56K-Mile Bustleback: 1987 Lincoln Continental

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“Lincoln Continental. The first thing you’ll notice is that everybody else does.”, says a period Lincoln advertisement for this downsized, bustleback four-door-only luxury car. I really like this generation of the Lincoln Continental, this is another model that has basically just disappeared from the landscape. This 1987 Lincoln Continental is posted here on eBay in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the City of Brotherly Love, and the seller is asking $6,995.

The seventh-generation Lincoln Continental was made for a half-dozen model years – 1982 through 1987 – and they were an interesting design with almost European influences, at least until you got to the rear end and saw the bustleback. Lincoln made three distinctive models in this era. the Town Car (unfortunately, the Town Coupe went away after 1981), the ultra-sleek Lincoln Mark VII, which only came in a two-door coupe, and the Continental in this example, which only came with four doors.

Well, it didn’t always have four doors, at least in Scotty G’s Photoshop world, as seen here… One thing about these cars is they were the last rear-wheel-drive Continentals, as the next few generations of Lincoln Continentals would be front-drive or AWD, which makes me like them even more. Not to mention that I really am a fan of that sloped rear-end bustleback. The seller says that this car has a mere 56,000 miles on it, which is amazing after three-and-a-half decades.

The interior appears to be in nice condition other than some wear on certain high-traffic areas, like power seat control panels and seat fabric. The ribbed leather would have been nice to see here, but this doesn’t have the optional leather, and it isn’t a Givenchy special edition, so we have a tannish-gray velour here. The seats look like they’re in nice condition, especially the back seat which looks like it’s never been sat in. The trunk also looks clean.

Being based on Ford’s Fox Platform, I know that some of you are drooling thinking about how to add some muscle to this 302-cu.in. OHV V8, which would have been factory-rated at 150 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque when new. A four-speed automatic provides power to the rear wheels and I can imagine that another 100 horsepower would be nice here. Hagerty is at $6,500 for a #3 good car and $10,400 for a #2 excellent car. Have any of you owned a seventh-gen Continental?

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  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    A forgotten member of the expansive Fox Body family. I never really warmed up to the bustleback styling. But then again, when this car was new, I would have had no interest in a car of its type. Today, I have a bit more interest, mainly due to novelty. Being a 5.0 Fox underneath does help. I’d put it into the “I don’t have much money, what can I get to get into the hobby” bucket, or perhaps the “I want something no one else kept” bucket.

    Scotty your Photoshop two-door looks good.

    Like 15
    • SubGothius

      This was IMO the best execution of the bustle-back styling fad. Being a Fox-body, I often wonder why I don’t see more of these souped up into a “Hot Rod Lincoln”, what with all the bolt-on go-faster bits readily available for Fox Mustangs.

      Could be a great sleeper with the cosmetics left stock, or a basis for imagining what a “Continental LSS” (Luxury Sports Sedan) might’ve looked like — lightly smoke the taillight and front marker/signal lenses, body color-match the bumpers and mirrors, blackout or body color-match the inner grille slats, blackout the inside (but not the edges) of the headlight buckets, blackout some (but not all) of the other chrome trim, et voila!

      Like 2
    • Maury Clark

      I owned a two-tone blue continental four door. Bought it new, owned it three years. Loved the car, but like many ’80s era Detroit iron, the electronics were primitive and a unending pain in the butt and wallet.
      I cannot imagine keeping this beauty on the road without a well-optioned parts car in hand.

      Like 0
  2. CadmanlsMember

    Put a 347 stroker in it and drop it with springs, maybe upgrade brakes and bigger sway bars, should hold it’s own with a few of today’s models. It’s a Mustang under there. Be the only one at cars and coffee! Have fun, more smiles per mile.

    Like 7
  3. BA

    Or be like me sort of old & don’t mind a nice couch to ride on & wouldn’t mind a set of long tube headers to play music while I float along on my couch lol

    Like 8
  4. Maggy

    I’ll take this over a bustle back Seville anyday.

    Like 20
  5. nlpnt

    The me-too bustleback was a missed opportunity. This should’ve been more aero, more of a 4-door Mark VII. No need to appeal to traditionalist Brougham couch buyers with the Town Car in the lineup to show them.

    Like 2
  6. Todd Zuercher

    I always liked these cars – many of them had the 3.8L V6 in them – since this is the last of this generation of cars, it’s good to see it has the 5.0 EFI engine in it.

    Fun fact – the brakes from this car were plucked for use on the SVO Mustangs.

    Like 4
    • Blake

      I actually seen one at a cars and coffee event wirh a desiel BMW 6 under the hood. Owner had the Monterey sticker encased in plastic to show the disbelievers. After going through old car brochures turns out it was an option on the mark7 as well. Who knew???

      Like 8
      • Todd Zuercher

        I saw one of the Mark VII’s with the diesel in it in a pick a part a year or two ago. Although I knew they existed, I was stunned to see it!

        Like 4
      • Rick

        I retired from an automotive tech publishing company and I remember that these cars offered a BMW L6 Diesel. Strange, but true.

        Like 3
  7. Blake

    The sexiest most expensive fox yet. Bustle back done right! Scotty the day you stop giving us those wonderful photoshops will be the day I stop liking you and your wonderful talent, and the day this site quits getting my clicks as I’m warding off pop up ads. Please, please keep it up! My request is a 77-79 tbird 4 door. Mercury did it with a cougar, why didn’t ford follow suite. A LTD ll with the front and back clip of the bird could of been sexy. I cut up many broshures back in the day trying to see it. Cut and paste 1980 style LOL

    Like 6
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      You guys are way too kind, thanks much! I’ll try that T-Bird sedan for sure. I made a couple of Thundercheros a while ago but not a four-door, that’s a great idea!

      Like 13
      • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

        … and an eighth-generation Thunderbird limo.

        Like 9
  8. Blake

    Disclaimer: I meant not to show disrespect towards that awesome Mark vll. The otjer awesome fox body Lincoln. Had a freind with a 90 LSC version. Fast and sexy done right!

    Like 2
  9. Robert Levins

    Lincoln Continental cleaned up in sales in 1986-87. Cadillac Seville/Eldorado sales dropped over 60% with their new “Downsized” models. They were looked at like little “golf carts “, nice but too small, too expensive. This one is very nice and it will sell. I’ll bet Lincoln laughed all the way to the bank. Good job on the 2-door photoshop! I’ll take one! Best of luck to the new owner.

    Like 6
  10. Dale

    I can honestly say that I’ve never seen this model car before. I like it.

    Like 5
  11. Stan

    Gorgeous 🙌put the gt-40 heads on and whatever else and give the AOD the Len-tech treatment, then rip to the Golf Course ⛳️

    Like 1
    • Brian

      The 5.0L HO would drop right in and give you another 75 hp over the non-HO 5.0L. Might need to upgrade that AOD to handle the extra power or better yet, do a manual conversion.

      Like 0
  12. Tony

    To answer Scotty’s question at the end of the article, yes. My grandmother got a used ’82 model, the first year of this series, in ’83 at my mother’s suggestion. That one was done in teal and turquoise, with teal-colored leather interior, not any special-edition trim option, just standard, but a lovely sight for its size. I too was a fan of this design; although obviously lifted from Cadillac’s contemporary Seville, the Lincoln designers made that look better than Cadillac’s look. The thin vertical taillights and the extraneous hump gave the car a sense of style that was starting to wane rapidly with ’80s designs.

    That said, it was not the most blissful automotive experience. 1982 was particularly troublesome because of the variable-venturi carburetor used on the 5-0s that year (which had also been used for three of the four Versailles years), a dreadfully unreliable device on the level of Caddy’s 8-6-4 setup or Oldsmobile’s diesel engine. That thing gave us serious trouble within a year of having it…and to make matters worse, NOT ONE Ford dealer anywhere in our area was willing to even touch it, not even for money, because of that carburetor. TBI replaced it in ’83, so the one showcased here should not have that problem. But, another problem which a prospective owner needs to watch for is rust, especially in the trunk lid. The one on Grandma’s car was eating itself up by the time we sold it off in ’89.

    Like 4
  13. Big C

    I had an ’86. I believe they came standard with the 5.0. I bought mine cheap in ’95. I emptied the catalytic converter of it’s guts, welded it back up, and cured the Lincoln of it’s performance problems. The car was visually perfect, zero rust, shiny unblemished paint and the leather interior was like new. The Achilles heel of the car was the air suspension. I threw parts and money at this $2300 car, like it was a race car. Could never cure it of it’s problems. In the winter, I’d come out of work and the thing would be on the ground like an Impala in East LA. I finally sold it to some hood rats, at a loss.

    Like 3
  14. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. I remember when this body style was intro’d to the public. I thought it was Lincoln’s best looking Continental. Although I could have done without the digital display, I would have loved the rest of the car.

    Like 4
  15. John E. Klintz

    Drove one of these as a “company car” for a time in the ’80’s; I remember my neighbor telling me that it looked like “a mafia staff car”! Good memories and yes, a nice car, MUCH better than the front-drive Continentals that came after. For 1980’s “bustle-back” style, however, it doesn’t get any better than the 1981-83 Imperial. IMO that was the pinnacle of the style.

    Like 2
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      I think you nailed it, John. Our Todd Fitch has an ’81 Imperial that’s beautiful. He put a modern EFI system in it and it’s a fantastic car.

      Like 1
      • John E. Klintz

        Thank you, Scotty! I was working for Ford Motor (corporate) when Iacocca got fired. He went to Chrysler and had, obviously, a monumental task before him to save the company. Even though I was still at Ford when the ’81 Imperial arrived, I really liked that car and still do. With modern EFI I’m sure it drives as nicely as it looks. In fact that’s what I tell people when they comment on the style of my 1987 Fifth Avenue; “it drives as nicely as it looks”.

        Like 2
    • Danny Hofmann

      Definitely agree John, the way they did the bustle back was in looks only, they still had a full depth trunk, not cut off. I have 3 81’s, wonderful looking and driving cars. Love them.

      Like 0
  16. Brad460Member

    These cars had style, grace, and a look that said you got something for your money. The kind of car that made you open the door to the garage after coming home from the dealership just to make sure it’s there and you aren’t dreaming. Very little made today is like that. Although when this was new I was too young to appreciate the excellent luxury cars made at that time.

    Still miss those glowing digital dash displays of the 80s. I think it would also look better with whitewalls.

    Like 3
  17. JimZMember

    Had an ’85 that I was restoring.
    It took a hit to the RR corner while parked.
    Couldn’t get any body shop to fix it.
    Very disappointed to give it up….

    Like 0
  18. William

    I never really cared for the style of this car. Maybe a nice set of white wall tires would help?

    Like 0

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