Affordable Luxury: 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III

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While it was only in production for 3-years, the Lincoln Continental Mark III helped the company to make serious inroads into the market leadership of the Cadillac Eldorado. This 1971 Continental was one of 27,000 vehicles sold by Lincoln in that year, making it the most successful model up until that point. This particular Continental is listed for sale with an asking price of $2,800, and it doesn’t matter how you look at it, that’s a lot of metal for the money. Located in Lake Wylie, South Carolina, you will find the Mark III listed for sale here on Craigslist.

The styling of the Mark III has become the stuff of legend, and it is definitely worth repeating. Lincoln was suffering at the hands of Cadillac, and Ford Vice-President Lee Iacocca was grimly searching for something to give the brand an edge. It’s always been said that one night Iacocca contacted Gene Bordinat, Design Vice-President, and told him to “put a Rolls Royce grille on a Thunderbird.” The result was the Mark III, which went on to become a sales success. As I understand the advertisement, the Mark III belonged to the owner’s grandfather since new, and it has always been garage kept. It appears that the car has been sitting dormant for quite some time, so this makes the 42,000-mile claim seem quite feasible. The body is essentially straight, although there are a couple of minor rust spots that will need to be attended to. However, the paint itself doesn’t look too bad, so I think that a good buff and polish might provide some surprising results. The tinted glass also looks to be in good condition, but I’m wondering whether the head-light covers may have an issue, as they look like they have been open for quite a while.

Under the hood the Lincoln packs a 460ci V8 engine and a C6 automatic transmission. This is the source of some pretty good news because even after the extended hibernation, the car starts and runs. The owner even says that the engine sounds good. Judging by the fact that he says that it will need tires before it can even roll, I suspect that he hasn’t attempted to drive it. Luxury was certainly the name of the game with the Mark III, and this came in the form of air conditioning and power steering. What was significant was that the 1971 model was the first year that a system called Sure Trak was a standard feature on the Continental. This was a form of anti-lock brakes and was considered to be a significant step forward in vehicle safety. Obviously, there is going to be some work to do before this Mark III cruises the highways again, but it seems that we’re off to an encouraging start.

The years spent it hiding certainly hasn’t hurt the interior at all. It looks really good, and even the white leather upholstery looks like it is free of wear, tear, or stains. A good clean and leather conditioning and I think that it will be ready to use. Once again, the luxury appointments abound inside the Mark III. Power windows, power seats, cruise control, timber trim, and a genuine Cartier clock were all there to make life as easy as possible.

When it comes to prices, the 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III is something of a surprise packet. Many of the luxury cars of this era have experienced steep declines in values from which they have seldom if ever, recovered. The Mark III has been an exception to this rule, and while it also experienced this drop, values have rebounded in the last 2-years. In 2017, it was possible to buy a pretty nice Mark III for around $4,000, but today the same car will command prices closer to $12,000. This Mark III looks like it might be a pretty solid vehicle that won’t need much work to once again be on the roads transporting its occupants in splendid isolation. That seems to make the asking price look like quite a good deal.

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  1. daCabbie

    What a shame… a good cleaning and four new tires and the seller could easily see another 1000$… I have the feeling his Grandfather is rolling over in his grave.

    Too bad it’s not a four door… would make a great taxi.

    Like 4
    • Steve Dycha

      This two door icon is an icon because of the two doors.

      Like 10
    • Ralph

      There was no 4 door of these.

      The Continental was a different car entirely.

      Like 5
  2. DaveK

    That busted turn signal lever is going to be expensive to replace since it has the cruise control button on the end of it. If they come up for sale, they are usually in the $500+ range on auction sites.

    Like 3
  3. local_sheriff

    Just curious as to whether seller measured the Lincoln’s wheelbase before picking up the uhaul trailer – or if it was just pure luck it fit on the bed…

    Like 6
  4. JerryDeeWrench

    U haul his by wheel base do overhang doesn’t count.

    Like 1
  5. Bob McK

    I once owned one of these. Loved it! It rode and drove so nice. If the timing was right, I would buy this one today.

    Like 2
  6. dr fine

    When these were new, I thought they were gorgeous, but I still preferred the 1958 MKIII. They soon looked dated, and when you see a rough example it’s apparent they weren’t really very stylish or shapely. I also recall the buyer who got tired of having to call a wrecker service every other time he and his wife went out for dinner, and parked it on the grounds of a FOMOCO facility and treated news photographers to an expensive bonfire. Lee bragged about selling a tarted up Ford for triple the price.

    Like 1
  7. Rick Rothermel

    Bought a SoCal ’69, burgundy/black, in ’77, $2900, sent it to Ak when I worked on the pipeline and had too much money.
    Fast, smooth, eerily silent at speed.
    Didn’t have a place to keep it, sold it to a friend who may still have it.
    I can’t get past the white, but this could be a steal for someone.

    Like 3
  8. Arthell64

    Looks like a good deal.

    Like 2
  9. Eli

    Rides like being on a cloud. You can actually see the gas gauge moving while driving!

    Like 3
  10. Greg Moore

    Seller lowered price to $2800….

    Like 1
  11. Steffon

    That is one fine car however Uhaul management would have a stroke seeing this beast on that trailer.. lol wow!
    Probably pulling it with a ranger.

    Like 1
  12. Pete Phillips

    Sold, I presume. Listing has been deleted by the seller. That one was a bargain!

    Like 1
  13. bilzpny

    ANY car looks dated when it’s been sitting in a junkyard, beat to crap, with faded paint & missing parts. I don’t care what car it is or who designed it.

    Like 1
  14. Rodney- GSM

    “Of course it will fit in the garage Honey, it fit on the trailer”.

    Like 2
  15. Stevieg

    I had 2 of these, both 1969. Both had windows that didn’t work due to bad vacuum lines & both had broken frames right in front of the rear axle. I drove them both that way anyhow. Clean looking bodies, nice leather interiors, I felt like king of the world driving these 2 beaters. Glad I unloaded them because they were unsafe. I was young & too stupid to quit driving them lol.

    Like 0

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