Lincoln Town Car
The Lincoln Town Car is a fullsize luxury sedan and serves as the flagship of Ford's luxury Lincoln division. Often referred to as "The last traditional American luxury sedan," "the Town Car continues to honor the time-tested luxury formula consisting of a smooth ride, soft plush seats and large interior room." - New Car Test Drive Along with the spacious interior also come extravagant dimensions. The Town Car is currently the largest American-made car, measuring nearly 18 feet in length for a standard Town Car and 18 1/2 ft for an L Edition. The Town Car's main competitors include the Lexus LS 460 and Cadillac DTS. The Town Car is manufactured at the Wixom, Michigan Assembly Plant. While relatively affordable when compared to European flagship luxury sedans, the Town Car is currently the most expensive American luxury sedan (according to base MSRP) with prices ranging from US$42,055 for a basic Signature Series to $56,745 for a top-of-the-line Signature L Series.
In February 2006, Ford announced that it plans to close the Wixom Assembly Plant, as part of The Way Forward. While there have conflicting reports on the issue, most reports expect that the production of the Town Car will continue through 2007. It is likely that the Town Car will be redesigned for the 2008 model year, and will move production to St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada (where the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis are produced).
Lincoln Town Car Name
It is probably not a coincidence that "Town Car" is a translation of Cadillac's "Sedan de Ville," a model which was gaining popularity in the 1950s. Both names refer to a classic style of limousine, popular in the 1920s, which had an open chauffeur's compartment up front, but only Lincoln has sometimes attempted to make its modern models visually suggest their older namesakes. As an example, note the vinyl roof covering on the 1979 model shown below. It sweeps down the center pillar as part of a raised molding, complete with opera lamps, which suggests a partition between front and rear seats, while no vinyl is applied to the front section of the roof over the driver.
Lincoln Town Car History
The Town Car name appeared on several trim levels on the Lincoln Continental flaghsip sedan in from 1959 to 1980. In 1981 the Lincoln Town Car became a model in its own right and became Lincoln's largest sedan as well as flagship vehicle. Since then there have been three generations of the Lincoln Town Car with additional minor redesigns, one in 1995 and another one in 2003.
The Town Car name first appeared in the Lincoln line in 1959, on a special limousine-like version of the standard Continental. This first Town Car was available only in black and was identifiable by a unique padded vinyl top, which was a rarity at that time.
After its first appearance in 1959, the Town Car name went dormant for 10 years, and re-emerged as an especially plush interior option package for the 1969 Lincoln Continental.
It next appeared as a trim option in 1971, and thereafter continued through 1980 as the top-of-line trim option package for the Lincoln Continental. Again the Town Car trim featured an extra plush interior along with, usually but not always, a landau vinyl roof over the rear passenger compartment. The Town Car badge has always been applied to sedans, but from 1975 to 1980, there was a similar option for coupes called the Town Coupe.
Since 1981, the Town Car has been considered a model in its own right, replacing the Continental (whose name reappeared a year later on a smaller model). Upon its introduction the Town Car immediately became Lincoln's flagship model, a purpose it continues to serve to this day.
The first generation Lincoln Town Car featured a body profile and grille similar to that of the late 1970s Lincoln Continental. The interior layout included new seats, dashboard and door panels. The exterior door panels and fenders were also completely new, while the taillights and trunk lid experienced a slight redesign. To keep up with current design trends the previously covered headlights were now exposed and composed of two adjoining square units.
The First Generation Lincoln Town Car also feature many advanced luxury options for its time. While leather trim was only available on the Cartier edition, all trim levels featured six-way power seats as well as an optional 12-speaker Ford JBL audio system.
Similar to the Continental Town Car package, a half-vinyl coach roof with frenched rear window was also a standard option on the Signature and Cartier models.
In 1990, the Town Car's body went through a major redesign and a rear-axle air suspension was added as standard equipment. That year, it was also named as Motor Trend's Car of the Year. Through most of this model run, the car was available in three trim levels: Executive, Signature, and Cartier, in increasing order of cost and prestige.
The 1990 Lincoln Town Car also marked the end of the Town Car's 1970s-based angular design. The wedges on the side of the hood which contained the parking and signal lights were removed and the Rolls-Royce-like grille was replaced with a more modern and more aerodynamic front fascia. Parking lights were now located adjoining to the grille and the headlights wrapped around the corners of the front. The door panels and fenders were replaced as well, while the trunk lid and taillights remained somewhat more similar to the 1980s model.
The revised interior featured a new dashboard, seats, and interior door panels.
1991 saw the introduction of Ford's new Modular V8, an SOHC design replacing the Ford 302 Windsor.
The Town Car underwent a minor exterior facelift for the 1995 model year. Changes to the exterior included smaller, clear headlights as well as additional running lights in the rear.
The interior was completely revamped. The Town Car received a new dashboard, new seats and new interior door panels. The angular interior shapes from the 1990 to 1994 model's interior were replaced by more modern-looking curved design elements. Many of the new interior compenents such as the dashboard featured a so-called "organic" design. 1995 also saw the introduction of a new steering wheel, which was used in all Ford Panther based sedans until 2004.
The 1990 body style remained primarily unchanged until the next new body style premiered in 1998, a redesign which included the removal of the car's hood ornament and more angular shapes. A Cartier model gets a 220 hp version of the Modular V8.
The more boxy Town Car design of the 1990s was replaced by a curvacious design scheme with a downwards sloping trunk lid, pursed lip grille, and cat-eye headlights.
While the Town Car lost three inches in overall length the new Town Car was two inches wider, one inch taller, and weighed 600 pounds more. The post-1998 Town Car feature a slightly longer wheelbase as well.
The interior was also completely redesigned. Door and instrument panels as well as the radio face, switches and controls were redone. Additional wood trim was added to the newly designed dahsboard and the door panels. The power seat controls were moved to the door panels. Lincoln emblems were also added to the door panels.
A factory option available to individual owners of Town Cars since 2001 has been a version of the Town Car with an extra six inches of rear seat legroom, designated as the "L" or "long" version. This model provides extra amenities for rear-seat passengers, including a unique rear-seat switch that allows the front-passenger seat to be moved forward as desired for extra room in the rear.
A Touring Edition also became available in late 2000. The Touring Edition featured a more powerful 235 hp version of the Town Car's Modular V8 engine and added dual exhaust pipes. The Touring addition also featured unique 16" alloy wheels as well as larger tires.
A minor body redesign in 2003 added the hood ornament back again. 2003 also marked the last year that the Town Car was available in a trim package with the name "Cartier" (1981 to 2003). Beginning with the 2004 model year, the top-of-the-line Town Car is instead designated as the "Ultimate". The Touring edition (on the Signature model only) was dropped likely because the handling of 2003 Town Cars were far better than last year's Touring edition. The 4.6 L V8 with 239 hp was also introduced for the 2003 model year.
The interior remained largely unchanged for 2003. More brushed satin metals and an analog clock were added to the interior. The Lincoln emblems on the door panels were removed and the radio face including climate controls received a facelift.
For the 2005 model year, the Ultimate trim level was dropped. The trim levels for the 2005 Lincoln Town Car were: Signature, Signature Limited, and the Signature L with a lengthened wheel-base.
For 2006, the model trim levels were changed again. The trim levels for the 2006 Town Car are: Signature, Signature Limited, Designer, and Signature L.
The Town Car overwhelmingly dominates the limousine market in the United States, since it is the only American luxury car still in production with body on frame construction, making the production of stretched versions easier than with unibody construction.
Lincoln Town Car Trim Levels
1981 the Town Car was introduced in three trim levels, the base Executive Series, the mid-range Signature Series, and the top-of-the-line Cartier. The trim levels remained unchaged until 2003, when the Executive Series and Cartier names were dropped. The Signature Series did not any longer represent the mid-range model, rather it replaced the Executive Series with Ultimate designation being used for the mid-range and top model, which was formerly called the Cartier. In 2005, however, the line-up of trim levels was changed again. For 2005 only the Ultimate designation was dropped, with only the Signature Series designation being used for all three trim levels. In 2006, Lincoln introduced the Desginer Series as an additional trim-level to fit in between the mid-range Signature Limited Series and the top Singature L Series.
Executive (1981 - 2003)
The Executive Series was the basic trim levels and thus also most affordable trim level on the Lincoln Town Car from 1981 through 2003. The Executive Series designation is still used today but only on fleet vehicles.
Signature (1981 - present)
The Signature Series was the mid-level trim and also most popular trim level from 1981 through 2003. In 2004 the trim levels were renamed, and the Signature Series was now used to describe the basic trim level and Ultimate was now used to describe the mid-level trim. In 2005 the Ultimate was dropped and all trim levels were changed to a version of Signature. The basic trim level for 2005 was called Signature, the mid trim level was called Signature Limited and the top-of-line trim-level was called Signature L. The trim level designations were revised again for the 2006 model year. For 2006 a trim level called the Designer Series was added between the Signature Limited and top-of-line Signature L.
Cartier (1981 - 2003)
Cartier was used on the top-of-line Town Car from 1981 through 2003. The Cartier also featured an own version of Lincoln emblem which was stiched onto the seats. Golden Lincoln emblems on the tail-lights also became a staplemark on the Cartier Edition on 1998 through 2002 models.
Ultimate (2004 only)
Ultimate was only used on the 2003 Town Car. Ultimate was designation used on the mid-level trim, while Ultimate L was the designation used for the top-of-line Lincoln.
L Edition (2001 - present)
The designation "L" was used on Lincoln Town Cars with extended wheelbases. The L editions offer an additional six inchies of legroom as well as separate audio and climate controls for rear passengers. While this desgination is similar to that used on other luxury flagship sedans such as the BMW 7-Series or the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the "L" designation was never its own trim option on the Town Car. Instead the L edition was applied to the top-of-line Cartier (2003), Ultimate (2004 only), and Siganture (2005 - present) Series trim levels.
Designer (2006 - present)
The Designer Series is an upper-middle trim level in between the mid-level Signature Limited and top-of-the-line Signature L. The Designer Series is roughly $1,000 more expenive than the mid-level Signature Limited with a starting MSRP of $45,915.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lincoln Town Car ".