September 22, 1972
Body Style Code: 65D
VIN/Body Serial Code: 89
460 CID 4V V-8 (208 Net Horsepower)
Bore x stroke: 4.36 x 3.85 inches
Compression ratio: 8.0:1
Automatic, 3-speed planetary gears with 12" hydraulic torque converter
REAR AXLE: Standard 2.75:1
WHEELBASE: 120.4 inches
Overall length: 223.3 inches
Overall width: 79.8 inches
Overall height: 53.4 inches
STEERING: 17:1 ratio
After 1972 sales setting records, few changes were made for the 1973s. Continuing at an unprecedented pace, the Mark IV racked up another sales record for 1973, leaving Cadillac's Eldorado behind. Automotive writer Jim Brokaw, in a test report for Motor Trend observed that the car was so quiet that he could hear himself breathe. Lincoln had finally put Cadillac in second place in the personal luxury car market, a trend that would continue into the 1974 model year.
The beautiful front end of the Mark suffered a little in 1973, due to government regulations requiring front bumpers to be able to withstand an impact of up to 5 mph into a flat, vertical fixed barrier without preventing normal operation of the car's latching, fuel, cooling and exhaust systems or of the propulsion, suspension, steering and braking systems. The rear bumper had to meet the same requirements, at up to 2.5 mph. The new front bumper shortened the appearance of the grille, but most didn't seem to mind. The rear of the car remained the same as in 1972, but a new rear bumper guard was made available as an option, and most ordered it, if only to ensure those behind knew they were in a new model, and not last year's.
The oval opera window that Lincoln seemed a little unsure of the previous year, was now standard. And so popular, that aftermarket kits were available to install oval opera windows on just about any car with a large enough roof sail panel to cut into. Soon, LTDs, Coupe deVille's, Chevrolets, even Thunderbirds and Lincoln Coupe's would sport the opera window.
Nothing else on the road, except Ford's Thunderbird, looked like the Mark. And the Thunderbird, which shared many parts with the Mark, lacked the hidden headlamps, rear deck spare tire design, and classic grille. More than a few Thunderbird owners had their Birds modified with the Mark grille, but this was not done by the factory. So similar were the cars, reports of Continental Mark IV instrument panel inserts being installed in T-Birds, and vice versa, were rumored. All of this really had little effect on the Mark. As Lincoln said in its 1973 sales brochure, "The 1973 Continental Mark IV. Quite simply, the most beautiful automobile in America."
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