The Lincoln Continental Mark IV was new for the 1972 model year, available only as a two-door hardtop coupe. It was instantly recognizable because of its small “Greek Temple” grille, oval opera windows, and Continental rear trunk lid hump that evoked the Continental Kits of the 1950s. On top of all that, the new Continental was four inches longer than the 1971 model, adding to the visual impression of an extremely long hood.
Under that long hood was a 460-cid big-block V-8 sourced from Ford. The Mark IV delivered 224 net hp, down quite a bit from the 365 hp of the 1971 model. Some of that loss reflects the change from gross to net horsepower in 1972, but the earlier engine had a 10.5:1 compression ratio, while the new 460 had only 8.5:1.
The Continental Mark IV had changes in every model year in this era. DOT-mandated 5-mph bumpers appeared in 1973 and hp dropped slightly to 220. The 1974 models are close to 1973 models, with the only change being greater sound insulation and thicker carpeting. Four-wheel disc brakes debuted for 1975, while 1976 saw another hp drop, now down to 202.
Throughout this era, buyers could opt for a variety of “Luxury Group Packages” that included special colors on the painted surfaces and interiors, and a Versailles edition with deeply pillowed upholstery. Lovers of mid-1970s kitsch, however, naturally flock to the four “Designer Series” versions of the Continental Mark IV that bowed in 1976: ostensibly created by Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Pucci. Each of these series carried unique elements including clocks and trim to differentiate them from standard Mark IVs.
With so little differentiating the years and models in this generation, savvy buyers will want to concentrate heavily on condition and mileage. Designer Series cars can be difficult to find and carry a slight premium. Otherwise, the Lincoln Mark IV remains an affordable and instantly recognizable artifact of 1970s luxury.