Hey, There’s a Cool Car: 1973 Lincoln Continental

By Charles Krome

As I was trolling through the Internet researching this beauty, I came across an interesting comment from an owner: “If God had to buy a car, this would be it”—which, I suppose, is appropriate for a vehicle that’s nearly the size of Noah’s ark.

This 1973 Lincoln Continental—a coupe, remember—is more than 19 feet long and nearly 80 inches wide, giving it a slightly larger footprint than a Cadillac ESV. On the other hand, it’s true that the body-on-frame SUV outweighs the Lincoln by a fair amount; the Continental tips the scales at a mere 5,214 lbs. And the engine here shares the same sort of epic proportions. It’s a 460-cubic-inch V8 straight from the “no replacement for displacement” school of engineering.

Unfortunately, that mammoth mill has been detuned to produce only 212 hp (to go with 342 lb.-ft. of torque) and therein lies another distinguishing feature of this particular car.

The year 1973 is well known in the industry because of the oil embargo, but a sudden need to raise fuel efficiency was just one of the watershed events that automakers were dealing with around that time. The oil panic actually didn’t occur until the fall, so its impact on vehicles from the 1973 model year was minimal in terms of sales and non-existent in terms of design. The reason the Lincoln’s V8 made about 30 fewer ponies than a Ford Fusion’s V6 is that the car companies were already under pressure to reduce emissions, and back then, cleaner exhaust almost necessarily meant less hp.

Then there’s the monstrous bumper the Lincoln is wearing. That also was a fresh change for 1973, to comply with new safety regulations.

Put it all together, and the car is a perfect reflection of an industry in transition, when automakers were implementing their first of what would be many design decisions based on a new wave of governmental regulations.

Speaking of transitions, I’ll use that theme to segue into a few more comments about this specific car, which looks like it’s going through a transition of its own. The Continental sports custom wheels and what look like aftermarket exhaust tips, but the body and interior looked to be bone stock. I wasn’t able to get inside (or pop the hood) for photos, though. The car’s landau roof hasn’t fared too well, but even in mint condition that particular design cue didn’t often fare too well. Overall, the vehicle reminds me a bit of the 2001 monolith tipped over on its side: Long, smooth and angular. Yet the subtle kink in the car’s lines, just past the door, keeps its flanks from looking like an uninterrupted slab of steel. It’s certainly more effective at adding flair to the big coupe than the affected opera windows and bustle butt on the Mark IV versions of the Continentals from this era.

And while today’s Lincoln certainly doesn’t need a car with the dimensions of a 1973 Continental, selling a model with the same sort of spirit—if I may wax metaphysical here—should definitely be on the “to do” list.

Author: Charles Krome

Charles Krome is a long-time automotive journalist who spent more than 10 years on the inside at General Motors and Ford, and also has corporate communications experience with Audi, Porsche and BASF Automotive Refinish. As a big motorsports fan growing up in the Detroit area, Krome was lucky enough to be able to attend numerous NASCAR, Indy car, F1 and SCCA events while still in his formative years. This, combined with a childhood that included significant (passenger) seat time in cars from Lotus and Jensen Healey, made him a car guy at an earlier age. Today, he lives in metro Detroit with his car wife, raising car kids.

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13 Comments

  1. I think one of the reasons there are so many SUVS on the road is because you cant get dececnt Large Rear Wheel cars anymore!

    At that time Licoln was at the top of its game, no look alikes, had a great Mark series!

    If I were the product planners at Lincoln I would try to retro this era again!

    Making only front driver Lincolns off Taurus Chasis because its cheaper for Ford to do, will not work!

    Beganing to see some Chinks in the Armor with Alan Mulallys product planners!

  2. Charles Jackson is right in the target. Emissions and safety standards bring some unintended consequences. Pick-ups and “4×4” as we called the old Blazer, Cherokee, Bronco, Wagonner, Ramcharger here in Quebec, Canada got less strict emissions and safety standards and folks flocked there until the 2nd oil crisis who bringed the Blazer S-10, Bronco II and a smaller Cherokee/Wagonner who got 4-doors but then the popularity skyrocketed when Ford replaced the Bronco II with the Explorer and 4-doors. Also, the vans like the Dodge Sportvan, Chevy Van and Ford Ecolonine was once popular with the young crowd since they was much cheaper to insure as well and customized to various states like this one from a Diet-Pepsi commercial aired in the late 1990s-early 2000s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0tIoyTnjHs

    I agree then doing only FWD Lincoln from Taurus and Fusion won’t work. One solution is to make them AWD standard to differenciate more from Ford but on the other hand, the Aussie Falcon and the Mustang could share the same platform in the long-term and that platform could be home for one or 2 Lincoln models.

    And to conclude on a off-topic note. Someone saved old films of “Car & Truck” road test made by Bob Lindemann of a 1971 Mercury Marquis, the big Merc decided to be more closer to the Lincoln Continental since the 1965 model year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lCljbIC7Fw

  3. Beutiful old car, love 460’s.
    I too want to see ford build a RWD lincoln. Heck RWD everything! Mustangs are fun but I also want a RWD fiesta size car and a full size RWD “Interceptor” style car too.
    (a little biased, I dragrace hehe)

  4. This car sure is a beauty.

    I can dig the non-stock down-turned chrome dual exhaust pipes.

    But what is with the DUBs on this classic? And the darkened tail lamps?

    In this day and age you can still find original wheel covers for these babies on eBay.

  5. this is my car i was hooping that day i enjoyed reading your words. n yes i got the original wheels n caps i wanted a custom classic thats why i did some of the mods

  6. Hey I have one of these cars in just about the same condition. I was wondering how hard it is to find some interior parts like the armrests etc that notoriously start falling apart etc. Love these 72-73 Lincoln coupes

    Thanks

  7. I used to have a ’73 Lincoln Coupe, black exterior and white leather interior – beautiful car. Had I known how darned hard it would be to find another one like it in good shape I’d of never let it go (to show you how age and common sense often do NOT go hand in hand I traded my coupe to a private party for a 1976 MG and $2k in cash).

  8. My old man has a 73 Lincoln Continental Coupe (2 door) that he is looking to sell. Interior is perfect…white. Contact me and I will give you his number.

  9. Yes Definitely a clean cruiser..I also happen to have a white one like this in real Fine,low mile condition..1973 Triple white coupe with 46,000 original miles..Still has factory stamps (yellow stars) under hood and trunk..If anyone needs A Real car thats like new call or eme..Open to offers!! I also have a 1966 Lincoln Sedan,,Also white with Black leather..On Craigs list Orlando Florida…Keep cruisin..

  10. Andy – you may want to share your contact information. The email address that you added to your comment is only visible to Autosavant administrators and not the general public. Good luck!

  11. My Aunt has a 1973 or 1974 Lincoln Town car that she would like to sell. The car has only had one owner and is in good condition. The color is white. How do I go about finding out the value of this car? Would really appreciate any help that you could provide.

    Thanks, Mary

  12. Chris *** Thanks for info..I have n’t searched 73 Triple white Lincoln coupe in awhile..My email for any interest is andysaircare@msn.com..I have several Lincolns to choose from if any Classic souls out there..A.G.

  13. I own a 1973 Lincoln Continental 4 door with 25,000 original miles. Powder blue with navy vynal roof. Blue cloth interior (no ugly pattern as some had). Covered in a garage since new. Second owner since early 80’s .It is 99.9% original and is a 95 plus points car. Second place winner Lincoln Continental Owners Club Eastern National meet fifteen years or so ago. When this car goes to a show (and that’s the only place it goes)…it brings home a trophy. It is for sale as soon as I get it detailed and a few things attended to as it hasn’t been shown in five or six years. Quite probably the best example of this surviver car in existance.I will be selling it for around $13,000.

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