Cadillac may have claimed the title “standard of the world,” but Lincoln ad men had their own line that stated the Lincoln was “A standard by which luxury cars are judged.” Apparently the age-old, Chevy vs. Ford rivalry went right on up to their top-of-the-line marques.
I have only owned two Cadillacs in my life … my wife’s current 2002 DeVille, a wonderful car I bought from longtime family friend Roger Adams at Bommarito Cadillac, and a beautiful 1960 Coupe de Ville. Although my ‘60 Caddy looked long enough to occupy two zip codes, surprisingly, it was my 1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car that set the record as the longest car I’ve ever owned.
I’ll never forget the day I drove it off the used car lot at Mallory Buick, where my aunt Annette Kompir was a billing clerk. As I pulled the behemoth out onto Page Ave. heading east, I felt like the captain of the Queen Mary. The Lincoln star atop the Rolls Royce style grill, newly introduced for the 1975 restyle, seemed to guide the way as I maneuvered the 5,400-pound land yacht over the sea of concrete stretched out in front of me.
My Lincoln was dressed out in brilliant white with a Cordovan vinyl roof and matching leather interior just like the one shown here. It had a horizontal red line speedometer, ala ’50s Buicks. Had you seen my streamlined 1960 Cadillac, with its sweeping fins, parked next to my ‘77 Lincoln Continental, you would have bet your mother’s sterling the Caddy was the longer of the two. But looks were deceiving. The 17-year-newer Lincoln stretched a full eight inches farther than the Cadillac, measuring in at 233 inches in overall length, making it the largest car on the domestic market.
Powering this incredible hulk was a 460 cubic inch (7.5 liters) V-8 with 4 barrel carb, in early production models. A 400 cubic inch mill with a 2-barrel carb was introduced later as standard and the 460 engine was offered as an option. Gas mileage? I won’t even go there. If you had to ask, you shouldn’t be driving one.
My 1977 Lincoln Continental was about as fine a ride as one could ask for. I felt like a rich man driving this sumptuously-appointed car. The sales brochure sums it up best by saying, “Words can only suggest what Lincoln Continental is. To really own this car, you have to drive it.” I could not have said it better myself.
Bruce Kunz, a.k.a. “THE FIN MAN,” is a member of the Society of Automobile Historians. If you love old cars and care about kids, visit Media
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