Today In Ford History--jan. 26
On Jan. 26, 1998, Lincoln closed the curtain on the luxury coupe era when the last Mark VIII rolled off the line at Ford Motor Company’s Wixom Assembly Plant outside Detroit.
A two-door coupe in an era of luxury sport sedans, the last and most aerodynamic in the Mark series was discontinued after six years to make way for Lincoln’s new LS four-door.
Introduced in 1993, the all-new Mark VIII came with dual airbags, four-wheel antilock disk brakes, a programmable memory driver’s seat and a computer-controlled air-spring suspension system that lowered the body at highway speeds.
The Mark VIII powertrain paired the 280-hp “Romeo Four Cam,” a modular, all-aluminum, 4.6-liter DOHC V-8 with a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. A factory Mark VIII—stock except for high-speed tires and a one-piece drive shaft—set a world record for 5-liter automobiles during 1992 “speed week” at Utah’s famed Bonneville salt flats.
The Mark VIII is an enduring favorite among Lincoln purists and enthusiasts alike. With a little help from his friends in Dearborn, Californian Jim Gazdzik and his 700-hp “Hot Rod Lincoln”—a 1996 Mark VIII—has approached the 200 mph mark in runs at Bonneville and the El Mirage Dry Lake in California.
The Mark VIII is not necessarily the last of its line. In August, 2001, Lincoln introduced the Mark IX coupe, a stunning concept vehicle used to preview design directions of future Lincoln concept and production vehicles.
The Mark IX interior features fiber-optic technology; electronic, column-mounted paddle shifter; and seats inspired by the 20th century American classic Eames Lounge Chair. For future Lincoln designs, it builds on the basic elements in the Mark VIII: timeless design, indulgent comfort and effortless performance.