Lincoln Continental Mark VI
The Continental Mark VI is a full-size luxury car that was produced by Ford Motor Company and marketed by its Lincoln division from 1980 to 1983. The fifth generation of the Mark series, the Continental Mark VI was the first ground-up revision of the model line since 1972, and the first generation to undergo downsizing. In another major change, the Mark VI shifted model commonality from the Ford Thunderbird (its companion model since the introductory Mark III) to the Lincoln Continental (renamed Lincoln Town Car for 1981). As the flagship line of Ford Motor Company, the Mark VI was fitted with distinct features to distinguish itself from the Lincoln Town Car, including the return of Designer Edition trims.
|Continental Mark VI|
|Also called||Ford Conquistador (Venezuela)|
|Assembly||United States: Wixom, Michigan (Wixom Assembly)|
|Designer||John Aiken (1976)|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Full-size personal luxury car|
|Body style||2-door sedan|
|Layout||FR layout, body-on-frame|
|Platform||Ford Panther platform|
|Related||Lincoln Continental (1980)|
Lincoln Town Car (1981–1989)
|Engine||302 cu in (4.9 L) 5.0L V8|
351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8 (1980 only)
|Transmission||4-speed AOD automatic|
|Wheelbase||2-door: 114.4 in (2,910 mm)  |
4-door: 117.4 in (2,980 mm) 
|Length||2-door: 216.0 in (5,490 mm) |
4-door: 219.2 in (5,570 mm)
|Width||78.1 in (1,980 mm) |
|Height||2-door: 55.1 in (1,400 mm) |
4-door: 55.8 in (1,420 mm)
|Curb weight||3,892–4,219 lb (1,765–1,914 kg)|
|Predecessor||Continental Mark V|
|Successor||Continental Mark VII|
Alongside the Lincoln Town Car, the Continental Mark VI was based upon the rear-wheel drive Ford Panther platform. A two-door sedan bodystyle made its return, along with the introduction of a four-door sedan (the first and only Mark-series four-door sedan). All examples were produced alongside the Lincoln Town Car and Lincoln Continental at the Ford Wixom Assembly Plant in Wixom, Michigan. For the 1984 model year, the Mark VI was replaced by the Continental Mark VII in 1984.
During the mid-1970s, within Ford Motor Company, development of a downsized Continental Mark VI (as a successor to the Continental Mark V) began life on what became the Ford Fox platform, effectively a companion to 1980 Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar XR7.
However, due to budgetary constraints, Ford product planners chose a different design direction for the Mark VI. Based on the success of its predecessors, Ford executives (led by Lee Iaccoca) sought to expand the Mark series from a personal luxury coupe into a stand-alone model line, reviving a stillborn approach proposed 20 years earlier with the Continental Division. Along with the previous two-door coupe, executives sought to produce a four-door sedan, a premium 2-seat coupe, and a four-door woodgrained station wagon.
To minimize the future production costs of the Mark VI production line, Ford chose a less radical degree of downsizing. To retain the Mark series in the full-size segment, the project was shifted from the compact/mid-size Fox platform to the full-size Panther platform. Following the 1978 departure of Lee Iaccoca from Ford, the expansion of the Mark VI model line was limited to the four-door sedan. While the shift to the Panther chassis meant a smaller degree of downsizing than intended (and it would be far larger than the redesigned Cadillac Eldorado and Chrysler Cordoba), the Mark VI remained an intermediate step down from its Mark V predecessor. Additionally, its high degree of parts commonality with the Continental, Town Car, and mass-market vehicles such as the Ford LTD would require fewer vehicles to be sold for the project to be profitable.
The Continental Mark VI is based on the Ford Panther platform, shared with the Lincoln Town Car and other Ford Motor Company full-size cars of the 1980s into the late 2000s in North America. The Mark VI is rear-wheel drive with body-on-frame construction; it is fitted with coil-spring suspension on all four wheels.
In comparison to the Continental Mark V, the Mark VI is 800 pounds lighter and nearly 14 inches shorter than its predecessor. The Mark VI is the only version of the Panther platform that is built on two different wheelbases. The four-door sedan shares the 117.4 wheelbase with the Lincoln Continental/Town Car; the two-door utilizes the 114.4 wheelbase shared by the Ford and Mercury variants prior to 1998.
In order to remain in compliance with increasingly stringent federal fuel economy standards (under CAFE, Ford Motor Company was required to average 20.0 MPG for all of its vehicles for 1980), significant changes were made to the powertrain for the Continental Mark VI. The 460 and 400 cubic-inch V8s seen in the Mark V (and the Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Continental) were replaced in favor of much smaller V8 engines. The standard engine for the Mark VI was a 129-hp 302 cubic-inch V8. Essentially the Windsor V8 shared with the Versailles, the Ford LTD/Mercury Marquis, and the Ford full-size trucks, the engine was the first V8 sold by Ford with fuel injection; to denote the engine, it was marketed by its 5.0L metric displacement (slightly rounded up from the correct 4.9L figure). As an option, a 140-hp 351 Windsor (5.8L) V8 was available; it was sold with an electronically-controlled variable-venturi 2-barrel carburetor. After 1980, the 351 was discontinued on the Mark VI, due to poor sales and the lack of a distinct power advantage over the 5.0L V8.
Introduced for 1980, the AOD automatic transmission helped raise the fuel economy of all full-size cars at Ford; instead of the commonly seen 3-speed layout, it boasted a 4-speed overdrive configuration, which significantly lowered engine RPMs (and fuel consumption) at highway speeds. The AOD was standard equipment on the Continental Mark VI, the Lincoln Continental, and the Lincoln Town Car, spreading to the Ford and Mercury lines in 1981.
|Ford Windsor V8 (5.0L)||4.9 L (302 cu in)||1980-1983||129 hp (96 kW) at 3600 rpm||231 lb⋅ft (313 N⋅m) at 2000 rpm||4-speed Ford AOD overdrive automatic|
|Ford Windsor V8 (351W)||5.8 L (351 cu in)||1980||140 hp (104 kW) at 3400 rpm||265 lb⋅ft (359 N⋅m) at 2000 rpm|
As the Mark V remained popular towards the end of its production, much of its sharp-edged styling was carried over onto Panther-platform Lincolns. Much like the roofline of the Continental/Town Coupe carried over to the 1980 model, the roofline of the Mark VI remained similar to the Mark V (although instead of a hardtop roofline, the Mark VI now wore a fixed B-pillar with framed door glass).
The Mark VI had more ornate styling than the Town Car, befitting its place on top of the model line. It sported vacuum-operated concealed headlamps, non-functional fender vents, oval opera windows on the C-pillars, a "Continental-esque" trunklid, and a slightly different grille. An unusual optional feature, called "touring lights", were installed externally on the concealed headlamp doors, which gave an appearance of being headlights, when the actual headlights were behind the doors. The touring lights would only turn on if the headlight switch was in the parking light position, and gave a soft glow, but didn't provide enough light to drive in dark conditions. This generation was also installed with Ford's "Auto Lamp" feature, and if the system was active, the touring lights would not be used when the conventional headlights came on. The touring lights also did not function as daytime running lights.
The Mark VI also was one of the first cars seen with several features commonly seen today; it came with the all-new Keyless Entry System, digital instrumentation (VFD), and trip computer. Also, it was the first year for the EEC III engine management system which kept fuel economy high and emissions low, an industry first.
[[File:|left|thumb|1980 Continental Mark VI Signature Series]] For 1980, the Signature Series was available in both coupe and sedan formats. This edition was a successor to the 1979 Collector's Series option package and included most Lincoln options. These cars were available in either burgundy or silver exterior colors. The only interior color was red, in either leather or velour. Unique features included a rechargeable glove box flashlight, special seat sew pattern, gold and Macaser Ebony wood treatments and a complete digital instrument cluster with fully electronically controlled EEC III engine with a 4-speed AOD, and a leather-bound tool kit in the trunk. When first introduced in September 1979, final cost could exceed $24,000 USD which converts to approximately $82,850 in today's dollars.
In 1981, the Signature Series edition was offered again in red or silver, with a choice of black or white exterior colors being added near the end of the model year. The interior color on these Signature Series cars was red only, in leather or velour. For 1982 and 1983, the Signature Series carried on but lost its exclusive colors as these cars were now available in any exterior color and any interior color. The tool kit and glove box flashlight were no longer featured as well.
[[File:|thumb|left|1980 Continental Mark VI Bill Blass Edition]] [[File:|alt=|left|thumb|1983 Continental Mark VI Pucci Edition]] Lincoln offered designer editions for the Mark VI Coupe in 1980. These were the Cartier, Pucci, Bill Blass, and Givenchy versions. Each designer edition carried exclusive exterior and interior color combinations, as well as more optional equipment over the standard model.
The designer editions were offered in 1981 for the coupe model only. These included Bill Blass, Cartier, Emilio Pucci, and Givenchy. In 1982 designer editions received a shuffle of sorts as the sedan was now available as an Emilio Pucci edition removing this package from the coupe. The remaining designers-Bill Blass and Givenchy-were available on the coupe; the Cartier edition was dropped from the Mark VI and moved to the Town Car.
For 1983, the Givenchy Edition was dropped and model line-up consisted of the standard coupe/sedan, the Signature Series coupe/sedan, the Bill Blass Edition coupe, and the Emilio Pucci Edition sedan. The Blass edition retained its "carriage roof" (convertible-look) and a unique exterior paint combination exclusive to the model in either vanilla/black/vanilla, or black/vanilla/black. The Emilio Pucci Edition shared this roof treatment for 1983 and had a unique exterior color combination of Dark Blue Cambria cloth top and Blue Flannel Mist body. The coupe version of the Emilio Pucci Designer edition was a mid-year introduction.
- "Gale Haldeman: Mustangs, Marks, and More, Part II".
- "1980 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL MARK VI 2-Door 5.0L V-8 EFI data in". Automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
- "1980 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL MARK VI SIGNATURE SERIES 4-Door 5.8L V-8 data in". Automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
- "1980 Lincoln Mark VI 2-Door specs, performance, photo & data". Automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
- "1980 Lincoln Mark VI 4-Door specs, performance, photo & data". Automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
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