New & Used Lincoln Town Car: In Depth
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The Lincoln Town Car was long the best friend of limo drivers and airport sedans, and for good reason. The body-on-frame sedan may have been a throwback to an older era of car manufacturing and taste, but it had a huge trunk, a spacious interior, and a pillowy, isolated ride that made it perfect for chauffeur duty--not to mention a reputation for being easy to maintain and repair.
Built from 1981 to 2011, the Town Car was Ford's mainstay of its fleet business. For much of its life, it was the longest car you could buy in America. It earned a cult following as one of the cars built on Ford's "Panther" platform for decades. Along with the Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria, it was a favorite of taxi drivers and black-fleet operators for its six-passenger capacity, before any stretch versions were done--other than Ford's own Town Car L long-wheelbase model.
MORE: Read our final full review of the Lincoln Town Car
The reasons were as simple as its engineering. It was made from stamped steel, nothing exotic. Its strong frame was isolated from its big, heavy body. Its series of V-8 engines were shared with many other Ford products, as were its automatic transmissions.
After a first generation in a very angular body, the Town Car moved to a softer silhouette, long after other Fords had morphed into slippery new, aerodynamically keen shapes. Late in the second generation, which ran from 1990 to 1997, the slightly more contemporary rear-drive Town Car adopted the powertrain that would carry it to its grave, a 4.6-liter V-8 coupled to an automatic transmission.
In the 1998 model year, the Town Car adopted the very rounded shape that it would wear until its demise. Still riding atop the Panther platform, with some structural improvements, the Town Car rolled on with a new interior that more closely matched the modern era. Soft and plush were keywords, not just for the seating but for the way the Town Car handled, too.
The Town Car might have lived on even longer, had Ford not undergone significant financial distress in 2007. In that period, it embarked on massive cutbacks, shedding luxury brands like Jaguar and Volvo, and trimmed its product lines to better fit the times. The Town Car would be a victim of that downsizing: it just didn't fit anywhere else in Ford's global plan other than America.
It was finally cancelled after the 2011 model year, when the Town Car was offered in Signature Limited and Signature L trims, the latter having a six-inch stretch in its overall length. At its curtain call, the Town Car toted a 239-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8, which was just barely adequate for its needs.Town Car production ended with no direct replacement, but today, Ford sells a livery version of its Lincoln MKT wagon—called the Lincoln MKT Town Car.