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August 16, 2014

Die-cast: Automodello 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III

by Mark Savage
linc2

What says Continental more than the fake tire sculpted into the trunk lid?

Resin Continental Mark III a rare offering

Rarity plays a big role in full-size vintage auto prices.

This is true too for diecast models, which is what makes Automodello’s new 1:24 Lincoln Continental Mark III a hit, even at its strong $299 asking price. This is a car for baby boomers who favor the classics over muscle cars. (I know that’s heresy.)

This is rare in that I’ve never seen a 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III in cast resin and in 1:24 scale. On that front Automodello has created a stunningly accurate and beautiful body with crisp accent and trim lines that reflect the Continental’s long, lean elegance.

The History:

The Mark III was a Lee Iacocca idea that legend has it came from his desire to see a Thunderbird of the day equipped with a big Rolls Royce grille. That pretty well sums up the Mark III’s appearance.

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The giant grille is reminiscent of that used by Rolls Royce.

But it was 300 lbs. heavier than the T-bird, yet packed 365 horsepower coming from a new 460 cu.in. V8. That engine was created to help Lincoln challenge Cadillac’s Eldorado, along with the likes of Oldsmobile’s Toronado and Buick’s Riviera.

Ultimately, more than 27,000 Mark III’s were built in 1971, nearly as many as Caddy’s Eldorado, showing you just how popular these were at the time. Luxury was the hallmark of the day with a real wood dash, cushiony leather seats and a giant 36-inch wide sunroof. The Mark III also boasted the industry’s first anti-lock braking system.

The Model:

What’s to like?

There is fine chrome detailing here with chrome blades on the car’s upper body from stem to stern, plus around the windows and front and taillights. Chrome, which was much more prevalent in that era, also sets off the front and rear bumpers, big square grille, mirrors, door handles and raised wheel covers.linc3

Front and rear lights are realistic and there’s a short antenna in the driver’s side rear fender, looking like it’s about to power up, which is what luxury car antennas did in the 1970s. A few short years later they’d be embedded in the windshield glass.

This model also has handsome white-sidewall tires, but no branding, and of course the fake wheel bulge in the trunk lid with the word Continental embossed on its arch.

I like the bright metallic “red moondust” paint scheme that makes this pop on display. Plus Automodello creates a flat black mock vinyl roof with open sunroof, a fun feature introduced on the Mark III in 1971. Lincoln made the Mark III from 1968 through 1971.

A larger Mark IV followed in 1972, just before the first oil embargo crushed large car sales.

linc4Inside is a dusty rose interior, officially Dark Red, with well sculpted seat cushions and what looks like a laminated wood trimmed dash. The five main gauges appear to have clear plastic lenses to aid realism, but the lower gauges representing the climate controls and radio are obviously stickers or decals, and reflective. The steering wheel is a 3-spoke model and matches the rose colored interior and the gear shift is on the column.

Like Automodello’s new 1:24 Mustang I, no doors, trunk or hood open here, but the model has heft thanks to its heavy resin casting.

Note that Automodello has made just 499 of this model and will make 171 of the model that appeared in the famous movie, The French Connection. It comes in Ginger Moondust Metallic with a Dark Tobacco interior. There also is an Homage Edition (only 50 made) is black with black vinyl top and Medium Ginger interior. The scarcity of each will keep their prices from heavy discounts and their value from fading.linc1

FAST Stats: 1971 Lincoln Continetal Mark III
Maker: Automodello
Scale: 1:24
Stock No.: AM24-LIN-CM3 (Red Moondust)
MSRP: $299.99

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