1972 Lincoln Continental Mark IV: Luxury in Lilac

Thomas Klockau

Let me get right down to brass tacks: I love these. Always have, always will. And I miss 1970s PLCs (that’s Personal Luxury Cars, for those of you just joining us). And there’s family history with these too, which makes me even more infatuated with them.

1972 Continental Mark IV front
Thomas Klockau

My grandfather Bob Klockau was in World War II. When he got out, he got on the GI Bill and went to college in Champaign, Illinois, commuting from the Quad Cities on a Henderson motorcycle. He got his law degree and set up shop in downtown Rock Island with his law partners, Barney Moran and Dick McCarthy.

1972 Continental Mark IV interior
Thomas Klockau

Later on, the trio got involved in dram shop insurance and started an insurance company, specializing in insuring bars, taverns, and restaurants. For years, Grandpa Bob joked that they did so to give the law firm something to do. And both the insurance company and the firm of Klockau and Moran thrived. So much so that by the mid -’60s, he moved from Buick Electras to Lincolns.

1972 Continental Mark IV rear three quarter
Thomas Klockau

His neighbor across the street was Bob Neal, who had both Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealerships on 11th Street in Rock Island. As a result my grandmother gave her 1959 Catalina convertible to my Uncle Chris and picked out a new navy blue 1965 Thunderbird convertible. And my grandfather traded his circa 1962 Buick Electra sedan for a dark green 1966 Continental.

1972 Continental Mark IV rear corner
Thomas Klockau

He loved that car. It had a matching dark green leather interior and the optional 8-track tape player. It whisked everyone on vacation to South Padre Island and Biloxi circa 1967–68. Back then, you drove to wherever vacationed!

1972 Continental Mark IV taillight
Thomas Klockau

Then in mid-’68, the all-new Continental Mark III personal luxury coupe came out, and my grandfather traded the four-door Connie for a Mark III. It too was dark green metallic, with matching green leather and Cavalry twill vinyl top. This particular car was my father’s favorite. He loved the interior with the button-tufted door panels and seats. It was lush.

1972 Continental Mark IV interior rear seat
Thomas Klockau

But then in late 1971, the all-new 1972 Continental Mark IV came out. And in what would become a trend, Grandpa Bob traded the Mark III for the super swank Mark IV. It too was triple dark green. The Mark IV was my Uncle Dave’s favorite of my grandfather’s Lincolns.

1972 Continental Mark IV interior front
Thomas Klockau

He remembers one time he was taking it for a spin, and one of those massive luxury wheel covers detached and rolled off into the grass. He said those things were super heavy; as it rolled away it sounded like a manhole cover.

1972 Continental Mark IV interior front dash
Thomas Klockau

Fortunately he saw where it landed, and amazingly, it was not scratched or scuffed. He put it back on and drove much more sedately back to the house.

1972 Continental Mark IV dash badge
Thomas Klockau

As previously mentioned, the 1972 Continental Mark IV was all new. And like the 1969–71 Mark III, it was based on the Thunderbird chassis. As the brochure extolled, “For 1972, Continental introduces a new Mark. It stands alone in a world where individuality has all but disappeared.

1972 Continental Mark IV front three quarter
Thomas Klockau

“In many ways Continental Mark IV is a subtle refinement of a contemporary classic. But though the styling changes are evolutionary, they are also dramatic. The grille is even bolder than on previous Marks. The hood is longer, lower. The graceful sweep of the roofline, sleeker. And inside, more leg and shoulder room for passengers in the rear compartment.

1972 Continental Mark IV front three quarter
Thomas Klockau

“Continental Mark IV. For all the 1970s, this will be the unique American car.” And while it was certainly distinctive, it still had a lot in common with the T-Bird, though the Ford version itself got much more luxurious too. Base price on the Mark IV was $8640 (almost $63,000 today). Curb weight was a healthy 4792 pounds, and 48,591 were produced for 1972—one of which was my Grandpa Bob’s.

1972 Continental Mark IV front lines
Thomas Klockau

A 460-cubic-inch V-8 was standard, naturally. It had a 4.36 x 3.85 bore and stroke, and an 8.5:1 compression ratio, breathing through a four-barrel carb. Horsepower was 224 at 4400 rpm.

1972 Continental Mark IV triple white rear three quarter
Triple-white 1972, spotted locally in 2014. Thomas Klockau

And as you’d expect, these were long—to the tune of 220.1 inches with a 120.4-inch wheelbase. Just for comparison, a 2023 Navigator L is 221.9 inches long! Compared to the outgoing Mark III, it was about four inches longer and slightly lower and wider.

1972 Continental Mark IV side profile
Thomas Klockau

Like all Lincolns, Michelin tires were standard. Other Mark IV equipment included the Sure-Track braking system (an early form of ABS), Cartier-signed clock, six-way power Twin Comfort Lounge seating, and a vinyl roof. The oval opera window was new and would become a Lincoln trademark, but in ’72 it was technically optional, though it would become standard before long.

1972 Continental Mark IV rear three quarter
Thomas Klockau

Options included extra-snazzy Moondust paint, leather seats, a tilt wheel, speed control, and various stereo systems, with or without 8-track tape player. There were 15 standard colors, eight optional Moondust colors, and five vinyl roof color choices. But the color of today’s featured Mark, owned by my friend Humberto Garcia, won’t be found in any official Lincoln brochures or color charts.

1972 Continental Mark IV port window
Thomas Klockau

It appears to be a 1969 Cadillac color, Wisteria, and it looks like the car was custom-ordered in the hue, as it is in remarkable original condition. I always enjoy seeing this car; it’s just fantastic. These pictures were taken at an LCOC Lake Shore Region meet in late summer 2015 at the airport in Poplar Grove, Illinois, just a short drive from the big Chrysler factory in Belvidere.

1972 Continental Mark IV front end side
Thomas Klockau

I was smitten with the car and couldn’t help but take far too many pictures of it! I love these cars, and the entire Mark Series, all the way to the final 1998 Mark VIII. I miss personal luxury coupes and bright, vivid, unique colors like this. In a world of silver silvermist, black, and gray SUVs passing as “luxury,” the Mark IV is a cut above.

1972 Continental Mark IV interior options ad spread



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    I understand completely your about the vehicle. I owned the Thunderbird version of the ’72 Mark IV. It rode like no car today. Although I encountered quite a few electrical issues, I loved that car and I am afraid I would consider getting one today, but, a mortgage payment would be dedicated to fueling it. The only vehicle I could consider having a comparable ride may be the 2001 to 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis LSE.

    Now that’s what I call keeping it in the family. Grandpa fought in ww2 survivor, came home went to law school under the GI Bill after getting his law degree got together with two other gentlemen opened up a specific law firm that dealt with rides the rest is not only history but he was one of those individuals had a goal set while serving and survived ww2 came back home went on to law school under the GI Bill and the rest is history. Later wife decides to by a 62 Ford Thunderbird at that time it was a personal sport luxury land yacht back then he buys a 66 Lincoln Continental kept it for some years then in 1968 the Lincoln MkIII was introduced, a legend was reborn.

    In 72 grandpa buys a 1972 Lincoln MKIII this man knew what he wanted for distinction and at that era and time of the 1970’s Lincoln’s certainly made themselves really known. From the 1960’s to the end of the 1970’s with the Lincoln Continental with the suicide doors to 70’s Larger, longer and in charge from between those years the Lincoln Continental was the Ride to buy, drive, and own. The same for the Mach’s from mid 1968 when it was introduced to end of the 1970’s those Rides were the Epitome Class, Cool, Distinction, Elegance, Large And In Charge, Profile, Style and Sophistication.

    If you don’t think so why don’t why don’t you ask Frank Cannon?

    I’ve always been a Large Luxurious Luxury Land Cruiser, Land Liner and Land Yacht Man from the time when i was very young back then to this present time, i’m in my early 60’s. I am very Appreciative,Grateful and Thankful to our Heavenly Creator, Father and Ultimate Supreme Being that makes All Things, Any Thing and Everything Possible.

    I take nothing for Granite and I take nothing very Lightly no matter how Great or how Small GOD is Always there. I am flawed and I have flaws nobody or no one is perfect i’m only Human that makes mistakes. You see The Ultimate Supreme Being takes us all as we are.

    That color was also big at GM in the sixties. I have seen everything from a GTO, Imala and even a Corvair with it. The are rare today.

    Unless you have ever driven one of these T birds or Lincolns you have just no idea how they drove and rode.

    The experience is unlike about anything you can think. It is as dynamic as say even going back to a old 30’s Cadillac not is the say way but that much different than todays cars.

    From my stand point Ford favored ride over handling and these cars really drove like a floating carpet. But Handling was given up for the ride. Just turning a corner could be dramatic at 35 MPH.

    Cadillac had a good ride and a little better handling but it was not as isolating at least from my experience. You were never going to win a road race with it either but id had a bit less lean and just a bit firmer suspension.

    If you want an idea how these car handled just watch an old TV show of Starsky and Hutch or Cannon and you will see leans like you never saw. But these shows never could relate the ride or the long hood experience.

    Dad had a 73 Marquis Brougham 2 door with all options during that period–he had just switched from an Electra. I agree–the Fords/Lincolns were much ‘softer’ riding. Seats were almost too soft! The 460 was even thirstier than the Electra’s 455. That hood was so long it had its own weather-sometimes fog would develop in the hood ornament area lol

    If I remember correctly, automotive magazines at the time reported that the new Mark, as well as the new Thunderbird, were on a frame based on the also new-for -72 Torino. This was contrasted with the outgoing Mark III and Thunderbird, which were said to have been based on the corporate full size frame. Does anyone else remember this?
    Either way, the 72-on cars were such an improvement over the Mark III in terms of ride and isolation that whatever frame they were on was the perfect choice. I had a fair amount of seat time in them all in-period, and while at the time I thought the Mark III looked classier, the later cars rode and drove way better.
    BTW-I since changed my mind: the 72 Mark IV is one of the classiest ever.
    Thanks for the article.

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