Story and Photos Mike Spicer
I was 17 years old and my dad’s friend let me take his 1978 Lincoln Continental Town Car for a quick solo drive to the store. As a young kid I had no idea what I was getting into. While navigating the huge outstretched fenders, it took all my budding driving skills to successfully make the voyage without hitting anything. Pulling the behemoth back into the driveway, I marveled at the sheer size and had successfully piloted my first big American car. From this point on, every time I have encountered a big Lincoln from the 70s there’s been a strange attraction.
These cars were at the peak of “Big-ness” in American car production during the 1970s and were some of the biggest production cars to ever be built in the US. American freeways were littered with big boats and the style of the Lincoln Continental Town Car was very much in vogue. Even with a gas crunch that compromised ownership, they continued building these monsters all the way up to 1979.
Jump ahead 20 years and I noticed a local dealer had a pristine gold one on his lot. I (foolishly) thought by driving it I would get the car out of my system and scratch the itch. As I took it for a drive and turned on the radio, a wonderfully period-correct 1970s tune came over the speakers and I was transported back to being 17 all over again. My plan to rid myself of the infatuation with these cars had failed; I came back to the dealership more in love than ever. As fate would have it I waited a few days and the car was sold before I returned. Now I had two experiences to further the allure of the Lincoln Continental Town Car.
A few years later and felling like my attraction was in full remission a friend sold his building he used for storing several of his cars. One was his father’s black 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car. It had been sleeping for 23 years but was in amazing condition. Of course, I dove in full tilt and bought the car. Having my mechanic attend to all the things a car needs when waking up from a big sleep, it was ready to roll and enjoy the open road.
As a bonus, this car was equipped with an 8-track tape player, so I pulled out my collection to help push the clock back in time. Now I was firmly set in the past and loving every minute. Some people had never seen a car like this on the road, and others would join me in the time-travel journey.
It’s obvious to see the evolution of automotive technology when you park next to a Prius! The drastic differences in design approaches are very clear. But while a car is a tool to get from point “A” to point “B” it can also be a time capsule. Every time I get in the driver seat I am fully transported to a time in my youth, mixed with all the experiences gained along the way and finally being able to scratch that itch.