20 December 2016

eBay Find of the Week: A Continental time machine


Selling Lincoln Continentals in the early ‘70s must have been an awkward proposition. Remember that 1973 was a year of oil embargoes and rising gasoline prices. In this environment, it seems like this 1973 Lincoln Continental should have been anathema to car buyers. Maybe that’s why this example didn’t get driven much? (More on that in a moment.)

This body-on-frame luxury liner, the fifth generation, replaced the previous “suicide door” Continental in 1970. At more than 19 feet in length and weighing over 5,000 lbs with a 7.5-liter V-8 this vehicle was quite a statement, albeit one few likely wanted to make. Even by today’s standards, SUVs included, it’s large – nearly six inches longer than a 2017 Chevrolet Suburban.

So why is this vinyl-topped leviathan our eBay find of week? Frankly, it is a 43-year old time capsule with increasing appeal. With a claimed 34,000 miles from new and in seemingly terrific shape, we’d love to know how it survived. Since it’s unlikely to ever be used for commuting duty, fuel efficiency is of little concern next to the wonderful experience of piloting this beauty to your local show or out to dinner with five (or more) of your closest friends.

As of Tuesday, Dec. 20 bidding was up to $5,655 with an unmet reserve and five days remaining.

10 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Chris New Jersey December 21, 2016 at 18:45
    I was working for Lincoln Mercury at the time and was quite successful selling these land barges. My manager pulled me into the office one Saturday in the middle of the embargo after I sold 6 cars and all the other salesmen combined sold 1 and he wanted to know what I was doing. It was really quite simple. People that drove Lincolns loved them but they were all panicked about sitting in gas lines so hey we're looking to downsize. I simply explained that downsizing meant riding in a econobox and waiting in gas lines as much if not more. It wasn't about the price of gas, it was he lack of gas. When I explained that the Lincoln had a 24 gallon fuel tank and the downsized car had 12 they heard twice as much and all the luxury? Sold! Another stinkin Lincoln down the road.
  • 2
    Carl-Edward Los Angeles December 21, 2016 at 22:26
    This is really a Mercury in drag - a typical example of badge engineering. It has none of the smooth power, luxury or distinction of the great Lincolns of the past. I think the last of the great Lincolns was the 'fifty-seven.
  • 3
    M. Wayne Brooks Bellevue Wa December 22, 2016 at 15:01
    I bought a 1973 in 1974. The sellers only had 5000 miles on it and panicked about the gas price and availability of fule. I made them an offer and they accepted. At 24 years old a wife and twins daughters one year old. People would stop and make comments to my wife at the grocery store...what a lovely car! Is it your mothers? My wife would proudly say...No it's mine, my husband bought it for me! We loved that car and kept it many years. Always safe, sound, solid and never gave us any trouble.
  • 4
    Robert Bouskill Hamilton December 22, 2016 at 09:51
    I had one of these when I sold garbage packers. It rode beautiful, got 30 miles to the gallon and almost burned to the ground at the Potomac River when a power steering hose let go after parking it.
  • 5
    Stan houdini Georgia December 22, 2016 at 10:04
    Like Chris from New Jersey I was working for a Ford, Lincoln, Merc dealer during that time and we were not having a problem selling the full size units. The Pintos and Mavericks and Torinos didn't really get much better mileage then the full size cars. The big Lincoln and Mercs were a hoot to drive you felt like you were floating on air on a road trip big couches front and rear for seats.
  • 6
    Steve Adil Columbia December 22, 2016 at 10:30
    I disagree with the comment about the last of the great Lincolns being the '57. Up until '69 the Continental was a separate platform from the rest of the FoMoCo line. And the engineering, especially the four door convertible, was way ahead of its time. The '66 had front disk brakes. I think the only other American car that offered that was the Corvette. When my Dad had his '67 it was the sentiment that Lawyers drove Cadillacs and successful engineers drove Lincolns.
  • 7
    Jim Herrera Southfield, Mi. December 23, 2016 at 16:14
    I've been amused, over the years, that folks like to point out these large Lincolns were 'gas hogs', but correct me if I'm wrong, no one ever bought a Continental as an Economy car, to fetch groceries or deliver Pizzas. However, many Socially, Politically, Environmentally folks feel the compelling need to always point out, how large and inefficient they are. Duly noted, big yawn. Although I own economical, environmentally foreign and domestic cars, I also Celebrate the unique American experience, of such fabulous cars, never to be done again. I am reminded of this fact, when next to a Cadillac Escapade, or Lincoln Alligator at a traffic light, that Americans will always have a love of large vehicles, if you have the cash for the gas. Easy to be a revisionist today, but yesterday Americans were about evolution of style, and features. These examples are now treasured, for what they represented in American Automobile design. Lets' join together, in what they represent.
  • 8
    Stachoo Traverse City December 23, 2016 at 19:32
    Wow! I love that car. It is absolutely beautiful. I would really want that car if I had a place for it. I'd want a nice home in a retirement community in Florida. And, that would be my daily driver. Plenty of room for the clubs or the picnic basket. It'd be a great car to drive to dinner on a Saturday night. Oh, that beautiful finish would glow in the street lights..... and it would glow on Sunday afternoons in the beautiful Florida sunshine as we went out for ice cream and a cool drive. Such a pretty color under a blue sky or by the blue waters of the ocean (or the GT Bay here in TC.) But, alas, I have no such place in Florida and no place for it here at home. I so enjoyed the article and the pictures. I've looked at the eBay ad a hundred times already. Thanks for a great post. It's made my day.
  • 9
    Bill Maceri Northridge,CA December 27, 2016 at 18:39
    Admittedly, the comments made by the other members do have some truth to them. Yes the '70's Lincolns were big, and by any standard they used a lot of gas. However, when your buying a Lincoln or other luxury car of that size, your buying it for it's class, not gas. We have had many Lincolns in our family, and still do. My parents had a 76 Towncar they bought new. It was "Metallic Dark Red Moondust, with matching split padded vinyl top, and coach lights on the "B" pillars with dark red velour interior. The engine was a 460 cid, with a Motorcraft 4300, four barrel carb. It took a while to get it up to speed, but once it did, it was a great american road car, it seemed to melt away the miles and hours on long trips, to where it was hard to believe the distance traveled at the end of the trip. I put Bilstein shocks front and rear, and the largest Michellen tires the stock wheels could handle. Yes that stiffened the ride, but with the weight, and wheel base it wasn't too stiff, plus it improved the handling to almost make it feel light on it's feet. It was a beautiful car from every view, and everyone loved it, and had to be sure to comment. In 1990 they replaced it with a new Towncar, a completely different car than the 76, but every bit a traditional Lincoln with good looks and feel, very good handling, and gas milage. It even made Motor Trend's Car of the Year. And what of the 76 you might ask, it was kept in the family, rotated to one of my uncles, who drove it until his passing. It's still around, however it's garaged, still in excellent condition serving as a family icon of our heritage, and "being a family of fine cars".
  • 10
    Jeffrey Chase Metro Detroit February 15, 2017 at 18:45
    I owned a 1974 Lincoln Continental sedan from 1978 to early 1980 during part of the time I lived in the Bay Area. It was a wonderful, comfortable car. Of course, I purchased it in Metro Detroit to save over half of the cost of the car in California. Until the gas shortages of 1979, I used it to make home calls in Berkeley and Oakland for my job as a social worker with the county social services agency. The stereo radio was great. I sold the car in 1980 before moving back to Michigan. I then owned or leased 19 Cadillacs over the next 20 years, before jumping back to Lincolns. I bought 2 other Lincoln Continentals since then, and still have my 1976 Continental Town Car parked in the garage. In California, when asked why I drove a Lincoln vs a VW or Honda, I answered, "I'm from Detroit, and this is what people in Detroit drive everyday."

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