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’80s Lux-O-Barge: 1988 Lincoln Town Car

While you might chuckle at the seller’s assertion that the late 80s were the golden age of the American automotive industry, this 87,000 mile Lincoln Town Car is a seriously clean example of a luxury car from 32 years ago. This first-generation Town Car is here on craigslist out of Lowell, MA and you can gently float away with it for $4,000. Representing an era of downsizing, the Panther platform Town Car weighed up to 1,400 pounds less than its true land-barge ancestor, the Continental. That being the case, there was still no pretense of performance unlike the luxury cars of today.

The lack of performance is apparent in the 302 Windsor V8 which would have produced a humble 150 horsepower when new. The 270 foot-pounds of torque is a bit more formidable and enough to sink you into the soft leather seats. Oddly enough, the Town Car could be optioned with a trailer tow package that included dual exhausts, a beefier cooling package, a limited-slip differential, and a slight bump in horsepower and torque. I don’t see evidence of a trailer package here, but would that be a deal-breaker for anyone?

While the target demographic for the Town Car was unlikely to spill their cheese fries everywhere, the interior of this one is still notably clean for the age. I don’t see the potential for any dark secrets unless you count some old bingo cards that might have slipped under the seats. The outside thermometer mounted below the driver side mirror is a crafty touch and I can’t say I’ve seen anything like it before. A CD player was available starting in 1985, but this car’s original owner did not opt for such wizardry. The factory radio and cassette player appear to be intact.

The seller notes some fading of the clear coat but claims it still runs great. There isn’t much else to say about a late ’80s domestic luxury car, but their ubiquity on the roads of yesteryear might at least conjure up some memories. My grandparents probably drove up to meet me for the first time in a similar vehicle. Sentimentality aside, you would be hard-pressed to find a cleaner, more comfortable ride for the price.


  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    Freshly rinsed with a garden hose for the pics…
    Nice car for the money, seats look good, but the steering wheel is a little tired. A Grand Marquis of the same vintage rides like a dream and this should be no different. I see $2500 here.

    Like 9
    • Ted-M

      The steering wheel is just dirty, It usually gets missed, cleans up nicely!

      Like 3
    • Chris

      I have an orginal 91 Grand Marquis with 16,000 original miles. Its almost better than new . Great car , Chris

      Like 3
      • roger

        is it for sale ?

        Like 1
    • Jerry Chase

      … but only in the Town Car do you get a decent-enough wheelbase for sufficient rear leg room.

      Like 1
  2. CCFisher

    It’s probably fair to say that the 1980s were the golden age of the Lincoln Town Car.

    Like 5
    • Jerry Chase

      I had two of ’em: an ’85 and a ’88. I liked ’em both very much. I actually prefer the Signature leather over the Cartier. It’s interesting to note that good 80s Town Cars at reasonable prices have become almost extinct.. over the last decade.

      Like 1
  3. Luke Fitzgerald

    Effin’ hideous – but condition and price trumps hand.

    Like 0
  4. Tom c

    Big cars , big cigars.

    Like 5
  5. K

    In the interior picture, on the passenger door, underneath the window controls, what is located there?

    Like 0
    • Jerry Chase

      .. that’s the interior door release handle…. similar to a RWD Cad.

      Like 0
  6. shan_paramus

    my dad had these serially for like 10 yrs after first owning the big ’77 continental, as he would lease these for 2 yrs, put like 10K miles on them before turning it in for a new one so they were always in like-new condition.

    personally these were good cars for what they were. Yeah they were supposed to be as a high end vehicle, i know. Def better than the humongous predecessor. Styling was crisper and looked good to me at the time w/ the right amount of downsizing but still feel like a Lincoln. Don’t laugh but I thought it actually handled quite nicely for its size, just effortless… and I’ve only owned small-ish cars… anything that reminds me of my dad is a good memory so that that’s with me and these cars

    Like 9
  7. Norman McGill

    I like these old sleds including the 58-60 styles. These eighties cars are bringing pretty big bucks if what I see online is correct. I think this Tc should go for bout 5-8K if it’s all that nice and clean but if it was a Mark series the price would jump to 10k to 12k in that condition. In any case they are great cars to drive. The 302 is no powerhouse so you won’t be leaving any rubber on the street but for just plain cruising at highway speeds this car can’t be beat. Mileage is in the low 20’s depending on how heavy your foot is. At least that’s what mine gets.

    Like 3
  8. Maestro1 Member

    If I had the room I’d buy it. Period. Anybody with the space should own one of these Lincolns if you like comfort, effortless driving, luxury, and simply smooth
    on your trips. I’ve had two, sold them both, and as soon as I get more space
    I’m getting another one so I’m sorry to pass this up at the moment. Thank you
    Dan, for the post.

    Like 4
  9. Roy Blankenship

    I used to rent these, I LOVED them, plenty of room for my 6’4″ 280 lb. frame, the factory stereo actually sounds decent, decent mileage for a large car. Funny how 87k on a Lincoln makes you wonder what is about to need serviced or repaired, if this were a Toyota, you would think, oh, it isn’t even broken in yet. I had an ’87 Camry that, last I heard from second owner, had 440,000 on it. Best car so far. I wonder if I could put this Lincoln on a credit card….

    Like 0
  10. Joseph Hoffman

    Under the mirror there is round dial for telling the temperature. You can also see in the pictures the paint peeling and fading on the hood, could be other areas also.

    Like 0
  11. Steven Dempsey

    I had an 84 Town Car. Truely one of the slowest cars I’ve ever owned. It’s a shame they did’nt put the 351 in them rather than the 302.

    Like 0
  12. Rob

    Woof, this Lincoln is is sure need of new shocks and coil springs!

    Like 0

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