Drove a '77 Town Car Today!!

Lincoln Town Car

  1. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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    So me and my buddies were out looking for a new Jeep Cherokee/Wrangler for my friend Evan on tuesday. We get to this dealer and there's a '77 Town Car parked behind the '99 Wrangler Sahara that he wanted to look at, but this dealer is closing, so I come back today and take a look at it.

    -Exterior-
    This thing is huge! Too much car for me perhaps? I'm starting to think so. The hood is longer than I am tall (66"), plus you have the header panel between the grille and hood, AND the bumper which is another 8" deep!
    This stands at 233" long, which is 25" longer than my '92, and 12 inches longer than the Broughams I love, but it feels much much bigger than the 12" would lead you to believe. It's a great looking car though, very nice and important looking. With one of the best looking grilles ever IMO. It's very intimidating looking if you ask me, especially because it was Navy Blue, with a matching vinyl top.

    -Interior-
    The Interior was unlike anything I have seen before. These '70's cars are something new I tell ya. For instance, in the middle of the dash, theres a huge pull out ashtray! Who needs that much ashtray?? Not I! And right above this huge ashtray is a tiny little AM/FM radio. The seats were something new too. Very very very cushy, no support anywhere, except in the upper back! And theres only 4 adjustments: front-back movement, and front/rear tilt. No Height or recline adjustment like new cars. The seats definetly werent as comfortable as newer Cadillac/Lincoln seats Also, the dash had the full instrumentation I like (minus the tach), and lots of faux wood trim! The '70s really were a time for sheer excess I tell ya! Wow! Also, it didn't feel any more roomy than my '92, but that's really saying something! But I did think it was really cool to sit in the backseat and actually sit behind the opera windows. And the trunk was huuuuuge! Very deep!

    -Engine-
    I think 1977 was the first year they had the 400 standard, but this one had the 460! And after a quick read thru the owners manual, I got it started. (Wasn't too sure on how many times to pump the gas)
    It's very very smooth at idle, much smoother than my 4.9. And very very quiet. Knowing me, I HAD to stab the gas to hear 7.5L of detroit iron, and I did. It's not loud or anything, but you can almost feel the silent power, even in park. And under the hood, you would not believe it's a 7.5L! There's so much room to work in there, spark plugs would take about 10 minutes, 20 if you're gonna do wires too. Everything looks so easy to service, for example, the oil filter is right next to the air filter (atleast I think that's what it was)

    -Behind the Wheel-
    Surprisingly, it doesn't feel THAT big. After about 3 minutes behind the wheel, I got used to it's length and girth, it took me about 10 minutes to get used to that super super vague steering. The steering is probably the biggest factor to the boat feel. It's more vague than that '84 deVille I drove a while back, and the steering column was moved to the least comfortable position, and I couldn't move it at all, and the steering wheel rim had a similiar diameter to a cigarette. Those 3 factors together add up to make a very vague steering system, which is probably exactly what Lincoln wanted back in '77. If I ever buy one of these, the first thing I would do is tighten up the steering to a more sensible level.

    Other than the terribly vague steering, the car isn't that hard to drive in heavy traffic. It's got GREAT power! You don't even have to give it gas to get moving off the line! Just take your foot off the brake at a stop and the 460 eases it down the road like you're riding on a tsunami of torque. I nailed it a few times at about 20-30 MPH and I was surprised with the amount of OOMPH that it has. It's very good all things considered. In the may 1975 Issue of "Road Test" magazine (since bought out), they tested a 5200 pound '75 Town Coupe and got a 0-60 of 9.5 and a 1/4 mile time of 17.12 seconds at 81 MPH. Not bad at all! Now the '77 made the same amount of power, but weighed 350 lbs less, so the acceleration is even better!

    It didn't float like you would think. The roadholding wasn't bad at all, all things considered. Once I got used to the steering feel, I could make some decently tight left hand turns at a decent speed. One thing I did notice though, is the tires are very happy to squeal at low speed turns, but that's expected from a car of this caliber.

    One of the other things I didn't like was the tiny side mirrors. It's damn near impossible to get a good view out of the right side one. Either you're seeing only the fender, or none of the car at all. Also, the high cowl and dash was a little disappointing too, but the super long hood and raised fenders more than make up for it!


    All in all, it was a real neat car to drive, but definetly something I would not wanna drive daily, even if gas wasn't $2.80 a gallon. Maybe if you got the steering tightened though....



    I'll definetly consider a '70s Lincoln for a "summer night cruiser" later in life, but I do not want one quite as much as I used to. Maybe the Mark IV has tighter steering??? That would definetly help a lot. Is there anyway to tighten the steering up?



    Pics/ Video to come real soon!
     
  2. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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  3. FGS

    FGS LVC Member

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    Thank you for posting such a complete review. I always liked those old boats. Nice to see that there are still a few around.
     
  4. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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    Yeah, I was real surprised to see this at that little dealer.

    Driving this tells me that cars need not be that big. About the biggest car I feel comfortable with driving is the '77-'92 Cadillac Brougham. For example, I was driving down a residential street around this sweeping right turn, and as I was going thru it, the end of the hood was going into the oncoming lane. That's just too long!
     
  5. FGS

    FGS LVC Member

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    Just curious, how much were they asking for it?
     
  6. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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    $3000.

    It had 75700 miles, and the only rust on it anywhere was on the rear rocker panels. Just some surface rust though. A few tiny dings down the sides though, nothing very noticeable at all though. It was a one owner car since it was built in 3/77.

    If I had the money, space and freedom I would have purchased it, now that I know how to adjust the steering column!!
     
  7. Jason_MarkVI

    Jason_MarkVI Active LVC Member

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    Damn its beauitful! I would take that car home!
     
  8. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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    Is there anyway to tighten up the steering on these? When I get a '70s Lincoln, that would be one of my first projects. I suppose I could just get used to it though.

    Did the Mark series have tighter steering than the Continentals and Town Cars?
     
  9. RB3

    RB3 Well-Known LVC Member

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    FYI...

    The seat height is adjustable. The little round knob on the armrest you used to move the seat back and forth will move it up and down when you push it (the knob) sideways.

    If the steering wheel has the tilt feature, you push the turn signal lever toward the dash to tilt the wheel up and down...there isn't a separate lever.

    I rode in one just like this, same color, two weeks ago to the LCOC meet at Kalamazoo, a 4,000 mile car that took a primary first at the meet.
     
  10. Nakoa

    Nakoa Well-Known LVC Member

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    my mom bought a white one right after i was born, very beautiful cars.

    nothings sexier than a 63 conti though.
     
  11. Frat-man-du

    Frat-man-du Dedicated LVC Member

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    I had a 78 TC Silver with grey crushed velvet interior. Had all the options (except the CB - how 70's). At 400K we traded in on the 90 TC. The only thing I hated was the 460's stupid a$$ 2 stage 4bbl carb. What a pain the a$$ to rebuild it. You could fit a whole Sorority and a pony Keg in the trunk!

    Even the sunroof still worked - never leaked a drop. The smokers windows (again how 70s) were kind of pain they were always coming loose from the rubber slides. Anyway I learned to drive on this beast. if you can parallel park these beasts during rush hours in Washington DC you can park anything anywhere!

    Oh BTW the blue oil filter looking thing on the air-cleaner is just a debris can. It kinda traps larger particles in the air-cleaner. Just a hollow can if I remember. The true oil filter is down on the block like everyone else. Standard FL1-A
     
  12. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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    FMD---400k miles, wow!


    Nakoa, the '63's are great, but I'd much rather have the '75-'78 Continental. It's just more "lincolny" to me.
     
  13. Moby & The Silver Bullet

    Moby & The Silver Bullet LVC Member

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    Yeah, there's nothing quite like big beasty, is there? :)

    I love love love them! I can't wait til I can get moby all fixed up and then I'll be set!

    That should be soon, by the way since I have to (don't want to) sell the Cutlass to get caught up on some stuff my wife got behind on. (which sucks), but the brightside is that the cutlass will nab 2-3 times what I need to get caught up, so the excess is going into the continental, and if there's enough left over, I might even pick up this Fender Deluxe P-Bass special that I've been eyeballing. :)

    BTW, I think the horsepower rating on a 77 460 is actually a little bit lower than the horsepower rating on a 75 460, but since they switched to a lighter frame in 77, the acceleration curve should be about the same. 9.5 sec 0-60 is no corvette, but is damn impressive for a 20 ft long 5000 lb car. It's just a hair slower than my 99 Crown Vic which is over 1000lbs lighter and over 2 feet shorter. Pretty heady stuff.
     
  14. Frat-man-du

    Frat-man-du Dedicated LVC Member

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    No question these are beasts, but you can get hit by a garbage truck at 60mph and walk away... try that in a Ricer!
     
  15. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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    Yeah it was plenty powerful for something THAT big and that heavy. It wasn't so much the acceleration, but the amazing amount of torque. If you went WOT, it moved quickly, but it barely felt like you were moving, plus that 460 was sooo quiet. What was more interesting to me anyways, was how you didnt' even have to give it throttle to get it moving from a dead stop.
     
  16. Moby & The Silver Bullet

    Moby & The Silver Bullet LVC Member

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    92SDV:

    I have a steep driveway, and of the 77 Conti, 89 Town Car, and even 99 Crown Vic, the only one that just will not roll backwards in drive is the conti. But part of the reason you don't feel the acceleration more is because the car is geared so danged high. 2.73:1 if I remember correctly.

    If you lower the gears even to a 3.08:1 like what's in the 80-90 Town Car, you will not only get better off the line acceleration, but an enhanced perception of acceleration as well.

    For example, my 89 TC does 0-30 in just over 4.5 secs while my 99 Vic does it in 4.5 flat. My Vic has the 200HP 4.6L SOHC with 2.73:1 gears while the TC has a 150HP 5.0L OHV with 3.08:1 gears. Even though the TC is a smidge slower to 30 even with the lower gears, it feels a whole lot faster off the line than the vic. The TC kinda throws you back a bit, while the vic barely feels like it's moving.

    Granted, the Vic annihilates the TC in the 0-60, and once you start to crest, say, 60MPH, then the vic begins to really show it's power. But I'm not gonna be spending much time going faster than 60. I'd rather have that power at the beginning where I'm gonna use it, you know?

    Now, it comes down to personal taste to be sure, but that feeling of power off the line is a bit of a rush, and it also means I can sate my speeder's tendencies at a lower actual speed that way. So I have plans for both the vic and the conti to be retrofitted with 3.08:1 gears. I like that initial surge. And that 460 is an engine with potential! :)

    Frat-Man-du:

    First things first, cool screen name. Second: I object. That Continental is 20 feet and 5000 lbs of solid steel, IT will hold up excellently in almost any wreck situation...the same thing can not be said about the driver. Those cars had no safety features such as crush zones. The only things on that car that are collapsable are the steering column and the front bumper. Other than that, when the beast gets slammed, it's gonna channel the full force of that impact into the driver because the car itself isn't going to absorb any of it.

    Now in the case of continental vs ricer, well, then both drivers would probably die. The conti driver for the reasons stated above, and the ricer, even with it's broad assortment of safety features would probably still be overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the old boat, afterall, everything has it's limits.

    The fact that newer cars go to pieces the instant they get in a wreck is actually a good thing, assuming you have insurance. Cause each crumple in that car softens the blow to the driver, and then by the time it gets to the cab, well then the air bags finish up the job nice and tidy.

    Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love that continental. And there are a lot of things it is...but one thing it's not is overly safe...though, if you feel the irresistable pull to slam your ride into a small tree or a pole or a some such, then the conti is definitely the one you want to do it in.
     
  17. Pepsi2185

    Pepsi2185 LVC Mafia Henchman

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    Ive always wondered what those cars were like. Ive never got a chance to be in one. Thanks for the very complete analysis.
     
  18. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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    I love going out and test driving cars, especially ones like this! You can expect many more reviews like this in the future.

    Moby:
    The perception is that a tank the size of the '77 will keep the driver safe. It's not the truth. Like you said, IT will be mostly undamaged, but they lack the crumple zones the newer cars have, so it doesn't soften the blow to the driver like a modern car will.

    About the gearing, my '92 Sedan deVille has the 4.9L V8 and the 2.73:1 final drive ratio. For what ever reason, it never seems that fast, except off the line, even though it is quite quick. Maybe it's because it's so big, maybe it's because it's so quiet, or maybe it's the gearing.

    Anyways, 3.08's on a 460 powered Lincoln would be just insane! Can you imagine the acceleration? With the 2.73's and the "weak" (relatively speaking) 460, the 0-60 is in the low 9 second range. I bet with the 3.08's, and a mildly modded 460, you could do it in the low 8 second range.
     
  19. Moby & The Silver Bullet

    Moby & The Silver Bullet LVC Member

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    Well, I want to keep my 77 VERY close to stock. It's got non-original true-dual exhaust right now that will need to be replaced, so I'll replace it with like kind. I may be needing a new carb soon, if so, I'm gonna go for a performance holley, if it doesn't need replaced, then I'll stick with the motorcraft til it does and then go for the holley. But apart from the exhaust, carb, and rear gears, I want to keep it bone stock.

    I never meant to make the continental a racer. The way I like to put it is: I only want to make it fast enough so that no chevy cavalier will ever be able to pass me without permission again.

    No, if I'm gonna soup up any of my cars for performance it'll be my 99 Crown Vic. It was gonna be the 70 Cutlass, but I'm selling that. Between a 77 Conti, an 89 Towncar and a 99 Vic, the Vic is the most logical choice for performance modding. The 77 is too much of a classic for me to want to do anything too extreme to it either in terms of performance or bling, but the 89 and 99, now that's a different story... If the 99's gonna be performance than the 89's gonna be my luxury bling mod.... if I ever get around to it, that is I've been sitting on this 77 for two whole years and haven't done anything with it... in fact, the only reason I'm even going to be able to do anything with it is cause I'm selling the Cutlass. I can very easily see myself giving up on the other two projects before I even really get around to starting them. I guess we'll just see.
     
  20. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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    Although I do understand your desire for keeping the '77 stock, if I ever get a '70's Lincoln with the 460, I'd wanna make it quite fast, capable of 13-14 second 1/4 miles, but I'd leave it pretty much stock looking inside and out. To get a mid 13 1/4 mile, I'd need about 480hp and around 530 lb/ft. Now I'm thinking this may be possible with the stock 460, but there's a crate motor from Ford Racing that makes around 510hp, they say that it'll fit under the hood of a fox Mustang, so a boat this large won't be a problem. I wonder if it bolts right in and up to the tranny? Will the C6 be capable of this kind of power? What tranny would it need instead?

    Just imagine, being able to wail on LS1 Camaros and Trans Am's in a 4800 lb Lincoln!

    What kind of parts would you put on the '99 Crown Victoria? I am really thinking about buying a '93-'97 Town Car as my next car, and I would like to make the 4.6 a little more powerful. I've seen some T/C's with that motor run 14's.
     
  21. Moby & The Silver Bullet

    Moby & The Silver Bullet LVC Member

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    Oh, I'm not sure. I'd probably retrofit it with an interceptor package and then possibly do some more modding to it from there. I haven't really decided. For the short term, I do plan on lowering the gears and installing a dual exhaust. That alone will make a noticible difference. But I doubt I'll stop there ultimately.

    Why do you specify 93-97? I understand the 97, but the 93's got me confused. If you're just thinking 4.6L 200HP OHC engine in a 217" x 77" body that started with the 91 model year, not the 93. What is it about the 93 that sets it apart?

    As far as getting a corvette killing continental, that'd take an insane amount of work. I think you'd need a lot more than 500 horses, and even if you do whoop the vette, you're only gonna be able to do it in a straight line, I don't care what kinda suspension you put on that thing, a 5000lb boxy boat will not handle a turn like that sleek sharkish 3500lb corvette. Frankly, I'd be surprised if the continental didn't flip over in a fast turn, and if nothing else, it'll wallow all over the place and understeer the front tires right off. But at a bare minimum, if you want a true blue racer out of a 77, you'd need to make the 460 a high compression engine, and the only way you're gonna do that is to bore and stroke it. And I think that'd make it something in the fives for CID anyway, so it would'nt really be a 460 any longer....oh, and be prepared for like, 5MPG. :)

    A crate engine would be a lot easier, and honestly, probably cheaper. But there's less of a purist feel that way...then again, if you've got that crosshair Lincoln logo at the tip of the hood staring down a corvette and thinking "you're going down, sucka!" then you're not much of a purist anyway. :)
     
  22. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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    Oh yeah, it would only be a drag race sort of a win. If I tried to take down a Corvette on a windy road in a '77 Continental, I'd end up lying in a hospital bed, wondering when Sister Morphine is coming 'round again.
    It would be a lot of work to get that car to run a 13.2 or so, but an absolutly insane amount of work to AutoX with it. It really wouldn't even make sense to go thru that much work, just buy something more appropriate.

    What does she run stock? Like a 16.9 or so?

    The reason I say 93-97 Town Car is because in 1993, they made the digital dash standard, and I hate their standard analog guage setup in that, there was another change too, but I can't remember it. In '94 they made dual exhaust standard and in '95 they redesigned the interior and front clip and they just kept making it better until '98, when it got ugly IMO.
     
  23. Moby & The Silver Bullet

    Moby & The Silver Bullet LVC Member

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    Oh, I see. Well, you might find my opinion a little wierd concerning the 90-97 Town Car's styling. 91-94 looked the same from the outside and 95-97 looked the same. There was not by any means a significant change between the 94 and 95 model year. Very little, basically, they splashed some chrome on the rear end trim in between the tail lights and segmented it more, and on the front end they curved the grille at the top, and added chrome bezels to the front, making the front (and rear) more elaborate and elegant and with smaller headlights...

    Now, here's where I may raise an eyebrow or two. How is it possible for someone to totally love one and be non-plussed by the other when they're so danged similar? Well, I don't know, but I'm kinda underwhelmed by the 90-94, and totally in love with the 95-97.

    Initially I liked the 98-02's styling better than the 95-97's styling, but I think I'm beginning to have a change of heart about that. Now to be fair, I still like the interior of the 98-02 better than the 95-97, and that ridge down the middle of the hood on the 98-02 is totally awesome from the over the hood view. My biggest beef with the 90-97 styling is that it makes the car look so small, especially when viewed direct from the rear, or even moreso, the front. It looks way thinner than it actually is. The 98-02 is bubbly, and too cab heavy, but if anything, it looks wider than it really is, it looks wide like the 77 continental is wide. That works in it's favor in my book.

    I don't know, I still love both. If you're gonna do a 91-97, I'd say go for something 95 or newer.
     
  24. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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    95-97 I like most of all the 90-97's, but for what ever reason, I like the front clip of the 90-94's a lot, but the interior isn't as nice to look at, especially the dash.
     
  25. 92SedandeVille-TownCar94

    92SedandeVille-TownCar94 Active LVC Member

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    Moby, what kind of mileage does that '77 get? I'd assume like 11/17.
     

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