This was originally going to be a nostalgia piece. But the more I thought about it, any nostalgia on my part would be secondhand at best. I've never actually driven or owned a second generation Lincoln Town Car, built between 1990 and 1997. The only real connection – the only real interest – is through the rose-tinted lens of popular culture.
Indeed, I was never that big a Town House fan after seeing Grosse Pointe Blank. It was clever that John Cusack and Dan Aykroyd, two competing hit men, both repeatedly meet while driving matching black Town Cars. Beyond that, it took revisiting the X-Files television series – wherein the notorious Cancer Man has a fleet of Town Cars at his disposal – to really pique my interest.
Because it's critically important to have an opinion about these things, I actually prefer the 1995 and later facelift cars with their slimmer headlights and updated interior style. Seems like heated seats were more widely available after the update as well. Sadly, bucket seats with a console gear change never made an appearance. Because there are huge numbers of these behemoths for sale, I narrowed down the search to model year 1997 only. The last of any model run is usually the one to take home.
Color, or lack thereof, is an issue. Many of these cars were ordered in white or metallic beige. The former is okay if paired against silver lower cladding, sort of like a Benz or Lexus. Like a BMW, the latter color is only nice if the paint is immaculate. Strangely, many have a burgundy leather interior, regardless of paint choice. Now, I loves me a whorehouse red interior, but damn that's a lot of burgundy. The hue is actually more akin to cheesy steak palace than den of illicit love.
I also tried to stay away from "soft-top" cars – those with a padded vinyl topping – as well as those with ridiculously large chrome wheels and "Lambo" doors. And speaking of which, if you were going to install the swing kits on the front doors, why wouldn't you go for all four? Bloody cheapskate, no-ambition hipsters.
It's interesting how many of this generation Town Car are for sale. Moreover, it's fascinating how many ads are written and/or photographed so poorly – car blurry, car not in the frame, car under a foot of snow, car in a dark garage behind a stuffed llama. Maybe there just isn't a lot to say about these Lincolns other than mileage and condition, which always seems to be 'good'.
In fact, I'm not even going to link to any real ads. If you're seriously looking for a Town Car, you'll figure it out all by yourself.
I'm not exactly sure what I would do with one of these, other than slog through the winter muck and salt. Left stock and even vaguely looked after, these cars will run to almost infinite miles. I've been in limo service Town Cars with 300k or more odometer clicks. Sure they rattled, and you really wanted to bathe upon exiting at your destination. But they went down the road well enough. So let's see… if I bought one with even 100k miles, and given my average of 12k miles per year around town… the car would last eternally.
So it turns out a Town Car could be an outlier candidate for a winter beater .
If I were bat-shit crazy ambitious and flush, I could see stuffing a Ford V10 pickup or van engine under the hood, figuring out some way to install a clutch pedal and center console, and then boil the tires off the thing. That would be fun for about the first hour.
Moving on now.