1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV: Have a Cigar
This is the car that Bob Rock or “Colonel“ Tom Parker or that guy accused of murder (no, the other one) would drive on the way to ink that record deal that rained money for people who didn’t know an open G from a cowbell. This is the ultimate statement of power, early 1970s-style: the Mark IV.
Obviously , it screams class. Maybe oozes is a better word. Color keyed interiors are classy. Vinyl covered roofs are classy. Power locks and windows and seats and FM stereo are all classy. Semi shag carpeting (“deep-pile”) is super classy. (Keep in mind that polyester leisure suits were a thing.) Anyway, all that goodness is just what is in the inside. That’s for you and a friend, Mr. Powerful Mark IV driver. The outside is what sells the world on the idea.
Look at that large, upright chrome grill - a Lincoln tradition for its power coupes since at least the Mark III for 1969. It’s totally not a ripoff of Rolls Royce. And if it is, what are you going to do about it, punk? As for the rest Mark IV, it tells you from don the road that the driver is king of this moment.
Long hood - male driver has big hands; female driver has small hands - for the same reason.
Short trunk - Does Mark IV make one’s ass look fat? Definitely not (proportionally, at least.)
Covered headlights - bespoke sunglasses for Mark IV, because unfiltered daylight is for saps, and those martinis at the club last night aren’t ddoing your head any favors in the bright light of day. Mark IV empathized and is here to make you look effortlessly cool, not routinely hungover.
Turret height windows - long and low is part virility and part common sensediffusing the hard and soft targets. It’s harder to see whose inside and pick them off. If you’re going for the engine, wherem in that 7 feet of hood is it?
“Road Hugging Weight“ - “Road Hugging Weight“ was a thing. Mark IV is very deliberate about starting, stopping, turning and parking. Your best move is probably just get out of the way, commoner. Maybe read a book on inertia.
Ginormous overhangs and tumblehome/turnunder radii- Mark IV doesn’t care about driveway ramps, turning geometry, aerodynamics or filling out the wheel wells in the same way that its passengers don’t car who mined their diamonds.
General festoonery - filigreed rub strips and hood ornaments? What, you never saw a pinky ring or a gold neck chain? What are you, some kind of heathen? “Opera windows“ is much more classy than “peepholes.“
Junk in the trunk - OK, let’s talk about that bulge. On the Lincoln Mark II, it wes needed to clear the spare. They could have put the spare in a floorwell or flush with the back of the rear seat, but then you wouldn’t proclaim to your neighbors with Continental kit-fitted cars that you were better (more classy).
Anyway, it looks good, even if it doesn’t do anything any more. Think of it like lapels in a jacket. Do you want to be these guys (classy) or this guy (some kind of dirty hippy)?
So what is the grand takeaway? This car says “I am a powerful and attractive man.” It says “I have money and like to be coddled, but I don’t need a chauffeur.“ It says “I pay lip service to things like practicality“ but the reality is that this six passenger car will only ever carry its driver and sometimes a date. Need a ride? Call yourself a cab, sweetheart. Luggage? Nahg, just an overnight bag for when the party moves from the club to the grotto.
In four words: Herb Tarlek, gangster playboy.
(Note to the snowflakes: I love this actual car. I am glad it survived. I lived through the era where size and weight expanded, but power decreased in favor of cleaner air. This car was too far down the pipeline when the regulations started changing, and in mid-stride when the first oil crisis hit. I don’t hate it for being out of sync, but I can still laugh at the absurdity of it in isolation or in the context of the times. I would take it in a second, buth those wheel covers and overwhelmed mechanicals would have to go. Maybe a Coyote V-8, some modern, effective brakes and suspension, and some real, classy wheels, )