The Lincoln Mark VIII was a coupe sold by Lincoln from 1993 to 1998. On its face, that doesn’t sound very remarkable, but the Mark VIII was indeed very remarkable. I got up behind one in traffic the other day, and I was reminded by just how bizarre and unusual this vehicle is.
The biggest reason this car was so weird — and so special — is the styling: it’s just like nothing else in the world. Interestingly, I remember seeing these in the 1990s and not thinking they were very weird, but these days, the car business has gone a very different direction in terms of design, and the Mark VIII now looks like an alien car compared to other vehicles currently on sale.
The interior was unusual, too, with a giant dashboard that made an unbroken U shape across the entire interior, and with the center control stack tilted very obviously towards the driver. Then there was the fact that, in spite of the Mark VIII’s absolutely massive 207-in length, it was only a 2-door vehicle with a relatively cramped back seat. A lot of its length seemed to exist on the overhangs, which were truly huge for a car from the 1990s.
By modern standards, the Mark VIII’s layout was also unusual: a rear-wheel drive, V8-powered luxury coupe that isn’t sporty, that doesn’t use a turbo engine, that isn’t anything but cushy or huge. It didn’t emphasize performance, it didn’t emphasize a thrilling driving experience, it didn’t emphasize sportiness. It was just a massive luxury coupe, reaching the (then dwindling, now nonexistent) massive luxury coupe demographic.
Cadillac canceled the Eldorado luxury coupe for the 2002 model year, which brought an end to the non-sporty luxury coupe — but to me, the Mark VIII was really the end of the line. By the end of the Eldorado, it was much smaller than it had been, and styling was more reasonable and rational — but the Mark VIII brought 1970s sizing and 1970s excessive styling to modern cars. When it went away in 1998, it really was the end of an era.