1970 Continental Mark III
TOTAL PRODUCTION: 21,432
INTRODUCTION DATE: September 19, 1969
Body Style Code: 65A
VIN/Body Serial Code: 89
|ENGINE: 460 Cubic Inch V-8 (365 Horsepower)
Bore and stroke: 4.36 x 3.85 inches
Compression ratio: 10.5:1
4-Barrel Carburetion/Dual Exhaust System
TRANSMISSION: C6 SelectShift Automatic, 3-Speed
WHEELBASE: 117.2 Inches
216.1 Inches (Overall length)
WEIGHT: 4,675 Pounds
TIRES: Michelin 225-15 BSW Steel Belted Radial Ply
|1970 Continental Mark III Body Construction:
1. Perimeter frame and rigidized body construction.
2. Energy-absorbing front end structure.
3. Wide, spacious floor with narrow floor tunnel.
4. Semi-hermetical passenger compartment with Flow-Thru Ventilation.
5. Four torque boxes that flex and twist to absorb shock.
6. 14 butyl-rubber cushioned body mounts located a low vibration points.
7. Five cross members provide strength and sturdiness.
8. Body mounting points computer designed to isolate passenger compartment.
Few changes were made to the Mark III for 1970. Few were needed. The vinyl roof became standard, and the parking lights now illuminated with the headlamps. The interior upholstery received a face-lift, eliminating the diamond-tufted look of the 1969 models. The simulated wood grain accents on the interior were upgraded to genuine Walnut veneer. The windshield wipers were hidden under the back edge of the hood, which also allowed heat in the engine compartment to dissipate better. Michelin steel belted radial ply tires were now provided as standard equipment, complete with a 40,000-mile tread wear guarantee. And the Three Spoke Rim-Blow Steering Wheel, which allowed the driver to operate the horns simply by squeezing the inner rim was a new feature, also standard. In addition to the new steering wheel, the ignition key was relocated to the steering column, and now featured a locking device that locked the steering wheel and the transmission selector lever when the key was removed. All GM products adopted this feature in 1969.
The twelve-mile road test which all Lincolns had endured since 1961 was eliminated, in favor of a road-test simulator. The simulator overcame the effects of bad weather, test driver opinion, and measuring devices that might not be adjusted properly. The new simulator also saved Ford a lot of time. And time is money. The new optional Stardust metallic paints used bronze particles to give the paint a golden sparkle, instead of the aluminum particles used previously. Another interesting change—one that was deleted early in production—was the time delay map light. Designed to remain on for a few seconds after the door closed, presumably to illuminate the ignition switch, it was a great idea that just didn't get the opportunity to catch on.
The Mark III's main competition was the Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado. Sales of the Mark III were a stone's throw from those of the Caddy, which must have concerned the folks at GM just a little. The Eldorado received a modest face-lift for 1970, and also got a new engine—the 8.2 Litre (500 cubic inch) V-8. Rated at 400 horsepower, this would be the largest engine to ever be installed in an American production car. The Eldorado utilized this engine through the 1976 model year.
With the numbers for the Mark III and Eldorado so close, this created a rivalry between the two cars. Motor Trend Magazine even began the first of what would be an annual review of the two cars, calling the article "King of the Hill", the magazine compared the two cars feature for feature. In the end, the Mark III won in areas of leather quality and seating configuration, as well as "sheer plushness...from a luxury standpoint", but lost to Eldorado on general organization of the driving compartment, instrument legibility, and headroom. Overall, the Mark III was given the edge. The response to the article was huge! Motor Trend received a large number of responses, professionally typed on crisp business letterheads. No comment is noted as to which marque received the most mail in its favor.
Advertising for the 1970 Mark III remained dignified and understated. Few words were used in ad copy, as well as the sales brochures. Apparently, Lincoln felt that the car could speak for itself. Lincoln was right. The Continental Mark III remains one of the most distinctive cars on the road. And the quality that was used to build the car is still very much evident in some of the high mileage examples that still exist. The 1970 Continental Mark III. A classic in its own time.