The Lincoln Mark VIII
While I have a broad “base” of interest in cars in general, the spotlight of my attention is usually only focused on one car at a time—a focus that frequently wanders. During the years when my automotive taste was more malleable than at present, there were many cars I was into for a short period of time, which interest I look back on, now that I know better, with a degree of regret.
One of those is the car featured in this post, the 1993-1998 Lincoln Mark VIII. A large “personal coupe” intended to compete with the likes of the Cadillac Eldorado and Lexus SC400, it featured swoopy, futuristic styling draped over a RWD chassis powered by a 280 hp, 4.6l V8.
My interest in the Mark VIII was piqued by one thumbnail-sized photograph in one of my grandmother’s Consumer Reports annual “Car Reviews” issues. The slight blurriness and angle of the picture combined to distort the Lincoln’s proportions just enough that it appeared to have a sportier long-nose/short-deck visual layout. To me, at the time, in that image, it looked purposeful, powerful, desirable… And given the fact that it was new and rather expensive, I never really saw enough of them on the road to right the ship, as it were, and convince me that maybe the photo my fascination was based on hadn’t been the most accurately descriptive of the car’s looks.
In reality, the Mark VIII really wasn’t such a bad car, but it was the last of a dying breed, an obsolescent, overstyled dinosaur and a example of how American luxury automakers in general were (and to a degree, still are) flailing about in the marketplace, trying to sell a distinctively American approach to a buying public rapidly becoming disenchanted with the traditional luxury car = land yacht equation. Its modern engine notwithstanding, the Mark VIII’s blobby design and overwrought interior were signs that Lincoln didn’t “get it,” and it disappeared from the automaker’s lineup within 5 years, to date the last of their personal coupes.
During the period of contact between my car interest and the Mark VIII, in my mid-teens, I probably knew better, but as mentioned, that one photograph, combined with my enthusiasm for GTs and big coupes in general, provided the tinder for a brief spark of desire.
Image credits: motortrend.com, ls1tech.com, lincolnvscadillac.com
Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series discussing cars we used to be fans of, but have since reconsidered our enthusiasm. Read the other installments here: