ABOVE: Brad Griffin and his 1978 Continental Mark V
By John D. Griffin, Auburn, Maine
Originally published in the Third Quarter 1994 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 199).
When my son first obtained his driver’s license, his next thoughts were of a car, initially, what every teen-aged American boy wanted—a Firebird or a Camaro. When dad pointed out that insurance companies view the combination of teenage male drivers and Firebirds as highly combustible and rate them accordingly, he was crushed. Was he doomed to cruise in a four-cylinder, four-door sedan? Oh, the shame! Even the promised occasional use of dad’s Lincoln Town Car was not the solution. But the world of Lincoln did provide a solution, in the form of a sleek, black 1978 Continental Mark V. It was a beauty—turbine wheels, silver landau roof, and best of all, electric moon roof. The car had high mileage, but was well cared for, having been traded following a minor rear-end collision. This was not a Firebird or Camaro—it was far more—it was truly a “gentleman’s hot rod”, with its 460 cid. four-barrel carb V-8 and dual exhaust system. With a near mint interior and a silky, smooth drive train, all it needed was the minor collision repair and a proud new owner. It got both and more! With an upgraded sound system and the necessary body work, it was off to school on a daily basis.
Pride of ownership was soon evident and it was never again to face the harsh Maine winters but was allowed to rest peacefully in indoor storage under a car cover until spring returned. Cars of lesser stature became winter transportation. Pride of ownership and the fact that the car was unique among his peer group led to the formation of the Mark V Club—five friends who remain friends to this day— complete with their own distinctive logo, carried out on T-shirts and jackets.
The sleek beauty is still just that, even with nearly 140,000 miles on the odometer. Pride of ownership leads to proper upkeep and breeds responsibility. What could have been just another car has become a permanent and treasured possession, giving to its owner superb Lincoln performance in return for a modest investment in loving care. Now the teen-ager is an adult, out in the work-a-day world, driving other Mark V automobiles, but as surely as the season comes, the original Mark V emerges in the spring, to be once again a thing of beauty and a real driving experience. Hopefully, this enjoyable cycle will continue indefinitely as its owner has now come of age, yet always remained true to his first automobile love.