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Cars We Remember: 1978 Lincoln Mark V could be a hidden gem

Q: Hello Greg from here in Petersburg, Virginia. I am wondering if you would be able to give me a general value of my subject car, a 1978 Lincoln Mark V. It has less than 85,000 miles on it and maintains all of its original equipment.

It has all leather interior and vinyl top, and the body and interior are still in good condition. It needs some work, having received an estimate of $1,000 which includes all-new tires and a battery.

The Mark V was my father’s car who is now deceased. We are interested in selling it but don’t really know where to begin. I understand pricing an item without visual inspection is not often done but I am truly searching for a general range. I would be grateful for any information you could provide. Thank you in advance.

— Cynthia S., Petersburg, Virginia

A: Cynthia, I would be glad to assist as I get quite a few letters about the value of this fine looking Mark V, built from the 1977 to 1979.

Personally, I feel this Mark V was one of the best looking and second only to the “Mark” series that debuted way back in 1956. The Lincoln Mark Series was available from 1956 to 1960 and then again from 1968 to 1998 and promoted as a personal luxury car.

The Lincoln model that you own is part of the bestselling Mark series ever, with over 220,000 Mark Vs sold from 1977 to 1979. The 1978 Mark V featured two engines, either a 400 cubic inch V8 (actually a 402) or the gas thirsty 460 V8 that powered many of the heavier Ford/Lincoln/Mercury products.

Currently, values and prices paid for these Mark Vs are all over the place. From lows of $3,500 to highs in the $10,000 and up range, this Mark V indeed has some interest with classic car lovers, or better yet collector car “wannabes.” The Mark V offers many golden opportunities to join the collector car hobby at a very low price.

Some of the 1978 models were special edition Diamond Jubilee anniversary models, available only in blue or gold finish. Less than 5,200 were ever built, so owners of this Mark V will surely generate more money when it comes time to sell.

As for value, I think these Mark Vs are some one of the toughest to gauge price wise. Although there are still a good number of them out there, I personally feel this car will appreciate in value as the years tick by. Considering your Mark is still all-original and in good shape, the current NADA book values indicate a low average retail value of $4,425 for a car in mechanically sound condition and needing only minor reconditioning. The price then goes up to $7,625 for average retail value, which yours might well be in when the tires and battery and some washing and waxing take place. Hagerty Insurance rates the car at $7,200 in fair condition, which is what they would insure the car for.

Now, I know this is probably good news for you as in your full letter you didn’t know if your car was worth much, but always remember that the book values are many times not attained when a real sale takes place. If you look on the eBay auctions, I found Mark Vs in fairly good condition ranging from $4,000 to over $10,000 an asking price or “Best Offer” listing.

So, with all this info digested, I’ll put a $3,500 to $4,500 quick sale price on your Mark V with the new tires and battery. As for selling it, I would start with a classified ad in the Petersburg newspaper, and then go to publications like Auto Roundup or Hemmings Motor News to further your selling opportunities. Online, eBay will be your best bet, but I’d first try your area newspaper as there is probably someone close to home that would love a car like yours.

Thanks much Cynthia and good luck in your efforts. Let us know if you sell.

— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now, BestRide.com and other Gatehouse Media publications. He welcomes reader questions on old cars, auto nostalgia and old-time motorsports at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, Pennsylvania 18840 or at greg@gregzyla.com.