Automotive Mileposts  

1976 Continental Mark IV
Black Diamond Luxury Group

Could it be the rarest diamond of them all?

BLACK DIAMOND LUXURY GROUP AT A GLANCE:

Years Available: 1976 only
Introduction Date: March 1976
Production: 1,587 (938 with Code DA Black Leather trim; researching conflicting trim installation totals on remaining 649 cars)
Production Note: 317 were built with optional Moonroof
Body Color Code: 1L - Black Diamond Fire Metallic
Paint Stripe Code: Light Silver
Vinyl Roof Code: UA - Black Cayman Grain Custom Landau Vinyl Roof
Interior Trim Code: QA - Black Velour Cloth with Black Patent Leather Cross Straps
     DA - Black Leather with Black Patent Leather Cross Straps
     JS - Dove Grey Versailles Velour (currently researching this trim code)
     KS - Dove Grey Leather and Vinyl
Price: $552.00; $1,052.00 with Versailles Velour option

Image: 1976 Continental Mark IV with Black Diamond Luxury GroupIn 1973, Lincoln tried something new for the Continental Mark IV to increase sales and exclusivity: they introduced a limited edition model. Basically a pre-selected exterior paint color and interior trim package that wasn't available otherwise, there was really nothing special about it that set it apart, other than the unique color combination.

This tactic had worked well for the Mark IV's twin over at Ford Division, the Thunderbird. In fact, it had worked so well that it had been done several times, although the T-bird had offered a few special items to set its special cars apart from the rest, namely vinyl roof colors not otherwise available, engraved dash plaques denoting the car's special status, or distinctive wheel covers and other trim pieces to set them apart. (See 1963 Thunderbird Limited Edition Landau or 1965 Thunderbird Special Landau pages for details.) Going forward, however, the Thunderbird would follow the Mark IV's lead and limit special models to mostly unique color/trim combinations, and special bodyside striping that couldn't be had on other cars.

Image: Cayman Grain (Alligator) vinyl roofThe Black Diamond Luxury Group started off with a basic 1976 Continental Mark IV, painted in a special Black Diamond Fire Metallic paint (code 1L), which was introduced late in the year specifically for this option. Topped by a Custom Landau Black Cayman-grain vinyl roof (code UA) with wide chrome mouldings which featured a distinctive Alligator-grain vinyl pattern that came straight from the 1968-1971 Ford Thunderbird, and was still available through 1973 on T-birds without the Exterior Decor Group option. (This same vinyl pattern would also be used on the 1977-1978 Continental Mark V Pucci Designer Edition cars.) This particular vinyl has a shinier finish from the manufacturing process, giving it an almost patent leather look, although not quite that shiny. It does have a higher level of gloss than most automotive vinyls commonly used for vinyl roof installations, however.

A Power Sunroof or Power Moonroof was optional, and could be fitted at additional charge per the desire of the original purchaser. Additional exterior distinction was provided by a Light Silver paint stripe, which graced the body sides of the car and contrasted very nicely with the paint, vinyl roof, and interior color.Image: Light Silver paint stripe shown with Black Diamond Fire Metallic paint

Inside, a choice of Black Velour or Black Leather was available, both with Black Patent Leather Cross Straps. A few cars were reportedly built with either Dove Grey Versailles Velour or Dove Grey Leather and Vinyl, which were the same interiors used in the Cartier Designer Edition, but they used a different sew pattern, and did not feature the unique cross straps on the seats. The sew style used on the seats was the same as that in the other Luxury Group interiors. Even the luggage compartment was detailed with dark gray carpeting, side panels, and spare tire cover.

The Black Diamond Luxury Group was announced late in the year, so the production run was a short one, which makes this a rarely seen option today. In fact, many may not even be aware of their Mark IV's special status, since this beautiful color combination is very understated when compared to some of the others available in 1976. In fact, as recently as a year ago one of these cars was offered for sale locally, advertised as "triple black with leather seats." The seller of the car, who just happened to be the original owner, had no idea as to its special status, or had long ago forgotten about it. Tucked inside the glove compartment, was the original window sticker for the car, which indicated the Black Diamond Luxury Group option, priced at $552.

Black Diamond interior shown below in Black Velour with Black Patent Leather Cross Straps (code CA)
Image: 1976 Continental Mark IV Black Diamond Luxury Group interior in Black Velour
Black Diamond interior shown below in Black Leather with Black Patent Leather Cross Straps (code DA)
Image: 1976 Continental Mark IV Black Diamond Luxury Group interior in Black Leather
Black Diamond interior shown below in Dove Grey Versailles Velour (code JS*)
(*Researching this trim code, have reports of a "FS" code in 1976 as well.)
Image: 1976 Continental Mark IV Black Diamond Luxury Group Dove Grey Versailles Velour interior


1976 Continental Mark IV Contents

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