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Lincoln Town Car

The Lincoln Town Car is the last of the really big boats! Indeed, the non-downsized automobile has unearthed a gold mine of motorists who still long for the ``good old days'' when large-size cars were exactly that. It was a time when big meant ``big'' in the historic American sense, not today's definition of a full-size luxury car.

Consider the wheelbase and length of the Town Car: 117 inches and 219 inches, respectively. That compares with Buick's top-flight Electra at 110.8 and 196.2.

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The Lincoln Town Car, which has a front engine with rear drive, tips the scales at a hefty two tons, which suggests that the mileage is not too high. But that's a matter of priorities, especially when gasoline is there for the asking. If you lay out nearly $21,000 for the basic '86-model Town Car, or $25,235 for the top-grain Cartier version, who's going to quibble over the price of fuel.

Obviously, the Lincoln Town Car isn't everybody's idea of motoring at its best. The ride may be too soft for some people, the writer included. And the handling, while ample on the road, won't allow you to explore a remote mountain pass with the built-in assurance that everything is under control. Yet one knowledgeable motor buff exults: ``Just set the cruise control, hope the trucks stay out of the way, and roll away the miles.''

The Ford Motor Company sold some 115,000 Lincoln Town Cars in the 1985 model year, up 47 percent over 1984 and a whopping 101 percent over '83. ``The car will be built,'' a Ford man avers, ``just so long as people will buy it.'' A highly profitable venture for Ford, it's built, along with all other Lincolns, in Wixom, Mich.

Sequential multiport electronic fuel injection is new for 1986. A load-leveling suspension system keeps the car level under all load conditions and assures proper headlight aim.

For those who want a lot of steel around them, a pillow-smooth ride, and sufficient pep in a pinch, the Lincoln Town Car provides them.

Charles E. Dole is the Monitor's automotive editor.

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