FoMoCo Built a Turbo Diesel Fox Body??? | NPD's Mark VII Lincoln Continental | BMW Hybrid???
Unicorns do exist. That’s the first thing that came to mind when I spotted the oh-so-subtle Diesel badge on the rear of an otherwise unassuming 1984 Lincoln Continental in National Parts Depots world renowned car collection. Did you know Lincoln made a diesel car in the mid-80s? Did you know that Ford actually build a diesel powered Fox-Body? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t, because this is actually the first one I have ever seen in person.
This particular car is one of many Lincolns in the NPD collection. Rick, the owner of NPD, seems to favor the brand. This is one of several examples of Mark VII Continental on display, and beyond the 2.4L diesel under the hood it’s pretty inconspicuous. It has a little mileage on the clock, and presents as a very clean used luxury car. Unlike many cars in the collection, this one does get driven from time to time.
The real story about this car is the engine. For only 2 years Ford offered a BMW sourced 2.4L I-6 Turbo Diesel. It is a non-intercooled direct-injected mill that cranks out 115 HP and 155 lb-ft. It’s backed up by a ZF 4-Spd Auto transmission, and is geared more towards fuel mileage than all-out performance. I find it funny how “at home” the compression ignition fired engine looks between the familiar Fox-Body strut towers. If you want to know why this engine option was so short lived in the Continental, we get into that and more in this video inspection:
There’s one component of note that was developed for the diesel Lincoln that lives on as part of SVT history. When the SVT engineers were developing the 1993 Cobra R Mustang they knew they needed a radiator that could support the increased cooling necessary for a race track. The standard Fox Mustang units just didn’t fit the bill. However, the unit from a diesel Lincoln had all the necessary ports, increased capacity, and fit perfectly in place due to the shared Fox architecture. So they dove into the parts bin and managed to snag a little over 100 of them for the Cobra R program.
While the diesel Lincoln/Fox was not in production very long, it is a cool piece of history. It’s one of those interesting experiments in automotive design that just didn’t seem to work out. If the story we discussed in the vid above is correct, it didn’t fade away due to poor performance or sales. It would certainly have been interesting if the BMW/Ford deal had worked out. Just imagine what could have been, such as this engine making its way into a Ranger/Explorer. Still, it’s nice to know there’re still some prime examples of these engineering oddities out there being preserved. Perhaps next time I’m in FL I’ll try to convince the NPD crew to let us get this one out for a drive. While it probably won’t be quick, it would be memorable.