Live Auctions

One Of…One? Bill Blass Lincoln Mark VII Diesel

The one-of-one is an exaggeration, but likely not by much: this 1984 Lincoln Continental Mark VII is not only a rare Bill Blass edition, but it also features the BMW-derived turbodiesel powerplant! Seriously, that was a rare configuration when this car was new, let alone more than three decades’ later. Find this Lincoln/BMW oddity here on eBay with a fairly ambitious $7,999 Buy-It-Now.

The seller says this is likely a one-of-100 car, but we don’t see any factual basis to that claim. Regardless, it is rare – but it has some issues that make the asking price a head-scratcher. For starters, it only drives in reverse. There’s a transmission fault that prevents forward motion. There’s also the body damage you can see above, requiring some light bodywork and a new turn signal lens. A short list, but still more than expected for the price. Paint is OK, with some spots appearing more tired than others.

The engine is still said to run well, which is a definite plus. Parts supply is tricky – you’re not likely to find one of these in your neighborhood Pick ‘n Pull, but there’s still a fair amount of E28-chassis BMW 5-Series running around with this mill under the hood. The diesel powerplant was supposed to help remedy Lincoln’s image of making heavy cars that sucked down gasoline, but the model was not a hot seller. However, it intrigued at least one individual to check that box and the one for the Bill Blass package.

Bill Blass’ handiwork was purely cosmetic, with features like this suede and leather interior among them. Some special badges and Bill’s signature somewhere on the car were other components, and since this Mark VII appears entirely stock, there’s little doubt the details are mostly correct. We doubt the seller believes he’ll get his asking price and is likely fishing for a solid best offer – at $4K or less, we’d consider this well bought if having a car no one else does is among your project car priorities.


  1. Anthony in RI

    was not a well cared for car by the looks of the interior….

    • Jimmy Ding

      I own a “real” 5.0 litre Mark 7 and I can tell you this seller is framing in technicolor. Take one of these pigs fur a drive and see how much fun ( and how noisy) it is. The Mark 7’s are great cars but the diesels are white elephants in the classic car community…

  2. JimmyJ

    Guys on glue
    Beat up interior and no leather.i think most people would rather the 5.0 I know I would.
    Always liked and followed these cars and have seen decent ones around $1500 and immaculate ones for $35-4K
    At least fix the freakin transmission!👎

  3. Adam T45 Staff

    “I’m walking backwards for Christmas.” Well, driving backwards anyway!

  4. mark

    Yeah, lets take a heavy car and put a 4 cylinder diesel in it so it drives like a car that weighs twice as much because it is way under powered. That should help improve our reputation for making big, heavy cars that don’t perform well…………………..

    • Rennie

      That’s a 6 Cyl. TURBO Diesel to you.

  5. The_Driver

    @Mark : That’s a 6 cylinder engine, not a 4. The only reason I’d buy that car, is for the eengine crank. That crank is a forged unit, that fits perfectly in a 2.7 ETA BMW engine. Add an E30 325i Head, and not only will that combo net 200 HP naturally aspirated, you can turbo that engine with over 25 lbs of boost, and have some Teutonic fun!

    That’s actually my E30 dream engine combo.

  6. Mark-A

    Would it be unreasonable to ask if I could service the Transmission & depending upon the outcome I’d either take it or leave in a hurry? Doesn’t seem unreasonable with the amount of money involved & if it doesn’t sort the Transmission the seller has a recently serviced Transmission or you have a vehicle that didn’t require a massive outlay to get moving?

  7. Joe Haska

    I think I will pass!

  8. tasker

    BACK in 88 when I started at the same dealership I work for still, we had 2 not 1 but 2 brand new transmissions to fit this car! They had been shipped by mistake and we had them for quite awhile…..who’d a thunk?

  9. Warren

    Drove many of these as a service rep for Ford back in the 80’s. The auto trans for this was not the run of the mill AOD. It was a German ZF. The service level on these was complete assembly replacement for trans issues. $500 parts car as is.

  10. Martin Sparkes

    The ebay listing says I can save $800.00 by buying it now. I don’t understand the math because I can actually save $7199.99 plus a lot of repairs by just closing that window on my computer……

  11. CHRIS

    My dad had a blue over blue MKVII TD. Gorgeous car… the BMW engine was a good match for this car…good mpg too

  12. Ikey Heyman Member

    Only driving in reverse is an asset in a demolition derby car.
    Just sayin’.

  13. Mike_B_SVT

    I would think a Deluxe Marti Report would answer a lot of questions about “how many were made”, for the low price of $40.
    Or, for $60 you could order a Personalized Statistics Report, which would break it down to “1 of x” produced.

    Just sayin’.

  14. John C Cargill

    BMW diesel and trans, very expensive to repair, parts hard to find, not many BMW diesel sold in U.S.

  15. David Miraglia

    ZF’s are used on Coaches etc, its a good transmission if you have a light foot.
    Always wanted a Mark 7.

  16. Mark

    You can’t beat 37 MPG on this engine on Lincoln continental
    But Mark VII get “only” 32 mpg
    I have a both cars and tested at Ford New Holland
    I still have brand new 2.4 in 📦
    Comfort and mpg- you can’t compare with new cars
    I have also 524 bmw td
    I ❤️ those diesel machines design late 1979

  17. Reg Bruce

    A good friend owns one of these and also has a spare brand new engine. How rare is that? I drove his Lincoln once and it was so slow that I swear that it wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding.

    @ Adam T 45
    I have the LP of “The last Goon Show” but it doesn’t have “I’m Walking Backwards For Christmas” on it. Perhaps you have a copy of this song you could share?

  18. rod444

    Bill who? I swear Ive heard that name since that car was new and I still dont have a clue who he is.

  19. cattona

    Both engine and gearbox are not difficult to repair and parts are extremely plentiful over in Europe. You know, the internet? These were intended as a bigger deal but it never took off. So just a few hundred were made. But over 1000 engines had been shipped to the States and were lingering around the Ford HQ without them being allowed to sell them to car companies. So, it was Vixen motorhomes who bought them and created the Vixen TD21 (look it up). So, the Lincoln deal gone sour made for one of the world’s most wonky motorhomes.

    • rod

      Well if by ‘wonky’ you mean extremely cool for it’s time, garage parkable, with fuel mileage that’s still unbeatable and a cult like following for the meagre few that remain, yup, it’s wonky.

  20. Darin

    When I was growing up we owned one of these Bill Blass turbo diesels from early ’85 until 1991. Our car was in fact a dead ringer for the beat up example shown here albeit with full leather interior.

    Back then it got compliments almost everywhere we went. It was one of the few cars with the aero looking modern headlights and the car itself was very smoothly styled compared to most of the other cars on the road. The inline six turbo diesel engine was certainly not fast by modern standards but it got incredible mileage. I remember road tripping from the upper midwest down to New Orleans and routinely seeing 45 mpg or more. Another fun feature was the resume function on the cruise control. Set the cruise at 55-60 and then slow down to roll through a small town. Once you head out of town hit resume at 15 mph or so and it would be throttle to the floor and a huge cloud of smoke. These Mark VIIs were capable rolling coal before it was even a “thing”. ;-)

    In the cold winter weather they wouldn’t start would a @#$% even with the winterized diesel of the time. Our car would often get stranded at my father’s work parking lot for 2 or 3 days until the weather would warm enough that a jump start would get it going. It went through a couple sets of glow plugs and one turbocharger replacement during our ownership.

    It was a cool car at the time and I was quite upset when my parent’s traded it for an absolutely garbage 1989 Lincoln Continental. ;-)

    I think I still have a set of factory repair manuals for the car lurking somewhere.

  21. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Wow, 2 of these featured on BF in the span of just over a month.

    Never knew these existed.

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