The 1979 Lincoln Continental Williamsburg Edition was rare, precious

Lincoln’s Continental has long been a luxury car known for a slab-sided, almost minimalist take on design. The lack of overt adornment from the almost-a-Thunderbird 1961 model was a stark contrast to rival Cadillac’s bold and brash look—but each car had its devoted fans, and each became icons in their own right. Cadillac had raw size, but Lincoln had proportion and purity on its side.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/06/06/1979-lincoln-continental-williamsburg-edition-brougham-society

Travesty is to call this 79 a Continental compared to the incredible style of the real Continental: 1956-57.

I agree ! The '79 is just a brick with bad body and seam lines and a C pillar that is out of proportion to the door window ! I suppose some may like this travesty of ugly but then opinions are like buttholes, everyone has one…just some of them stink.

You wrote: “Yet there’s no experience on offer today quite like a 1979 Continental floating over the road, vaguely directed on bias-ply tires…”

I really questioned this statement when I saw it so I researched it a little. Because I knew the real surge toward radial tires started in the early '70s. I’ve been involved with Corvettes heavily since 1971 and they made the switch to radials in 1973. So, I felt sure by 1979, there could be no doubt Lincoln was employing them. It was difficult to obtain info on the '79 Town Cars but I did find this little tidbit of info which surprised me. And something I had never heard before. So I will submit that if the Continental Mark III of 1970 had radials as standard equipment, the '79 Town Car would have had them for sure nine years later. The info below was gleaned from Wikipedia under the subject Radial Tires.

First American car fitted with radial tires standard: 1970 Continental Mark III

ALL 1977-79 full-sized Lincoln had Michelin radials except for the 1978 Diamond Jubilee Edition Mark V, which used Goodyear dual band whitewall radials.

This car had radial tyres. I can understand any written article will have the occasional mistake, but come on, all cars by 1979 had radial tyres. As an aside, at the Langley Show and Shine last September 2018, in Langley/Aldergrove, British Columbia, there was a nice dark blue 1978 Town Car. It probably drew more admirers than any of the other cars at the show, which had the usual Camaro, Mustang, Nova, Chevelle et al.

Bias-ply tires? …lol, just another Hagerty writer showing what little they know about cars.

Exactly my thoughts. Your last sentence points out why not everyone is enamoured by the '56 -'57 Lincoln, or in turn the above Williamsburg Edition. Taste is a two-way street. Always will be I suppose. But if not for different tastes we might all have to drive a sixty year old Lincoln look-alike. Personally I like automotive anything, but what I would have in my driveway is entirely up to me

I’m not saying the car was big, but Civil Defense used the roof as an emergency helipad. If you slammed the hood shut it registered on the Richter scale. The doors were OEM for the Notre Dame cathedral. The decklid had so much metal in it you could trade it for a Toyota. And the carpets took a carpet laying crew three days to install.

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@amellema23- Per the author, he understands that the factory equipped the '79 Continental with radial tires, however many of them were quickly fitted with whitewall tires–which are bias-ply.

@Cornbinder, @32deuce, and @mbwpg - The car was factory fit with radial tires, that is correct. The author states he was referencing the driving manners with the whitewall tires, which would have been bias-ply, that were often fit right away by owners. Our apologies for not making that clear.

If only Uncle Tom McCahill was still alive in the late 1970s. His test and comments on any 1977 to 1979 Town Car, Mark V and Versailles would have been priceless.

I wonder what Tom McCahill would think of todays everyday cars ie Accord, Fusion, Camry, Civic, Elantra et al. All cars that would run circles around any car from his era. Although he may have had difficulty fitting in any of these cars. He probably would have loved todays F150, RAM, etc.

Why would the whitewalls have necessarily been bias-ply? Whitewall radials were quite available in the 1970’s; my dad’s 1976 Regal had them, and did my grandfather’s 1977 Royal Monaco. Hard to imagine that an appropriate whitewall radial size would not have been made for the big Lincoln.

Never much cared for the style of the Mark II, especially as compared to the original Continental, or to the Mark III. I guess it was somewhat low and sleek by the standards of the 1950’s, though.

I think they were beautiful cars, and I’m a GM fan. Their like will never be seen again and I think that’s sad. Present day cars may be able to do everything wayyy better than the old ones, but they will never have the character of the old ones. Cars today have way too much electronics and way too many electronic assists and nannys that only serve to erode driver attention, knowledge and skill. And the thought of self driving cars makes me want to puke. Yes, I love the old boats and I hope they live on long past the junk that passes for cars these days.

Hagerty: the white wall tires you’re referencing that were bias-ply were the WWW (wide white walls) used on <=50s cars (mostly). Yes, some people were putting those on Lincolns in the 70s but that was a very small group of, let’s say, enthusiasts. The vast majority of white wall tires fitted in the mid-late 70s on cruiser boat Fords/Lincolns/Mercurys were NOT those bias ply versions, but radial tires sporting either 3/4" or 1" white walls. Again, I’ll say, you continue to show how little you really are into cars with these statements.

rchottea: You are correct, not only were the whitewall radials available for the big Lincolns but most every single one was wearing them. And, the ones that weren’t were wearing blackwall radials. Almost nobody was using bias-ply anything on luxury cars of 1979.

Also to your “quickly fitted” with bias-ply whitewalls (replacing the factory radials) comment is complete nonsense. They came from the factory with whitewall radials. There was absolutely no reason anyone would replace whitewall radials with whitewall bias-ply tires in 1979 on a brand new car.

As to the window sticker claiming “no need to wax”:
it reads “This Service Is Protected By…”

Shouldn’t that have been “Surface”?

  • A part-time proofreader; full-time crank.