For a car that was rushed into production in a matter of months, the Chevy II enjoyed a long and successful life.
Introduced on July 7, 1959, the 1960 Corvair was a fairly solid seller for General Motors with more than 250,000 units shipped that first year. But due to its innovative air-cooled, rear-engine design, the Corvair was an expensive car to manufacture, constantly struggling to meet its cost targets and generate a reasonable profit margin.
Meanwhile, Ford took a very different approach with its entry in the compact class, the Falcon. With its extremely simple and conventional design, it was cheap and profitable to build, and the public liked it just fine. More than 435,000 Falcons were sent out the door in its first model year, outselling not only the Corvair but the Rambler American and Volkswagen Beetle in the USA. By December of 1959, the GM brass had seen enough. Chevrolet would take direct aim at the Falcon with a second entry in the compact class, the car we know as the Chevy II.
The Chevy II’s development program ran at an emergency-room pace—barely 18 months from the first blank sheet of paper to the start of production in August of 1961. And while it’s not quite a clone of the Falcon, the similarities are remarkable. The Chevy II’s wheelbase was 110 inches and overall length was 183 inches—same as the Falcon, give or take an inch or two. The front suspension (above) was strikingly familiar as well, with a strut-rod lower control arms and coil springs perched atop the upper wishbones. This basic platform, known as the X-body inside the company, was not shared with any other GM product in its first generation.
But there were some differences, and a few innovations, too. The Chevy II used a novel monoleaf rear suspension, and for ease of manufacturing, the unit-construction chassis was constructed in two halves that bolted together at the firewall with 14 fasteners. The new compact was also the first product to feature the Chevrolet division’s totally redesigned Powerglide automatic transmission, which the full-size cars would adopt the following year. (Read our Powerglide feature here.) There were two available Chevy II powerplants the first year: a 153 CID inline four and a `194 CID inline six. Both were variants of the third-generation Chevrolet straight six introduced on the bow-tie division’s big cars in ’63. (This inline engine family shared parts and tooling with the Chevy small-block V8.) The six found far more popularity than the four in the Chevy II, accounting for more than 80 percent of the deliveries in ’62.
The Chevy II lineup for the inaugural year included three trim levels, starting with the bare-bones 100 series, above. At $2003, the base price was eight bucks more than the Corvair and $18 more than the Falcon. Next up was the 300 series, which added a little more chrome trim and upgraded interior fabrics. The top of the line was the 400 Nova, which boasted real carpeting inside and the inline six as standard. All three trim levels were available in two-door sedan, four-door sedan, and station wagon body styles; on the 400 Nova wagon, a third seat was available. The 400 Nova line also included a snazzy two-door hardtop sport coupe (top photo) and a convertible (below).
For 1962, there was no Super Sport in the Chevy II lineup, no V8 engines or four-speed transmissions, either. All that would come a few years later as eventually, even big-block V8s became available in the platform’s third generation (1969-74). The Chevy II badge was retired for 1969, but the Nova name continued on for decades. It was last seen in the USA on a front-drive subcompact produced by the GM/Toyota NUMMI joint venture from 1985 through 1988.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.
Meet the Fairmont Futura, Ford’s downsized and affordable personal luxury coupe for 1978.
In the original Ford commercial spot below, the all-new 1978 Fairmont Futura is given a dramatic intro borrowed directly from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, including the grandiose Richard Wagner musical score. And why not? The Fairmont series was a big step for the Dearborn motor company—the automaker’s first downsized intermediate sedan after a long (and fairly prosperous) line of ever-growing mid-sized models. The Fairmont, we note, also happens to be the first production application of Ford’s soundly engineered Fox rear-drive chassis, which would be next put to good use as the platform for the successful 1979-93 Mustang.
As the personal luxury coupe in the Fairmont line, the Futura received the same distinctive roof and greenhouse treatment as its big brother, the seventh-generation Ford Thunderbird introduced in ’77: Wide, thick B pillars and trapezoid rear quarter glass. (The T-Bird added a small opera glass to the B pillar.) Ford actually played up the family resemblance with an ad campaign titled “Lightning Strikes Twice!” that pictured both the Futura and Thunderbird and listed the base price of each: $4068 vs. $5448. Then or now, that’s an unorthodox approach to automotive marketing. Video follows.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.
When the GM streamliners first made their appearance in 1941, they looked like the most advanced cars on the road. But the futuristic shape didn’t age well, lasting barely a decade.
1941 Pontiac Torpedo 6 Coupe Sedan
The fastback era at General Motors arrived with a bang in 1941, with Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac adopting the dramatic new sheet metal that year, while Chevrolet followed along one year later in ’42. Developed under the management of GM Styling boss Harley Earl, the teardrop roofline was applied across the board on the company’s A-Body, B-Body, and C-Body platforms, sharing common glass and stampings and produced in both two-door and four-door styles.
1941 Cadillac Sixty-One Five-Passenger Touring Sedan
While the streamliners presented a unified styling look for GM, which it called “Sport Dynamic,” the automaker never made a serious effort to promote them as a single corporate theme. The individual passenger car brands were left to come up with their own model names for their fastbacks, which they did in a casual and often inconsistent manner. Oldsmobile favored the Dynamic Cruiser label, while Pontiac adopted Streamliner and Torpedo (but also applied these names to its conventional body styles).
1942 Chevrolet Special De Luxe Fleetline Aerosedan
Chevrolet came up with the tag Fleetwood Aerosedan, while other GM divisional names included Club Coupe, Touring Sedan, and Coupe Sedan. But the name that stuck in the minds of the public was the Buick label, Sedanet. Consumers applied the name to all the GM fastbacks, often adopting their own alternative non-GM spelling, “Sedanette.” Buick stayed with the Sedanet designation throughout its fastback phase, embellishing it to Jetback Sedanet in 1950.
1946 Oldsmobile Dynamic 76 Club Sedan
When civilian auto production at GM resumed at the end of World War II, the streamliners returned as well, as the ’46 passenger cars were barely facelifted carryovers from ’42. The automaker typically offered its most popular models in both fastback and conventional three-box sedan styles, careful to offer car buyers their choice of either. When the GM passenger car divisions received their complete redesigns in ’48-’49, the streamlined roofline was continued, but in fewer model lines. The teardrop fad was passing.
Cadillac dropped its fastbacks after 1949, while Buick, Olds, and Pontiac discontinued theirs in 1951. Chevrolet hung on for one more year, offering a single streamliner, the Fleetline Deluxe Two-Door Sedan, through 1952. With the clarity of hindsight, we can see what happened: By 1950, GM’s fastback sales were falling off a cliff. American car buyers no longer viewed the teardrop roofline as futuristic, but as a remnant of the past. The fastbacks were swept off the production schedules to make way for the hot new body styles of the ’50s: the pillarless hardtop and the queen of the suburbs, the all-steel station wagon.
1951 Chevrolet Deluxe Styline Four-Door Sedan
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.
Dig that psychedelic early '70s background
It's always interesting to see the initial design sketch for a production car, as it takes a familiar-to-us form and shows the idealized version of that car, the designer's blue-sky dream before it went through the mill of production feasibility, market research, cost analysis and the countless other hurdles that stand between design studio and showroom. Here, we see a design sketch for mid-cycle update of the huge 1970s Chevrolet Impala/Caprice that initially was launched for 1971.
The image appeared in GM Design's Instagram feed, and the sketched was done by Bill Michalak circa 1972. Dig that groovy background. Apparently, it wasn't just Folger's fueling the creative minds at GM design in the early '70s.
The big Chevrolet would have been in its second model year at this point. Below is an image of the '72 Chevy, which shows the differences versus the car Michalak sketched.
This generation Impala/Caprice initially had a front end that was framed by upright fender extensions, in the formal style of the era. Michalak's design would move the fascia in a more aerodynamic direction, eliminating the fender extensions, putting the headlights at the outer edge of the fascia (with the bonus of making the car look even wider), and angling the headlights back toward the fenders. His square headlights were incorporated as well, although they were reserved for the Caprice. This new look appeared for 1975 and remained through '76. Additionally, we can see in this sketch the switch from the coupe's rear window being part of the side daylight opening as shown above and to a large fixed "opera" window for the two-doors, a change that arrived for '74.
Here's the '76 Chevy two-door in production form below.
Michalak's horizontal-bar grille didn't make the cut, as the eggcrate texture was by then considered part of the Caprice look. Outside of the grille and the square headlights, the big Chevys' looks would change dramatically for 1977, as the cars underwent a major redesign and downsizing.
Abridged Article courtesy of Autoblog.com, written by Joe Lorio.
1969 Buick Riviera. Photos by Richard Lentinello.
Vintage-car enthusiasts often debate which postwar cars should be recognized as hallmark designs, but there seems to be little argument about Buick's first-generation Riviera. It is almost unanimously lauded as the postwar automobile that transformed the personal-luxury-car market from an industry niche into a fashionable social statement.
Riviera's story can be recited with ease. Conceptualized as the La Salle II, it was refused by Cadillac, and then Chevrolet, because both divisions were operating at full capacity. It was then offered to Oldsmobile and Pontiac, but quickly retracted when both divisions made it clear they would make sweeping changes. Which left Buick: a division that—looking to alter its sales image— saw potential, grabbed the design, and, with only minor function-over-form tweaks, successfully transformed the Riviera from clay mockup to 40,000 street-legal units in 1963.
The part of the tale that few remember is how Riviera's first-year output was an early high-water mark. Despite tasteful visual refinements through 1965, and the availability of performance options, such as the Gran Sport package, production slowly fell to 37,658 examples for '64, and then to 34,586 a year later. Meanwhile, Fisher Body had been working with Oldsmobile since early '63, sculpting sheetmetal for the front-wheel-drive Toronado. The target year for the Oldsmobile's introduction was 1966. Since that project was similar in stature to the Riviera and was intended for the same market, GM stipulated, early in the '66 Riviera's development, that the Buick was to share the new E-body.
When unveiled, both cars had a uniform fastback roofline with an accentuated hardtop design, thanks to the elimination of vent windows, but Buick's designers set the rearwheel-drive Riviera apart from its corporate rival with crisp, forward-protruding fenders. Coupled with a new hood and bumper, the panels emphasized Buick's W-shaped front end. New running lamps flanked a deeply recessed grille, while headlamps appeared from under the hood lip when activated. A considerable reduction of polished exterior trim made the Riviera's appearance both aggressive and elegant.
The 211.2-inch-long body required a new 119-inch-wheelbase cruciform frame with a wider track that increased stability. Up front, there was an independent front suspension with unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, hydraulic shocks, and an anti-roll bar. In the rear were coil springs and hydraulic shocks anchoring a live axle. Buick's venerable 340-hp, 425-cu.in. engine was retained from '65, as well as the Super Turbine 400 three-speed automatic.
The interior was restyled too, finished with a bench seat, relegating buckets to a no-cost option, and an instrument panel that featured "cockpit-type controls." At the center of the panel was a 140-mph barrel-type speedometer, while "direct-reading" auxiliary gauges were set to either side. Flanking the gauges, and choice of radio, were paddle switches that controlled lighting and other accessories.
Bolstered by comfort and performance options, including the continuation of the GS package, response to the 1966 Riviera produced a sales figure of 42,799 units, surpassing Flint's expectations. Considered a perfect balance of visual appeal, size, and power, the second-gen Riviera was bestowed with mere mechanical improvements—such as the change to a 430-cu.in. engine and Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic—and minor visual updates though 1970, proving that the output of '66 was no fluke. By 1969, Riviera production numbered 52,872 units, including our feature car.
While built during an era known for a plethora of earth tones, this exceptionally documented Riviera left the factory wearing rare Twilight blue. According to the Riviera Owner's Association, just 1,679 (or 3.18 percent) were painted as such. It was also built with the bucket seat and center console options, the latter mandating the relocation of the automatic shift lever off the steering column. Along with 17 other options, it stickered for $6,218, or $45,010 in today's money.
Engine 430-cu.in. V-8
Horsepower 360 @ 5,000 rpm
Torque 475 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm
Transmission Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 three-speed automatic
Rear axle Hypoid, semi-floating, Positive Traction
Tires 8.55 x 15-inch bias ply
Wheels 15 x 6-inch chrome five spoke
Wheelbase 119 inches
Weight 4,200 pounds
Total production 52,872 (includes 5,272 GS editions)
Base price new $4,701
2020 equivalent $34,029
Article courtesy of Hemmings, written by Matt Litwin.
For 1976, Lincoln added one more level of exclusivity to its luxurious Continental Mark IV with the introduction of the Designer Series.
Celebrity and lifestyle co-branding have become fairly commonplace in the car biz. We recall the Eddie Bauer edition Ford SUVS, the L.L. Bean Subarus, the North Face Chevy Avalanche. But in 1976 it was a relatively fresh approach to automotive mass marketing. That’s when the Lincoln division of the Ford Motor Company put the technique on the map, so to speak, with its Designer Series for the swank Continental Mark IV.
In response to the problem of how to offer something exclusive to luxury car buyers when you are already offering them something exclusive, presumably, Lincoln offered a series of four Designer models for 1976 (the final year in the Mark IV product cycle). Each one was endorsed by a famous name from the world of fashion and style: Bill Blass, Cartier, Hubert de Givenchy, and Emilio Pucci.
Hubert de Givenchy, the famed French fashion designer favored by Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy, lent his style and name to the Givency edition (above) which featured Aqua Blue high-metallic paint, a white vinyl roof, and your choice of two interior combinations in Aqua Blue leather or Aqua Blue velour. It’s interesting to note that in all four Designer Series models, the velour cabin cost more than the leather version: $2000 vs. $1,500, added to a base price of just over $11,000. Like all Mark IVs, the Designer Series models were an imposing 228.1 inches in length—just over 19 feet.
Known for his lively colors and bold geometric prints, Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci made his Mark IV Designer model a study in red: Dark Red Moondust Metallic exterior with all-red upholstery inside in either Dark Red Versailles Velour or Dark Red Leather. All four Mark IV Designer cars were essentially identical in mechanical specifications, and all four wore the same dished aluminum wheels that were standard in the Designer Series.
American clothing designer Bill Blass, noted for his classic taste, contributed his name and ideas to the Bill Blass edition. The cabin was finished in Dark Blue velour or leather, while the exterior paint was Dark Blue Diamond Fire Metallic with a contrasting cream-colored vinyl landau top. All four Designer models bore the appropriate signature in the Mark IV’s trademark opera windows in the rear C pillars, and each featured an engraved, gold-plated emblem on the instrument panel.
The only car in the Designer Series lineup not associated with a clothing designer was the Cartier edition, which was co-branded with the renowned Paris jewelry maker. The Cartier (also shown in the lead photo at top) got Dove Grey exterior paint with a matching Dove Grey vinyl roof covering, while the cockpit was finished in Dove Gray cloth or leather. All four Designer Series cars launched on October 3, 1975 along with the rest of the Mark IV lineup.
The Designer Series program was apparently a very successful one for Lincoln, as the various models carried on in the Continental Mark series for many years after the 1976 intro. The Cartier name was eventually transferred from the Continental Mark to the Lincoln Town Car platform and continued all the way to 2003. Will we ever see a Designer Series from the Motor City again? Sure, why not. But where we’re headed , it will most likely be on a battery-powered SUV.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.
Here’s an interesting item in Motor City car lore: The Valiant, Chrysler Corporation’s all-new compact offering for 1960, was not originally badged as a Plymouth.
When the Valiant was introduced for the 1960 model year, the Detroit automakers were still struggling with the question of how to market their new compacts. Should these smaller models be promoted as completely new car brands, from a clean sheet of paper if you will, or should they be cradled in the marketplace as junior versions of the existing brands, trading on their familiarity and reputation? While the company would soon reverse its decision, Chrysler originally chose to market its new compact as a stand-alone brand with the tagline, “Nobody’s kid brother.”
There was was careful reasoning behind the Valiant’s unusual styling (peculiar, some would call it). The short nose and low hood profile, enabled by the Chrysler Corporation’s cleverly packaged Slant 6 engine, were designed to improve driver visibility and command of the road. (Read all about the Slant 6 here.) The elevated rear deck line increased the trunk’s useful luggage capacity, while the thin, bowed-out doors and football-shaped passenger cab maximized interior volume without enlarging the car’s footprint.
To develop the new compact, Chrysler set up a “Valiant Task Force” of 200 engineers and designers in a rented factory a few miles from the company’s Highland Park, Michigan headquarters. Shrouded in secrecy, the project was most likely a government defense program, many Chrysler employees assumed. Along with the Slant 6, engineering firsts for the Valiant included the automaker’s first alternator and a downsized version of the famed Torqueflite transmission called the A-904.
Unlike some Detroit compacts, which were intended as second cars for their customer families, the Valiant was engineered from the start as a “prime vehicle,” the only car a family would need with full seating for six. While the Valiant styling team was directed by Robert Bingman, one obvious flourish from Chrysler styling chief Virgil Exner was the faux spare tire stamping on the deck lid, a gimmick the critics named the “washing machine lid” or “toilet seat.”
All Valiants for 1960 rode on the same 106.5-inch wheelbase unibody platform, and for the inaugural model year, the body styles included a four-door sedan, a six-passenger wagon, and a nine-passenger wagon. A two-door would not be added until the following year, and a convertible was never offered in the first-generation Valiant.
There were two trim levels: the base V-100 and the V-200, which added a little more chrome and some upgraded interior materials. Neither was flashy as the Valiant’s original focus was on function and practicality. The Motor City automakers, Chrysler included, had not yet fully sorted out that many buyers chose compacts simply because they were fun to drive. The bucket seats and convertible models would arrive shortly.
Introduced on September 21, 1959, the Valiant was originally sold and serviced by Chrysler- Plymouth and DeSoto-Plymouth dealers. Some of them, that is—around half the dealers elected to take on the Valiant franchise. Volume was respectable the first year at more than 195,000 units, but clearly, potential sales had been left on the table. For 1961, both the product lineup and corporate management at Chrysler (there was a major scandal in the executive suites in ’60) were given a good shaking as the DeSoto brand was eliminated, the Valiant was rebranded as an official Plymouth model, and the Dodge division got its own badge-engineered version of the Valiant called the Lancer.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor Garage.
By 1965, the Ford Thunderbird had grown into a luxurious 4,500-lb boulevard cruiser with some memorable gee-whiz features.
As we’ve chronicled before here at Mac’s Motor City Garage, each successive generation of the Ford Thunderbird earns a nickname from the car enthusiast community. First come the 1955-57 two-seater Baby Birds, then the 1958-60 Squarebirds, followed by the 1961-63 Bullet Birds. The fourth-generation models of 1964-66 are known by T-bird fanciers as Flair Birds, though we’re not sure if that name has stuck quite as well as the other Thunderbird handles.
By its fourth generation, the Thunderbird had departed far from its origins to become an all-out luxury car with barely a trace of sports car flavoring—the curb weight was now over 4,500 lbs. With a base price of $4,394, by far the most expensive model in the Ford model line for ’65, the Thunderbird was priced a bit higher than even its upmarket rival, the Buick Riviera. As the pioneer of the personal luxury class, the T-Bird outsold the Riviera by a comfortable margin, too: nearly 75,000 units, compared to not quite 35,000 for the Buick.
The Flair Bird’s marketing tagline, “the private world of Thunderbird,” spoke to the nearly endless list of standard and optional luxury features, but the two most memorable items, even to this day, were the fabulous wrap-around rear passenger seat and, brand new for ’65, the gee-whiz sequential turn signals. As car-crazy little kids in the ’60s, we were impressed by these neat gimmicks. Courtesy of Ford Heritage at the UK’s National Motor Museum, we have this nicely preserved dealer film singing the praises of the Thunderbird for ’65. Video below.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.
For 1964, American Motors launched one of the more novel marketing campaigns in Motor City history.
In 1964, the American car industry was going crazy with horsepower. With its Total Performance campaign, Ford was launching full-scale assaults on Le Mans, the Indy 500, drag racing, and NASCAR. Chrysler’s Dodge and Plymouth brands fought for domination in NASCAR and on the drag strips with the 426 Hemi, and while GM was officially out of the racing business, the automaker aggressively pursued the performance consumer market with the Corvette, the Chevy Super Sport models, and two of the cars that kicked off the ’60s muscle car movement, the Pontiac GTO and Olds 442.
Meanwhile, little American Motors, the smallest member of the Detroit four and famous for zigging when the rest of the Motor CIty was zagging, went in a totally opposite direction. Check out the remarkable 1964 print ad above. Here, the company announced that it was not chasing the muscle market, no sir. “The only race Rambler cares about,” the company crowed, “Is the human race!”. It was a bold stroke.
But that is not to say that American Motors products of the era were bland or lacking in personality In fact, Ramblers were loaded with their own quirky and fascinating character, as we hope to show you here.
The most popular product in the American Motors lineup for ’64 was its mid-priced, mid-sized entry, the Rambler Classic. Completely restyled the previous year, the Classic line included 550, 660, and 770 trim levels, while the body styles included two and four-door sedans, a four-door wagon, and new for ’64, a two-door pillarless hardtop.
While the exterior sheet metal was fairly fresh, under the skin the Classic shared much with the Ramblers of the ’50s Nash era, with torque-tube drive and long-coil suspension on all four corners At mid season, a limited-edition Classic 770 hardtop called the Typhoon was rolled out as a promotional tool for the company’s new 232 CID straight six engine. (Read about the Typhoon here.) The Classic lineup also included a 287 CID V8, but sixes were far more popular among Rambler’s thrifty customer base, accounting for more than 80 percent of Classic sales. Trademark Rambler features on the Classic included the automaker’s famed fold-down front seats, another carryover from the Nash era.
The top of the line at American Motors for 1964 was the Rambler Ambassador, above. (In these years, the company was called American Motors but the cars were all branded and marketed as Ramblers across the model lines.) The Ambassador was in fact built on the same 112-inch wheelbase unit-construction platform as the Classic, but with additional equipment and a single trim level, the 990. Features included a blacked-out grille that spelled out AMBASSADOR and a 327 CID V8 available in both two-barrel (250 hp) and four-barrel (270 hp) tune.
Options of note on the Ambassador included bucket seats with a fold-down center section and the novel Twin-Stick transmission. Available on all Ramblers, Twin-Stick used a pair of levers to operate a three-speed overdrive gearbox (more about Twin-Stick here.) Body styles were limited to a four-door sedan, a four-door wagon, and a two-door hardtop.
The big news for Rambler in 1964 was the compact and sporty American, completely redesigned that year under American Motors design chief Richard A. Teague. The wheelbase was lengthened from 100 to 106 inches to increase rear passenger space and modern ball-joint suspension was added up front. One strangely anachronistic feature was the base powerplant, a 195 CID flathead six, which offered only 90 hp but allowed the company to price the American 220, a stripped-down entry model, at less than $2,000. For those seeking a little more glamour, the snazzy 440 trim level included a handsome two-door hardtop (above) and a convertible (lead photo).
Of course, Rambler owners were known to be practical folk, so it’s not surprising that station wagons (below) were important elements in the Rambler lineup . All three car lines—American, Classic, and Ambassador—included wagons in ’64, and all were four-doors that offered folding seats, twin-circuit brakes, and other sensible-shoes Rambler features. Of the nearly 380,000 Ramblers registered in 1964, more than 100,000 were station wagons. But even American Motors could not ignore the expanding youth market, and in 1968 the company officially reversed course, embracing racing and performance in a major way.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.
The Lincoln Continental Mark IV of 1972-76 was the American luxury coupe of the 1970s. Here’s a Lincoln-Mercury dealer film with a closer look at the 1975 product line.
Few products from the Motor City have been as well-defined in the market as the Continental Mark IV. Produced by Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury division from 1972 to 1976. the Mark IV was the sleeker, flashier successor to the successful 1969-71 Mark III. (Read the story behind the Mark III here.) A team of two designers and six modelers under the direction of veteran FoMoCo stylist Wes Dahlberg developed the Mark IV’s imposing profile, which, surprisingly, was only four inches longer (and 200 lbs lighter!) than its predecessor. When Ford president Bunkie Knudsen saw it, he reportedly said, “Gentlemen, that is the next Mark… Don’t change anything.”
Of course, all you hardcore Lincoln enthusiasts know this wasn’t the first Continental Mark IV, as Lincoln also produced a Mark IV in 1959. But when the Mark III was introduced for ’69, the Mark series roman numerals were reset—rather like a TV or movie franchise reboot.
Anyway, by 1975 the Mark IV was in the fourth year of its five-year product cycle, so Lincoln offered a series of special trim packages to offer buyers some exclusivity. As showcased in this original Lincoln-Mercury dealer film, these included the Lipstick and Blue Diamond luxury groups. (L-M expanded on this theme in 1976 with its Blass, Cartier, Givency, and Pucci fashion-designer editions.) Of course, the Mark IV will be eternally remembered for its signature styling features: the faux-Rolls grille, spare tire bump, and opera windows, and all three are on prominent display here. Video below.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.