PSSST! Yuppies and buppies. Over here. C'mon. Gotta deal for you. I know things have been rough lately, with the stock market acting crazy and everything. And I know some of your portfolios are, well, quite portable.
But just because you've had to dump the Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, all is not lost. I gotta car for you:
The 1988 Lincoln Mark VII LSC.
It's a terrific piece. Goes just as fast on legal highways as your Porsche 944. It's a heck of a lot more comfortable than your 300-series BMW. And, though it shamefully lacks an air bag, it's equipped as well as some of your pricier Mercy B's.
And, hey, unless you really got wiped out in Wall Street's on-again, off-again crash, you can pay for the Mark VII and still hold onto your condo. I mean, here's your chance to "step down" without anybody noticing.
Only problem is, the Mark VII's an American car. Many of you have a hard time dealing with that. But, like I've been telling you for a couple of years, that's a goofed-up, wacko attitude.
I get just as many complaints on imports as I do on domestics. The way I figure it, somebody's lyin' about this infallible import stuff.
Look at it this way: The person who made you feel like you were next-to-nothing because your car didn't come from Stuttgart is, probably, the same dude who told you that you had a future in junk bonds.
Complaints: I can't understand why Ford's Lincoln/Mercury division insists on keeping that phony spare-tire bulge in the Mark VII's trunk lid. This bit of nonesense was dropped from the 1988 Lincoln Continental. It oughtta be taken out of this car, too.
And the weight of it all -- 3,772 pounds. Way too heavy for a sporty luxury coupe. Can we put this one on a diet, Ford?
Praise: Easily one of the best-crafted cars in its class. This machine reeks of elegance -- all power instrumentation and controls; six-way adjustable, leather-covered seats, deep-pile carpeting. Everything's perfectly fitted and matched. The driver's cockpit is convenience raised to art form -- all controls in line of sight, all reachable. The feeling is rich and snug.
There's more: a computer console that provides relevant, understandable information about the car's performance on long trips; automatic headlight-dimmers; an improved anti-lock braking system, and a wonderful electronic overhead compass to help reduce wandering time.
Head-turning quotient: Beauty and the beast, the beast being that dumb spare-tire hump in the rear end.
Ride, acceleration and handling: Ride in this rear-wheel-drive car is on a par with the best luxury coupes on the U.S. market. Acceleration is excellent. Power comes from an improved 5-liter, electronically fuel-injected V-8, which produces 225 hp at 4000 rpm. Previous version of the same engine kicked out 200 hp at comparable rpm. Handling is very good, but falls below "excellent" because of the weighty feel.
Sound system: Premium Ford/JBL electronic stereo radio and cassette. Ten speakers. Simply terrific.
Mileage: Not so terrific. About 16 to the gallon (22.1-gallon tank, estimated 342-mile range on usable volume), driver only, heater on most of the time, mostly highway in the Great State of Virginia.
Price: For the Mark VII LSC, $26,288, including $696 in options and a $524 destination charge. Base price is $25,068. Dealer's invoice price is $21,262.04, according to Automobile Invoice Service of San Jose, Calif.
C'mon, yups and bups. Stop frowning. You can still keep bragging rights with this one. I can hear it now: "Yeah, I paid . . ."
Warren Brown covers the auto industry for The Washington Post.