Face Off: ’70s Luxury Showdown

Lincoln vs Mercedes

As of late, I’ve been re-watching some of my favorite action flicks that feature a heavy emphasis on vintage machinery, whether in the background or being hammered around a crowded city street. The French Connection, The Seven Ups and Bullitt are the usual suspects, but I need to add Dirty Mary Crazy Larry to my collection soon. This leads to daydreams about which car I’d choose if I were a well-dressed bank robber looking to make a sensible getaway, so here are two possible heist vehicles for consideration: a 1972 Lincoln Mark IV here on eBay with a starting bid of $10,000, and a 1973 Mercedes-Benz 450SE here on eBay with an opening price of $3,500.

1972 Lincoln MK IV Interior

While we all know a boat-like Lincoln isn’t the greatest handler, American movie audiences likely wanted to see flicks with cars they could relate to. A big, bruising Lincoln coupe with a massive V8 up front may not have handled the twisties with aplomb, but it could take hits and sideswipes without a care in the world, thanks to acres of sheet metal. This example hasn’t been subjected to such abuse, and with only 48,000 original miles, it shouldn’t ever be! There are always an abundance of these big-body Lincolns on eBay, so they are far from uncommon; however, few cars represent an era of disco balls and luxury suits better than a Mark IV. Make sure there are a few gas stations along your escape route.

1973 Mercedes 450SE Interior

When I think of the ultimate Mercedes sedan, my mind wanders to the bruising 6.3 and 6.9 models. Those are bit harder to come by, and who knows when that tricky air suspension might fail! This 1973 450SE may not have as much raw speed potential on tap, but it will fit three of your cronies with ease and eat up the highway miles as you race for the safety of a foreign border. Drivers had 240 lb. ft. of torque to dig into, and the experience of pushing the pedal to the carpet was made better by Mercedes’ durable interior that still looks good years later. High mileage is rarely a concern on Mercedes of this vintage, so the 160,000 miles on the clock with this example can be considered just broken in.

Mercedes Vs Lincoln

I don’t have any aspirations to lead a life of crime – I swear! But it is a pleasure to watch someone else make poor life decisions while manhandling a beast of a vehicle from the 1970s. If nothing else, I have immense respect for stunt drivers who make a Lincoln look as easy to drive as an Alfa-Romeo. Personally, I’d choose the Mercedes simply because the 6.9 sedan with a starring role in the film Ronin was permanently seared into my brain as the ultimate getaway vehicle, but there’s a lot to be said for a car that can take a hit. If you were the driver, which one would you choose? Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Don Andreina

    I’ve got a W116, albeit a 280SE. The 4.5 is the perfect engine for that car, I test-drove one when looking and was mightily impressed. On the other hand, the 1972 Mark IV with its smaller front bumper is by far the best looking of the Iacocca-inspired Marks (I have a definite weak spot for the 1956 Mark II as well). Decisions, decisions…

  2. jim s

    i am stealing both cars for the bank robbery. i would use the benz to rob the bank because it has 4 doors which would make it easy for my helpers to get into the car as we leave the bank. after getting away from the bank i would then shoot my helpers. leave the benz with the bodies inside and tool down the road in the lincoln.

    • Josh Staff

      Jim, remind me never to go on a heist with you! Haha

    • Ed P

      loose the gun, keep the canoli.

  3. Loren Fish

    I owned two of the 72 Marks and a 73 SEL 450,they were both great cars. i would be hard pressed to chose one over the other. maybe a slight edge to the Lincolns, but not much!

  4. jim s

    and then use the money to buy barn finds that need saving.

  5. grantp

    That’s it Jim! Deal is off!!
    (love the Mark IV)

  6. Hmm

    Jim, you have a very dark side. I hope the FBI isn’t tracing your IP address as I type.

    The Bercedes-Menz by a mile.

  7. John E.

    For me, I’d take the MB. I used to own a 75 450SEL great car smaller engine of 5.2 which made it a lower end valued car of the class, but it was still a head turner. My kids loved it when we had it in a local parade, and it was featured in a car show one year. It was all stock from the hub caps to the paint color. Anyway, this benz offered here is going for a great price, its beautiful car for the money they are asking.

  8. Jeffrey

    I remember a PI named Frank Cannon, (William Conrad) drove a Mark III, TV series Cannon..

  9. Jeffrey

    The man and his ride

    • Jeff

      That’s a Mark IV y’all know huh?

    • St.Ramone de V8

      Yep. As soon as I read this I thought of that TV show, and how strange it seems now. Most of the cop shows back then had pathetic cars to deal with. This guy was huge, his car was huge, but they still used the barge in some “action ” shots. Real handler! The TV thing aside, I like the Mark IV’s. At least the early ones before bumpers had to be channel iron. Had one, a ’71. In the eighties. Rusty, beat up. Smooth. Not a rattle in it. The MB is a different thing, of course. Great discussion, and if given a choice, I’d take the barge.

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      I was wondering if someone would make the Cannon connection…

  10. tom999p

    Don’t forget the Italian Job (the original in 1969 and the re-make in 2003)– another AWESOME movie if you like cars!!!

  11. NickF

    Depends on whether or not you plan a straight getaway or there are turns … and of course whether or not you want to get caught.

  12. Livermoron

    Sort of off topic – but “Driver” with Ryan O’neal has some of the best chases and should be tracked down if you haven’t seen it. Fast forward through any of the non-chase stuff though.

    • Don Andreina

      Classic scene in the carpark with an orange Mercedes.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tna4pz2qkXs

      • JimmyinTEXAS

        I hate Ryan O’Neal. I hate him, I hate him…. And I don’t even like orange cars….

      • Horse Radish

        not the same car, by far.
        the video is a 280 SE 4.5 not a 450SE/L.
        And the car was prepped to come apart.
        The door wouldn’t fall off like that and neither would the bumper.
        BUT, mind you, the headlight glass was still intact even after hitting a concrete wall..
        What a waste they should have used a Ford or something

  13. Don Barzini

    The style of the Mercedes holds up better for me than the Mark III.

  14. GOPAR

    I’m not familiar with “luxury suits”, but I do know a thing or two about “leisure suits”. That being out of the way, the horsepower and torque of the Lincoln 460 motor would make me a little more comfortable in a get-out-of-town-quick situation than the Mercedes, but then I’m a straight-line kind of driver. Besides, I’m partial to American iron.

  15. michigan doug

    Don’t forget Vanishing Point. Great flick. Yeah i’m late to the party i work till 3am

  16. Howard Member

    I too am a big fan of the older TV shows, which seem to be all the rage now, mostly because the newer stuff is such garbage. Even though the shows content are pretty lame, I enjoy the carspotting. My all-time favorite is Adam-12, but several others come to mind. I Dream of Jeannie (featuring Pontiacs and Barbara Eden), Andy Griffith, Real McCoys, Chips, Cannon, Streets of S.F, Emergency, not to mention some of the older movies of the 50’s. One of my favorite Adam-12 episodes, was the boys get called to a disturbance at a car lot, and the cars there were great, and the prices on the windows. A ’56 Chevy 2 dr. for $499, or a early ’60’s Corvair for $299.

  17. Mark

    The movie Charley Varrick that came out in I believe 1973 starring Walter Mathau and Andy Robinson was a cool movie and they had a 4 door 1971 or 1972 Lincoln Continental used as a getaway car!

  18. Mark

    The movie Charley Varrick starring Walter Mathau and Andy Robinson which I believe came out in 1973, had a 1971 or 1972 light yellow Lincoln Town Car for the getaway car! Of course Bullitt, The Getaway, The Seven Ups, and The french Connection were excellent movies with cool old cars!!

  19. Larry

    No question the Lincoln has major presence, but I don’t rob banks, so how often in my daily life it would be “the right car for the occasion” would be a big question for me. That, and the realities of single-digit mileage and tight parking lots, would reinforce my decision to go with the classic lines of the Benz.

  20. Jason

    Ugh, more oversaturated high-contrast photos from Florida (the Lincoln). What the heck!

    The Merc, easily. Superior build quality, timeless taste.

  21. Tom Lindmark

    Drove my father in law’s Mark IV to Las Vegas in ’78. I was all of 23. My wife and MIL rode along. Stylin’ both directions – flew back to Orange County in a private plane.

    • Prentice Wydell

      73 is the best

      • Prentice Wydell

        74 Mark4

  22. DonM

    It’s disco balls and LEISURE suits.

    The car used in the actual French Connection caper was one of these, not a Lincoln, but a 60 Buick Invicta 4 door hardtop.

    (Get yer own, this one’s mine)

    • Harit Trivedi

      The maroon car in French Connection was a Lincoln.

      Cheers

      • DonM

        The movie, yes. The actual crime, it was a Buick.

  23. lonnie93041

    I love my SLK350 but I love those old 460 cube Fords. Have a soft spot in my heart for the old FE big blocks too. Almost bought a ’70 MkIII when I was 20 (1977) and it was a tire burning mother. Stomp on it at a green light and the guy behind you would think his car was on fire!

  24. BEK Boston

    Surprised to see that after this exposure both cars are still available – especially the M-B. The Lincoln is nice, but has a fairly high opening bid and isn’t a model with a big following. The M-B is short money and has pretty broad appeal.

  25. Dennis G.

    Interesting comparison. I’ll take the 1972 Continental Mark IV — in fact I did! I’m the guy who purchased this off of eBay in 2015 from the seller in Florida. This is one of my dream cars and I’m happy to have added it to the fleet. “Mark” enjoys the attention he gets, and a nonchalant bank robbery escape wouldn’t be his forte. Here’s a current picture of the Mark IV.

  26. Dennis G.

    Passport Transport’s enclosed carrier lift was tight for the Mark IV.

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