The Lincoln Division put the Continental Mark VI on the Panther platform for the 1980 through 1983 model years, making it much smaller than its vast Mark V predecessor but not much nimbler and certainly not as opulent. For the 1984 model year, though, the new Continental Mark VII moved onto the Fox platform, making it sibling to the Mustang and therefore more of a true high-performance luxury coupe. By 1986, the Continental name was gone from the Mark VII (relegated to Lincoln's cushy land yachts), and the LSC version came with the same hairy V8 as the Mustang GT. Today's Junkyard Gem is one of those cars, found in a Denver yard last month.
For 1988, all Mark VIIs came with the 225-horsepower 5.0-liter High Output V8 engine, same as the Mustang GT.
Could you get a manual transmission? Sadly, you could not. Swapping one into one of these cars is pretty easy, but the more likely swap has always been to grab the 5.0 out of a Mark VII and drop it into a non-V8 Fox Mustang.
If you were shopping for a BMW 5-Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class in 1988, the Mark VII offered an attractive Detroit alternative. The 1988 LSC cost $25,016 (about $58,200 in 2021 bucks), while a new BMW 528e cost $31,500 and had a mere 127 horsepower. The M5 had a wild six with 256 horses— 31 more than the Mark VII— but it cost a terrifying $46,500. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz 260E offered just 158 horses and cost $37,250. Granted, both of the Germans offered manual transmissions, but approximately zero American luxury-car buyers actually wanted three pedals by the late 1980s.
Not quite 150,000 miles on the clock on this one.
Here's how you turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.