|Introducing the Continental Mark IV Designer Series.
Make a Mark for yourself.
Shown at left:
1976 Continental Mark IV in optional Cinnamon Gold Moondust paint with Dark Saddle Normande Grain Landau Vinyl Roof
1976 Continental Mark IV
1976 Mark IV Auctions
The High Fashion World
of The Continental
Exterior Paint Colors
Vinyl Roof Colors and Codes
Introducing the 1976
Bill Blass Edition Mark IV
Cartier Edition Mark IV
Givenchy Edition Mark IV
Pucci Edition Mark IV
1976 Silhouette Mark IV
Black Diamond Luxury Group
Desert Sand Luxury Group
1976 would be the final year for the successful Continental Mark IV program at Lincoln. For 1977, a new Mark V would be introduced and would set new sales records for the line. For 1976, Lincoln still had a few surprises in store for its customers. The biggest news of the year was the introduction of the Designer Series Mark IV. Top fashion and jewelry designers Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Emilio Pucci all made their mark with special edition cars that bore their name. Each car featured a unique color combination that was elegant and distinctive, as well as highly creative. [Please visit the linked pages for specific details on each designer edition.]
In a somewhat strange move, Lincoln dropped quite a few items from the standard equipment list for 1976. These included the Sure-Track Braking System, Power Lock Convenience Group, Speed Control, Tilt Steering Wheel, and the AM/FM/Multiplex Stereo Radio. In a press release, Lincoln stated this was done to ensure the greatest amount of choice for the customer, as well as achieve the lowest possible sticker price. This move may have had the desired effect, as sales increased from 1975 by 8,965 cars, which was significant since the Mark IV was in its 5th year without major changes, which traditionally is a low point in sales prior to a restyle.
The changes to the standard equipment line up resulted in a price drop to $11,060, which is just $22 less than the 1975 base price, so really it was no big deal to Lincoln's wealthy customers. While most Mark IVs were ordered with these items anyway, it would have been a bit strange to come across a new one with just an AM radio with two front door speakers, which was all you got in standard form. An AM/FM/Multiplex (stereo) radio was just $148 extra, and came with 4 speakers, although many opted for the new Quadrasonic 8-Track Tape System, which utilized a separate sound track for each of the 4 speakers, giving the listener a new dimension in stereophonic sound. Reproduction quality by today's standards wasn't all that great, due to the limits of the 8-track tape design, which had an inherent degree of background hiss on even the best quality tapes. However, for the late seventies, it sounded pretty good considering that little more than a decade earlier about all you could get in a car was an AM pushbutton radio with rear speaker. Most likely the latest disco tune was being played when these cars were new, since that was the most popular music format at the time.
Notable new options for 1976 were an AM/FM/MPX "Search" radio, the previously mentioned AM/FM/Multiplex Radio with Quadrasonic 8-Track Tape System, a Fuel Economy Reminder Light, and Wide-Band White Sidewall Tires. A plush new Versailles Velour Interior was made available, and at $1,033 it was a pricey consideration. Available in four colors, (Medium Blue, Dark Red, Jade, and Tan), the interior trim option featured yards of Majestic Cloth Crushed Velour upholstery on almost everything that could be covered with it, including seats, headliner, interior roof moldings, door panels, rear quarter trim panels, etc. A floating pillow effect for the seats was made popular by the 1972 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Regency, which was the first production car to feature such a seat design. This car was built in recognition of Oldsmobile's 75th Anniversary, and featured a special Tiffany & Co. clock in the instrument panel.
In addition to the four Designer Series Marks mentioned previously, an unprecedented array of Luxury Group options were available for the 1976 Mark IV. These included the Blue Diamond, Saddle/White, and Lipstick/White options carried over from previous years, and was expanded in 1976 to add the Gold/Cream, Red/Rosé, Jade/White, and Light Jade/Dark Jade Luxury Groups. A customer could Custom design their car by mixing and matching within these color combinations to create their own Mark. For instance, with the Gold/Cream option, a choice of Cream or Bright Yellow Gold Diamond Fire Metallic paint could be selected. Then, choose a vinyl roof in full or half style, in Cream or Medium Gold for the color. Paint stripes contrasted the paint color, in either...you got it...Cream or Light Gold. In the thumbnail image above, the paint, vinyl roof, and bodyside moldings are all in a matching Cream color, which creates a monotone effect. Any of these items could have been Gold in color, which would have given the car a very different look.
Further, one could choose to match the wide bodyside molding to the paint color, or contrast it. For instance, a Cream colored car could have either Cream moldings to blend, or Gold to contrast and stand out. Inside, two tone leather was standard with the Luxury Group option, with the darker color for instrument panel, carpeting, steering column, headliner, roof moldings, etc., and the lighter shade for seating surfaces, door panel inserts, and the like as an accent color.
In 1976, it was easy to make a Mark of your own with the Continental Mark IV, a car that was said to be a legend in its own time as well as the most beautiful car in America. The hard part was being able to pick just one Mark.