: Drove an '88 Town Car, luxury from my era.

11-15-09, 10:31 AM
So I met up with some friends yesterday for lunch across town, they both have Town Cars, one is a triple black '96 Signature Series and the other is a champagne colored '88. I rode in the '96 and drove the '88.

I always liked the way those '80s Town Cars looked. They had the monumental, imposing design of the '70s models, just scaled down a bit for more modern times and easier maneuverability. My favorite design aspect of the car is the grille and hood...it just looks so imposing, and when you're behind the wheel, it's very cool to look down that long hood and see the fenders raised above the hood, leading off into the distance. Plus, with having the fenders raised so high above the hood, it's much easier for me to maneuver in a tight spot (I've got lousy depth perception).

The interior was great in that '80s American sense too. Soft, deep seats covered in a soft leather, acres of DEEP shag carpeting, lots of chrome & faux wood and lastly, TONS of room, front and back. Another little thing that I thought was cool about it was how they have the vent windows for smokers, or in our case, farts (we had Chinese for lunch) that roll down before they main window does. That's something that I wish they still made nowadays.

The 302 made decent power for a car of it's day. The way the power came on reminded me a lot of the 4.3 in my Astro. A good deal of low end torque, but not enough to get you into trouble or get your blood pumping, but enough to move around in fair confidence. It had the single exhaust, so it was rated at 150hp and 270 lb/ft, so obviously, speed is not this car's forte, but when was the last time you saw a Town Car that was honestly fast? I would say that between the EFI 302 and 4bbl 307, the 302 does offer more power, but it's not a huge difference. Now, compared to the other Town Cars I've driven, the 4.6 offers just as much low end torque, but a lot more midrange power, but it's tough to say because I didn't take the '88 out on the freeway. Compared to the '77 I drove a few years back, the 460 makes a lot more low end torque, so I remember that being the quickest, but I'm sure the 4.6 models are up there too.

What I couldn't believe about this '88 was the absurd level of silence when moving. The engine is silent, there's no wind noise, there's no tire noise, just dead silence. I remember it being quieter than the '96 I rode in shortly before. Honestly, it's one of the quietest cars I've ever driven.

I'd say between the '88 Brougham and '88 Town Car, I like looking at the Brougham more, but I'd rather drive the Town Car. There's more power, it's more advanced, it's got more direct steering (if you can call it that), and it doesn't bob from side to side as much (my buddy agreed on that too, and he's owned 3 Broughams). The '88 has much better steering feel than the '77 did, but that's like saying that Cameron Diaz is more attractive than Roseanne Barr. Also, from what I remember, it seemed to steer a lot like a '90-'94 Town Car, before they added the driver adjustable settings to stiffen it up quite a bit. But not having the rear air-sprung suspension, it didn't bob and bounce as much as an early '90s Town Car either, which was good, because those could cause a feeling of nausea.

So yeah, I've been wanting to drive one of these for a while now. It's a nice combination of the '70s look and style with the drivability of an early '90s model. It would be better if they offered the 351 as optional, much like the police interceptor Crown Vics from that era, but it's not the end of the world.

11-15-09, 01:53 PM
Interesting. I agree the 80's TCs are super quiet and very smooth riding, but more floaty than the contemporary Brougham IMO. And you're right, the Cad has way better steering feel than the TC.

11-15-09, 02:14 PM
I just could never warm up to an eighties Lincoln. To me they looked like they took their styling cue from a Wells Fargo stage coach!

11-15-09, 05:31 PM
My mom has a friend who loaded up her 5 car garage with nothing but big Lincolns. I dont know if she still has them, but I remember how imposing they all were.

11-15-09, 05:58 PM
Oh Jesda, thought you might like this: on the rear window of the Town Car, there is a Reagan/ Bush '84 sticker. :lol:

11-15-09, 06:03 PM
Oh Jesda, thought you might like this: on the rear window of the Town Car, there is a Reagan/ Bush '84 sticker. :lol:

On the back of an 1988 car :cookoo:

11-15-09, 07:34 PM
I think that's why Chad was laughing.

11-15-09, 07:43 PM
No, it's because Jesda had a "Reagan Republican" sticker on his Q45 when I first met him at the Iowa meet in '07.

Plus, Reagan didn't run in '88, it was Bush/Quayle, and my buddy is more of a Reagan fan than he is a Bush fan, so that's why he did that.

11-15-09, 07:55 PM
Putting an 1984 Elect Reagan-Bush syicker on your 1988 Lincoln ..... now that's what I call Conservative!

11-15-09, 09:01 PM
Chad, you said the Lincoln had more direct steering and less side to side bob, but how does it compare to a 350 Brougham like mine? I don't know if you ever drove Brian's when he had it (I'm sure you did) but that would be a comparison I would be interested in.

11-15-09, 09:08 PM
Brian had put different shocks in his, so it didn't ride like a stock Brougham, so I can't compare that, but the 350 had a lot more power than the 302, and I like GM's transmission more than the AOD. When you take your foot off the gas in the Town Car, it starts to decelerate immediately. With the Brougham, you can coast longer. Now, the Brougham from '90 on had the speed sensitive steering, so it had firmer steering than the LTC did, but an '88 Brougham wouldn't have.

I like the Town Car's gauge cluster more. With the analog gauges, you get fuel, temp, speedo and a giant analog clock & if you get the digital dash, you've got all that plus the trip computer that shows mileage and range. The '80s Broughams only had a small horizontal speedo and a small fuel gauge, then in '90 they added the digital speedo and fuel gauge.

11-17-09, 03:07 PM
Yeah, the only thing I miss on my Brougham is a fuel data center. It would be nice to have.

11-18-09, 01:07 AM
Yeah, the only thing I miss on my Brougham is a fuel data center. It would be nice to have.

True, that's one of those cool gadgets I really miss from the 1990 Sevillle STS I used to own. It told me that I got a whopping 14-16mpg:alchi:

I love the look of the Town Car from that era. Its a bit more subdued than my Brougham though, for better or worse. Lincoln had better wheel options, they had some cool cast aluminum rims you could order. The real bummer is that most of them came with that goofy ass half vinyl top. Either make it full vinyl or bare, it just really clutters up the lines on the car IMO.

11-18-09, 12:30 PM
I like the half top on them. There is a kid at my school that drives an '88 TC. It is fully loaded, real wire wheels and everything. It is painted dark gray on the lower half and silver on the top with a silver half top and it looks really good. I love how the back of the moon roof lines up perfectly with the front of the half top.

My favorite Town Cars are the ones from the late 70's/early 80's, with the covers over the headlights and the triangle shaped tail lights.

11-18-09, 04:02 PM
I used to have a 88 Towncar. Extremely light steering but super sloppy with a lot of dead play. You could steer with your pinkie finger. I loved that car, awesome car for just cruising.

I liked the power trunk pull down it had and how everything looked old school. Also liked the front quarter windows.
Horrible highway passing power and horrible gas mileage if you ran it hard.

It was one of those "they dont build them like this anymore" type cars, everything steel and everything felt real solid and heavy.

11-18-09, 04:54 PM
Chad, you should try a 2003. I have (bought new) THE LIMITED, or which they ionly made 1,131 examples (80% in a light Silver-Green Mist color.
(Pecan colored interior). It has the then new Watts suspension and shocks and auto leveling system. You can actually toss it around corners....and it corners! Super quiet and as of 2003 closer ratio steering. The whole car is tightened up. It's fabulous. I love it. Many folks do not know it's real name is The Limited - but refer to it as the "Black Grille Lincoln" cause the vertical bars of the grill are black, but the surrounding grille frame is chrome.
They put every option on them except the Moonroof. It has dual exhausrts and a Mustang 3.2:1 axle ratio and a 6-Disc CD changer in the trunk, a single slot CD in the Dash and a Cassette player in the radio location.
When you enter you push # 1 or #2 for which driver and both exterior mirrors go to your setting, the seat goes, the seat angle goes and the radio switchs to your pre-sets, too.
the trunk lid is electric and floats up via the key fob annd also closes & locks via the key fob. It's a n amazing car, the last car that I know of with a 360 degree STEEL frame ! I love it. The ride is :cloud9:

11-18-09, 05:10 PM
^ Lets see some pics

11-18-09, 10:02 PM
The '80s Town Cars were the cream of the crop for me. I'm sure that the 98+ models drive a lot more modern than the '80s models do, but everything about the '80s models is just so awesome for me. The look, the classic heavy feel, all the chrome, leather and fake wood, the deep carpets, the deep & plush seats, etc etc. I love them. The only way they could be any better is if they had the 351, but the 302 is decent enough.

11-19-09, 02:32 AM
Agreed, the 80s TCs were more attractive IMO. Guess we're just a couple of rectilinear-loving guys.

11-20-09, 12:07 AM
Actually you could get a 351, but for 1980 only and only with a Varible Venturi carb, I looked at a Mark VI sedan today with one, might buy it. I do know of another local 350 TC but it hasn't passed smog since 2001.

11-20-09, 07:47 AM
Oh that's right, but I suppose it didn't make any more power than the 302 in this '88. Plus the variable venturis suck!

11-21-09, 03:26 PM
Decent interiors, better motor than the 307, but ugly as sin to look at. "How rectangular can we make this car look?" was probably the question the designers at Ford asked themselves.


11-21-09, 05:08 PM
They do have more hard edged lines than the Broughams, but those were awfully long & square as well. The Brougham was the better looker, and it flows better. The Town Car isn't as smoothly designed, nor does it flow as well.

11-21-09, 11:16 PM
error can't get pic to work on this site

11-21-09, 11:18 PM
Only photo I have on the Web - It does show the Black grille.


11-21-09, 11:33 PM
Hope that works. Been having ALOT of trouble on this site in past 4 days.
Can't fget on, then get knocked off, things do not print, ..I dunno....

11-22-09, 10:55 AM

Yeah, it works. And actually looks pretty damn cool!

11-22-09, 03:56 PM
Thank you for doing what I could not do!!

Okay..... LIMITED PACKAGE (2003 Only!)

HID Headlights
HID Fog Lights (Exclusive in industry)
Black Grill Bars set into Chrome Surround
Perforated Leather in Seating Areas
Additional Red-Burlwood on Instrument Panel & Steering Wheel & Door Panels
Revised Springs (Front) and Shocks with Rear Air Suspension
3.55:1 Axle Ratio (IT HAS GRUNT !)
Dual Full Length Exhaust Pipes
Trunk Mtd. 6-Disc C.D.
Full Power Trunk Lid, Full Open & full Close & Lock, from driver's Seat
Chrome Taillamp Trim
"LIMITED" on "C" Panel of roof
Unique Silver-Green "Moondust" Paint (Like Caddys Firemist)
Unique PECAN color interior (Light beige) Very Light !!
Unique Model Specific Wheels, with Painted "Pockets"
17" Tires
Memory Settings for seat position, Exterior Mirror positions & Pedal poitions
(Gas & Brake)
Heated seats in front
Special Floor Mats
Special Seat Piping

Only option with the Limited was the MoonRoof. & Whitewalls. I have both.

The license plate's blue emblem is the New Jersey Police Shield.

TPAS = To Protect and Serve. My wife's ist cousin is a policeman, and
a leutenant on the force and is also head of a nationwide group
of police officers.

11-22-09, 07:53 PM
Can we get a closeup of the wheels? I've never even heard of a Limited, much less seen one. That grille is sharp. Not gonna lie.

11-22-09, 08:35 PM
I guess the '89 Town Car has a black accented grille as well. The '88 does not.

Here's a pic I snapped yesterday of my buddy's '88.

11-23-09, 11:49 AM
Forgot one item! :bonkers:

The interior door pulls, normally vinyl wrapped,
in the LIMITED are leather wrapped. God 4-give me for forgeting that!

11-23-09, 01:01 PM
Forgot one item! :bonkers:

The interior door pulls, normally vinyl wrapped,
in the LIMITED are leather wrapped. God 4-give me for forgeting that!

Sandy - What was the MRSP on the LIMITED? How did it compare with compared to a loaded designer edition?

11-24-09, 06:04 PM
I had computer trouble, for 4 days, so I am a little late in catching up. Sorry.

I have no photo of the wheels. The LIMITED was a mid-year Special Edition, therefore it's not in a brochure, either. Lincoln only made 500 of them or so they said. That was THE plan ~ in "real life" they actually recieved orders for AND built 340 of them !!

The LIMITED was the most expensive Town Car of 2003. It was atop the Designer and above the Ultimate of the prior year

WW tires & Moonroof were the only options. With both of them, mine listed for $ 47,645.00.

It has just ten thousand miles on it, in the 6 years & it's flawless ... Zero signs of any wear or use.

Special night out, car.

It's fun to mess all the settings up and then shut the door and lock it. then using key fob unlock the door and watch the magic as both exterior mirrors go to my settings, ditto the seat and the pedals to my position and the pre-sets on the stereo.

Then using my wife's key fob re-lock and then re-open and everything goes to her settings.

11-24-09, 06:11 PM
double post, sorry

11-24-09, 06:14 PM

Special night out, car.

So which of your cars do you actually DRIVE? lol :P

11-24-09, 06:20 PM
I share with my wife HER 2001 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4X4 "Final 500 Edition" - made on the last day of Cherokee production. It has 60,000 miles & is in super mint, flawless condition. E'one wants to buy it - be we are not selling it.
I do have a picture of that car...somewhere on the web. When she needs it, I take the Lincoln, UNLESS there is rain/snow east of Ohio !!!

and then.....there is the Princess >>> http://www.smatarese.com/forum/sandy/

and she is # 1 I love her dearly. She is now 16 & 1/2 years "young" and has 10,000 miles on her.

She is in heated, dehumidified winter storage.

11-25-09, 12:04 AM


11-25-09, 07:41 AM
My god, that Sixty Special looks like it doesn't even KNOW what the road, or a driver sitting in the seat, feels like. Incredible car. You bought it new I assume?

11-25-09, 12:22 PM
The man has a (very good) reason to be so proud!

11-25-09, 06:36 PM
He does indeed.

Sandy, has she seen a car show yet?

Night Wolf
11-25-09, 08:00 PM


Click Free

11-28-09, 01:47 PM
I was away, celebrating - so sorry I am "late" My Sixty Special was ordered new, by me. It's a ONE OFF ! Let me explain. When one ordered a C-Body (DeVille / FWD Fleetwood / Sixty Special, AND selected a white leather interior, THE ACCENTS WERE EITHER Medium Blue OR Garnet Red. Now, with my choice of exterior paint color (Dark Amethyst Plum Metallic) neither the Medium Blue nor the Garnet Red would be acceptible, so...in theory the WHITE leather was a no-go with my color choice. HOWEVER I knew that BLACK interior was available...SO....I called Special Build dept. at Cadillac (they also handle EXPORTS) and asked IF the car could be built using the normal white seats, door panels and headliner from a Sixty Special, but have the BLACK accents installed (lower door & floor carpeting, steering wheel, air bag cover, steering column, rear package shelf in combination, with the White? I was told yes, thru F.T.S. (Fleetwood Trim Shop.) SOoo my car was made with the white components - but the colored components were omitted, the FTS was on the property 100 yards away and my car was taken over there, and they installed the black required items. While my car was there - there were other cars (mostly Flower Cars, and Hearse conversions) but one car stood out. A famous singer, ( now forget his name) wanted a SEVILLE, ELEGANTE but he was a big save the animal sympathizer and Seville Elegantes' came standard with leather. He wanted his Seville done using Eldorado Biarritz cloth . They had it done. My Sixty has exactly 10,000 miles on her, has never been in rain and never left unattended. She is flawless ! She has every factory option, available in 1993, and nothing added that would be against time of build proper. 3 trophies at Caddy events She is new. I do not like driving her, as my blood pressure soars with worry about something baaad happening to her.
My wife named her "Abergine" or... ABBY for short. Abergine is a French word meaning PLUM colored. I Just remembered the singer, it was ROD STUART Oops, I think it's Stewart Yes!

11-28-09, 02:08 PM
WOLF, THANKS FOR PARKING ME ON THE GRASS! I would get ill if it ever had Finger-full of MUD on itself. I have been stopped like 12 times by strangers wanting to buy her. She is 100% original , does not have any door dings, spotless carpting, perfect interior, everything works as new. Mileage is 57,200, bought new, as the Caddy and Town Car.
Jeeps suck gas like dogs go for steaks. On open road she get 26 MPG, but around town (49% wife's driving) the Jeep gets 9 MPG. OINK ALERT -
I need to do front brakes on her. Probably in January Hate doing that, as Jeep Cherokees toss off hoards of brake dust for the 1st 1,000 or so miles after new linings.