1979 Continental Mark V
1979 Collector's Series Continental Mark V in Midnight Blue Metallic, one of four colors available.
COLLECTOR'S SERIES AT A GLANCE:
The Highest Expression of Luxury
If you were somehow able to travel back in time and purchase a classic automobile brand new, and retain it over the years as an investment, wouldn't you jump at the chance? Lincoln gave everyone the opportunity to do just that in 1979. The Collector's Series was Lincoln's way of bidding farewell to the full size luxury cars it had been building. And in doing so, it provided the opportunity to purchase a future classic. Somewhat of a dinosaur by 1979, the Mark V was the last personal luxury car built on a full size platform. Cadillac had downsized the Eldorado for 1979, and was enjoying rejuvenated sales on its foot shorter wheelbase, after shedding 1,150 pounds and 20 inches in overall length. Cadillac wasted no time in advertising the advantages of its smaller size when compared to the Lincoln. The new car buying public knew this would be the last year for large automobiles, and rushed to purchase one of the last ones, despite the fuel economy (or lack of).
Contributing to the departure of the big Lincoln was the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirement that mandated a 19 mpg minimum average for all cars built by a manufacturer. In California, the Mark V was rated at the bottom of the barrel, at just 10 mpg. Healthy sales of the big Lincolns during the Fall of 1978 were placing Ford perilously close to the 19 mpg minimum. The penalty for failing to meet the average minimum requirement was severe—five dollars for each one tenth of a mile per gallon below the requirement for each car produced. Ford responded in December 1978 by raising the prices on Lincolns, while leaving the price of its other cars untouched. This must have been a bitter pill for Lincoln to swallow, having to discourage sales by raising sticker prices in its farewell year as a large car.
One might think the final blow would have come in February 1979, when a sudden fuel crisis caused by the Iranian revolution led to a slow market for big cars. But Lincoln was surprisingly resilient. Sales during this period dipped, which helped Ford's CAFE requirement, but overall sales remained quite good. This changed by late Spring, when long lines at gasoline stations virtually halted sales of large heavy cars. Chrysler came very close to not surviving, and Ford and GM were not fairing much better. By late Summer, Lincoln dealers were struggling to sell the last of the large Lincolns before the new smaller, more efficient 1980 models were introduced. The last Mark V was built on June 8, 1979, ending this chapter in Lincoln's very distinguished history.
The 1979 Collector's Series Mark V was equipped essentially the same as the Diamond Jubilee Edition of 1978; virtually every Lincoln luxury was provided as standard equipment on these cars (a complete list is provided below). Offered in just two colors initially, Midnight Blue Moondust Metallic and White, two additional colors, Light Silver Moondust Metallic and Crystal Blue Moondust Metallic, were offered later in the year. Both of the Blue paint shades featured Midnight Blue Landau vinyl roofs, as did the Silver-painted cars. The White ones were equipped with a White Landau vinyl roof. There are reports that a few White cars were also built with the blue vinyl roof, and perhaps a handful of Collector's Series cars were delivered without a vinyl roof at all!
Midnight Blue Kasman II luxury cloth bucket seats and a console were standard, however Twin Comfort Lounge Seats in the Luxury Group Option sew style were also available in a choice of Midnight Blue Leather [link opens in new window] or White Leather. A price reduction was provided for the leather-equipped cars, which did not include the console. Cars with White leather also did not feature the cloth-covered door or quarter trim panels, package tray or garnish moldings. Nor did they have the switches for the rear seat reading lights. Unique paint stripes on the bodyside and hood, as well as Collector's Series script on the rear roof quarters, gave the Collector's Series unique touches. Unlike other Mark V models, these cars did not include Opera Windows. Gold colored grille bars and a padded contoured decklid accent with matching vinyl insert lock cover ensured distinction from all angles. Exceptions seem to prevail here too, as a few reportedly were built sans the vinyl accent on the decklid kickup and lock cover.
The changing luxury car market—due in part to competition from the imports, the fuel crisis, and Cadillac's downsizing in 1977, all put Lincoln on the defensive in the late seventies. Advertising during this time reflected Lincoln's position. Ultimately, only time will tell the true value of these cars, designed to be collectible from day one. The 1979 Mark V Collector's Series is Lincoln's supreme achievement, the pinnacle of American luxury car design that has its roots buried in the age when bigger was better, style was based on grand visions, and a powerful engine under the hood provided status and became part of the American dream. Automotive styles and visions may change with time, but excellence, quality, and standards don't. With a lineage that goes back to the original 1939 Lincoln Continental, the Mark V Collector's Series was a dream car that was also a reality. The highest expression of luxury. And it always will be.
Collector's Series Standard Equipment
Unique paint stripes on bodyside and hood
Valino grain Landau vinyl roof
Color-keyed Landau roof insert (no Opera Windows)
Landau roof molding with integral Coach Lamps
Special hood ornament
Gold color grille bars
Bright edged fender louvers
Wheel lip/rocker panel moldings
Right-hand remote control mirror
Padded contoured decklid accent with matching
vinyl insert lock cover
Color-keyed bumper guards and bumper rub strips
(Midnight Blue on the blue and silver cars/
Gold on the white cars*)
Color-keyed turbine-style spoke cast aluminum wheels
Appearance protection group
18 ounce carpeting in luggage compartment and on
36 ounce floor carpeting in passenger compartment
Midnight Blue bucket seats in Kasman II luxury
cloth with six-way power seat and passenger
recliner or Twin Comfort Lounge seats with
leather seating surfaces
Power Lumbar driver's seat
Padded leather seat-side shield and back shell
Seat back assist straps and map pockets
Woodtone applique on seat back trim
Padded leather-covered console and rear seat
fold-down center armrest
Tilt steering wheel with unique woodtone insert
Leather-wrapped dash pad
Unique instrument panel applique
Power lock convenience group
Electronic AM/FM Stereo Search radio with
Automatic Garage Door Opener Control
Digital Miles-To-Empty fuel indicator
Seat belt reminder chimes
Interior light group
Unique door and quarter trim
Bright trim on foot controls
Cloth-wrapped package tray and garnish moldings
Leather-bound owner's manual
Leather-wrapped tool kit
Headlamp Convenience Group
Power vent windows
Illuminated Entry System
Michelin radial tires
*White Collector's Series cars have also been documented with Midnight Blue Turbine Wheels and Black bumper guards and rub strips. It is not known if they were specially ordered in this configuration.
Padded decklid accent and console storage compartment
Umbrella is provided, stores out of sight in console armrest when not needed.
Front seat backs have assist straps and map pockets with Ebony woodtone applique.
Owner's manual and tool kit are covered in matching Midnight Blue leather.
Door panels are covered in luxury cloth and feature Ebony woodtone applique accents. Yes, that good looking guy is pre-"Magnum, P.I."'s Tom Selleck.
If you prefer White, you may have it. Light Silver Moondust Metallic and Crystal Blue Moondust Metallic (both quite rare) were also available.
Front bucket seats are six-way power, feature center console, driver lumbar support, and passenger recliner. Trimmed in plush Midnight Blue Kasman II Luxury Cloth.
Rear seat passengers enjoy the same luxurious treatment as the front seat passengers. Center fold-down armrest in standard. Note the padded luxury cloth on the rear quarter trim panels. Switch on panel activates reading lamp.
Collector's Series 1979 Mark V
$21,326 with cloth bucket seats
$20,926 with leather Twin Comfort Lounge seats
TOTAL PRODUCTION: 6,262
Midnight Blue: 3,900
Diamond Blue: 197
Automotive Mileposts would like to thank Ron Fenelon, a true gentleman, for providing additional details and clarification regarding the information for this page.
|View original 1979 Collector's Series Lincoln Continental and Mark V advertisement|
Collector's Series instrument panel is leather-wrapped, features unique applique; Ebony woodtone
and brushed chrome inserts provide additional distinction.
All You Ever Wanted to Know About Classic Personal Luxury Cars