You can keep your puerile, Ian Fleming-wet dreams about Aston Martins. Stow that yellow Rolls Royce and those Gatsby-roadsters. Forget fleets of pink Cadillacs and MGs in British racing green. My fantasy car is a 1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV, with a moonroof and ‘opera windows’ (two little oval portholes in the back panels). 460 V-8 engine. Tinted windows; leather and cranberry-red Victoria velour interior. So jet-black that (as Douglas Adams would say) light just falls into it.
I don’t care that this hulking beauty may not be so easy to dock in a crowded parking garage. I don’t care that the weight of the ’73 model (4,908 pounds) equals that of a small planet. I don’t care if I only get 6 miles to the gallon. I want one. Apparently, back in 1973, lots of people did. Nixon gave Brezhnev one in midnight blue. And “An anti-theft alarm system was also announced in March. By this time the Mark IV was sufficiently popular with certain elements of society that it was estimated that as many as one-third of all Mark IV’s on the road in urban areas were stolen!“*
From 1920 on the Lincoln was a high quality car, but its culmination in the form of a brick with lights started in the 1960s thanks to Lincoln’s style guru, Eugene Bordinat.
By the 1970s the wonderful gangster-like extravagance of the Lincolns reached its apotheosis. It was the kind of vehicle to take, say, Jimmy Hoffa to lunch in**. “More fun per gallon!”[*The Lincoln Motorcar – Sixty Years of Excellence by Thomas E. Bonsall (1981). In 1973, the Mark IV sold for $8,984 U.S. dollars.] [**Although Jimmy personally preferred his green Pontiac.]
Meanwhile, we all know songs about Chevys and Caddys but thanks to Graham Parker, we also have one about the Black Lincoln Continental:
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