Florida Car! 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III

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Lincoln’s 1955-56 Continental Mark II was intended to be the height of automotive luxury and excellence. It was largely hand-built, only small quantities were produced, and Ford Motor Co. lost money on each one they sold. Fast forward a dozen or so years and they tried again with the Mark III, which would be much more successful. It shared much of its infrastructure with the then-bigger Ford Thunderbird. This very nice and mostly original 1969 Mark III is in Rockville Centre, New York, and available here on craigslist for $12,000 OBO. Another tip brought to us by Mitchell G.!

How much more popular was the Mark III than the Mark II? Well, the Mark II didn’t top 5,000 copies in two years, while the Mark III saw a production of just under 80,000 units in three-plus calendars, paving the way for the Mark IV, Mark V, etc. Ford learned from the costly experiment that was the opulent Mark II and built the Mark III alongside the Thunderbird and other Continentals at the same Michigan assembly plant. It was positioned as the flagship of the corporation to do battle against the likes of the Cadillac Eldorado. But it was a conventional rear-wheel drive product, not FWD like the Caddy.

Though now in New York, we’re told this ’69 Lincoln spent most of its life in Florida. It was usually garage-kept which helps explain the lack of rust except for some of the surface variety on the undercarriage. The paint job is not original but was redone within the last 10 years and still looks quite good, although the location of the car doesn’t help show it off in the photos taken. Also, are the headlight doors stuck in the open position? I thought they folded shut when turned off.

Mechanically, we’re told the big 460 cubic inch V8 runs great, and the rest of the car seems to do its job properly. Don’t expect to pass up many gas stations as this is one of those big Detroit machines that guzzle at the rate of 13 miles per gallon. The seller recommends replacing the shock absorbers (at 60,000 miles they’ve probably gotten soft). The previous owner added two electric fans for the radiator (why?) and the air conditioning system was upgraded (to newer coolant standards?). The seller likes the car but not enough to dedicate space to it, so off it must go. And you can pay with cryptocurrency if that’s your thing.

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  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    Thanks Russ. These were classy and stately and well-packaged and sold well. Being a parts-bin car underneath, they must have made Ford lots of money. This example looks pretty good. The seller’s description is at least decent, but like Russ says, how about spending a little effort finding a local vacant street, or city park, or rural road to take pictures, preferably under better lighting conditions?

    Like 12
    • Dave

      Good point. You can see the car washing stuff on the ground next to the car. Also a washcloth dropped directly on the driveway. Hope he didn’t wash the car with that one.

      Like 9
  2. Robert Proulx

    Although i’m more inclined toward the Mark V this one appears quite nice. A/c compressor seems to have been replaced by a more recent unit and i’m guessing to r134. The swap to electric was probably done at the same time to aid cooling and a/c performance.

    Like 6
  3. Ed P

    Mark III’s had a quiet and smooth ride. You knew you were in a luxury car in this one.

    Like 8

    …but why is a Lincoln being sold with a Cadillac radio?

    Like 3
  5. Lamonte Jenkins

    She needs to be rollin on 20s and you got a solid ride! Switch up to gator on the interior and enjoy it like you should!

    Ryte on!

    Like 0
    • Michael Berkemeier

      Word. Word to the mother.

      Like 3
      • Lamonte Jenkins

        And ya daddy too! 😂

        Like 0
    • Sixone

      🤮 that’s me puking on the left!

      Like 1
  6. CCFisher

    Open headlight doors usually indicate a vacuum problem. Most cars with vacuum headlight doors were designed so that if the system failed, the doors would open so the car could be driven at night. Cars with electric headlight doors usually had a way to manually open the doors in the event of a failure.

    Like 7
    • Tony C

      Actually, vacuum repairs are easy. Finding the spot that needs the repair, that can be hard…but still, not quite so hard as the neurosurgery needed for an electric failure.

      Like 1
  7. Dan

    My neighbor had one. I rode in it a couple of times. Smooooooth and Quiet! It was no doubt a luxury car! I remember them talking about the gas. 13 mpg?? Maybe going downhill with a tailwind 😊 As seen in the movie “The French Connection” if you remember.

    Like 5
  8. TouringFordor

    Technically, the “real” Mark III came out in 1958, if you are into behemoths.

    Like 2
    • Sixone

      Yeah, I don’t know why they chose to do it that way, but they did with the naming scheme. Fairly sure they thought long and hard about it though.

      Like 0
  9. George

    The widely repeated statement “ they lost money on everyone,“ referring to the Continental Mark II is accounting nonsense

    The car was never intended to be a major profit center, but a halo for the entire company.

    McNamara canceled the project before the first 12 months were even over, which means generating any profit was entirely impossible whether they had sold two or 200,000.

    Like 6
  10. Nelson C

    The interior sure looks inviting. From the wide door to the bench seat. That is another of Ford’s great dashboard designs of the day before things got more complicated.

    Like 2
    • Sixone

      Oh no, it’s plenty complicated trust me. If anything it got less-so going into the 72 Mark IV.

      Like 0
  11. Steve

    I remember my ‘rich’ uncle purchased a new triple black 1968 Continental Mark III and chauffeured my girlfriend and me to the senior prom dance. We were the bomb!

    Like 2
  12. David Turner

    Two things missing I’ve noticed.
    1. CONTINENTAL letters on the trunk lid.
    2. Aluminum trim at the rear seat arm rests is not there.

    Nice example otherwise.

    Like 0
    • Sixone

      Not to be cute, but there are a definite few issues there. I believe it may have come to money or lack of with this one. Or no patience looking for and obtaining correct parts. 70s Cadillac radio WTF? I wouldn’t say it needs a frame-off at all, but does need some significant disassembly surrounding the radiator/a/c and dash/headlamp doors and reinstall the right way. I mean that’s what I’d do.

      Like 0
  13. Boo Radley

    At different times I owned both a 69 Mark III and a 69 Thunderbird. Both had vacuum issues, especially with the headlight doors. Both were excellent drivers, smooth and quick. I dearly wish I’d have held onto one or both, but being from Ohio, rust would probably have eaten them by now. My next classic will be a 69 or 70 Deville convertible, preferably light blue with white leather and top, like the one I owned in the mid 80s. Another sweet car that I never should have let go but shit happens.

    Like 1
    • Sixone

      Tons of 69/70 deVille rust buckets to be had! The are definitely more basic in design as I’m sure you know and probably why you want to stay away from those two Ford vehicles. Have you checked out the guy on YouTube Rare and Classic Cars? He knows a LOT about Ford headlamp doors and Mark III issues – I mean if you should ever have the itch to get a hold of another Mark… Back to the Cadillac, yeah, they’re definitely out there in all states of repair. Best of luck 🤞

      Like 0
  14. Michael angelo

    Work of ART.

    Like 3
  15. Sixone

    This one is just at the beginning of it’s basket case syndrome with the “upgrade” to the a/c and electric fans, but the throw-in 70s Cadillac radio is coming up fast from behind! This is one you’d have to carefully look over with somebody who knows Mark IIIs well. The body appears straight and it sits nicely, so I think the mileage is right. The interior, besides the butchered radio cleverly hidden behind the steering wheel in the photo, looks pretty good too… I say it’s like a 7-8 thousand dollar car. It has potential to be brought back to nice original shape.

    Like 0
  16. Tony C

    I see this one is fitted with the eye-pod, meaning it has an automatic headlight dimmer. Cool! I can also see, by the absence of headrests and no evidence of any ever having been there, that this car was built sometime in calendar-year 1968, making it an early-production example.

    Like 0
  17. Mr Meowingtons

    13 mpg sounds very ambitious. More like 8 or 9.

    Like 1
  18. William Maceri

    The Mark lll has and always will be one of Detroit’s finest cars. The Ford Motor Company made history with this one, as they have so many times before. It’s styling is very Lincolnesck, and very clean and modern at the same time. As usual, the 460 is a perfect fit for this Mark, it never dissapoints. It’s one of those engines that love to be running. They can run for hours and hours and never misses a beat. I’ve owned several of them, they are great engines. If this one is getting 12 mpg, that’s great, most of mine got a very consistent 10. Even the injectioned ones only did a little better. But those cars were built for class not gas. The interior was nothing less than elegant. The dashboard is clearly in the top 5 of the best looking dashes of all time. It was comfortable and smooth but the 460 gave it the power a luxury car should have, These Lincolns were built to last, and this one proves that they do. I owned a 1970 Thunderbird, although it had the 429 engine. It would get 8 to 10 mpg, that wouldn’t have mattered, but it wasn’t the car to own during the 73 oil crisis, I spent hours sitting on line at gas stations. While my favorite Marks are the Mark IVs from 1974 to 76. In my opinion they were the most beautiful of all the Lincolns ever built, but the Mark llls are my second favorite. Also in my opinion, I think especially for the condition this one is in, it’s price is very fair because these Marks will only increase in value and price. I wish I had a place to properly keep it, I would love to buy this one, and many more of my all-time favorites. BTW, in regards to the headlight doors, they should stay closed for as long as 3 weeks. Ford designed the failsafe is doors open in the event of a vacuum loss, so there is a leak in the system. It could be in any number of reasons, from the headlight switch, to any one of the vacuum check valves, the vacuum motors or a vacuum hose. It’s common for a hose to crack where there’s a vacuum tee or any other vacuum system in the car. I once had a leaking brake booster to be the cause the doors to open overnight. Each system is supposed work separately from one another. That’s why it took me months to find, so after I replaced the brake booster, the doors would remain closed for over a month of not driving the car. I hope whoever buys this gorgeous Mark enjoys it as much as I would.

    Like 0

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