Town Car Timeline
1980: The downsized (modern-size) Lincoln Continental is born, with the Town Car -- and Town Coupe -- as a trim package. The car rides on the new Panther platform, shared with the Ford LTD Crown Victoria and the Mercury Grand Marquis. The 117.3-inch wheelbase is down from 127.2 inches, and the overall length is chopped by some fourteen inches, to 219 inches. At just under two tons, the car has shed more than 700 pounds. A 302-cubic-inch V-8 engine replaces the previous standard 400-cubic-inch V-8.
1981: Town Car officially replaces Continental as the name for the standard Lincoln, and it's available as both a two-door and a four-door.
1982: The two-door Town Car is dropped.
1985: Minor styling revisions front and rear soften some of the sharp edges. The three versions are base, Signature Series, and Cartier Designer Series.
1990: The Town Car is redesigned. Its size is maintained, but somewhat more aerodynamic styling replaces the laser-straight lines of its predecessor. The 4.9-liter V-8 continues with 150 hp, but Ford claims that the retuned chassis has a firmer ride with less body roll and more precise steering. Relatively speaking, of course.
1991: A new, SOHC 4.6-liter V-8 replaces the OHV 4.9-liter unit.
1995: A minor makeover results in thinner headlamps, a bigger radio for aging fingers, and a standard antitheft system.
1998: The current-generation Town Car debuts. Length is trimmed a few inches and more rounded styling is adopted to make it look less massive. The 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 returns with 200 hp standard and 220 hp in the new Touring Sedan. The latter is an attempt to create a more sporty-handling car to appeal to younger buyers. No one notices.
1999: Side air bags are added. Executive, Signature, and Cartier are the three trim levels.
2000: A long-wheelbase variant goes on sale to fleet customers as the Executive L and to retail buyers as the Cartier L. It has an additional six inches between the wheels.
2003: A bulletproof (literally) Town Car is introduced. All Town Cars are restyled front and rear. Output increases to 235 hp. A navigation system is available. The hood ornament returns. 2004: Cartier disappears in favor of Ultimate.
2005: Ultimate is scratched in favor of Signature Limited. Sales to fleets exceed retail sales for the first time.
2006: Designer is the new top trim level.
2007: Town Car production ends at Ford's Wixom, Michigan, plant, a longtime Lincoln factory, which then closes. Production moves to Ontario.
2008: Signature Limited and Signature L are the two retail versions.
2011: The classic Town Car sedan reaches the end of the line.