EARLY INTRODUCTION DATE: April 5, 1968
1969 MODEL YEAR INTRODUCTION: September 27, 1968
1968 CALENDAR YEAR PRODUCTION: 7,770
1969 CALENDAR YEAR PRODUCTION: 23,088
TOTAL PRODUCTION: 30,858
Body Style Code: 65A
VIN/Body Serial Code: 89
ENGINE: (Code A) 460 Cubic Inch V-8, 365 Horsepower
Bore and stroke: 4.36 x 3.85 inches/Compression ratio: 10.5:1
Autolite 4300 4-Barrel Carburetor (C8VF-9510J)
Dual Exhaust System with Mufflers and Resonators
(Code 1) 460 Cubic Inch V-8 (Low compression, export only)
TRANSMISSION: (Code U) C-6 Automatic, 3-Speed
WHEELBASE: 117.2 Inches
LENGTH: 216.1 Inches
WIDTH: 79.4 Inches
HEIGHT: 52.9 Inches
WEIGHT: 1968 Production: 4,739 Pounds; 1969 Production: 4,744 Pounds
TREAD: F/R 62.0/62.0
Head Room: Front 37.1 Inches/Rear 36.5 Inches
Leg Room: Front 42.1 Inches/Rear 34.7 Inches
Shoulder Room: Front 58.0 Inches/Rear 57.3 Inches
Hip Room: Front 58.3 Inches/Rear 60.4 Inches
Distance Between Front and Rear Passengers: 32.5 Inches
Usable Luggage Capacity: 13.5 cu. ft.
Windshield: 1,154 sq. in.
Side Windows: 1,181 sq. in.
Rear Window: 707.5 sq. in.
Total Glass Area: 3,042.5 sq. in.
Cooling System: 19.5 Quarts (with Heater)
Engine Oil: 5.0 Quarts
Fuel Tank: 24.0 Gallons (Premium)
Power Steering: 3.9 Pints
Rear Axle: 5.0 Pints (Conventional and Directed Power)
Transmission: 13.0 Quarts
Distributor Point Gap: 0.017 Inches (New Points)
Distributor Dwell: 26-31 Degrees (New Points)
Idle Speed: 550 rpm (Set with transmission in Drive, headlamps on, and air conditioning (if equipped) running on maximum cooling for minimum of 20 minutes with windows open)
Ignition Timing: 20 Degrees (B.T.D.C.) (Do not retard the initial advance beyond 2 degrees B.T.D.C.)
Spark Plugs: (Original Equipment) Size 18MM Type Autolite BF-42
Spark Plug Gap: 0.032-0.036 Inches
Spark Plug Torque: 15-20 lbs. ft.
Radiator Filler Cap: 12-15 P.S.I.
BATTERY: Autolite SV 29 HR (Original Equipment)
Ampere Hour Rating: 85
Terminal Polarity: Negative Ground
Number of Cells: 6
Number of Plates: 90
Standard: 55 amps
With Electric Defrost Rear Window: 65 amps
Key to the most authoritatively styled, decisively individual motorcar of this generation...
In April, 1968, the Lincoln-Mercury Division of Ford Motor Company introduced its new personal luxury car, the Continental Mark III. The last time this name was on a Lincoln was in 1958, on a car that Lincoln hoped would finally challenge Cadillac's hold at the top of the luxury car market. It wasn't a contender. The 1958 Lincoln was bigger than the Cadillac in just about every aspect: longer, lower, wider, heavier, bigger engine displacement, etc. But even in '58 bigger wasn't necessarily better. Most people objected the the new Lincoln's styling. Sharp angles jutted out from every side of the car; the rear window glass slanted in at the bottom, towards the passenger compartment. This created a very visored appearance from outside the car. The rear window was power-operated, and could be lowered at the touch of a button, which improved air circulation inside the car, and allowed the window to remain open in the rain. Lincoln knew it had made a mistake, almost immediately. 1958 was a bad year for car sales, and except for the new Thunderbird, which was a big hit, it was a horrible year for Ford (remember the Edsel).
The Continental Mark line was quietly discontinued after 1960, with the sleek new 1961 Lincolns all bearing the name Continental. Available in just two models, the new Continental four door sedans and convertibles were true works of art. Much smaller than 1958-1960, their clean, elegant styling sent the other manufacturers running to the styling studio to redesign their cars. This included Cadillac, with the influence of the 1961 Lincoln showing up on their 1963 models. But by the mid-sixties, the personal luxury car market was really booming. Cadillac would introduce its offering in 1967, a front wheel drive Eldorado. This required a response from Lincoln.
That response, as previously mentioned, came in the Spring of 1968. Introduced as a 1969 model, the new Mark III was criticized by the press at first, but after initial favorable public reaction, what the press had to say about the new car didn't matter much to luxury car buyers. Sharing its platform with the four door Thunderbird, the Mark III was highly refined. And there was no mistaking the fact that this was a luxury car: even the grille was a beautiful evolution of the classic Rolls Royce design. The Mark III remembered its heritage, too, in the spare tire bulge on the deck lid. The rear quarter panels on the car were "hunched up", which gave the car a very low appearance. Even though the cowl, windshield, and door glass were essentially shared with the Thunderbird, the two cars offered completely different appearances.
Inside, elegant fabrics and leathers were used, along with refinements in the seat padding. Two different wood veneers were used on the instrument panel, door panels, and rear quarter trim panels, to blend with the color-keyed interiors. A contrasting exterior paint stripe was standard, and a few cars were ordered with the paint stripe deleted. The Calvary Twill vinyl roof covering was optional during 1969 production, but few cars were so equipped, making painted roof Mark III's very rare today. The vinyl roof became standard in 1970, and remained so during the balance of Mark III production.
Sales of the 1969 Marks would almost equal those of the Eldorado, and the popularity of the line would continue to challenge the Eldorado into the seventies, when Cadillac would resort to using less expensive components in its cars, while Lincoln continued to look beyond conventional standards. The initial advertising for the Continental Mark III offered few words: "The Continental Mark III. The most authoritatively styled, decisively individual motorcar of this generation. From the Lincoln-Mercury Division of Ford Motor Company." And even today, few would dispute those words.