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Image: 1974 Continental Mark IV
1974 Continental Mark IV
1974 Continental Mark IV


1974 Mark IV Auctions


The Cadillac, The Gas,
and The Government

Exterior Paint Colors

Interior Trim

Standard Equipment

Optional Equipment

Gold Luxury Group

Saddle and White Luxury Group

Image: The 1974 Continental Mark IV: Judge Your Luxury Car By It


For 1974, the Continental Mark IV base price increased $1,210 to $10,194, which had to be a bit of a shocker to potential customers perusing the window stickers. But the price wasn't the only thing that got bigger for 1974. Overall length was up to 228.3 inches due to the new federally-mandated rear bumper, which had the same requirements imposed upon it that were given the front bumper back in 1973. Curb weight also increased to 5,362 pounds. Engine horsepower was bumped up a bit as well, to 220 horses, thanks in part to the new solid-state ignition system.

They say what goes up must come down, and with the price, length, weight, and horsepower all up for the year, something had to drop, right? That something was production. 1974 Mark IV sales for the model year dropped to 57,316 cars, a good showing when compared to the 40,412 for Cadillac's Eldorado, but dismal when you consider this represents a 12,121 unit decline from 1973 Mark IV sales. The gas shortage brought on by the OPEC oil embargo might be partially responsible, as demand for large cars seemed to be down across the board during this time.

Except for styling changes made to accommodate the new rear bumper, the external appearance was almost identical to 1973. Taillamps moved back into the rear quarter panels where they had been located during the Mark III years, and the deck lid kick-up became a bit more pronounced visually due to the rear bumper changes. Back-up lights, which had framed the license plate the previous two years were now integrated into the taillamps as well.

Structural reinforcements were made to provide additional protection during impacts, and the short-lived ignition/starter interlock system that required both front seat passengers to fasten their seat belts before the engine would crank were both new for 1974, as were a slew of options offered for the first time. One of these new options was the Gold Luxury Group [links in this article open in a new window], which was priced at $438 and was a companion to the Silver Luxury Group introduced the previous year. The Saddle and White Luxury Group was a third luxury group option introduced late during the 1974 model year, and was notable for its distinctive two tone leather upholstery.

Other new options for 1974 were the Autolamp On/Off Headlamp Delay System which allowed the driver to exit the car and have a lighted path to the door before the lights extinguished themselves automatically. A rheostat allowed the driver to determine how long the lights remained on. Power Vent Windows, a Power Glass Moonroof, and Illuminated Visor Vanity Mirrors were all attractive considerations for Lincoln's elite customer base.

The Quick Defrost Windshield and Rear Window were welcome in northern states with harsh weather, and cars equipped with this option were easily identified by the golden tint on the front and rear glass. A Space Saver Spare Tire added critical space in the luggage compartment, and reduced weight a bit.

Image: The 1974 Continental Mark IV - The car that has become a legend in its own timeTo help ensure that few Marks were exactly alike, 23 shades of paint were offered for the exterior finish. Combine that with 9 color coordinated paint stripe colors, and 8 vinyl roof colors (10 including Gold and Silver Luxury Groups), it was quite a selection. Inside, Westminster Cloth was standard in 7 colors, or Mark IV customers could choose optional Media Velour in 4 colors (5 including Silver Luxury Group), and 13 Genuine Leather for seating surfaces with vinyl seat facings. If you include all the Luxury Group leather configurations, the total came to 15.

At this point, it was apparent that the Mark IV was the first Lincoln to truly beat Cadillac in the sales race. The 1974 Eldorado, which was wearing styling introduced in 1971 but heavily face lifted in 1973, just wasn't being accepted as well by the public. Major styling changes were planned for 1975, in an attempt to be more competitive, which would remove the rear fender skirts and give the Eldorado a sportier flair. This move would also make the car appear less heavy, with more than just a subtle reminder of the first generation 1967-1970 Eldorados in their appearance.

The 1974 Continental Mark IV was not only a legend in its own time, it would remain a legend for all time.

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1974 Lincoln Continental

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