1970 was the first altogether new Lincoln Continental in nearly a decade. Lincoln's most visible styling trait of nearly a decade was now gone: center-opening rear doors!
1970 was first year for:
- Concealed headlamps
- Rear fender skirts (since 1960)
- Concealed electric wipers
- Locking steering column
- Headlamp doors closed light
- Vinyl-insert bodyside molding
- Bodyside paint stripe
- Automatic seatback release
America's most distinguished motorcar introduced new dimensions in spaciousness,
luxury, and appointments for 1970. Despite all-new styling and bigger proportions,
sales of the 1970 Lincoln Continental slipped, coming to just 82.6% of
the previous year...
Above: 1970 Lincoln Continental Coupé shown in Light Blue with optional
Black vinyl roof and Luxury Wheel Covers.
With all-new styling inside and out, the 1970 Lincoln Continental should
have been a big hit. Base price increased by only 2.7%, despite offering
more standard equipment than ever before. Surprisingly, sales fell from
the previous year. In 1969, a total of 38,383 Lincoln Continentals were
built. For 1970, this figure dropped to 31,695, a mere 82.6% of the previous
year's sales. This happened despite arch-rival Cadillac competing with
a one year old body style, and Cadillac was setting new sales records for
the year. Of course, Cadillac offered a wider selection of models to choose
from, which certainly broadened Cadillac's appeal.
Lincoln' s new styling was generally considered to be an evolution of the
classic and much-loved design introduced for 1961, and quality control
was better than ever. Interior room was more generous than ever before.
So why weren't the people with the bucks buying them in record numbers?
That's a tough one to answer. Sales of the Sedan would drop again slightly
for 1971, but the Coupé would see an increase, although sales would
still be less than in 1969. This would all change in 1972, however, when
a design change was made to the rear door area on the Sedan. Instead of
having the kick up at the top of the door angle up gradually, the kick
up area was moved to the very rear of the door and was sharply rounded
upward where it met the roof line. Full-length upper body moldings also
returned, for the first time since 1969. These fairly small styling changes
must have been a good ones, as sales of both Lincoln models were up for
1972. Of course, the all-new Continental Mark IV sitting next to them in
dealer showrooms might have helped as well.
The 12-mile test drive and inspection process that had been in place for
years was discontinued for 1970, replaced with a road test simulator and
other computer-aided tests that eliminated the human interpretation from
the results. Equipment was checked and adjusted daily to ensure minimal
variations from the standards. Visual inspections were still performed
by a human, as were checks to ensure components were operating as intended,
but in areas where time could be saved by using new test procedures, and
the tests would still guarantee a high quality product was delivered, these
steps were taken. For instance, a new piece of test equipment pressurized
the interior and stethoscopes were used to test for air leaks around the
doors and windows.
In many ways, the new 1970 Lincoln was a better automobile than earlier
versions, and it provided the foundation that would carry the line through
the end of the decade. Big changes would be in store for Lincoln as it
headed into the next decade, which ushered in an era of smaller, more fuel
efficient cars. If you want full size luxury, a smooth ride and an isolated
interior environment, the 1970 Lincolns are a great choice.