The Town Car nameplate was first introduced in 1959 Continental Mark IV lineup as a top-of-the-line 4-door sedan; the nameplate became a permanent part of the Continental lineup in 1969, denoting its highest-trim interior package. In 1981, the Town Car became a stand-alone model in the Lincoln product line, superseding the Continental as the flagship for the Lincoln brand as well as for Ford Motor Company.
Featuring a standard V8 engine, body-on-frame design, rear-wheel drive and large exterior and interior dimensions, the Town Car was based on the Ford Panther platform. This gave it powertrain and suspension commonality with the Mercury Grand Marquis and the Ford LTD Crown Victoria (later the Crown Victoria). This design made them durable even in the rough conditions taxi and livery cars are subjected to, and easy and cheap to repair when they did suffer damage. Town Cars are typically operated in commercial service for at least 400,000 miles.
Its large dimensions made it the largest car in production in North America. From 1997 to 2011, the Town Car was the longest car (but not the heaviest) built in the Western Hemisphere, measuring nearly 18 feet (5.49 m) in length for a standard Town Car and 18.5 feet (5.64 m) for an L Edition.
After its discontinuation following the 2011 model year, the Town Car was left without a direct replacement. Although dimensionally a full-size sedan, the Lincoln MKS's architecture is considerable different as it has a front-wheel drive unibody platform with optional all-wheel drive. The MKS is is marketed more as of a successor to the sportier Lincoln LS as well as the 1995–2002 Continental. To fill the gap left by the Town Car, Lincoln has remained in livery markets by developing a limousine variant of the MKT full-size crossover vehicle, which was made available around the second quarter of 2012 and is known as the "MKT Town Car." Lincoln is also believed to be preparing a true Town Car successor on a rear-wheel drive platform to rival the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-series.