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Triple White: 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III

Have you ever noticed how the first version of a new model automobile is often the best? And then it just seems to slowly go downhill? Some of it is a subjective opinion but the other part is probably more factual. Excluding the rare, two-year Lincoln Mark II (’56 & ’57), the Mark III (’69-’71) was the first of the Lincoln Mark staple series to see regular production and sales. And after that, it just seemed to lose its flair. Today’s find is a 1971 Continental Mark III and the seller states, “This is my personal two-door 1971 Lincoln… I’d replace it for a perfect car“. I’m not sure what that statement means but let’s examine this subject car and see what is or isn’t perfect about it. Located in Desert Hot Springs, California, this big Lincoln is available here on craigslist for $11,500. A tip of the hat to Bill A. for this discovery!

Back to my supposition, the Mark III was replaced in ’72 by the Mark IV which was kind of OK at first but then it developed into a porcine, underpowered, disco-duck of a Brobdingnagian pile by ’74. But wait, it gets better, as the full-hoss Mark V replaced the IV in ’77 and it was, I dunno, fuggedaboutit. The Mark III still had that light, airy, all business bearing about itself in spite of the fact that it tipped the scales at 4,800 lbs+. No worries, it still had hubba hubba under the hood instead of the emasculated weeniness that marked so many mid-’70s Ford products. Popular? You bet your bippy, Lincoln sold 27K of these $8,400 (in ’71 dollars=an expensive car!)  personal coupes that year.

The triple white existentialism that’s on full display here is… thought-provoking, maybe. I picture all Mark III’s as black or maroon, but OK, this example is clean, no doubt about it. I will admit that I had a start at the comment of, “Body in great shape and recently touched up before I bought it.” What does touched-up mean? Hopefully, it’s better than the job that I would do which is tantamount to getting loose with some Q-tips,  sticking them in some likely matching paint, and hoping for the best. This is an impressive car with a commanding stance, one that projects an image of power and leadership.

Under the great plains-sized hood is a 365-gross HP 460 CI “385 series” V8 engine.  An impressive piece of FoMoCo engineering, it wasn’t long before it devolved to boat anchor status thanks to federal emission control standards, but in ’71, it was full speed ahead. The seller advises, “Runs like a dream. Electronic ignition, carburetor recently rebuilt, just replaced alternator, power steering pump rebuilt and new hoses“. That runs like a dream thing has got me a bit spooked as that could go any one of a myriad of directions, depending on one’s dream interpretations and my own experience, but I think I get his point – operationally, everything Otay! I truly don’t know why there’s aluminum foil wrapped around the top of the radiator, but if it’s some kind of cooling “enhancement”, I’d be concerned.

Lincoln always did interiors well, and this Mark III is no exception. The mileage is listed as 101K miles and the white leather upholstery looks perfect – no Colonel Sanders munching and greasy fingerprints going on here! The instrument panel, which looks fine, is pretty pedestrian as it might be more appropriate in a Galaxie 500 – oh that old cost containment thing! That said, I have to appreciate its crispness and clarity, faux wood or not. The rest of the environment belies this car’s mileage and half-century of existence.

Do I want to own this Lincoln? Nope. But do I like it? You bet, it’s a great example of a large two-door hardtop, with a humongo V8 engine no less, that we’ll never see produced again. This Mark III is really a fine example of what we had at one time, and if you still long for a car of that era, you’d be hard-pressed to improve on this ’71 Lincoln Mark III, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. Avatar photo Cadmanls Member

    These are not only pretty cars, do your homework and they can run!

    Like 19
    • Avatar photo alphasud Member

      That made my day! Thanks for the link. I think the Mark 3 is a beautiful design, I was watching another video series that stated the Mark 3 was the high water mark in terms of build quality when compared to GM and Chrysler rivals. The only negative thing I could say is that 460 never saw a gas station it didn’t like.

      Like 8
      • Avatar photo Sam

        Had a 460 in my 73 Marquis Wagon. It got 19 Highway, 13 In Town. Did the 1230 mid 13’s

        Like 7
      • Avatar photo Brad460 Member

        As can be seen by my name, I’ve had more than my fair share of 460, and 460 derived engines. In proper turn mileage is tolerable. By the mid 70s with full emissions and retarded cam timing performance was only adequate.

        But oh what promise. Install a straight up timing set, a modest cam and some ignition work and large ho and torque gains can be had.

        Add a set of decent aluminum heads and a bit more cam and its honestly not that tough to get 550 to 600 hp from the 460.

        They are also known for their extremely stout bottom ends. Typically their downfall are the junk factory heads.

        I have a 76 continental and it drives nice but by 76 with emissions, and a very lazy advance curve it’s honestly shamefully how low performance it is. 15 on the highway is do able at reasonable speeds

        Like 1
    • Avatar photo jrhmobile

      That’s pretty entertaining. The thought of a Lincoln wheels-up out of the hole flashes me back to ’70s street racing around St. Louis, where the heaviest hitters were Lincolns, LTDs, Caddys and Buick deuce and a Quarters with low-compression big blocks on big hits of squeeze.

      Those cushy cruisers scared the muscle car boys somethin’ fierce.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo John D

      Great clip thanks for sharing!

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo CVPanther Member

    For me the Mark III is the most beautiful Mark of all. All those lines and curves are in the right places.
    Would love to have this in my garage, it could keep my Town Car company and teach it how things used to be.

    Like 10
  3. Avatar photo DaveO

    My dad had ‘70 in dark brown metallic – it was sweet with that 460 and power everything….. I took it on a weeklong road trip along Cape Cod before reporting for duty with the USAF in ‘76…..memories :)

    Like 3
  4. Avatar photo Emel

    Wow what a great looking 2 door luxury car. The Marks were sweet until about the age of the rounded look came about.

    Steve McGarret(the real one) of Five-O agrees.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Karl

      CANNON drove a MarkIII,
      McGarret had Mercury’s.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Gregory Stegall

        Cannon drove a silver 1973 Continental MK IV.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo PRA4SNW

        I remember Cannon as driving a bluish Mark III, like in this shot from the first season.

        Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    JO has evolved into BF’s “color commentator”, and it’s great. I love it.

    Like 3
  6. Avatar photo Steve Member

    Wish this was at Ebay with a buy it now, Craigslist ads scare hell out of me. The car seems well under the market. I want that car.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo CCFisher

    Interesting commentary. I’ve never been a fan of the Mark IV, but it’s a tossup for me between the restrained elegance of the Mark III and the outrageousness of the Mark V, particularly the white and blue ’79 Bill Blass.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo wjtinfwb

    Totally agree. The angular, sharp edge styling of Mark’s III & V were outstanding. The Mark IV always looked bloated and overly decorated, like the Chrysler Cordoba. I’d disagree with the author about the Mark III interior; all white is not a great color choice but the dash trim was real wood, the hi-back “Twin-Comfort Lounge” seats looked and sat great and the five pod dash, while derivative of the Thunderbird, was simple yet classy in an era of long horizontal speedometers and a bank of idiot lights. My dad had a ‘70 III, triple dark green that was gorgeous. Besides his Jag XJ6, it was easily my favorite car of his while growing up.

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Buddy Ruff

    You bet your bippy? Just how old ARE you, Jim?

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Tony S.

      You obviously never watched Rowan & Martin. 😎✌️

      Like 2
  10. Avatar photo Bill West

    My stepfather rented a new one from Hertz for a weekend because he was considering trading our 69 Olds 98 convertible. As we were returning it on Monday morning, a double parked cab(NYC) whipped open it’s door. Ouch! It had to be towed the last block and a half to Hertz, it had less than 500 miles on it.

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Steve Member

    Have tried to contact the seller and I think this is a scam.

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Bob Mck

    I owned one of these a long time ago. Would love to bring this beauty home.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo Rick Rothermel

    I spent some of my Alaska Pipeline money on a magnificent burgundy ‘69 III back in 1977. Car was SNEAKY! You’d cruise along thinking you were cool, look down and see you’re doing 115 mph. Only cool if you didn’t get caught…

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Tony S.

      Lincoln’s are like…I have ‘13 MKX and have similar experiences.

      Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Jack Quantrill

    Direct from the “French Connection”!

    Like 1
  15. Avatar photo Dave Brown

    An article in Motor Trend said something at the time like “there was a magical place called Camelot and that a MK III was parked in the driveway”. I have tempered this for decades. This was truly a great car. My Dad was thinking about one but the dealer wanted $10,000 for it. He bought a Chrysler. It was fast too but not nearly as cool. Everything about the car was premium except the Drive selected was on the steering column and not in the instrument panel by the steering wheel. The other thing, and it was big at the time, the windshield wipers were not hidden but exposed. That was cheap looking for the time. Most luxury bargains had them and Lincoln didn’t. Lincoln did offer hidden wipers latter but the gear select indicated wasn’t corrected until the next Mark.

    Like 1
  16. Avatar photo PRA4SNW

    These always remind me of the TV show Cannon.

    Like 1
  17. Avatar photo gonzo

    Cannon drove a Mark IV on the show. In real life William Conrad drove a Cadillac. I was in Los Angeles traffic once and looked over to see him with his arm folded out of the window just like on the tv series. Except it was an Eldorado.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Karl

      Cannon drove a black Continental in the “Pilot” movie. He then had an ice blue MkIII in the first season. After that MkIV ‘s of ’73, ’74, and ’75 vintage. All ice blue with red interiors. They used three different cars in the last season.

      Like 1
  18. Avatar photo Steve Member

    On the first season of Cannon Conrad drove a Mark III. Later the producers switched to a Mark IV. That probably had a lot to do with me buying a Mark IV to drive in those days.

    Like 1

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