Clean Cartier Edition: 1985 Lincoln Town Car

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

Here’s a car you used to see everywhere but is now surprisingly hard to find. In general, the Lincoln Town Car appears to have disappeared from the road, especially the first generation models like this one. This particular example is a 1985 Cartier edition model and it appears to be in excellent condition for an unrestored car. The Town Car was Lincoln’s bread-and-butter entry for many years, and perhaps there’s no clearer sign of the generational shift that’s happening than the fact that you don’t see very many of these still serving as daily drivers. Find this Town Car here on eBay for $5,500 or best offer.

Like so many other legendary Ford products of the 1980s, the Town Car was built atop the Panther platform. This chassis underpinned numerous models across the Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury lineups, and proved itself to be durable and versatile. The Panther platform was not only versatile but helped to address numerous other challenges when it came to building Ford’s larger sedan lineup, from reducing curb weights to improving handling characteristics. It’s no surprise that so many police departments depended on the Crown Victoria for so many years as there had never before been such an ideal combination of interior space, V8 power, and respectable handling.

Interestingly, this Town Car doesn’t have acres of leather inside, as the Cartier trim line might have led you to believe. However, there was still plenty of luxury, with features including power seats, keyless entry, woodgrain trim, and there was even an optional JBL stereo with CD player. The Cartier cars also got the padded coach-style roof with the frenched slit-style window behind the back doors. When it came to equipment levels, the Town Car was pretty much loaded in any configuration, and some advanced technology (for the time) worked its way into the cabin, including a trip computer with miles to empty and estimated time of arrivals read-outs. The seller notes a few things aren’t working in this regard, however, and those details are explained below.

The photos in the gallery show plenty of hand-written notes and other documentation that almost guarantees this Town Car was in the hands of an older owner until recently. The seller notes that the temperature gauge isn’t working, which is a big one for me – older cars must have a functional temp gauge if I’m going to drive it any meaningful distance. The door and trunk keys are missing, but the seller claims he replies on the keyless entry system for access. Some new parts have been thrown at it, including a water pump, brakes, and stater, but it does still occasionally stall out. Overall, it needs some fine-tuning, but the clean cosmetic condition makes this Town Car worthy of a refresh.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Steve

    eBay listing shows it as a 1983, not a 1985.

    Like 7
    • Rick

      When I saw the photo of the tail lights and the backup lights I was pretty sure it wasn’t a 1985. My mom had owned a 1987 Town Car, and one way I could keep the years straight was to remember that the 1985 – 1987 had a single light in the center. The 1988 – 1990 had two, one at each outer side.

      Like 2
      • aol

        plus tail lights different on 1985 I owned a real estate office in 1985 we bought two new town cars as company cars for myself and my business partner this is not a 1985 it’s a 83 or 84

        Like 1
    • Randall Tefft Sundeen

      1985 minor refresh ( softened fenders), this car was essentially unchanged from 80′ till 84′, 85s featured the softened fenders, 86′ added the mandated rear center stop light!

      Like 0
    • Howie Xu

      1985 model came out with a new redesigned taillights and trunk lid . I had owned both fortunately 😆

      Like 1
  2. Big C

    Seller says no trunk or door key. Shouldn’t the door key be the same as the ignition? All my old Fords were.

    Like 5
    • Rick

      The 1987 Town Car had the square headed key to work the doors and the ignition. The round headed one worked the trunk.

      Like 6
  3. David Oliver

    That’s back when a Lincoln looked like a Lincoln.

    Like 1
  4. Terry

    I believe in ’88 they tucked the bumpers in closer to the body on these cars, plus Crown Vic and Grand Marquis.

    Like 3
    • Rob

      I thought the bumpers were tucked in 85. I could be wrong. This certainly looks like an 84 or below.

      Like 0
      • Russell Thornburg

        Definitely not an ’85. 1980-83. In ’84, they slanted the tail end. That lasted till 1989. The the BEST LOOKING TC was made from ’90-97 (refresh in 1995). Great cars regardless of year!

        Like 0
  5. RICK W

    Believe you are correct. The velvet single tone interior was later replaced. Also taillights are from first years.

    Like 1
  6. RICK W

    Among my various upscale vehicles, FMC has proven to be superior to GM. 78 Town Coupe, 78 Grand Marquis, 89 Crown Victoria LX, 87 Grand Marquis and current 2007 Signature Limited ALL have been great cars. My 89 Town Car Signature Series was perhaps my favorite. Perfect balance of Luxury, formal style, plenty of CHROME, comfort and reliability. On the highway, 24 MPG. The issues with this car are reasons for careful consideration. But this is definitely a Bon Marche. If I were younger and in the market for a Sunday driver, I’d be buying right now!

    Like 2
  7. Fox owner

    Holy cow, that Townie is in my home town, Cleveland. That even looks like the Metro Park in the background of one of the pictures. And at 22 mpg hwy it matches my Fox Body. So tempted to check this out.

    Like 2
    • RICK W

      When my father retired, he and mom agreed to live every day to the fullest. Fortunately, I followed their advice. Now a Vintage Rolls Canardly (Roll down one hill and Can ardly get up the next), I have many wonderful memories, including the vehicles mentioned in my original post. Carpe Diem! Still thankfully able to pilot my 2007 Signature Limited! Like the old song 🎵 I get around 🎶! If you like it, BUY it. 👍

      Like 1
  8. wjtinfwb

    Definitely an ‘85 or earlier. ‘86 on had the 150hp 5.0 that had multi-port fuel injection and the Silver intake plenum with the tuned runners. Essentially a de-tuned Mustang GT engine. ‘85 and earlier used a CFI throttle body single point injection system and a conventional round air filter and housing. These engines made about 130ho. Lincoln refined these Town Cars every year with either styling tweaks or small but meaningful mechanical improvements. All ride beautifully but the ‘86 and later are better performing.

    Like 1
  9. Bill West

    The real problem with missing keys on these is what if the driver’s door module goes out? Then only a locksmith is getting into this car!

    Like 1
  10. Malcolm Greer

    Among other explanations for the missing key is the ignition switch may have been replaced. Also, the car has a keyless pushbutton system. This combination can be reprogrammed by the owner. Additionally, the seller should contact a locksmith, provide the ignition key for the doors, and have the locksmith make a new trunk key. A good locksmith with a blank and small vise grips can do it in less than 20 minutes if he can “read” the pins.

    Like 2
  11. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    Some fun things about this offering. Those handwritten notes are interesting to review; wouldn’t it be beneficial if more sellers did this. To think how the platform lived for another thirty years, but ended up living out its late life as a (well-respected) vehicle of choice for fleet and police service. Check out that radio/ cassette player with its array of push buttons and twist knobs, as compared to today’s everything-on-the-touch-screen presentation.

    Nice car for not much money, could be a fun cruiser.

    Like 1
    • James Slick

      Yes any reasonably good locksmith can make keys for this car, Good old FoMoCo keys, Nothing weird like later GM keys, LOL.

      Like 0
  12. James Slick

    I still quite often see the third generation Town Cars and even some of these first generation ones, Oddly I seldom see the second (1990-97) ones! Even though I’m generally a GM guy and had several of this car’s competition (80-92 RWD Cadillac Fleetwood/Brougham), I do admit that Town Cars are VERY nice and a good bit less of pain to keep on the road. Panther platform cars were popular with police departments and cab companies for reasons.

    Like 0
  13. William Maceri

    This is a great find. At the asking price, anyone looking for a beautiful luxury car would do very well with this early 80s Lincoln Town Car Cartier. I believe this one is from the 1980 to 1985 model years. I remember renting a white one with the dark blue velour interior, for my 30th B’Day. it had the taillights that this one does. It also had a 351Windsor engine under hood. These are beautiful cars, and the Fox Platform is great. Over the years I’ve owned a few of them.In the 1970s and 80s, the Lincoln Town Car owned the US luxury car market. To me there was no competition from anything GM was building. In fact, the Cadillacs from that era were actually an embarrassment to GM, but I’m sure GM never even noticed. My parents had a 1976 Town Car. It was a 4 door in Dark Red Moondust Metallic with matching thick padded half vinyl top in a very interesting finish like alligator skin. It had the B Pillars with the white coach lights that fit the car perfectly. It had Red velour interior, full instrumentation, including a barrel speedometer that covered all the speeds below the current speed was marked by a solid red line on the dash. A beautiful dash at that. The ashtray on the dash was so large it could have been used as an extra seat. Plus the front passenger and both rear doors all had their own ashtray with lighter, and a nice spring loaded cover. Under hood was the massive Ford Motor Company 460, with a Motorcraft 4300 4 barrel carburetor, and it was perfect for that huge Town Car. The entire car, inside and out was a perfect representation of the Lincolnesck look that was everything Lincoln. We had several more Town Cars over the years and everyone of them were great looking American luxury cars. I say if you’re looking for the iconic American luxury car at a great price, jump on this one. With a little attention, and yes the missing entry/ignition key can be replaced and your good to go. We had several Lincolns with the soft close trunk lock, the epitome of sofistcated luxury, you do not slam your trunk lid, you bring it down slowly and then let the Lincoln lock it down. Man I miss those Ford Motor Company luxury cars from the past. In the 1970s Ford was building the best American cars. I know, I was there.

    Like 3

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds