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      Car History: Car History Year 1972
    Posted on Monday, September 27 @ 00:57:11 UTC by Cars
      Cars With every move geared towards securing a second term in The White House, in many respects, 1972 was a good year for Richard Nixon. He got off to a good start by visiting communist China in February; in June he had a summit meeting with Soviet leader Brezhnev; and he was pulling American troops out of Vietnam. However, in June an event came to light that no doubt Nixon would have preferred to remain secret, it was some time before he was directly linked to the burglary of the Democratic Party's headquarters in Washington's Watergate Building and, in the meantime, he had won the sought-after second term. But when the truth came out, he had no choice but to go. Out of office and in disgrace, he retired to his home in California, but eventually he would bounce back, becoming a venerated elder statesman.

    The Watergate scandal would rumble on for many months but, in September, Americans had good reason to be proud. At the Munich Olympics, swimmer Mark Spitz picked up seven gold medals, while Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spassky to become the first American World Chess Champion. In Detroit, Ford's Lincoln division also had reason to be proud. 1972 saw the launch of the Continental Mark IV, replacing the Mark III, which had been introduced in 1968 as a direct competitor to the Cadillac Eldorado, achieving immediate success. The luxurious 2-door coupe was originally conceived on the 117 inch wheelbase Ford Thunderbird perimeter frame. It utilized portions of the T-bird's cowl and roof but, for the Mark IV, designer Wes Dahlberg used a new 120.4 inch perimeter frame, giving the car greater luxury and style. The styling clues of the Mark III were continued, however: the classic long hood/short deck proportions; the prominent Rolls-Royce-like grille flanked by fold-away head lights; the tall, slightly rounded sides; the low roofline and Continental spare hump in the trunk lid. Because of the longer wheelbase, the rear roof pillar was wider than that of the Mark III, and Dahlberg put this to good use by incorporating an oval opera window. In keeping with the car's luxury status, the Mark IV was richly upholstered with "loose cushion" seats, while the dashboard was designed to reduce injury in an accident. As an added safety feature, sturdy crash rails were incorporated in the doors. Power for the Mark IV came from the same engine used in the Mark III: a 460 cu.in. big-block V8 that was rated at 212 horsepower; and the engine also used in the Continental sedan. The Mark IV also shared the sedan's drivetrain and coil-spring suspension. It was an immediate success; the Mark III had sold well against the Eldorado, but the Mark IV outsold it, and continued to do so for the next two years. The car's popularity generated intense owner loyalty, many remaining with the same owners for years, providing a degree of luxury and style that American manufacturers eventually ceased to offer. The Mark IV would remain in production until 1976 but, as the years passed, exhaust emissions equipment would strangle the engine and heavy energy-absorbing bumpers would add to the car's weight, reducing performance. Even so, the Mark IV remained a winner until the end. Production peaked at 69,437 in 1973, and reached 56,110 in 1976, indicating just how popular the car was. Specification LINCOLN CONTINENTAL MARK IV Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 460 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.36x3.85 ins. Horsepower 212 Body styles Hardtop coupe No. of seats 5 Weight (lbs) 5,362 Price $10,194 Produced 57,316     Specification FORD RANCHERO Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 302 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.00x3.00 ins. Horsepower 137 Body styles 2 door pick-up No. of seats 2 Weight (lbs) 3,500 Ibs Price $2,750 Produced -     Specification DODGE MONACO COUPE Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 400 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.34x3.38ins. Horsepower 180 Body styles Hardtop coupe No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 4,150 Ibs Price $4,283 Produced 3,347  
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