people noticed.

      I bought a brand new one back in the day and I still have it. Everywhere I go people come up to me stating how they remembered the car.

      Like 2
  11. Wayne

    robert g, what kind of fuel economy can you expect by the smaller cc heads and bumping back up the cam timing.

  12. Wayne

    robert g, what kind of fuel economy can you expect by the smaller cc heads and bumping back up the cam timing?

  13. Robert ,G.

    I am not really sure because there are so many variables involved. I would suspect up to five miles to the gallon, maybe more if you change the gear ratio.
    However increasing the compression ratio is the best way to improve fuel economy, not to mention the big power increase. The smaller chambered heads increase the static compression only however it’s dynamic compression that really makes a difference. That’s the compression when the piston gets about an inch up from bottom of the stroke. So if you close the exhaust valve sooner you get more compression built up. However there’s a limit to how soon you can close the valve and overlap has a lot to do with it. To much overlap and you start having issues with driveability and idle quality, but it runs like hell in the higher rpm range.

  14. Wayne

    Yes, I am familiar with cam profiles. I had a Honda Civic (1978) that had 14 to one compression. It was a little hard to find fuel at times. But it got 50 MPG at 80+ MPH. I have been thinking of getting a late 60s early 70s large car. Probably a Pontiac or Mercury. Upping compression and installing an aftermarket throttle body injection to see what kind of fuel economy I can achieve. Late 60s Catalina’s would get 16+ MPG all day long at 75 MPH. and that was with a plain old carburetor. I would like to get 20+ with proper radial tires good exhaust and proper fuel management.

  15. ben Root

    I worked for a used car dealer in ct in the 70s he had first dubs on any caddie that came in to grome ave in new York a few little kids maybe 12 or so with a skate board for 20 bucks would trrn back the clock on any of them u just had to tell them the millage u wanted ben in fl

  16. Bob_in_TN Member

    I’m not commenting on whether this car does or does not have 2,500 miles. But it does bring back a memory. As a kid I used to keep track of the new and used inventory at my small town Ford dealer. That wasn’t particularly hard as the new inventory was typically 10-20 new cars with another 10-20 used cars. One day a clean two year old Maverick came in on trade. I checked it out on the back lot, and thought it looked good for its 68,000 miles. A few days later it was on the front lot with 23,000 miles.

    Good writeup Adam. One adjustment: Sweeny is near the coast, it for sure isn’t dry there.

  17. Ronnie

    I recently inherited my dad’s 1979 Lincoln Mark V Cartier Edition, with only 16,000 original km on it. He bought it brand new and kept the receipt, paid 17,500$ back in ’79. I remember that he would only take it out during Sundays going to church. The interior carpet is still ‘virgin’ – I remember the day he brought it home, he covered it with a clear vinyl.

    The car had been kept in the garage from 1995 until the summer of 2016 when we decided to bring it back to life. It took some work getting one of the cylinders to clear the gunk. We used Sea Foam to clear the system, but what really broke through the gunk was soaking the cylinder overnight with tranny fluid. That stuff really ate through the rust. We overhauled the fuel tank and the carb needed a rebuild kit. The rag joint in the steering column also needs replacement as the original one deteriorated over the years.

    I still think the car has beautiful lines and is a head-turner. Lucky to have one kept in such great shape with unbelievable low mileage.

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