For 1969, Lincoln Continental production dropped again, although only slightly.
Change would be coming for 1970, but would it be enough to reverse the
sales declines of the previous few years?
Above: Lincoln's 460 V-8 engine developed 365 horsepower, and was designed
to provide emission control without adding additional external pumps or
|September 27, 1968
TOP LINE: MODEL/BODY CODE/MODEL NAME/BASE PRICE
BOTTOM LINE: WEIGHT/PRODUCTION
- 80 65A Lincoln Continental Coupé $5,813
- Weight: 5,085 lbs. Built: 9,032
- 82 53A Lincoln Continental Sedan $6,046
- Weight: 5,185 lbs. Built: 29,351
- 82 53A Executive Limousine $--
- Weight: -- Built: 93
|A - 460 CID V-8
1 - 460 CID V-8 (low compression for export)
|Bore and Stroke: 4.36 x 3.85 inches
Compression Ratio: 10.50:1
Brake Horsepower: 365 @ 4600 rpm
Torque: 485 lb.-ft. @ 2800 rpm
Carburetor: Autolite 4V (C8VF-9510J)
||Select-Shift Turbo-Drive Automatic
REAR AXLE CODE
REAR AXLE RATIO
2.80:1 Directed power
3.00:1 Directed power
|9.15 x 15 Firestone brand
Dual Chamber Tires with Unique Whitewall Design (Goodyear Power Cushion
Life Guard brand)
|Dual hydraulic system
Front: Self-adjusting ventilated disc
Rear: Drum type
Front Tread: 62.1 inches
Rear Tread: 61.0 inches
|Length: 224.2 inches
Width: 79.7 inches
Height: Coupé: 54.2 inches; Sedan: 54.2 inches
Trunk: 18.0 cubic feet
|Front headroom: Coupé: 38.8"; Sedan: 39.4"
Rear headroom: Coupé: 38.0"; Sedan: 38.6"
Front legroom: Coupé: 41.0"; Sedan: 41.0"
Rear legroom: Coupé: 37.1"; Sedan: 40.5"
Front shoulder room: Coupé: 59.8"; Sedan: 59.8"
Rear shoulder room: Coupé: 59.3"; Sedan: 59.8"
|Fuel Tank: 25 gallons
Cooling System: 25 qts. (with heater)
|For the 1969 auto show circuit, Lincoln built a special show car named
the Town Sedan. It consisted of an open roof front chauffeur compartment
with a padded, vinyl-covered hardtop roof over the rear compartment. This
car was inspired by the 1964-1965 Lincoln Town Brougham show cars, which
required special handling due to the structural issues of removing the
front roof section. It also included electric door openers, front bucket
seats with center console, a telephone, and a Philco color TV mounted in
This would be the sixth and final show car created by Lincoln during the
1960s, not including the stainless steel convertibles which weren't specifically
created as Lincoln show cars.
|1969 was the first year for:
- New 460 engine was standard at model introduction
- Front seat head rests became standard on January 1, 1969
1969 was the last year for:
- Center-opening rear doors
- Unit body construction
- Center floor console with Individually Adjustable Front Seats option
- Rear Defogger with Environmental Control option
- Separate FM stereo multiplex adapter unit
1969 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL:
EPILOGUE ON THE SIXTIES
As the 1969 Lincoln Continentals began showing up in dealer showrooms,
preparations for the 1970 models were already well underway, with the most
significant changes to the line since the award winning 1961 models. Lincoln
entered the decade in search of a new identity that would offer a consistent
look going forward. Lincoln wanted something it could build on, and that
all happened during the 1960s. But this all did not come without a price.
People loved their Lincolns so much, they were holding onto them longer
than normal. And with few appearance changes, there was little incentive
to buy the latest model when it looked so much like the older ones.
An attractive restyling for 1966 helped considerably, as did a reduction
in price brought about by moving items from the standard equipment list
to the optional equipment list. But sales dropped off for 1967, and failed
to recover for 1968 and 1969. It was obvious the time had come for a more
dramatic change to the line, but Lincoln wanted to ensure a consistent
look that would allow the new cars to be immediately identified as Lincolns.
1969 would be the final year for the graceful and distinctive center-opening
rear doors. Lincoln was focusing on what it called "conquest sales"
from Cadillac, which was the luxury leader at the time. Conquest sales
identified customers who had been traditional Cadillac customers, who decided
to switch to Continental. Since Cadillac's sales were way in front of Lincoln's
and Imperial's, it was the one to focus on (or more correctly, Cadillac's
customers were the ones to focus on.)
Many of the changes Lincoln made during the decade were in response to
suggestions and criticisms from Cadillac customers. Increased interior
room was the first, reducing base prices to put them more in line with
those of Cadillac was second, and doing away with the rear doors that opened
backwards was another. Since the 1970 models would be all-new, this meant
1969 would be the end of the road for the "suicide door" Lincolns.
The new Continental Mark III was very popular, and brought lots of potential
customers into Lincoln showrooms. Overall, Lincoln Division sales were
up sharply in 1969, due solely to the Mark III, which contributed 30,858
units to the total. There's no doubt that some customers purchased a new
Mark III instead of one of the other two models, but that was perfectly
fine as they all contributed to the bottom line.
The new 460 engine introduced during the model year in 1968 was smooth,
powerful, and met emissions requirements without extra equipment being
added to it. Styling revisions to the front and rear of the car gave the
'69 models an updated look, but were relatively minor. Lincoln's major
competitors, the Cadillac and Imperial, both introduced all new styling
for 1969, which certainly may have hurt Lincoln's sales a bit.
Advertising for 1969 included both Coupé and Sedan models, normally
parked on a large expanse of lawn with a mansion in the background. Ad
copy was minimal, which seemed to be the trend among some luxury cars at
the time. Cadillac also included minimal text in many of its ads, but Imperial
was more verbose in its ads, outlining the things that set it apart from
the competition, and advising that anyone spending that much money ought
to know what they're getting for it. It worked to some degree, as Imperial
had a better year in '69 than in any other in recent history.
Lincoln built a Town Sedan show car for the 1969 auto show circuit. It
was very much like the 1964-1965 Lincoln Continental Town Brougham show
cars, and featured an open roof over the front seat area and a padded vinyl-covered
rear roof section. The '69 version featured a stock '69 Lincoln center
grille coupled with Continental Mark III style concealed headlamps. It
included the new Town Car interior option sew style for the seating, with
a center console up front complete with telephone, and a fixed section
separating the front and rear seating areas. A window could be raised to
provide privacy in the rear compartment. The exterior door handles were
removed and electric door openers were installed, which gave the sides
of the car a very clean appearance. In the division between the front and
rear compartments, a color television tilted down for the enjoyment of
If you're considering restoring a '69 Continental, you should seek out
the cleanest original car available. These cars are expensive to restore,
and at this point in time don't have the resale value to justify an expensive
restoration, if you're likely to sell it once done. Rust in the rear quarters
and under the vinyl roof, rear window moldings, and/or vinyl roof moldings
can be expensive to repair. Electrical issues can also be time consuming
to troubleshoot and repair.
These big, heavy cars handle and drive very well, the 460 engine has all
the power you could ask for, and can offer decent fuel economy if driven
carefully. The front disc/rear drum brakes were the best in the industry
at the time, and still perform well in today's traffic.