1978 Continental Mark V
Above: 1978 Diamond Jubilee Edition Continental Mark V shown in Diamond Blue
INTRODUCTION DATE: October 7, 1977
TOTAL PRODUCTION: 72,602
Diamond Jubilee: 5,159
Diamond Blue: 2,602 | Jubilee Gold: 2,557
Bill Blass: 3,975 | Cartier: 8,520 | Givenchy: 917 | Pucci: 3,125
(Diamond Jubilee and Designer Editions included in total above)
Body Style Code: 65D
VIN/Body Serial Code: 89
A 460 CID 4V V-8 (52,466 Built; 72.3%)
Bore & stroke: 4.36 x 3.85 in.
Comp. ratio: 8.0:1
Horsepower: 210 at 4200 RPM
Torque: 357 lb.-ft. at 2200 RPM
Carburetor: Motorcraft 4350
S 400 CID 2V V-8 (20,136 Built; 27.7%)
Bore & stroke: 4.00 x 4.00 in.
Comp. ratio: 8.0:1
Horsepower: 166 at 3800 RPM
Torque: 319 ft.-lb. at 1800 RPM
Carburetor: Motorcraft 2150
(Diamond Jubilee Editions built with 400 V-8:
267 Diamond Blue; 175 Jubilee Gold)
U XPL Automatic (C6)
Z XPL Special Automatic (C6)
O 3.00:1 Traction-Lok
J 2.50:1 Traction-Lok
6 3.00:1 Only with 460-4V Engine, High Altitude Emission Equipment or Class III Trailer Towing Package
|Wheelbase 120.4" | Overall Length 230.3" | Width 79.7" | Height 53.0" | Weight 4,652 lbs.|
Ford Motor Company began its 75th year on June 16, 1977, and threw a big party in 1978 to celebrate the occasion. Whether you joined the party by purchasing a Diamond Jubilee Edition Continental Mark V or a Diamond Jubilee Edition Ford Thunderbird—or any other car in Ford's product lineup—or not, is a matter of personal taste. Henry Ford had no idea when he founded Ford Motor Company in 1903 that it would someday reach this point. He envisioned the automobile not as a luxury, but as a way for the average man to make his life—and that of his family—richer and more rewarding. By 1978, Ford's company was a multinational enterprise serving millions of customers in North America and in 185 overseas markets.
The Continental Mark V for 1978 was essentially a carryover from 1977, and why would Lincoln want to change it? After one of its best sales years ever, Lincoln was correct in addressing more important issues of the day: fuel economy. One of the most noticeable changes made for 1978 was the incorporation of a Low Windshield Washer Fluid Indicator to the instrument panel. New options included the digital "Miles-To-Empty" Gauge, Integral Automatic Garage Door Opener Control, Power Multi-Band Antenna for the CB Radio, and a Carriage Roof. All metallic paints also received a Clearcoat for 1978.
By 1978, the competition (namely Cadillac) had downsized its entire line except for the Eldorado. For 1978, Cadillac would introduce the Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classic, a two-tone edition that unofficially commemorated the end of production of traditional-sized luxury cars by Cadillac. Announced to Cadillac dealers in April 1978, and priced $3,547 more than the "standard" Biarritz (if you include the Power Astroroof), this Eldorado sported a flashy paint scheme that consisted of Arizona Beige and Demitasse Brown. The Demitasse Brown appeared only on the hood and front roof surface, and the exterior color scheme was duplicated inside the car with two tone Light Beige and Dark Saddle pillowed leather trim. Gold plated Biarritz script appeared on the exterior sail panels and the deck lid. Dark Brown accent striping was also provided. Built during May, June, and July, 1978 only 2,000 were built. As previously noted, Lincoln also got in on the limited edition act with its own spectacular and exclusive 1978 Diamond Jubilee Edition, built to celebrate Ford's 75th Anniversary. The very next year, another spectacular model would commemorate Lincoln's notable departure from the large personal luxury market with the 1979 Collector's Series models. Cadillac's exit in 1978 left the Mark as the sole survivor of the large personal luxury car market in 1979.
When compared to the flashy Biarritz Classic, the Mark V seemed a bit more refined, perhaps even restrained in its styling. Cadillac always seemed to target the flashier side of the luxury market, with Lincoln appearing to attract the more conservative customers. But the writing was on the wall: customers desired more fuel efficient cars, and there was just no way to provide this efficiency on a large platform.
Aerodynamics became the buzzard during this time, and coast-down tests proved that aerodynamics and rolling resistance both influenced fuel economy greatly. Air-flow patterns received a great deal of attention, with other models being fitted with deflectors, spoilers, air dams, and sheet metal refinements to redirect the air flow below, around, and above the car. However, there was little that could be done to the Mark V, and Lincoln had to be content to ride out the next year until the smaller models were available.
The conservative Lincoln customer was not easily swayed by such things, and sales remained brisk through the 1978 model year. The lines of the Mark V were about as clean and elegant as they could be, and other cars all seemed to lack the Marks almost silent interior environment. Overall quality control remained good, as it had been throughout the 70's. Although the personal luxury car market was changing, it is difficult to imagine that anyone could design a car of this size any better than Lincoln did with the Mark V of 1978. One only had to look at this fine automobile to recognize its elegance. Customers who missed the opportunity in 1978 would be granted one additional year to make their purchase, after which the Mark would change dramatically. The exquisite styling, the roominess, and the famed Continental ride that is all Continental. The beginning of the end of the line, in celebration of 75 years.