Tuesday, October 14, 2014

1k: End Of An Era: 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC

No matter how many times Lincoln hires Matthew McConaughey to ad-lib his way through a fog of Xanax and red wine, they cannot convince me that they've found their mojo.  The day Lincoln stopped building their 2-door personal luxury monster was the day they became a footnote in automotive history.  Relive the glory days of big, powerful Lincolns with needlessly long doors with this 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC currently bidding for $1,223 with a few hours to go on eBay, located in Holbrook, NY.

The Lincoln Mark VIII might not light your loins up with excitement, but it capped 67 years of Lincoln offering 2-door cars for the well-to-do luxury car owner (starting with the K-series.)  The 1939 Continental Mk I was really Lincoln's first entry into the personal luxury market segment, and it was followed by the Mark II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, & VIII....which was put to sleep after the 1998 model year.

The personal luxury car was designed for the well off elderly buyer with kids grown up (or never born) who wanted a powerful 2-door ride that tilted towards luxury rather than sportiness.  Automatic transmission and a big V8 up front was the simple formula for the personal luxury coupe and the 290 horsepower Ford Modular V8 mated to a 4-speed auto delivers in the Mk VIII. This engine is the first incarnation of the 4-valve (per cylinder) 4.6L, which ultimately transmogrified into 390hp supercharged "Terminator" form in the 2003-2004 Mustang SVT Cobra.

The interior of this car looks really well preserved for a 15 year old car, with the exception of the cracked leather seats, but those probably started looking ugly after the second test drive.  The steering wheel, shifter and other touch surfaces are remarkably well preserved.

See a better example of a 100% functioning daily drivable classic from a bygone era...sure...but will it be as cheap? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. Then there's this customized version for those who simply don't have the time or energy to deal with opening a door.

  2. If you want to see why Lincoln failed, if you want to see why Ford is no longer (wasn't even then, but this put a nail in the coffin) a player in the luxury market, there's two aspects of the Mark VIII that come to the fore:

    a) It's got a one-piece driveshaft. No other automaker in the universe uses a RWD driveshaft that long wtihout a center bearing and U-joint, because a one-piece shaft of that length will whip and as a result the manufacturer has to limit the top speed to something in Mercedes 240D territory. But Ford obviously concluded that their luxury coupe didn't have to do the things that the German and Japanese competitors needed to be able to do.

    b) It's a two-door. The Lexus SC300/400 (Toyota Soarer) of comparable vintage sold 100 units for every thousand LS400s, but Ford decided that the Mark VIII didn't need a four-door stablemate, instead they did the Taurus-derivative Continental. Everyone remember the Continental? Yeah, which end were the drive wheels at?

    Case closed. GM has put a lot of work into making Cadillac a competitive near-luxury brand, with some (if not consistent) success. Lincoln is a taxicab brand now, no one buys one as personal transportation. If Ford is going to exhume it from the taxicab/black-car graveyard it's gonna take a whole lot of work.

    1. But it did excel in this automotive category...
      Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln Mark VIII luxury coupe was named ''America's Most Washable Car'' by the Michigan Carwash Association. Ohh yeah!

    2. ...a whole lot of work, or a few commercials featuring a Abraham Lincoln impersonator? Why engineer good product when all you need is some snazzy marketing?!??!

    3. So a 140 mph top speed in 1993 wasn't good enough? What did the SC400 do that year? I bet it wasn't far off.

      And consider the market at the time. There were three distinct flavors of luxury car available: Japanese, German, and American. Once the marketing yahoos decided we need to tune all the things at the Nurburgring, a large chunk of the American luxury market died. A very well-placed person (who may or may not currently reside at a German premium car manufacturer) once told me that the day we started "tuning" cars for the American market at the Nurburgring, the American luxury car buyer lost something important: isolation. Remember, we Americans have something that no other country has: the ability to drive on paved roads at highway speeds for several days without leaving the country. No other place on earth is as road-trippable as the US and no other country's culture is as attached to long drives as ours.

      Want to drive 3,000 miles at highway speeds in 1993? You're going to want to do that in a Mk VIII, not a BMW. You'll really appreciate the 290 hp and pile of torque. You're gonna want that isolation from the tire noise of the Peterbuilt next to you. And can you hear or feel those expansion joints? Neither can I. The American luxury car is dead and people like you killed it.

      Now what the hell am I supposed to drive when I don't feel like Corvetting to Grand Rapids? A hybrid SUV or a 328? I'd rather make the drive in a Seville.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. lease show me a 140mph top speed in a Mark VIII. So far as I can tell it didn't happen, even the LSC was limited to 125mph by driveline whip and H-rated tires.

      An E34 BMW 535i will go farther, faster, in equal comfort. An LS400 or SC400 might but I've never driven one that far, or that fast. 'Isolation' - okay, the Mark VIII got air suspension. But the seats weren't as good as the BMW. An Infiniti Q45 was quite a bit faster, but the seats were horrible.

      The most comfortable long distance car I've ever driven was an Australian Falcon GT, to my butt the most comfortable thousand-mile seats on the planet. But our 540i comes close. And it's as comfortable at 130 as at 80.

      The 4.6 'Intech' mod motor in the Mark VIII was the best-specced example of the mod motor Ford had produced to that time, but it was nothing that the rest of the industry wasn't doing. It did not have a pile of torque - it was comparable to the 4-liter Lexus (and the BMW M60 that came along a couple years later) but a fair bit short of the Nissan VH45DE in the Infiniti Q45 whose '278HP' rating was a fiction of Japanese-market advertising limitations.

  3. I feel that the full sized coupe is a segment that never should have been abandoned by the big 3.

    1. I couldn't agree more. In fact, I think there's a huge, gaping hole in the market that formed when pretty much all American car companies decided that they wanted to be just like ze Germans. I own a Corvette and love the hell out of it, but more and more I find that if I could buy a reasonably priced couch on wheels with a warranty for my daily grind, I would do it in a heartbeat. I wish I could buy a silent, isolating, Town Car or DeVille, but instead I have to settle for an SUV and that sucks.

      Hey Lincoln, Cadillac, and Chrysler: Bring us just ONE American-style luxury car! We just need one! We want a bench seat, soft bushings, a quiet and torquey engine (no, I don't need a tach), and imperceptible shifts. Please, whatever you do, DON'T tune the suspension on the Nurburgring! I'm never going to get over 80 with this thing, let alone try to fly Eau Rouge with it! Lot's of interior space and a 6-golf-bag-trunk would be swell, too. Thanks!

    2. Jonathan, I couldn't agree more. I spent about 10 years driving more than 50k miles a year for my work and as much as I loved my small sporty cars, nothing beats a little bit of extra wheelbase and some serious sound deadening when you are faced with driving 1,000 miles a week.

      You hit the nail on the head talking about American distances creating a different need (even VW has figured out that they need to build around our fatazzbutts). Its a big country and we have some big states. San Diego, CA is closer to El Paso, TX than Houston is! (by about 50 miles)

      Imagine a Lincoln MkII with modern engine/transmission/soundproofing/construction. The only problem is, they wouldn't be allowed to lose money on their halo cars they way they used to with the MkII and '57 Eldo Biarritz. Remember our heritage.. a 1953 Buick Skylark was the American Sports Car as was the Duesenberg SJ!

    3. Bench seat, soft bushings, quiet, long-wheelbase coupe... powered by an EcoBoost, driven in commercials by Robert Duvall. Eh?

    4. My fourteen-hours-in-the-saddle wish list starts with great seats - not bench, it's got to have seatback bolsters to keep me upright in the mountains and after the ten-hour point where the slouching begins. As noted, the best I've ever experienced are Aussie Falcon seats. BMW E38/E39 sport seats are great if you ain't got back. The seats in my Suburban are good, but they could use a little firmer bottom cushion.

      The list continues with straight-line stability and steering that knows where straight ahead is. whether you're going 60 or 130. This is something Detroit products are often very, very bad at.

      If you're driving the Autobahn then brakes that can get you down from a 210kph cruise to the 80kph of the trailer-towing diesel Focus that just pulled out in front of you matters too. In the US more often you need a big wad of torque under the right foot to briskly move right and get cleanly around that road plug that's bumbling along the left lane at 63mph. I feel dirty every time I have to pass someone on the right (elect me governor, $500 fine for failure to keep right) but it's simply not practical to wait for all the clueless to move over.

      Then we get to control layout and outward visibility (no recent Toyotas need apply, thankyou) and so on.

    5. hunsblogger - I'd like to see a well-done MkII with Jag XJ suspension, an EFI 368 and a 6L90 (GM sacrilege, so sue me) transmission.

      It'll have the wind noise of a '50s design - frankly, that doesn't bother me - but if the underbits are done right it'd still be a blast.

    6. Absolutely! That's why we try to post every reasonable MkII we can find. It's one of my personal unicorns. As to the above, there's one noise that will drive you crazy on a long trip....the slap of expansion joints. This Jag MkII for blacktop and spirited driving, but the Lincoln MkII for those endless miles of monotony on a ribbon straight I-5. Jag over the Grapevine, Lincoln to Fresno.

    7. I would posit that the last American luxury coupe was the final Thunderbird (02-05). It had a Jag V8 facing lengthwise, slushbox auto, independent rear, and retro 50s styling. I've never driven one but it seems like a good option for a modern depreciated take on the classic formula. Maybe someone who has owned or driven one could chime in, and let me know if I'm way off the Mk here.

  4. I liked these so i drove one reminded me of my Mom's Thunderbird did not realize this is pretty much a T-bird so was turned off to the Lincoln..

    1. This and the '89-97 'Bird were the same structure, Lincoln had the four-cam V8 and aluminum suspension parts where the Ford had various mostly gutless V6s and SOHC mod motors (and the blower Super Coupe) and cast-iron suspension pieces.

      Lincoln had a very nice interior in a sort of swoopy fashion, the real problem was the coupe was never going to sell in the kind of numbers they needed to support the product line and some idiot decided they should do a Taurus for the sedan.

  5. "with the exception of the cracked leather seats"

    No sir, not cracked, "character lined" is the term my late father used for seats that showed this type of wear. In fact, Rolls Royce of the 1970's had an option for pre-distressed leather.


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