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1977 Continental Mark V
1977 Continental Mark V
1977 Continental Mark V

CONTENTS:

1977 Mark V Auctions

Production/Specifications

ARTICLE:
A Mark of Tradition

Exterior Paint Colors

Interior Trim

Standard Equipment

Optional Equipment

Dove Grey and Blue Luxury Group (Spring Feature Car)

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The 1977 Continental Mark V - The Mark of the Designers

The all new 1977 Continental Mark V made a very distinct impression on luxury car buyers in 1977. In fact, sales were up an incredible 143% with production of 80,321 cars, the best showing ever for the Mark series, and a 24,211 unit increase over 1976! The base price was also up to $11,396, although the standard equipment listing was modified again, this time to add an AM/FM radio with four speakers to replace the AM radio with two speakers provided in 1976.

While the Mark V was a completely new car, it was really more of an evolution of the Mark IV instead of a complete change from it. And there was little need to to make a complete change, as the Mark IV series had set new sales records and had succeeded in out selling its rival, the Cadillac Eldorado. This made it the first Lincoln model to truly be competitive year after year with the top luxury car in the land, and it broke the hold Cadillac had enjoyed for decades as the top luxury brand in the land. More Cadillacs overall were still sold than Lincolns, but in the personal luxury segment, the Mark was the undisputed sales leader.

All of the important Mark styling traits remained: the Rolls Royce-style grille, the deck lid kick up, the oval opera windows, concealed headlamps, Twin Comfort Lounge Seats, Cartier clock, etc. And while the lines of the car itself were more squared off, and a bit more severe or angular than the Mark IV, there is a strange familiarity to them. The Mark V was immediately recognizable as a Continental, yet its new appearance was absolutely stunning. The rounded lines of the Mark IV had been replaced with sharp chiseled features that gave the new Mark a continuation of styling, yet did so without giving up anything from the previous design. Not an easy task, but one that Lincoln's stylists certainly pulled off gracefully.

The previous Mark series was built for 5 years, from 1972-1976. The new Mark would last only 3 years and its final version, the 1979 edition, would be the last full sized personal luxury car to be built in America. It was truly the end of the line, and if any car were up to the task, it was the Mark V. Few people take issue with its styling, which is a work of art that truly required inspiration, dedication, and devotion from its stylists. A car of magnificent proportions, in a time when large cars were falling from grace. It's like the last summer fling of youth, when you know things will never be the same again. Many bought a Mark V knowing that cars of this size would not be available much longer, and that smaller, more economical cars would never be able to provide the presence of a Mark V.

New standard equipment for 1977 included a 400 cubic inch V-8 engine with 2-barrel carburetion. Functional Fender Louvers helped the engine keep its cool and provided a classic look to the front fenders. A day/date feature was added to the Cartier timepiece in the instrument panel, and the previously mentioned AM/FM radio with four speakers provided a wider range of radio stations to listen to, and its four speakers provided much better sound quality as well. This was not a stereo radio, that remained an option at $143.

New options for the 1977 Mark V included the formerly standard 460 V-8 engine which was not available on cars destined for California delivery. The High Altitude Emission Equipment package was a no charge option required on vehicles delivered in areas over 4000', and required the 460-4V engine. A new Illuminated Entry System turned on interior courtesy lights and lit up the exterior door lock when the outside door handle was lifted. The Defroster Group included an Electric Rear Window Defroster and paired it with a new Heated Left-Hand Remote Control Mirror, which put an end to scraping ice off the mirror face. Beautiful new Turbine-Style Cast Aluminum Wheels debuted for 1977, and were a commonly ordered option on the Mark V.

The popular Luxury Group Option returned as well with a new Cordovan/White color scheme, as well as a new Majestic Velour Luxury Group that focused on the interior materials (this was first offered late in the 1975 model year as the Versailles Velour interior). The Blue Diamond, Black Diamond, Desert Sand, Lipstick/White, Saddle/White, Jade/White Luxury Groups of 1976 were all dropped.

1977 Continental Mark V: The Mark of the Designers Ad (click to view larger image)Lincoln continued to promote its Designer Edition Mark V with an ad campaign featuring the tag line, "The Mark of the Designers" which showed images of the designers themselves inspecting material sample proposals submitted for use on their special edition cars, as well as photographs of the designers taken with their car. The Designer Edition Marks continued to feature unique color and trim assortments, designer signatures in opera windows, and included a 22-Karat Personalized Instrument Panel Plaque to distinguish them from other Marks.

Interiors were very similar to the Mark IV, with instrument panels almost identical to the previous series. An attractive new metallic finish graced the panels around the headlamp switch, speedometer, clock, transmission quadrant, fuel gauge, and wiper control. Instruments and controls were located in almost the exact same place as the Mark IV series, which made the transition from Mark IV to Mark V easier for repeat Lincoln customers.

One item that didn't make it to the Mark V series was the rear seat center fold-down arm rest. Provided as standard equipment on both the Mark III and Mark IV, it was strangely absent from all Mark V cars, except for the 1978 Diamond Jubilee Edition and the 1979 Collector's Series. Even cars equipped with one of the Designer Editions or Luxury Groups would not offer a rear center arm rest. Cadillac's Eldorado had never offered one, although it would be included as part of the top of the line Biarritz package, an expensive trim option that was introduced by Cadillac late in the 1976 model year, no doubt partly as a response to the Designer Marks, which were attracting a lot of attention.

17 colors were offered for the finish, and 16 different shades were available for the bodyside striping. Vinyl roofs could be had in full or half vinyl (Landau) styles in up to 12 different colors. Interiors ranged from a standard velour cloth in 7 colors to optional leather and vinyl in 14 shades. Luxury Groups came with two tone leather and vinyl or Romano Velour upholstery, in a total of 5 colors. The Majestic Velour Luxury Group offered 4 colors of soft, lush crushed velour that covered almost every inch of the interior.

The 1977 Continental Mark V was a huge success that accomplished everything anyone could have asked of it. It set new sales records; introduced a new look and model that retained all the important styling touches of previous Marks; it was the top seller in the ongoing battle for market supremacy with the Cadillac Eldorado (80,321 Mark Vs sold vs. 47,344 Eldorados); and it continued Lincoln's tradition of a silent, smooth ride with handling suitable for a luxury car of this stature. And unknown to many at the time, it would be the last full sized personal luxury car design to be introduced. Demands were changing, and the Mark would be forced to change with them in just a few short years, but for 1977, The Mark of the Designers was the place to be.


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