Nowadays we return to the groovy calendar year of 1968 in our Lincoln Mark timeline. In March, the rapidly and affordably designed Continental Mark III built its debut at the 12 Several hours of Sebring in Florida. It generated a great deal of purchaser exhilaration right away, and went on sale promptly. Primarily based on the fifth generation Thunderbird, Lincoln’s most interesting car was as soon as yet again a halo personalized luxurious coupe.
Immediately after practically a decade in which Lincoln provided a tiny amount of versions of the Continental sedan that debuted in 1961, the Mark III was something distinct. We covered its enhancement and styling in our last entry, and now it is time to step inside of a planet of carefully tufted luxury.
In any discussion of the Mark III’s interior, a reference have to very first be made to the Thunderbird. The Mark’s interior was a light-weight rework of the Thunderbird’s, with slightly nicer supplies and just sufficient editing in variety to shrug off significant comparison. With many many years of hindsight, the interior styling of the Thunderbird has absolutely aged better than the Mark.
The 1969 Thunderbird sprint involved the usual horizontal structure of the period, with five circular gauges in front of the driver. Surrounded by wood grain, the gauges were being housed in a pod to make the Thunderbird sense a lot more driver-oriented. Gauges from left to right ended up oil and fuel, a speedometer, a clock, battery and temperature details, and at the much proper had been the rear vent and wiper-washer.
Secondary controls and details were located on a decreased shelf-like attachment to the dash that ran on either aspect of the steering wheel. On the remaining ended up the climate controls (modeled like an air vent) and on the appropriate was the stereo. Not like today’s non-personalized luxurious vehicles, passengers in either the Thunderbird or Mark III had unquestionably no accessibility to adjust the local climate control.
The Thunderbird experienced its sole passenger vent on the right side of the sprint, inset within a circle. Its captain steered the vessel through a two-spoke steering wheel with reduce horn rim. Elsewhere the interior was a comfortable put for five or 6 occupants, with ribbed seating products that worked to create an effect of a relaxed lounge. Some Thunderbirds have been geared up with a centre console that offered a devoted armrest and bucket seats, but reduced passenger capability to 5.
Continental Mark III modified the Thunderbird’s common dash concept from circles to squares. Gauges remained where by they ended up and experienced the exact same configuration as Thunderbird, but have been presented in squared-off pods rather. The gauge pod on the Thunderbird’s sprint was eradicated on the Mark III, which gave it a more uniform horizontal search.
Wood trim that stopped at the stop of the gauges on the Thunderbird ongoing all the way across to the passenger facet in the Mark III. The plastic wooden was a very a little bit tighter grain on the Mark III than in Thunderbird, and was made available in two “different” woods. Extra definitely edited was the steering wheel, which for Lincoln responsibility gained a rim clad in matching wooden tone. As opposed to the more sporty Thunderbird, the Mark was not available with bucket seats or a centre console.
Somewhere else in the inside, additional padded supplies have been made use of on the Mark III. There was no ribbed option for interior surfaces, as almost everything was covered in a tufted diamond pattern. The diamonds had been punctuated with correctly high-class button detailing. Mark III was also made available in distinctive colors than the Thunderbird, inside and out.
Exterior colors in its debut 12 months integrated black, white, two grey shades, two orchid shades, two blues, palladium, two teal colors, 3 greens, a lime, two shades of gold, maroon, orange, and yellow. Wooden trim was simulated to look like East Indian Rosewood or English Oak, matched to one particular of two ranges of inside trim: nylon and vinyl, or leather-based and vinyl. The Mark III buyer chose from black, gray, blue, teal, darkish environmentally friendly, or gold in the nylon setup. Leather-based shoppers have been addressed to blck, grey, purple, blue, teal, white, tan, dim inexperienced, or gold. Your author would’ve picked white over blue or dark eco-friendly.
Lincoln manufactured sure to notify clients of the very long checklist of common products on the Mark III. Issues like the computerized transmission, front disc brakes, electrical power steering, dual exhausts, and front seats that were being adjustable. There was also a Stream-Thru air flow procedure, armrests, and a headlamp watch.
Optional extras included computerized climate manage with air conditioning, cruise handle, AM/FM band radio with 8-keep track of deck, and electricity front driver’s seat. Tinted glass was accessible from the manufacturing unit, as was a minimal-slip differential and anti-lock brakes. Other generally outfitted selections provided rear defrost, a tilt steering wheel, and a vinyl roof.
Vinyl (inside of and out) was owning its heyday in the late Sixties, so there had been couple examples of Mark III sold with out this kind of an application on its roof. The initial product year’s vinyl pattern was identified as “cavalry twill,” whichever that meant. There was an additional motive for copious vinyl: The Mark III took further planning actions at the manufacturing unit if the steel roof was picked.
The roof arrived in two parts, and if lined in vinyl could be sloppily joined jointly. Without having these types of a masking, far more time was expended to generate a smooth metal seam that was ready for paint. Even much more intricate was if the Mark III was specified with the optional sunroof. That alternation was not taken care of by Ford staff, as the corporation farmed that get the job done out to ASC. A 1969 Mark III with metallic roof and sunroof is the rarest of style.
As it was introduced early in 1968 for 1969, the Mark III’s very first model 12 months was especially long. That was useful in some means but fewer advantageous in some others. The “first year” manufacturing figures looked particularly substantial simply because of the very long model year, but it also intended Ford required to make adjustments in the course of the Mark III’s to start with yr necessary changes arose.
Early examples of the Mark III ended up sent with a much larger piece of wooden and Continental emblem than afterwards ‘69 cars and trucks created immediately after July 1968. Early cars and trucks also had a ornamental stitched sample on the rear seat over the arm rest, taken out in July 1968 to minimize expenses. At the identical time the decorative stitching was removed, Ford included eight far more exterior paint possibilities.
There ended up also improvements to the instrumentation through Mark III’s 1st year. Autos created right before December 15, 1968 employed white needles on their dials, and experienced a simple electrical clock. Vehicles designed just after that time experienced orange needles on dials, and utilized a Cartier clock. On January 1, 1969, all Marks been given front headrests, as a new federal crash safety regulation took effect.
The 1969 Continental Mark III requested $6,740 ($56,092 adj.), which was noticeably more than the two-doorway Thunderbird Landau at $4,950 ($41,195 adj.). But it was very aggressive with its arch rival the Eldorado, which questioned $6,700 ($55,759 adj.). Gross sales took off right away.
Even although it was a extended generation 12 months, the Mark III bested the Eldorado’s sales determine for 1969. Lincoln offered 30,858 Marks, just about 50 % of Lincoln’s 61,378 total creation in 1969. Eldorado (which was not new that 12 months) managed 23,333 revenue. Iacocca’s Mark III turned the Lincoln-Mercury division into a financial gain centre overnight, and the long run was vivid for the private luxury coupe for the foreseeable upcoming. Future time we’ll focus on how Ford set about updating the Mark III to keep its sales stride going.