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10 Reasons Why Lincoln Town Cars Are So Cheap

Why Lincoln Town Cars Are So Cheap

As ubiquitous as this automobile has been, it’s hard to believe that it’s only been around for three generations.

And that right there gives us some insight as to the reason why this car is so criminally cheap to buy.

Introduced in 1981, the Lincoln Town Car celebrated thirty years as an icon of the automobile industry before ending its production run in 2011 – a 1991 Dark Cranberry Pearl Metallic Lincoln Town Car was one of the cars on my wish list for for my first car when I was sixteen.

Indeed, if you’re looking for a reliable American car, you can’t go wrong with the Town Car. Here are some reasons why Lincoln Town Cars are so cheap.

1. Universal Chassis

One reason why Lincoln Town Cars are so cheap is because they share the same Panther chassis as the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis.

The Lincoln Town Car is built on the same body on frame Ford derived Panther platform as the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis.

This means the body and frame are two separate units like a truck.

Within the Ford Motor Company hierarchy, Lincoln is the top tier luxury offering while Mercury gives you more luxury features than a Ford but less amenities than a Lincoln.

A good example is the difference in style and quality between the 1996 Ford Taurus and the similar yet more luxurious Mercury Sable.

This association likely doesn’t help the Lincoln Town Car in the used car market as potential buyers ponder why they should pay more for a car that shares its underpinning with cars that are lower on the totem pole.

2. Air Ride

One reason why Lincoln Town Cars are so cheap is because used car buyers are nervous about the failure of the air ride suspension in some models.

Another reason why potential buyers aren’t willing to spend more for a used Lincoln Town Car is because of the air ride suspension equipped on some models.

If you know anything about Mercedes-Benz’s AIRMATIC System featured in cars like some models of the S-Class, E-Class and SL-Class. This air ride system has the tendency to malfunction leading some owners to abandon the feature all together for good old fashioned coil springs once it needs replacing.

For other owners its usually the straw that breaks the camel’s back resulting in those Mercedes Benzs where the suspension looks blown out that you see on used car lots being sold at drastically reduced prices.

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Or sometimes you’ll see these Mercedes Benz parked by someone’s curb with a saggy rear suspension.

3. A Victim of Perception

Lincoln Town Cars are perceived to be expensive to maintain.

1) Through a series of bad business decision in the 1970 and 80s, American cars have garnered a regrettable reputation of being unreliable junk especially when used.

2) Used luxury cars have the undesirable distinction of being a handful to own second hand.

Combine these perceptions and the Lincoln Town Car gets tragically overlooked in the used car market.

But for owners who were either better informed or not afraid of taking the risk, they’ve consistently compared the Town Car’s reliability to that of American trucks which are among the most solidly built vehicles on the planet by those who have owned them.

The Lincoln Town Car ranks 2nd out of 30 among the best luxury full-size cars. Owners give it a 4.0 out of 5.0 on websites like RepairPal. The annual repair costs of a Lincoln Town Car are $635 which is average among all cars.

That means this is a car you don’t have to be afraid to drive with ownership costs that are relatively affordable.

4. Transmission Issues

Not even one generation of the Lincoln Town Car has had its transmission recalled.

Not that the Lincoln Town Car of any generation suffers from any chronic problems.

But like any car the transmission in the Town Car is not without its inconveniences.

Throughout all three generations, the Lincoln Town Car has offered basically the same four speed automatic transmission.

Earlier models were equipped with the AX0D and AX4N transmission while later versions got the 4R75E or 4R70W.

Some complications with these transmissions include slipping, erratic shifting and harsh forward or reverse gear engagement.

But as long as you took care of your transmission you didn’t experience any issue. And from 1981 to 2011 the Lincoln Town Car had no transmission recalls.

5. Unimpressive Horsepower

A long-time road weapon of choice for retirees, the Lincoln Town Car was one of the last of its kind. It was a traditional American full-size luxury sedan with room for six-passengers.

It had a rear-wheel-drivetrain. And it was powered by an American V8.

But emissions restrictions choked the horsepower of many Lincoln Town Cars. The final 2011 model made 239 horsepower at 4900 RPM.

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While that’s not enough power to rocket you out of danger in the same fashion as a BMW 7-Series.

The 4.6-liter V8 engine provides enough power to the rear wheels to get you where you need to at a dignified rate of speed with enough low-end torque to get you going from a stand still.

6. Wanting Performance

In stock form, it’s not going to snap your head back like a Mustang. And the wallowy suspension isn’t setup of for knifing your way through busy traffic.

But for a daily cruiser performance isn’t exactly underwhelming.

However, if you want more oomph from your Town Car there are plenty of aftermarket parts designed to unlock the performance potential of your Town Car.

And because it sits on the Panther platform you get access to parts from cars like the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis which will likely bolt right on to your Town Car.

7. Cheap Parts

This is something the Lincoln Town Car has in common with the Honda Civic.

Part of what keeps Civics so cheap in the used car market no matter how much better the technology gets is the fact that parts are cheap. It’s the same with the Lincoln Town Car.

Let’s say you need replacement parts. Since they were used as service vehicles like taxis and limousines many of which are still in service today.

Finding repair parts like a front fender or radiator can be as cost effective as a trip to your local junk yard.

Or you can visit a website like which has all the parts you need to keep your Lincoln Town Car running like new with competitively priced OE-grade replacements parts.

8. Durability

But the great thing about Lincoln Town Cars is that aside from age related wear and tear, these cars don’t require repairs all that often.

Like the car that ended up being my first car, the Lincoln Town Car is built like a tank.

Marketed as a sedan and used as a limousine, the Town Car is a perfect car when it comes to durability because hardly anything ever goes wrong with it which means it can run for a really long time.

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Some owners have reported getting 400,000 miles out of their Town Car. A car this dura

9. Luxurious

We touched on this earlier but given the Lincoln Town Car’s luxury status it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that it’s so cheap to buy.

The value of luxury cars tends to sink like a stone at an unprecedent rate compared to most all other car categories.


Because of the perception that a luxury car will be more than a handful to maintain compared to something like a used Toyota Camry.

According to CarEdge, Teslas have the worst depreciation of any luxury car currently on the market losing 68.72% of its value within the first five years.

Interestingly enough, this high rate of depreciation is followed by Lexus and Acura. These are the luxury offspring of Toyota and Honda which are ironically accepted as the most reliable automobile brands.

10. Lots of Choices

Adding to its affordability is the fact that spanning three generations and thirty years means there’s no dearth of Town Car models to choose from.

That’s a Town Car per decade!

If you’re looking for something retro go with the first-generation. It’s 19 feet long and features a Windsor V8. Looking for something more satisfying?

The second-generation Town Car sits on a new Panther platform that’s significantly shorter and lighter with a new 4.6-liter V8 delivering better horsepower and miles per gallon.

But if you want something more streamlined and contemporary, the third generation improved everything about the Town Car – it carried over the engine from the second generation.

The idea behind the Town Car was to introduce a luxurious car to the public. With three generations under its belt we’d say, mission accomplished.