The very last of the venerable Ford Panthers rolled off the assembly line back in 2011, marking the end of the decades-long era in which opulently rounded Ford Crown Victorias, Mercury Grand Marquises, and Lincoln Town Cars could be purchased new. Long before that time, though, high-end Lincolns ceased being sold with Cartier badging and dashboard clocks, a tradition that went back to the early 1970s. Today's Junkyard Gem is one of the final Cartier Lincolns, a once-luxurious Town Car Cartier Edition, found in a yard in northeastern Colorado last month.
The Cartier was the top trim level for the 2000 Town Car, itself the pinnacle of the Panther pyramid.The price tag on this car began at $43,150 (about $65,600 in today's money).
Mechanically speaking, not much separated the 2000 Town Car from the rubber-floor-mat-equipped Crown Victoria Police Interceptor used to haul projectile-vomiting drunks to the pokey in your town for the past 25 years, and the lines of the $20k Crown Vic are quite apparent when you look at the $43k Town Car.
However, the Town Car benefited from a quadruple helping of leather, serious sound insulation, wood (plastic) trim, and touches such as this "double C" embroidery on the seats. It was hard to top this car for a smooth, quiet highway ride.
The Cartier clock (not really made by Cartier) featured gold (plastic) trim, just like the center-mounted gold-trimmed clocks in 1990s Infiniti Q45s. Yes, I bought this clock to add to my collection, and it works just fine.
Power came from the reliable 4.6-liter Ford Modular V8 engine, rated at 220 horsepower in the 2000 Cartier. This wasn't tremendous power for a two-ton behemoth, but it got the job done. If you wanted a massive V8-powered luxury sedan that went really fast in 2000, you could have spent $77,850 for a new Mercedes-Benz S500 (302 horsepower) or chosen a $66,970 BMW 740iL (282 horsepower).
It would be pretty easy to build up a monster supercharged 4.6, attach it to a manual transmission, and drop it in a Town Car like this one… and someone should do just that.