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Torn Down When New! 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III

More than a decade after the Continental Mark II impressed those in the luxury car field, Lincoln brought out the Mark III. It was a personal luxury car that was well-received and became the hallmark of Ford Motor Company in the 1970s. This ’71 edition has an interesting story in that it may have seen only 20,000 miles before the seller’s grandfather decided to dismantle it for reasons unknown. Now in pieces and idle for many years, it could serve as a parts car or a labor of love for someone really into the Mark series of Lincolns. Located in a dark garage in Cincinnati, Ohio, this Lincoln is available here on craigslist for $2,000. Thanks for the unusual tip, Chick Everhardus!

The Mark III had a production run of more than three years (1969 to 1971 with a partial in late 1968). Lincoln was without a direct product offering to counter the Cadillac Eldorado and the launch of the Mark III fired the salvo for a battle that would last for years to come. Though it may appear to be a design all its own, the Mark III’s chassis was shared with the 4-door version of the Ford Thunderbird. And in the 1970s with the Mark IV, the common ground between the cars would further grow. Not surprisingly, the Mark III was the brainchild of the Mustang’s papa, Lee Iacocca. Nealy 80,000 Mark IIIs would see the light of day, and the car turned in its best sales performance with the little-changed 1971 model.

This ’71 Mark III has something of a wild story associated with it. Supposedly the seller’s grandfather bought the car new and almost immediately took it apart and never drove it again. That may indicate that the claimed low mileage is actual and true. But why would someone do this to a new (or almost new) automobile? To get inside to see what makes it tick? Strange indeed. The grandfather has since passed away and the car and all its parts found their way into the seller’s garage. It’s being offered with a clean title but sold in salvage condition.

Most – but not all – of the car is said to be present, but that excludes some larger items like both front fenders and bumpers. With a partially missing front clip, the hood will not stay up on its own. Perhaps the most valuable item is the original 460 cubic inch V8 engine which hasn’t likely run in 50 years. While we’re told the car hasn’t been subject to water damage, the same might not be true for any small critters who could have resided in proximity to the Lincoln. Would you attempt to restore such a complicated automobile or simply use it to fix up another like it?


  1. 8banger 8banger Member

    No way.

    Like 5
    • JustPassinThru

      I can imagine it, but it’s not a selling point. A car in dark, damp place will rust almost as fast as one that’s used carefully and kept off salty winter roads. In the mechanical bits, seals will dry out; machined parts that are not bathed in oil will rust with decades unused. The lubricants inside all these parts will gel and absorb moisture.

      Maybe it’s worth this for parts, or as the basis for a full restoration.

      But as to the veracity of the story: There’s some odd ducks among us. Elderly enthusiasts who pay for a complete restoration, and then never drive the finished product, leaving it to again decompose in a garage or carport.

      There’s no explanation.

      Like 8
  2. RMac

    Get rid of the body and drop a 40’s to 70’s ford pickup body on it and instant hot rod the drivetrain should be worth the $2k

    Like 6
  3. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    This is a sad story. What a great Lincoln. I had a 69 Mark lll love it. What the heck was he thinking to do this. This a beyond fixing up. Way to many many hours to fix this. Life project? The drivetrain is worth it. 460-4 is a great engine and C6 Transmission also. I have no other words to express how I feel about it. 😞

    Like 9
  4. Big C

    Something tells me grandpa was running a chop shop. And the heat was on his tale. Any title mentioned?

    Like 12
  5. Randall

    I think Grandpa was sending Jr. a strong message by passing this monstrosity down. To disassemble in such a haphazard fashion with a random collection of bits and pieces certainly is a mystery. The “story” that’s being spun is bullshyte. ’71 Lincolns are not a high ticket item in today’s market, nor are they likely to ever see high demand.

    Yank the 460/C6 and 9″. If the engine turns over by hand take the first $1200 and junk the remaining hulk.

    Like 2
  6. Chris Stone

    Grandpa must have seen The French Connection!!

    Like 13
  7. Will Fox

    It’s toast. Haul it to the scrapper and be thankful for the new-found space in the garage. I think Gramps had no one home upstairs…..

    Like 8
  8. TomP

    I’ve fixed worse.

    Like 7
  9. Oldschool Muscle

    GEEZZZ!! Pull motor and tranny and store for later use . Have the junk yard enjoy the bones!!!!!

    Like 4
  10. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Perhaps by the time Gramma got around to finally go out to the garage to see what Grampa was working on for so long, she abruptly pulled the plug on this “project” and relocated Grampa back inside to pursue a new hobby, like stamp collecting.

    Like 1
  11. Rumpledoorskin

    Does anybody want to put a puzzle together? Anybody?

    Like 3
  12. A.G.

    There’s too much rust for 20k miles. Judging from the top of driver’s side quarter panel (picture 7) the car has traveled 120k miles.

    Like 7
  13. CCFisher

    Wouldn’t it make more sense if it had 120,000 miles and Grandpa disassembled it for a restoration that never happened?

    Like 6
  14. Ted-M

    Did anyone notice the left rear quarter panel has Hugh dent in it! 120,000 miles! Rode hard put away wet!

    Like 4
  15. Ted Mathis

    “This ’71 edition has an interesting story in that it may have seen only 20,000 miles before the seller’s grandfather decided to dismantle it for reasons unknown.”

    I’m sure I am misremembering things, but I seem to remember some 50 years ago a very unhappy Continental owner actually planting a lemon tree in his car. Growing through the sunroof. As a sign of angry protest over the many faults and problems his Lincoln had.

    Perhaps grandpa here had a similar mindset.

    Like 4
  16. hemistroker

    I have a step brother that bought a new 1976 Nova with the bicentenial package drove it home and immediately began the disassembly process to see how the engine and transmission were built. defaulted on the loan and the bank came to repo and he opened the garage door and they walked away. was still in the garage when the house was foreclosed on. Strange dude he disappeared for a few decades, became a hermit type no idea what happened to him.

    Like 6
  17. Steve RM

    I noticed the same thing about the rusty quarter panel. I also noticed that shots of the body are almost nonxeistent. Would probably make a good parts car.

    Like 2
  18. Tom Lyons

    I think insanity must be hereditary

    Like 3
  19. Tom Crum

    I had a Mark III in 1969 and when the car was two years old I had rust holes along the bottom of the trunk lid and on the rear wheel moldings. I remember thinking how difficult this car will be to restore in 50 years with the 1/2 mile of vacumb hose and 10 miles of electrical wiring. I had mine in Detroit with snow and salt on the car in winter. Often I will have to hit the headlight doors to get the ice off so the doors could open. Shold check under the glove box for a plastic box that might attached. This would be for the anti looking brakes that was an option costing $1,100.00 extra. I had this option and it saved me several times from having a collisions

    Like 2
  20. Cooter Cooter Member

    Has anyone checked the trunk?? Maybe Hoffa is in there??

    Like 2
  21. ACZ

    A 220,000 mile Ohio rust bucket that looks like it’s been in the local Pull-a-Part for 30 years and just dragged out for how much?

    Like 1
  22. Don

    These cars are easy to get over your skis on when they are complete! This is a parts car that needs to go to the crusher.

    Like 0
  23. Sam

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. I’ll take the Drive Line and Junk The Rest.

    Like 1
  24. Tom Crum

    We purchased a stretch Cadillac with seating for 9 to tour the wineries in the Lodi, Ca area. I have to be very careful when driving over railroad tracks to be sure they are not raised, I could get hung up with wheels spinning. This Cadillac has a 149 inch wheel base and not the vehicle for someone inexperienced at driving..

    Like 0
  25. Rico

    I’ve often said that you should have to have a license to buy tools.

    Like 3
  26. Rick

    Maybe grandpa was looking for his marbles.

    Like 3
  27. DON

    Some of the included Lincoln accessories include later model Lincoln parts as well as Ford Fairmont hubcaps . Since its missing things like the fenders , you have to think it was hit and taken apart to fix, but then why tear out the interior ? And where did the interior go ? I think the best guess is that this was a theft recovery , maybe Grampa bought it to rebuild, but found out he was way over his head and just let it sit.

    Like 0

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