1981 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series Two Door: Not a Town Coupe!


I have a history with early 1980s Lincolns. As a little kid, our neighbors two doors down, Phil and Luray Kendall, had a 1980 Lincoln Continental Town Car in this rather rare color, Pine Opalescent. An extra cost color, it was available only in 1980 and 1981. Their car had a white coach roof and green velour interior, and I loved that car. Especially the colors.


They always had nice cars, including a triple navy blue 1983–84 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Brougham sedan, dark gray 1987–88 Ninety-Eight Regency Brougham (the downsized model with front-wheel drive), an Academy Gray 1991 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, and a gorgeous Evergreen Frost 1994 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series with dark green leather interior. But through all those years, and all those cars, they hung onto that ’80 Town Car.


Over the years I never saw another Lincoln in that color, but since the Kendalls kept that car all the way to 1994–95 (at which time your author was just entering high school), I remember it very well. Phil finally got rid of it because it was starting to get rusty. There’s kind of an interesting story behind this car, too. Back around 1994 at a block party, Phil told me that it was originally Luray’s father’s car. Her dad had purchased it because his previous car, a white ’79 Lincoln Continental Collector’s Series sedan, was stolen and stripped. So he went down the next day to the Lincoln Mercury dealer and bought the green ’80 off the lot. Later on, Phil got it.

Today these two-door versions are somewhat unknown to collectors, due to their low production volume. The Continental coupe/Town Coupé/Town Car coupes were only built from 1980 to 1981, while the four-door version lasted all the way to 1989. Very few two-doors were sold, and they are, by far, some of the rarest 1980–89 Panther-body Lincolns. In 1980, the car was offered in Continental coupe (standard model) and Continental Town Coupé (premium model, with the requisite poofy seats and coach roof). Four-door versions were dubbed Continental or Continental Town Car.


In 1981, however, all Continentals were renamed Town Cars. Thus did the former trim level become the model name. So the 1981 version of this car became the “Town Car two door” or “Town Car Signature Series two door” in showroom literature.


It was a one year only change, too, because Town Car coupe sales lagged so much that in 1982 only the four-door version returned. Only 4935 Town Car two-doors were built. Sedans sold much better, with 27,904 Town Car four-doors made. Total 1981 Lincoln production came to 69,537, including the Mark VI coupe and sedan.


I always thought the 1980–81 Continental/Town Car two door looked better than the 1980–83 Mark VI, even though I love the Mark’s hidden headlamps.

The pictures of the green car shown here are from a long-ended eBay auction. I saved them because of the car’s rare Pine Opalescent paint, a color I’ve always found striking. Plus, it reminds me of my childhood, and friendly neighbors who put up with an (even then) car-obsessed kid. It’s clear that both of these cars are very well-maintained and much loved.


Due to it having the longer wheelbase (117.3 inches, vs. 114.3 on Mark VI coupes) of the sedan, the Town Car two-door simply had better proportions, at least in my opinion. While I like the Mark VI, too, the coupe always seemed a little too short in the middle, with those long front and rear overhangs.

1980 Continental Town Car, with the seldom-seen luxury wheel covers topclassiccarsforsale.com

I only remember one of these 1980–81 coupes in town. It was Dark Cordovan Metallic with either a black or cordovan (memory is a little hazy on that point) coach roof and the finned “luxury” wheel covers (standard on the ’80 Town Coupe/Town Car only, and apparently discontinued in ’81) with a white leather interior. As a teen I passed it all the time whilst riding my bike during the early- to mid-’90s. It was always parked in front of the same house, in a middle-class neighborhood just a couple blocks off an arterial street, and was in slightly weathered but still nice shape. I last remember seeing it circa 2003–04. Then it disappeared, never to return. I feared the worst.

Please note that both of the featured cars also have the Premium Sound option with 8-track and LCD display. This was the tail-end of the 8-track’s availability on new cars, as cassette decks had been taking over since at least the mid-’70s. By 1981, I wonder how many people ordered the factory 8-track stereo? (Most likely, folks who had purchased a ton of 8-track tapes in the ’60s and ’70s!)


The white car was also on the electronic bay, but more recently, around 2015. While the green car has the Signature Series trim, this white example is a standard Town Car two-door, with somewhat plainer seating (but still in that fantastic sage green) sans the “floating pillow” thrones that Signatures had. But it was still a Lincoln, and still quite plush. Naturally.

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    Had a 1981 S.S. coupe. Ordered brand new from Fletcher L/M, Summit N.J. White, white 1/2 padded top, and dark red velour interior. Traded in on a 1984 Continental (Seville type). Big mistake.

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