1972 Lincoln Continental Mark IV: Luxury in Lilac
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.