|The original Gingermobile - my 1985 Firebird Trans Am|
To get you guys back up to speed, here's the situation. A couple of years ago, I sold my much-loved classic Pontiac Trans Am and have since then been looking for a suitable steed to replace it. My requirements were pretty stiff:
- Two door, hard top coupe
- British, French, Swedish or American built
- Built before 1990
- Four full seats
- Large boot/trunk
- Manual transmission
- Pop-up headlights
- V8 engine
- Fastback design
|I want a car that does this...|
|...but can also pull off this.|
Finally, I wanted a car that was practical enough to be an everyday-driver, and one I could realistically afford within the next couple of years.
And, finally, I think I have a winner.
Although I'd originally written it off as a gas-guzzling monstrosity, my eyes kept returning to the 1970s-era Lincoln Mark cars.
|The Lincoln Mark V - to this day, still the least fuel-efficient vehicle ever tested by Car & Driver|
These enormous grand tourers had the distinction of being some of the biggest and most opulent production cars ever produced; and originally weighed in with a price-tag similar to a Rolls Royce or Bentley.
Each model was finished by a famous contemporary designer – Givenchy and Cartier were two of the better known – and came with every luxury feature under the sun; from ice-cold AC to a moon-roof and powered, lumber-support velour or leather seats.
In that respect, a 1970s-era Lincoln perfectly meets the objectives of being a car worthy of James Bond or Simon Templar. In fact, James Bond drove a fictional "Mark IV" Bentley in some books, and a "Continental" in others, so the parallel between that and a Lincoln Continental Mark IV is rather satisfying.
|The beautiful 1979 Lincoln Mark IV Cartier edition|
|Available with all these sexy options|
But for the good ol' boy inside of me, the mid-70s Lincolns also didn't disappoint. Long, low and sleek, they came equipped with some of Ford's biggest V8 engines; easily pushing out 300 horses and being a good match for The General Lee.
Likewise, they had long, low doors with frameless windows; which were perfectly for jumping in and out of. As classically American as they come, the old Lincolns were car-chase worthy; as well as being ideal for purring down the boulevards in.
|Red paint and pop-up headlights. A 1976 Lincoln Mark IV|
Obviously, they don't tick all the boxes. Although a Lincoln Mark IV comes with pop-up headlights and that purring V8, they're available only as automatics (but with all that torque, it's acceptable) and fastbacks were as rare then as they are now.
|A '76 Mark IV with that classic grand touring profile|
That being said, it wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility to install a manual transmission (Fords of that era are like Lego – you can swap and switch parts with relative impunity.) Likewise, the sleek swoop of the Mark IV and Mark V almost gives the car a fastback profile even without a hatchback rear.
|It's not a fastback, but it's still sleek and sporty|
Considering decent models are trading for about $5,000 at the moment, I anticipate it will be a while before I manage to get my hands on a Gingermobile – but when I do, a Lincoln Mark IV is looking like the likeliest contender.