Land Yacht: 1973 Lincoln Continental

1973 Lincoln Continental

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5,231 pounds! That’s a lot of 1970’s materials in one car! But if you wanted to cruise in style in a FoMoCo sedan at that time, you couldn’t do better than this. Complete with 1970’s color scheme, original wheel covers and lots of chrome, this huge car is for sale here on craigslist in Plymouth, California for $2850.

1973 Lincoln 460 V8

It takes a huge engine to move a vehicle of this size, and Lincoln didn’t disappoint its customers. A pushrod big block V8 displacing 460 cubic inches provided adequate motivation, although rated at only 219 horsepower. On the bright side, the 360 ft-lbs of torque provided adequate motivation. Under hood looks very original with all items in place, even the original decals on the air filter.

Lincoln Continental

Normally a hitch receiver would worry me, but in a car this size I’m not worried. It is nice to see all four original wheel covers as well. The finned centers of those wheel covers are die-cast zinc and they make the covers quite heavy; I remember cleaning sets of these when I worked for a wheel cover recycler in college. I did notice that the rocker panel trim on the driver’s side is missing; a quick search didn’t find any available, so that might be a challenge to replace.

Lincoln Window Sticker

Window stickers were a lot simpler then, weren’t they? At almost $7,500 when new, this was one of the most expensive US-made vehicles produced at the time. This particular car was well-optioned, with a tilt wheel, leather interior, 6-way power seat and cruise control included, along with a metallic vinyl roof (?)

Lincoln Continental Interior

That leather interior looks pretty nice, too, although several dash cracks detract from the overall appearance. What appears to be a stack of shop manuals on the front seat is a nice bonus.

Lincoln Odometer

The 80k miles on the odometer lend credence to the seller’s claim that the car has been in a barn for years. We are told the Continental runs great, and new tires, belts, and filters add some confidence to its current running condition. New brakes are also included, but not installed. Even the radio and all power windows and door locks work!

Lincoln Headliner

An excellent original headliner and an unusual shoulder belt arrangement are shown in this roof shot, along with the original tinted windshield. Other than a new vinyl roof, there isn’t much that this land yacht needs for continued cruising. So tell us…do you have a (large!) garage space for this one?

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  1. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    This is American excess at it’s “Have A Nice Day!” harvest gold best.

    Back then we saw the smaller Japanese cars gaining favor with American buyers, and wondered why the US automakers kept producing these gas hogs, especially in those gas-crisis days beginning in 1973. Then of course the Japanese makers began to overtake Detroit in the 80s, and look at Detroit now.

    I’d love to have it.

    Like 1
    • Ed P

      Rex: Big cars were still selling in MY 1973. It was not until October 1973 that the first OPEC oil embargo hit. That is when Americans really got interested in smaller, more economical cars.

      Like 1
      • MDchanic

        Ed, as I note in the following post, big cars are still selling NOW, only most of them are BIGGER, and have smaller trunks and fewer passenger positions.

        I don’t have time at the moment, but I would be interested in seeing the production stats for the big Escalades, Navigators, Expeditions, Suburbans, etc. this year versus 1973 (or ’69, or whenever) Caddys, Lincolns, Imperials, 98s, Electras, etc. I’d bet money that the numbers of above-5,000 pound luxury vehicles is the same now as it was then.

        Like 1
      • Barry

        I would have hated trying to find enough gasoline for this barge during the oil embargo. Anyone else remember the odd/even days to buy gas? I was fortunate to have purchased a Pinto station wagon in the Summer of 1973. The 30 mpg on the highway I got with that car may not seem like much today, but it was then.

        Like 1
      • jim s

        yes i remember odd/even gas days, what a nightmare..

        Like 1
  2. MDchanic

    1973 Lincoln Town Car: 5,231 pounds.
    2015 Cadillac Escalade: 5,594 – 5,840 pounds.

    Coincidence? I think not. Americans LIKE big cars, and there is no changing that.

    Incidentally, $7,484 in 1973 ≈ $39,000 in 2014, so, yes, the “better things in life” HAVE gotten harder to reach for the “average American.”

    Like 1
    • Ed P

      MDchanic you are right about the American love affair with big cars. I bought a 1970 Plymouth Fury Gran Coupe new. I drove the car until 1984. By that time the car was pretty well worn out. But I still have fond memories of that big car.

      Like 0
      • MDchanic

        I always wanted one of those huge slab-sided MoPars, Ed.

        With all those long, smooth surfaces both inside and out, they looked huge no matter how you looked at ’em.

        Like 0
  3. Tirefriar

    The “unusual” shoulder belt location was actually pretty standard fare for the Detroit cars from that era. My dad’s 69 Buick Electra and my mom’s 70 Olds Cutlass both had shoulder belts in that exact location. The lap belts were completely independent of the shoulder harness. The lap belts and shoulder belts had each dedicated buckles. The gas mileage will have you cringing even at today’s rock bottom prices. They cruise as only few cars today can, but only if you are going straight. The seating is more than generous-I remember taking a trip to San Francisco in our Electra – 6 people with no significant discomfort issues.

    With a paint job like this, you are half way to getting into a taxi business- just get the lighted roof sign saying “TAXI”

    Like 0
  4. Joe in Ohio

    I’d love to have it, if the wife would let me! I grew up driving my father’s old town cars when he was traveling for work, or when he decided “it was time for a new one” but couldn’t part with the one before! I was the only kid in the high school parking lot that got away with taking up two spots, because my car was too long for just one!!!

    Like 0
  5. Alan Northcott

    Seems amazing for the price – what am I missing, or why don’t people like these?

    Like 0
    • Tirefriar

      For another $3-$4k, you can find one in a very good condition without the “eye surgery may be required” color and no trailer hitch. This time period was the time when Detroit turned to making lemons out of pretty much anything that left the factory. The inefficiency of a large cube motor and lack of any performance did not add to the appeal – for the piuny amount of power generated you are looking down the barrel of sub 10MPG. At this price, I’d say the seller is asking close to a top dollar.

      Like 0
  6. Achman

    @Alan Northcott
    It’s a sedan. It sucks gas, handles horribly, has mediocre power, and is huge and hard to drive in traffic these days. Also, it needs a good $2-3k to make it decent.

    With that said, imagine it painted black and with dual flowmasters and a Dominator carb. Hey why not go all the way.

    When Detroit was making this in 1973, BMW was making my 1973 2002Tii. Mechanically fuel-injected 2 litre, 130hp, 30mpg, 2250 pounds, carries 4 in comfort, impossibly good handling. Your $7500 would have paid for 2 of them, along with factory delivery, travel from the USA, and a week of driving in Europe, along with transport and import duties and registration in the USA.

    But, apples to oranges, and something about this car makes me smile. Like I do after a lot of Makers.

    Like 0
  7. JimmyinTEXAS

    I had an uncle that bought a harvest gold 73. His had the more pillowey velour interior. I thought it an ugly beast because of the color, and am glad to see, after all these years my taste in color hasn’t changed that much. As someone mentioned they did move down the highway smartly and with comfort, and could pass most anything but a gas station..

    Like 0
  8. DolphinMember

    More car for the money than I’ve seen for a long time.
    But isn’t that color ‘mustard’…French’s ‘mustard’?

    Like 0
  9. grant

    I had a black 76 coupe with a red leather interior. 460, c6, 6 miles to the gallon! Probably the most comfortable car I’ve ever owned. Set the cruise control at 70 and steer it with one finger. The best part was that funky speedometer that would go from black to white behind the needle as your speed went up. The ex wife kept it in the divorce. I still miss that car.

    Like 0
  10. bigifg

    My grandmother drove a mercury marquis with the 460 engine. In 1978 my grandfather found out he had lung cancer. So, he gave me his 1969 F100 short bed with the inline 260 6 cylinder engine. I always wanted to take that 460 out of the mercury marquis and put it in my truck. She gave the car to her son who eventually sold the car for $400.

    Like 0
  11. jim s

    when this was built the interstate speed limits were 60 to 70 MPH or no limit at all. so this car should be able to handle todays highway speeds with ease. MPG is always a problem but all old vehicles have issues. i wonder if anyone ever offered a kit to replace the automatic transmission with a manual? great find

    Like 0
  12. Vince Habel

    I love these big boats. It is tempting to go get this one.

    Like 0
  13. Charles

    I have never had an affinity for the 70’s Lincoln’s. I guess it the reputation these cars had for electrical nightmares, such as failing window motors and such. The piston type AC compressors also did not cool as well as the Chrysler V type or the GM A6. The A6 was rated at 3 tons capacity. I do have experience with the 460 engine, and the C6 trans that they used behind it, and there was no better power plant ever built that that torque monster.

    I owned an F 350 Dually Crewcab with a 460 and a C6. the truck had 4:10 gears and would pull the hinges off of H***. The original engine took a big dump at 177K. We found a 76 Town Car with 30K miles that had been rear-ended, totaled, and in the junk yard. I bought that engine and transmission and installed them in my F-350. I also installed a US Gear two speed splitter that worked like a two speed diff. It allowed the 3 speed C6 to have six forward gears and two reverses. It was a 30% reduction which gave the truck a nice OD with about a 3.2:1 ratio. I installed a big Holley carb, headers, and a nice tune. That big old Lincoln engine would carry that 7K truck down the highway at 70 MPH getting about 10 MPG which was not bad for the day. We used the truck to haul a 36 foot Holiday Rambler Imperial 5th wheel which was equipped with a generator, washer, dryer, and was like a rolling condo. That 460 would haul that 5th wheel down the highway at 70 MPH all day long getting, gulp… 5 MPG.

    In that Lincoln the gear ratio was probably around 3:1, however there is no telling what it will tow on the hitch receiver. It probably towed a large Airstream or something similar, with comfort, style, and safety. That could be a fun old car to have. Hopefully someone will take a shine to it and give it a home.

    Like 0
  14. The Chucker

    When my wife and I first started dating, she was driving a ’75 Buick Electra. I showed her this and and asked if she wanted to re-live some old memories.

    Her response was far less than enthusiastic.

    Like 0
  15. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Hang in there Chucker! My first car after graduating high school was a ’63 Rambler classic. If you guys recall, the front seats would recline perfectly flat and could be scooted back to the rear seats, thus forming a twin bed on wheels. That was a great summer of ’76.

    Like 0
    • Tirefriar

      Rex, glad to know you too had a great summer of ’76. I think you had more fun, but I was too young to drive… Mine was great because I spent it with my parents in Italy. As I said I was too young to drive, but not too young to fall in love with almost anything Italian, but especially cars. That’s when and where my affair with the Alfas began…

      Like 0
  16. Paul B

    An elderly friend of mine had a Mercury Marquis, very similar to this, though I think it was a ’74 because it had even bigger bumpers. I used to drive it fairly frequently, often to and from square dances where we would play in North Carolina and Virginia. The whole band could pile in, and the trunk would swallow all our fiddles and banjos and guitars. In a perverse way, that car was actually fun to drive. Handling? No! Wallowing on those mountain roads? Yes! Power? Only modest, given what the emission-controlled V8 had to haul around. But there was just something too crazy cool to be believed about piloting a land yacht with a hood that seemed as long as my entire Toyota Corolla, aiming it down the road by its very distant prow ornament and knife-edge fenders. Just thinking about it today makes me grin. The ride was good, the seats soft and pillowy, the feel of the steering lush and effortless and insulated. It was quiet inside. Most of the people I knew who had these had earned them the hard way, working on farms and in factories, hauling people out of ditches on cold nights and stringing power lines back up in snowstorms. They’d paid their dues and by God they were going to enjoy some comfort. And comfort and a sense of achievement was exactly what a big Mercury or Lincoln delivered. Americans have always loved big cars. It’s a big country. Our big cars still sell, except they are trucks and SUVs. And they are no longer Mercurys, and rarely Lincolns.

    Like 0
    • Jason

      Very insightful, Paul!

      Like 0
  17. Ralph Terhune

    I just purchased a 1966 Mercury Montclair 4 door hardtop with P/S, PDB, no A/C and a 390 2 barrel with a 3 speed manual trans. A real oddball car, but rides and drives like a Lincoln! Original 73K miles. Gotta love the big Fords and Mercurys!

    Like 0

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