The other day a fellow friendly Car Twitter user tweeted a Craigslist link to me. And when I clicked on it moments later, a fantastical sight presented itself: A rare and enormous Lincoln Mark V, in ultra luxurious Givenchy Designer Series trim.
It’s a must see.
We did cover a later generation Continental coupe before, in the much maligned Mark VI. That particular example was a Bill Blass trim, and hailed from 1983. But to tell the story of today’s Mark V, we head back to 1977. Lincoln needed to update the Mark IV which had been in production since 1972. As America headed into the prime of the personal luxury coupe era, Ford knew they needed to do everything bigger, bolder, and more polyester-er. They kept the Mark IV’s platform underneath, but carried out extensive revisions to the exterior and interior.
When the new Mark V debuted for ’77, it carried sharp styling and more baroque detailing on its body, which grew in size to become the largest coupe ever sold by Ford. Spanning a full 230.3 inches in length and 79.9 inches wide, Mark V filled all parking spaces easily. The new styling was a preview of what was to come for Lincoln in the Eighties, as the brand filtered the sharp edges of its flagship down to its other offerings.
Standard on the Mark V was a 400-cubic-inch (6.6L) V8, with a 460 V8 (7.5L) offered as an optional extra. All examples used the three-speed C6 automatic, which was also found in the F-150 through 1996. The 400 engine was a concession from Ford in a nod to fuel economy, as it was the smallest displacement fitted to a Lincoln product since 1957.
There were several groupings of luxury equipment available on Mark V, but as before, the pinnacle was the Designer Editions. Special paint, detailing, and interior colors were hand-picked by the designers themselves, supposedly. Editions for the 1977-79 run were Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Pucci. The color combinations varied with each year, so it was obvious to other Lincoln customers precisely which Designer Edition you owned. All ’77 Givenchy cars were metallic Dark Jade on the outside, with matching Dark Jade interior materials in leather or velour. Worth noting, the Givenchy was the only Designer Series to receive a reverse landau treatment (half roof and A-pillars), and the heavily pillowed velour seats were only an option for 1977. Other years offered leather only.
The Mark V was the most successful of the Mark series coupes and sold 228,262 in a three-year run. Its changeover and downsizing to the Mark VI marked a real change for the model and a sales decline (like in all PLCs) from which it would not recover.
Today’s Givenchy is, of course, fully loaded and powered by the 460 V8. The seller indicates just 1,716 were made in this specification for 1977. Cruise control and power everything is made better by functioning air conditioning. With 61,000 miles, Monsieur Givenchy requests $14,700.