July 26, 2010

Lincoln Town Car

Welcome to Tom, our newest follower. Hot Wheels and Tomica lovers can rejoice by having a look at his blog. I hope Tom, who is from Vietnam, will answer the questions recently asked here and let us know about how hard/easy it is to be a die-cast collector in his own country.

By the way, talking about uncommon locations reminds me that, within a few days, the counter down this page recorded its first three visitors from Libya. Long time ago, when studying in Canada I had many very good friends from your country, though years passing by
unfortunately set us apart... So, salaam `alaykum to you!

Well, now that I’m done with the greetings, let’s go to today’s story.

A little history

The name “Town Car” supplanted the traditional “Continental” for designating the standard Lincoln in the course of two years. By model year 1982, all the cars that were previously called Continentals were then Town Cars, while the older name was being used for a new, smaller model. So the very first Town Car was this downsized, squarish thing that tried to mimic the 1979 Continental, the last real “full-size” automobile ever built in the United States. The aggressive grille and front wings were still here, and a luxury version initially added such typical equipments as the quad headlights hidden behind retractable panels and the spare tyre-shaped boot. Wheelbase had considerably shrunk though, and base engine was down to the modest “Windsor” 302, a 4.9-litre V8. As the American automotive industry as a whole, Lincoln didn’t exactly know where to stand in the Eighties but, at a time when competition from Europe and Japan was only building up in the luxury car field, the Town Car still enjoyed strong sales until it retired in 1989.

The new Town Car, introduced for model year 1990, broke away from the traditional Lincoln patterns by proposing a fresh new style that was both up-to-date and formal. Though its chassis was shared with the more plebeian full-size models from Ford and Mercury, the Lincoln Town Car appeared as a much larger and luxurious car than its counterparts. It retained a rear-wheel-drive configuration while its smaller sibling the Continental now enjoyed FWD, but added such novelties as air suspension at the rear, air bags and ABS brakes. Success was instant, an achievement that was increasingly becoming rarer for an American car at the time, and suddenly Lincoln was faring better than arch-rival Cadillac.

The third generation of Town Cars was introduced for model year 1998, and is still produced today after a welcomed 2003 facelift. Despite a more rounded look, its approach is similar to its predecessor’s. With its traditional layout and its hefty weight, it appears antiquated to some, but retains a large pool of loyal customers.

About the model

Model: Lincoln Town Car Limousine
Year: 2000
Maker: Sun Star
Scale: 1/43
Distributed by: Sun Star
Acquired: brand new, in December 2006, in Hong Kong, S.A.R.

Sun Star made itself a specialty of offering, sometimes in 1/43 but more generally in 1/18, exaggeratedly extended limousines. Among those is this model, which unfortunately relies more on its unusual proportions than its quality of reproduction to convince potential buyers. My rating is 6/20.




JDMike's Diecast Site said...

great stretch limo sir Laurent! i didn't know sunstar made 1:43 models, that's great! :-)

lorenzo721 said...

Hi Mike!

Yes Sun Star makes a few 1/43s. Since they hold the right to the Vitesse name though, I suppose they mostly use their own name for 1/18 models.

Tom said...

Dear Sir Lorenzo (pls correct me if I'm wrong). Thanks for your welcome. Actually, in Vietnam market, Hotwheels, Matchbox and Tomica are the most popular and their waves are often slower around 02 weeks if I compare with Malaysia. For other brands, we often do Ebay and buy from some hand-carry sources. That is for small scale, for bigger scale 1/43 or 1/18, most of them are bought from China and US by hand-carry and of course by Ebay also.

lorenzo721 said...

Dear Tom, thanks a lot for these details! Actually, the picture you draw of die-cast collecting in Vietnam looks rather similar to the Philippines'. The only difference is perhaps that 1/18s are still relatively easy to find here. Unfortunately 1/43s have almost completely disappeared over the years, even toy-like brands as Cararama or High Speed becoming scarce nowadays, so here too it's often hand-carried or e-bay for those collecting these scales...