Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1989 Lincoln Mark VII Bill Blass Edition
It's the big premier. You're on the red carpet, cameras are flashing, and the big question is who are you wearing? Versace? Gucci? Cartier? Givenchy? Valentino? - all are relevant world-renowned designer labels that consumers shell out their high-limit credit cards for, and all were at one time or another, special "Designer Series" editions of the Lincoln Continental Mark Series. But Bill Blass you say... who might that be?
For consignment a woman's shoe and handbag designer lends his name for a Marquee edition of the Lincoln Mark VII Continental. In an age where high limit credit cards are used to shell out big dollars just for a name brand or designer brand, this car was the longest running example of such a deal.
For this year, Lincoln broke with several traditions. One being gone are the long and boxy designed previous editions that were held on to with tooth and nail and finally the top brass decided to acquiesce and forego the hidden headlights and utilize the much smaller rounded design for this year's car. Unlike GM and Chrysler, whose downsized cars were mostly generic unemotional boxes, Ford didn't sacrifice style in the process of going smaller with the Mark VII, giving it a look that was like no other car on the market. Even more impressive is how designers managed to incorporate traditional Mark Series styling cues - such as a prominent radiator grille, long hood and short deck (it is a Foxbody car after all), rakish (for the class) roofline, and even a Continental spare tire bulge - seamlessly into the modern, aerodynamic sheet metal for a contemporary stately elegance. Our excellent example is bathed in Twilight Blue Metallic. A few areas that have suffered a bit are among the rockers and their stainless trimming joints, where some bubbling underlying rust can be seen through the paint. All else is shiny and some features new to this year are a numeric pad entry code, an aftermarket sunroof, aircraft styled door sills that wrap slightly into the roofline, and a gracefully swooping rear glass that eventually ends up on a smoothed over spare tire hump on the back. Wire wheels top off this car's elegant looks befitting to wear the famous designer's name.
Tasteful Titanium Gray flirts with faux wood panels for the doors and full on leather on the overstuffed seats. These big buckets up front have severe padded panels in the Titanium leather color and sport buttons for that extra oomph of luxury. In the center is an undulating center console which houses window and side view mirror controls, an ash receptacle, and shift lever. These are all within more faux wood paneling which rises to the center dash where we can tune the aftermarket neatly mounted AM/FM/CD player, temp controls, or play with a litany lineup of toggles that will bring various blue readout displays at the touch of your fingers. Interestingly the dash did not get the rounded look message and hangs on top of the square and rectangle design motif that the exterior has since forgotten. Displays are all in blue and all in LED readouts, and are with square panels in front of the driver. Gray carpeting floods the floors, and a nice tight gray headliner floats above the massive overstuffed rear bench that could double as a queen size bed in a pinch if the mood so motivates you.
All stuffed under the long aero, euro styled hood and behind the iconic grille is a 5.0 Liter V8 fed by EFI. Some slight patina and light corrosion is noted on various cast aluminum parts, but overall very clean and there are a long list of maintenance records that have been meticulously kept over its years of service. An AOD 4-speed automatic transmission is on back with a Ford 8.8-inch rear axle with 3.08 gears.
Straight structurally sound steel which is remaining rust free unibody construction supports the upper car and drivetrain. Slight surface rust is forming on the rear pumpkin and axle and lightly on the brake housings but remains mostly unremarkable. Suspension is Macpherson strut airbag for the front, and a 4 link with more airbags for the rear. A totally smooth ride is obtained for any conditions. Power disc brakes are on all 4 corners, and dual exhaust is in inspection passing condition.
A quick starter and a smooth idle where I did not even realize it was running! I hopped in the luxurious leather interior and on the test track was treated to total comfort and ergonomic controls right at my fingertips. Nice acceleration, good solid braking, and even nimble handling for that bagged suspension. Definitely a great cruiser. The power antenna resisted the coaxing of my fingertip, as did the high beams which did not stay on with my steering mounted stalk. All else worked perfectly.
A fine example of the new aero, smooth compact exterior restyling to
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