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1969 Lincoln Continental
Production Numbers/Specifications

1969 would be the final year for center-opening rear doors on the Sedan


For 1969, Lincoln Continental production dropped again, although only slightly. Change would be coming for 1970, but would it be enough to reverse the sales declines of the previous few years?

Image: 1969 Lincoln Continental 460 engine

Above: Lincoln's 460 V-8 engine developed 365 horsepower, and was designed to provide emission control without adding additional external pumps or other devices

September 27, 1968
80 65A Lincoln Continental Coupé $5,813
Weight: 5,085 lbs. Built: 9,032
82 53A Lincoln Continental Sedan $6,046
Weight: 5,185 lbs. Built: 29,351
82 53A Executive Limousine $--
Weight: -- Built: 93
A - 460 CID V-8
1 - 460 CID V-8 (low compression for export)
Bore and Stroke: 4.36 x 3.85 inches
Compression Ratio: 10.50:1
Brake Horsepower: 365 @ 4600 rpm
Torque: 485 lb.-ft. @ 2800 rpm
Carburetor: Autolite 4V (C8VF-9510J)
U Select-Shift Turbo-Drive Automatic
2.80:1 Directed power
3.00:1 Directed power
9.15 x 15 Firestone brand
Dual Chamber Tires with Unique Whitewall Design (Goodyear Power Cushion Life Guard brand)
Dual hydraulic system
Front: Self-adjusting ventilated disc
Rear: Drum type
126 inches
Front Tread: 62.1 inches
Rear Tread: 61.0 inches
Length: 224.2 inches
Width: 79.7 inches
Height: Coupé: 54.2 inches; Sedan: 54.2 inches
Trunk: 18.0 cubic feet
Front headroom: Coupé: 38.8"; Sedan: 39.4"
Rear headroom: Coupé: 38.0"; Sedan: 38.6"
Front legroom: Coupé: 41.0"; Sedan: 41.0"
Rear legroom: Coupé: 37.1"; Sedan: 40.5"
Front shoulder room: Coupé: 59.8"; Sedan: 59.8"
Rear shoulder room: Coupé: 59.3"; Sedan: 59.8"
Fuel Tank: 25 gallons
Cooling System: 25 qts. (with heater)
For the 1969 auto show circuit, Lincoln built a special show car named the Town Sedan. It consisted of an open roof front chauffeur compartment with a padded, vinyl-covered hardtop roof over the rear compartment. This car was inspired by the 1964-1965 Lincoln Town Brougham show cars, which required special handling due to the structural issues of removing the front roof section. It also included electric door openers, front bucket seats with center console, a telephone, and a Philco color TV mounted in the division.

This would be the sixth and final show car created by Lincoln during the 1960s, not including the stainless steel convertibles which weren't specifically created as Lincoln show cars.
1969 was the first year for:

- New 460 engine was standard at model introduction
- Front seat head rests became standard on January 1, 1969

1969 was the last year for:

- Center-opening rear doors
- Unit body construction
- Center floor console with Individually Adjustable Front Seats option
- Rear Defogger with Environmental Control option
- Separate FM stereo multiplex adapter unit


Image: 1969 Lincoln Continental Coupe

As the 1969 Lincoln Continentals began showing up in dealer showrooms, preparations for the 1970 models were already well underway, with the most significant changes to the line since the award winning 1961 models. Lincoln entered the decade in search of a new identity that would offer a consistent look going forward. Lincoln wanted something it could build on, and that all happened during the 1960s. But this all did not come without a price. People loved their Lincolns so much, they were holding onto them longer than normal. And with few appearance changes, there was little incentive to buy the latest model when it looked so much like the older ones.

An attractive restyling for 1966 helped considerably, as did a reduction in price brought about by moving items from the standard equipment list to the optional equipment list. But sales dropped off for 1967, and failed to recover for 1968 and 1969. It was obvious the time had come for a more dramatic change to the line, but Lincoln wanted to ensure a consistent look that would allow the new cars to be immediately identified as Lincolns.

1969 would be the final year for the graceful and distinctive center-opening rear doors. Lincoln was focusing on what it called "conquest sales" from Cadillac, which was the luxury leader at the time. Conquest sales identified customers who had been traditional Cadillac customers, who decided to switch to Continental. Since Cadillac's sales were way in front of Lincoln's and Imperial's, it was the one to focus on (or more correctly, Cadillac's customers were the ones to focus on.)

Many of the changes Lincoln made during the decade were in response to suggestions and criticisms from Cadillac customers. Increased interior room was the first, reducing base prices to put them more in line with those of Cadillac was second, and doing away with the rear doors that opened backwards was another. Since the 1970 models would be all-new, this meant 1969 would be the end of the road for the "suicide door" Lincolns.

The new Continental Mark III was very popular, and brought lots of potential customers into Lincoln showrooms. Overall, Lincoln Division sales were up sharply in 1969, due solely to the Mark III, which contributed 30,858 units to the total. There's no doubt that some customers purchased a new Mark III instead of one of the other two models, but that was perfectly fine as they all contributed to the bottom line.

The new 460 engine introduced during the model year in 1968 was smooth, powerful, and met emissions requirements without extra equipment being added to it. Styling revisions to the front and rear of the car gave the '69 models an updated look, but were relatively minor. Lincoln's major competitors, the Cadillac and Imperial, both introduced all new styling for 1969, which certainly may have hurt Lincoln's sales a bit.

Advertising for 1969 included both Coupé and Sedan models, normally parked on a large expanse of lawn with a mansion in the background. Ad copy was minimal, which seemed to be the trend among some luxury cars at the time. Cadillac also included minimal text in many of its ads, but Imperial was more verbose in its ads, outlining the things that set it apart from the competition, and advising that anyone spending that much money ought to know what they're getting for it. It worked to some degree, as Imperial had a better year in '69 than in any other in recent history.

Lincoln built a Town Sedan show car for the 1969 auto show circuit. It was very much like the 1964-1965 Lincoln Continental Town Brougham show cars, and featured an open roof over the front seat area and a padded vinyl-covered rear roof section. The '69 version featured a stock '69 Lincoln center grille coupled with Continental Mark III style concealed headlamps. It included the new Town Car interior option sew style for the seating, with a center console up front complete with telephone, and a fixed section separating the front and rear seating areas. A window could be raised to provide privacy in the rear compartment. The exterior door handles were removed and electric door openers were installed, which gave the sides of the car a very clean appearance. In the division between the front and rear compartments, a color television tilted down for the enjoyment of rear passengers.

If you're considering restoring a '69 Continental, you should seek out the cleanest original car available. These cars are expensive to restore, and at this point in time don't have the resale value to justify an expensive restoration, if you're likely to sell it once done. Rust in the rear quarters and under the vinyl roof, rear window moldings, and/or vinyl roof moldings can be expensive to repair. Electrical issues can also be time consuming to troubleshoot and repair.

These big, heavy cars handle and drive very well, the 460 engine has all the power you could ask for, and can offer decent fuel economy if driven carefully. The front disc/rear drum brakes were the best in the industry at the time, and still perform well in today's traffic.