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1969 Lincoln Mark III : Classic Cars

The Lincoln Mark series was a series of personal luxury cars that long served as the flagship of the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford Motor Company.

Lincoln introduced the Mark Series when the Continental Division was integrated into Lincoln for 1957; the Mark was the most expensive model in the lineup. In 1961, Lincoln returned to a single-model line, dropping the Mark series.

In 1968, the Mark series was re-introduced as a personal luxury car, as the Lincoln Continental Mark III. In 1998, the discontinuation of the Mark VIII ended the series.

The legacy of the Mark Series lives on in the current Lincoln naming scheme; since 2007, all models have adopted an "MK" alphanumeric prefix, with the exception of the Navigator and the now-discontinued Town Car.

After the Mark II was discontinued, a new generation of the brand appeared for 1958. These were the first Marks produced at the new Wixom plant, and were made on a unibody platform much like the original Continental. Though this edition is known as the "Mark III," the first models bore the nameplate "Continental III" on the front fender. While advertising brochures made the case that Continental was still a separate make, the car shared its body with that year's Lincoln. They differed from the lower-model full-size Lincolns in trim level and in their roof treatment, featuring a reverse-angle power rear "breezeway" window that retracted down behind the back seat. Hand assembly was gone, allowing for lower prices. Even so, Lincoln lost over $60 million during 1958–1960, partly reflecting the expense of developing perhaps the largest unibody car ever made. The 1958 full-size Lincoln sold poorly in all models because of the economic recession in the U.S. However, the Mark III recorded much better sales than the Mark II.

The new Lincoln was one of the largest cars ever made, larger than that year's Cadillac, and with their canted headlights, "dagmar bumpers", and scalloped fenders had styling considered by many to be excessive even in that decade of styling excess. They are the longest Lincolns ever produced without federally mandated 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumpers. The 63.1 inches (1,603 mm) front and 63.0 inches (1,600 mm) rear shoulder room they possessed set a record for Lincoln that still stands to this day. Furthermore, the 1959 Mark IV and 1960 Mark V Limousines and Town Cars are the heaviest American sedans without an extended wheelbase built since WW II, and the 1958 Mark III convertible is the longest American convertible produced with the exception of the (extremely rare) 1934–37 Cadillac V-16 convertibles.

The 1959s range contained the original Mark IV, and the 1960, the original Mark V, with more restrained styling than the 1958. Two new body styles were added for 1959 and 1960, both on the same wheelbase as other Continentals, but without the reverse-angle "breezeway" window: a formal Town Car and an even more formal Limousine. Both cars had dual air conditioning units, a distinctive padded roof and were available only in black. The Limousine added a driver's partition for additional rear seat privacy. The Town Car cost over $9,200 with a total of 214 sold over both years, and the Limousine cost $10,200 with only a total of 83 sold, making it more expensive and perhaps even more exclusive than the Mark II.

One feature of these cars was the "Auto Lube", that, as long as the owner kept the lube reservoir full, the car automatically lubed itself. However, the 1958–1960 Marks were technically Lincolns as the Continental division was dropped after the Mark II. And this marked the last time that a Mark would share no major chassis components with a model made by Ford or Mercury as the next Mark III would share major components with the contemporaneous Ford Thunderbird.

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Sources : 1969 Lincoln Mark III Photo | 1969 Lincoln Mark III Article


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