Back in the seventies, you could buy three Lincolns. A land yacht, the Continental, a sporty land yacht, the Mark III, IV & V and in the second half of the seventies a small land yacht, the Versailles. In 1980 the Versailles was discontinued and the others were downsized.
But for some reason, the Mark VI became a variant of the Continental with hidden headlights. Like the Continental it was available as two and four door sedan. So you could buy more or less the same car for a different price. That usually doesn’t work well, so in 1981 things changed. The Mark VI would stay until 1984, the Continental got the TownCar name plate and the Continental nameplate was dropped for a year. The TownCar nameplate was always been a luxury version of the Continental, but as of 1981 it became a model line of its own. It was available as four door TownCar and two door TownCoupe.
The TownCar was now named after it’s major option package, so this option package needed a new name, which became Signature Series. This Signature Series package came with dual six way power seats and recliner, power mirrors, illuminated storage bins in the arm rests. This on top of the equipment that was standard on the regular model, like twin comfort lounge seats, climate controle and lower door carpeting. For 1981 the instrument panel woodgraining was change from mahogany to rosewood.
The engines in 1981 were carryovers of 1980, the 5.0l V8 with 129 bhp at 3600 rpm and the 5.8l V8 with 140 bhp.
In 1982 the TownCoupe was dropped and so was the 5.8 V8. The Designer Series was introduced on the TownCar, essentially an upgrade of the Signature Series. This was a Cartier edition with Light Pewter over Opal exterior with an Opal leather with Light Pewter cloth interior. For 1983 and 1984 there were a few refinements with a new generation of electronic radio’s as the biggest change
In 1985 the TownCar received a major facelift with a totally redesigned rear end. The taillights and centered back panel were forward canted giving the rear a modern look. Also the front and rear bumper became narrower. In the interior the door trim panels were redesigned, dashboard cluster lightning improved and speed control, tilt steering wheel, interval wipers became standard equipment. The 5.0l V8 was still the only engine available.
1986 came with the introduction of a few novelties for the TownCar such as power decklid pulldown, auto dim rearview mirror and a JBL audio system. Also the seat trim style and fabric was revised, introducing a loose pillow effect. The most interesting novelty for 1987 was the Sail America edition, which was a limited edition based in the Signature Series. Finished in Arctic White with a dark blue carriage roof and an Oxford White / Shadow Blue leather interior.
For 1988 the TownCar received a mild update. The front grill was restyled and the taillights were restyled. In 1989 the front indicators received orange lights. It became clear that succession was waiting.