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1976 Continental Mark IV
Desert Sand Luxury Group

Distinctive two tone paint was a first for Lincoln

DESERT SAND LUXURY GROUP AT A GLANCE:

Years Available: 1976 only
Introduction Date: March 1976
Body Color Code: 6U - Tan and 5Q Dark Brown Metallic
Paint Stripe Code: Dark Brown and Tan (Custom - unique to this luxury group)
Vinyl Roof Code: FU - Tan Full Vinyl Roof
Interior Trim Code: DZ - Saddle Leather
     GU - Tan Versailles Crushed Velour
Price: $1,525.00 with Leather, $1,725 with Velour

1976 Continental Mark IV with Desert Sand Luxury Group

Lincoln was enjoying great success in 1976 with its Luxury Group and Designer Series cars. Unique color schemes made them stand out, and they were inexpensive to produce which meant the profit margin for each one sold was quite good.

Two Luxury Groups were introduced in March 1976, the Black Diamond and this—the Desert Sand Luxury Group. Both were exceptionally beautiful, but the Desert Sand is arguably the more distinctive of the two. In what was a first for Lincoln, daring two tone paint appeared. Featuring Tan (code 6U) on most of the body, the front bumper filler panel, headlamp panel, hood, tops of the front fenders and doors, as well as the A-pillars and roof reveal around the vinyl top mouldings were painted Dark Brown Metallic (code 5Q). A custom Tan and Dark Brown paint stripe ran along the body side to serve as a color separator.

A Tan Full Vinyl Roof (Code FU) with Tan mouldings topped off the car in high style. What made this car so interesting visually is that when observed from the rear, it appeared to be a solid Tan color with matching vinyl roof, but when observed from the front or in profile, the daring paint scheme became an eye catcher. This was quite an unusual look for Lincoln, which had largely resisted using the bright, glaring colors that Cadillac seemed so fond of during the mid-seventies. So when Cadillac rolled out Mandarin Orange Firemist, Lime Firemist, and Cranberry Firemist, Lincoln responded with more subdued shades of Moondust Metallic that were beautiful but very conservative in appearance compared to the competition.

It's interesting to note that when Cadillac said goodbye to its final full size Fleetwood Eldorado in 1978, it did so with the Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classic, which featured the exact same two tone color scheme as the 1976 Desert Sand Mark IV!

Inside the Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classic, the pillowed leather upholstery featured contrasting piping, bolsters and interior side panels, which was a bit more daring than the Saddle Leather (code DZ) or Tan Versailles Crushed Velour (code GU) of the Mark IV. Several of the Luxury Group Marks for 1976 featured two tone leather upholstery, which was becoming popular at the time, and would continue to be offered on the 1977-1979 Continental Mark V.

As most would expect due to its late introduction, very few Mark IVs were built with the Desert Sand Luxury Group. There are reports that a couple were built with a Dark Brown Custom Landau Vinyl Roof, as well as one with the color scheme reversed, where the Dark Brown was the primary color with Tan the secondary, and it featured a Dark Brown Custom Landau Vinyl Roof, although it's not clear if this was done at the factory, or at the dealer level.

One thing is for certain: you are not going to find another one of these at a car show, nor will most people, and in some cases even Lincoln experts, know what this is when they see it. The Desert Sand Luxury Group option was yet another way Lincoln gave everyone the chance to make their own Mark in 1976.

Desert Sand Luxury Group paint stripe detail
Desert Sand Luxury Group paint stripe detail
1976 Desert Sand Luxury Group rear quarter detail
Desert Sand Luxury Group rear quarter detail
(Click to view larger images)