This is Part 1 of an occasional series.
On April 16, as most of you dear readers know, I purchased this big gray Lincoln Mark VII LSC to replace my Miata, which I’d sold to Nick. What most of you don’t know, is the rest of the story. Through this occasional series, I will work to chronicle the past six months of what I’ve done with this gigantic piece of American history, and how it has fit into the other parts of my life in that time.
First, let’s talk about what I bought it for. In 1984, Lincoln began to produce the Mark VII, the second to last in a line of Mark Series products that had roots going back to the Fifties. The VII represents a hodgepodge, of sorts. Those that came before it were distinctly American personal luxury cars, with long wheelbases, massive engines, and genuinely terrible handling characteristics. Fuel economy was equally untenable (My dad had one. He told me horror stories of 10MPG on a good day). For all their charms, they were chiefly for cruising down highways and impressing the Joneses at dinner parties. The Mark VII was Ford’s attempt to seriously downsize the Mark Series for a new generation.
When the VII hit the streets in 1984, Ford placed it on the new Fox platform, already 7 years old. By adding air suspension, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes (the first car to offer this standard from America), the V8 out of the high-output Mustang GT, an optional Track-Lock rear end, and a driver-focused interior, Ford accidentally pushed the Mark VII LSC into a new segment. They kept the personal luxury element with the Bill Blass and the base model, which were softer and less aggressively tuned–but the LSC (Lincoln Sports Coupe) was a mini-GT car, a cross-country cruiser with style, class, and American swagger. The Mark VII blew the doors off its competitor from GM, the Cadillac Eldorado.
I bought this car for long trips, for swinging a big American luxury car around Jersey’s best back roads. A new set of tires not long after I took it home helped to make the Lincoln safer to get down the road. Of course, shortly after I got it registered, I drove it everywhere. At the office, I was laughed at by the boss for showing up in a car that was twice the size of the Miata and had none of the “cute” charm. I got grilled at the Passover Seder that weekend, when I showed up in it and it took up half the driveway. Of course, I just enjoyed driving a 302-powered luxury cruiser around. Then, on May 5, 2016, my path, and the Lincoln’s path, were altered for the first in a few times.
I drove to work that morning, pulling the Lincoln into the second row of the lot, thanks to the Chairman of the company being in attendance (which meant clearing the front row). I let it sit in the parking lot, not knowing that it would be my final day in attendance at Pacific Controls, a place I’d called home for the past four years. At 4:15PM, I took a bitter, nasty pill. Myself and 25 others lost our jobs and were told to pack up our things. Luckily, the Lincoln’s massive trunk swallowed up all of my desk toys, office supplies, pens, and photos, and I pulled it back into my parking lot, dejected and fighting back tears. “Well, at least this thing’s paid for”, I muttered as I took my stuff out of the trunk and stared into the abyss. I let my folks, brothers, and future sister-in-law know of the situation, then called up some friends. I spent the rest of the night with my friend Matt at his home in Old Bridge, watching the New York Mets, and contemplating my future.
The interviews began a few weeks later. I got interest quickly but not a lot happened after that, so I spent time applying for unemployment assistance, getting new glasses, and driving the Lincoln everywhere, just for fun. Of course, it had its issues–the windows stopped working almost immediately and the air conditioning system forgot what “cold” was. A few weeks later, things got serious. The temperature that afternoon hit 85, and the Lincoln decided to fight back. I pulled into my friend Chris’s driveway to watch the ballgame on TV, and the Lincoln started making a nasty percolating sound out of the overflow tank. While we to this day don’t know what it was, it overheated a week later on a trip to Deptford for a friend’s bachelorette party. I parked it almost permanently after that, and it rarely puked out coolant again. Of course, that was only through the end of May. I’d had some interviews, but no luck yet. By the end of May, I decided to let it sit, and waited for a few more interviews to materialize. As the month of May closed out, June would begin, with a whole new set of challenges, trials, tribulations, and fears.
To Be Continued…