TBT: This Lincoln Concept Would Have Been a Luxury Thunderbird

Feb 29, 2024

Last week, we revisited one of the most popular concept vehicles in Ford’s history. Today, we’re taking another look at another one-off, which also debuted at the 2004 North American International Auto Show and is worth another look. 

Based on the rear-wheel-drive Ford Thunderbird architecture of that era, the Lincoln Mark X was the brand’s first two-door convertible concept. The roadster featured a 3.9-liter V8 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission delivering 280 horsepower.

The two-seat luxury convertible roadster was said to blend design elegance with driving athleticism, and its forward-looking design was intended to set the tone for Lincolns of the 2000s. The Lincoln Mark X was deemed so special by its creators that it bore the coveted “Mark” name, which has been used to signify a truly special vehicle. 

“The focus with Mark X was on pure, integrated design,” said Marek Reichman, then-Lincoln chief designer. “Our holistic exterior and interior design approach instantly shows its rewards, competing against the best personal luxury convertibles in the world.”

The Mark X was also the first Lincoln to feature a full glass roof, which would fully retract into the rear decklid in less than 30 seconds with the push of a button. Another standout feature was the car’s flush-mounted, polished aluminum door handles. Each featured thumb locators, which exposed the handles when pushed. The exterior of the Mark X also included an updated polished aluminum Lincoln grille featuring a rhythmic pattern of solid horizontal and vertical chrome trim. 

The car’s interior was the beneficiary of Ford Motor Company’s tripled investment in interior design, which resulted in a “modern and luxurious cabin” full of contrasting colors and textured materials, according to a 2004 press release, including a Lime Sorbet interior. The Mark X also featured a laser-inscribed vanity plate above the glove box and a four-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel with dark chrome. A seven-inch LCD information panel featured satellite navigation, climate control and vehicle dynamics such as seat memory. It was operated by a mouse located in the center console.

In a rare feat for concept vehicles, the Lincoln Mark X prototype is not only still in existence, but it’s going up for auction in the coming days. While the T-Bird companion never made it to production, it gave Ford and Lincoln fans a glimpse of what could have been.

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