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Considering a 98/99 - Looking for Info


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I'm considering a change with my daily driver. I currently have a 97 Lincoln Mark VIII. Awesome car that won't be easy to part with unless someone can convince me I'd be happy with a Riv. smile.gif Its downfall for southwestern PA is the RWD which is totally useless in the winter so it gets parked for 6 months and I drive the F-250 4x4.

With the price of gas I am considering getting something FWD I can drive in the winter but do not want an average car I see everyday so thought a Riv might be a good choice.

Though I've seen many of the last gen cars at the nationals, honestly I've not had a reason to pay much attention to the particulars.

How tough would it be to find a black or burgundy car with dark color interior, well optioned, pampered car with less than 80,000 miles?

My Mark VIII gets 20mpg city 26mpg on the highway when I'm not being a lead foot. What can I expect out of the Riv?

Is there a specific option package that I should go after?

What are the weak points or high maintenance areas I should look for when buying?

Is there any logical reason to seek out a rare 99 over a 98?

How reliable are the transmissions if well maintained?

How much should I expect to pay if I was patient and willing to travel out of state for the right car? Preferrably I'd like to sell my car and pick up a Riv for about the same amount or up to $1000 more. I estimate I could get $5000 for my car.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.

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There were not a lot of changes from '96 to '99, I'd simply look at mileage and condition.

Black and burgundy are not the most common colors, but if you a bit patient you should be able to find one under 80K for under 6K.

We have a '96 and a '99. I get about 30 on the highway, and 20 around town. Town depends a lot on how you drive.

Most are pretty much loaded; a sunroof is nice, and they don't all have them.

I think the drivetrains are pretty much bullet proof. I've heard that you need to watch out for electrical issues, but I haven't really seen that (been driving one since 2000). I did have to replace the driver window motor though.

Our '96 has 170K (had it since 36K) on it with no major issues. I had almost no problems till around 150K, then had to replace struts, a wheel bearing, water pump, etc. I expect to take it to 250K before I give up on it.

They are great reliable, comfortable, well performing, economical cars.

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There are darn few issues with the 98-99 Riviera's, the only one that I can think of is that they are very rare as production numbers were dropping off rapidly in these years.

The SC 3800 is rock solid and the 4T65-E transmission is as good of a front drive transmission as ever came down the pike.

High miles DO NOT bother these cars!! I would look for one with a good maintenance history and good body condition as a primary concern, mileage would be secondary.

After a few short miles in your "new" Riviera, you'll wonder why you chose to put up with a "mere" Lincoln for so long! Good luck in your hunt, I know you'll enjoy the results!

Tim McCluskey

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Jason, the traction control on those model Riv's is awfully good as well. I've got a GMC Yukon that's pretty much become a dust collector since I bought my 98. I think I took the 4x4 out only 2-3 times over the winter to drive when we had a lot of snow.

You drive one, you'll be sold... smile.gif

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