By Jim Raymond, Fort Worth, Texas

Originally published in the November/December 2000 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 237).

Wisely and with great execution, Lincoln had adhered since its inception in 1921 to the automotive maxim, Length times Width times Weight equals luxury. But by 1980 this formula would instead equal violation of federal standards. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements and emissions regulations were to become ever tighter during the new decade and Lincoln could no longer make a vehicle of the traditional luxury size.

But there was still 1979.  The last of the big ones. And so they created the Collector’s Series, … “to epitomize and commemorate this elegant, era of the traditional Lincoln” , stated the 1979 brochure. Available as an option package on both the Lincoln Continental and Continental Mark V, this car would include as standard equipment, a far greater number of features than any other 1979 Lincoln, and even some not even available on any other Lincoln. They would truly achieve their goal.

Establishing a “drawing room” feel for the interior, Lincoln covered the seats with unique “Khasmin II luxury cloth”, an automotive fabric of the highest quality for the time. Leather was also available. But Khasmin II was not limited to the seats, as Lincoln also used it to wrap the interior garnish moldings and sunvisors. And rather than vinyl for the headliner, Lincoln chose Harvard cloth, another fine fabric. Cushioning the occupant’s feet was 36 ounce Tiffany-cut pile carpeting. This was twice the weight of the floor carpet in the standard Lincoln Continental. Meeting the eyes directly, the padded portion of the dash in the Mark V was covered in real leather, and both the Lincoln Continental and Mark V had a steering wheel with a wood grain insert. To protect the owner’s luggage, the trunk was lined with 18 ounce carpet, the same weight as that used in the interior of the standard Lincoln Continental. Further complimenting the trunk ensemble was a leather-bound tool kit. Protecting the owner’s manual was a handsome leather covering, and protecting the owner himself was a navy blue collapsible umbrella. All of these features were unique to the Collector’s Series cars, as they were not even available on any other Lincoln.

Visible to the general public, the exterior was decorated with triple pinstripes (as opposed to double on other Lincolns), a gold-tone grille, coach lamps, and turbine-style cast aluminum wheels. Two colors were primarily offered for the Collector’s Series, navy blue, and white. However a handful were painted silver metallic (color code 1Y) and a handful, diamond blue metallic (code 38). All Collector’s Series have “Collect” stamped on the cowl tag and include the color code.

The 1979 advertisement to the left shows a Continental Mark V Collector’s Series and a Lincoln Continental Collector’s Series at the John. F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

To be a true luxury car, it must be replete with a host of servants available to one’s beck and call. Thus, in addition to the features on a Continental, standard equipment on a Collector’s Series included the following:

  • Automatic headlamps
  • Automatic high beam dimmer
  • AM-FM stereo 8-track
  • Power antenna
  • Rear window defroster with heated outside mirrors
  • Lighted vanity mirrors, left and right
  • Tilt steering wheel
  • Cruise control
  • Illuminated entry system
  • Remote control garage door opener
  • Overhead dual beam map/dome lamp
  • Power door locks
  • Power mini-vent windows
  • Delay wipers
  • Remote trunk release
  • Right-hand remote-control mirror
  • Coach roof
  • Wide band white sidewall tires

Available as options were traction-lok differential, four-wheel disc brakes with Sure-Track (anti-lock on the rear), engine block heater, heavy duty battery, illuminated outside thermometer, fixed glass moonroof or power moonroof, CB radio, trailer towing package, and leather upholstery. With so much standard there was little left to add.

And so in all respects, Lincoln created a car that epitomized “what a luxury car should be” and which commemorated the era of the traditional-sized luxury vehicle. It truly was conveyance in the grand manner.

Mary Klinger’s 1979 Mark V Collector’s Series

Jim Raymond’s 1979 Lincoln Continental Collector’s Series

Silver 1979 Lincoln Continental Collector’s Series

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