2004 Lincoln Mark X Prototype Convertible: Rare Gem Resurfaces

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2004 Lincoln Mark X Prototype Convertible: Rare Gem Resurfaces

Prototypes and concept cars often enjoy brief periods of attention before fading into obscurity, often ending up in garages, crushers, or museums.

However, the 2004 Lincoln Mark X Prototype Convertible bucks this trend. Originally in the possession of its designer for over a decade until his passing, this prototype stands out from the typical fate of its kind.

Concept cars and prototypes are frequently sacrificed in the development of production models, assuming those models even reach production. Sometimes, projects that start as concept cars are halted before they begin, sitting on executives’ desks without approval, halting their stories before they even start.

However, the fate of the 2004 Lincoln Mark X Prototype Convertible didn’t involve disposal. It began as a speculative project when Lincoln’s design chief, Marek Reichman, pondered the idea of a Lincoln counterpart to the Ford Thunderbird.

2004 Lincoln Mark X Prototype Convertible: Rare Gem Resurfaces

James Powers, the designer behind the prototype, opted for a minimalist approach, eschewing the extravagant designs typically associated with the brand. Having worked at Ford during the late 1950s and early 1960s under the tutelage of head designer Elwood Engel, Powers had a hand in designing the Ford Thunderbird at the time.

However, Powers wasn’t pleased with the updated Thunderbird introduced by Ford in 2002. So, he embarked on his project: the Lincoln Mark X, built around the same platform as the new Thunderbird, the DEW98.

As a result, the Mark X’s body and powertrain were taken from the Thunderbird. The Mark X Prototype Convertible was Lincoln’s response to the Ford Thunderbird Convertible, and it was first shown at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit as a test vehicle to see how much demand there was.

Powered by a 3.9-liter V8 engine delivering 280 horsepower through a five-speed automatic transmission, the prototype shared its powertrain with the Ford Thunderbird, which had been in production since 2002.

Painted in metallic grey with cream leather upholstery, the prototype boasted a power hardtop with a large glass panel, integrated turn signals on the side mirrors, and 18-inch polished alloy wheels with power disc brakes on all corners.

Inside, the cabin featured a two-tone multifunction steering wheel, navigation, cruise control, power windows, and locks. Supervised by Lincoln’s Chief of Design, Marek Reichman, during a period of significant creativity at Ford, the Mark X Prototype aimed to outshine contemporaries like the two-seat Thunderbird, the Ford GT, and the Shelby Cobra concept.

Despite its potential, the Mark X remained a prototype, never making it to production. However, it’s now up for auction, a rarity in the world of concept cars.

The listing notes that some features may not be functional due to their age and limited use, but recent maintenance efforts have been made to keep them operational. This survivor from another era serves as a tangible link to automotive history and the creative minds behind it.


By Jayson O'Neil

Jayson is a car-o-holic, and you will often find him writing about cars & bikes here at DaxStreet. You can reach out to him at [email protected]

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