45k-Mile 1984 Lincoln Mark VII Turbo Diesel

I love diesels and I make no effort to hide it. In America, we've been deprived of widespread use of diesel engines in passenger cars for quite a long time (save for the excellent offerings from Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen of course). In Europe however, diesels are the norm, not the exception.

Since we're facing another fuel and energy crisis (or really just the same one we've always had), diesels are popular again, even though those who know their advantages never stopped loving them over the years. What makes diesels especially interesting despite their own merits of efficiency and reliability is a 21st century twist of converting them to run on biofuel - that's right, vegetable oil and restaurant leftovers.

Biofuel is cheap and inexpensive (though smelly) so interested customers are hunting down old diesel cars like predators. That makes otherwise insignificant cars like this Lincoln Mark VII rather significant again.

Of course, someone like me already finds this car intriguing.

The fuel crisis of 1979 renewed interest in efficient vehicles again, and this time American manufacturers were listening, unlike their woeful incompetence after the first incident in1973. Of course, diesels still didn't take off for one reason or another, but some of the cars they stuck diesels in were amusing to say the least.

Such is the case with this Lincoln. The Mark VII was based on the rear-wheel drive Fox platform. It lasted from 1983-1992. These aren't sports cars, but they are great, comfortable cruisers, and they styling isn't terribly offensive.

Underneath the hood, however, is a real surprise: a BMW inline 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine, the same one in the brief 524TD that came and went here. Just how Lincoln struck a deal with BMW is a story still untold, but it's not a bad idea; Ford's diesel experience was limited to trucks, and BMW's diesel was a great engine the fastest of it's day (even with just 115 horsepower). But since the Lincoln is a bigger, heavier car, you really can't expect much power. Still, you can expect overall reliability if you change the oil religiously.

Lincoln only offered the Mark VII diesel from '84-'85, along with a diesel Continental. From that point on, declining gas prices, politics and the general buoyant mood of the times made diesels disappear again.

The seller says this survivor has just 45k miles on the clock, comes from southern California, has no rust, wears the original paint and has never been in an accident. They say they have been a diesel mechanic for 30 years and have given this engine a new injector pump, a/c compressor, timing belt and battery, and have religiously changed the oil using Mobil 1 full synthetic turbo diesel oil.

This is a rare car in good shape that seems to have been very well cared for by a mechanic that just simply understood the quirky appeal of this car.

Available here on craigslist for $6,000.

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