The Lincoln Continental was the brainchild of Edsel Ford and executed by Ford's chief stylist, Bob Gregorie. It was introduced in 1940 as an exclusive, luxurious, handcrafted automobile for the status conscious consumer. The early Continental was recognized by the Museum of Modern Art as one of eight automotive 'works of art' and by Time magazine as one of the top ten best-designed commercial products.
The post-war design was a continuation of the short-lived 1942 model but with a heavier grille. Continentals continued to be a top-of-the-line automobile and were highly desired after the war. Many luxury features were standard. Power came from the 130 horsepower, 305 cubic-inch V-12 engine.
This 1948 Lincoln Continental coupe was the second car built in the 1948 model year. Each of the 847 1948 Continental coupes wore a hefty price tag of $4,662 from the factory.
Commissioned by Henry Ford II, this unusual Lincoln was modified by Los Angeles-based Coachcraft at a cost of $20,000. Special features included fenders that extended into the doors, a gently rounded rear deck without the customary 'continental kit,' and a small number of parts adapted from other vehicles. Based upon a 1946 Mercury chassis, it was originally equipped with a split windshield and a three-piece top that could be configured to cover the entire passenger compartment, just the rear seat, or removed entirely. The Lincoln was later fitted with a one-piece curved windshield and a more practical folding fabric top. It retains the original 337-cubic inch flathead V8, an experimental version of the engine being developed for the all-new 1949 Lincoln.
High bid of $25,000 at 2007 RM Auctions. (did not sell) This 1948 Lincoln Continental Coupe was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held at Meadow Brook where it was estimated to sell between $50,000 - $60,000. The car is powered by a 292 cubic-inch side-valve V12 engine that is capable of producing 130 horsepower. It has a three-speed gearbox and four-wheel hydraulically actuated brakes. The elegant body rests gently on a 125-inch wheelbase. It has been a AACA First Place winner two years in a row. It is a 'Full Classic' as categorized by the Classic Car Club of America.
The exterior is finished in black while the interior features black leather upholstery. This car is reported to be in good condition and has been treated to a restoration since new. It came equipped from the factory with the optional power windows which had been introduced by Lincoln in 1946.
Bidding reached $25,000 but was not nearly enough to satisfy the vehicles reserve, so the car was left unsold. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2007
Sold for $75,900 at 2004 RM Auctions. Sold for $66,000 at 2007 RM Auctions. Sold for $59,400 at 2008 RM Auctions. After a no-expense-spared restoration, this Lincoln Continental Convertible was shown at the Classic Car Club of American Grand Classic where it won an award on its first showing. In 1982 at the AACA National Meet it was awarded a Senior National First Prize. It has been shown on many occasions and a frequent recipient of many awards.
In 2004 the ownership changed and was immediately treated to a cosmetic and mechanical refresher. It is painted in black with a black leather interior and tan top. In 2008 it was up for auction at the Automobiles of Amelia Island where it had an estimated value of $70,000-$90,000. It was offered without reserve which worked well for the buyer who purchased the car for $59,400. By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
The Original Continental was designed by Ford's chief stylist, E.T. 'Bob' Gregorie who created the beautiful machine ford Edsel Ford. It was a one-off luxury car with European styling and a stylish rear-mounted spare tire. It sat atop of a Lincoln Zephyr platform and powered by a 12-cylinder L-head engine that produced 130 horsepower. Edsel took the car on a vacation in Florida where it was met with instant popularity. It is said that he left Florida with 200 confirmed orders for the car. In 1940 the production version appeared and carried a $2850 sticker price. It could be purchased in either coupe or 'Cabriolet Convertible' configuration. There were minor updates that followed in 1942 such as changes to the grillwork and modifications to the engine. World War II put a halt to production but at the conclusion of the war, production resumed. It would stay in production until 1948. 1,241 Lincoln convertibles were built from 1946 to 1948. 48 cars are registered in the Lincoln Continental and Lincoln Zephyr Owners Club. There may be that many more existing but not registered.
This 1948 Lincoln Continental cabriolet is painted in Sea Gull Gray with blue leather upholstery. There is a black convertible top that still works well today. It is one of only 452 examples constructed. It is powered by a 305 cubic-inch V12 engine that can produce 130 horsepower. There is a 3-speed gearbox with overdrive and rides on a wheelbase that measures 125-inches.
The Lincoln Continental was the brainchild of Edsel Ford and executed by Ford's chief stylist, Bob Gregorie. The Continental was introduced in 1940 as an exclusive, luxurious, handcrafted automobile for the status conscious consumer. The early Continental was recognized by the Museum of Modern Art as one of eight automotive 'works of art' and by Time Magazine as one of the top ten best-designed commercial products.
The post-war design was a continuation of the short-lived 1942 model but with a heavier grille. Continentals continued to be a top-of-the-line automobile and were highly desired after the war. Many luxury features were standard. Power came from the 130 horsepower, 305 cubic-inch V-12 engine. Each of the 847 1948 Continental coupes wore a hefty price tag of $4,662 from the factory.
This 1948 Lincoln Continental coupe has received numerous awards from the Classic Car Club of America as well as the Antique Automobile Club of America.
1948 marked the end of production of twelve-cylinder automobile engine for the United States with the discontinuation of the Lincoln V-12. This Continental coupe is one of the last 200 twelves produced. Introduced in 1940, the Lincoln Continental instantly became a styling leader with its low roofline, rear-mounted spare, and skirted fenders. The post-war Continentals were slightly redesigned renditions of the pre-war Classic.
In 1951, the Museum of Modern Art selected the continental as one of eight automotive works of art. Time magazine ranked it its top ten choice of the 100 best-designed commercial products.
This 1948 Lincoln Continental Coupe is powered by a V-12 305 cubic-inch displacement engine that offers 130 horsepower. The wheelbase of the car is 125 inches. Total production for the Coupe was 847 vehicles. The original price was $4,660. By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2010
Sold for $66,000 at 2010 RM Auctions. Sold for $66,000 at 2014 RM Auctions. Edsel Ford entrusted his favored stylist, Bob Gregorie, to design a customized Lincoln-Zephyr Convertible Coupe for him to drive during a winter vacation in Florida. The car was so impressive that it was soon put into production. The result, called the Continental as a reflection of its styling influences, would remain part of the Lincoln line until 1948.
The Continental is considered by many to be the first true 'personal luxury' car, as it was a large two-door, five-passenger automobile that had dual-personality appeal - being both sporty and elegant - and a design that has made it a lasting legend.
This Lincoln Continental Cabriolet was acquired by Malcolm S. Pray Jr. several years ago. The car was restored in the mid-1990s and the odometer currently shows just 12,825 miles, likely since restoration. It is finished in Lincoln Maroon paint and there are hydraulic pushbutton doors. By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2014
When Ford Motor Co. president Edsel Ford wanted a special personal vehicle, he commissioned chief stylist Eugene T. 'Bob' Gregorie to create a custom design for his March, 1939 vacation. Gregorie sketched an elegant Zephyr-based convertible with a long hood and front fenders, a short trunk and what would become a Continental trademark, a covered spare tire between the trunk and rear bumper.
One reason for the long front end was its180 horsepower 305 cubic-inch V12 engine. The result was essentially a channeled, sectioned, no-running-board Zephyr that looked long, low and clean vs. other American cars of the time. Edsel had it delivered to Florida for his vacation, and the reaction among his wealthy friends was so strong that he figured Ford could sell a thousand a year. So he had Lincoln craftsmen hand build a couple dozen Continental Cabriolet convertibles, plus a few hardtops, in 1939 followed by 400 in 1940 (all considered 1930 models).
Continental production continued through 1941 and into 1942 (the 1942s got a revised grill and squared-off fenders for a somewhat boxier look) before Detroit's factories were converted to war support, then resumed (with a new grille and updated trim) in 1946 and ran through 1948. The 1948 Lincolns were the last /12-powered cars from a major U.S. maker, and '39-'48 Continentals are Classic Car Club of America 'Full Classics.' This Cabriolet -- one of 452 built for model year 1948 -- was bought by the current owner in 1996 and fully restored in 1997.
High bid of $30,000 at 2016 Mecum. (did not sell) This Lincoln Continental Convertible has a split bench seat, wide whitewall tires, rear-mounted spare, fender skirts, power convertible top, power windows, chrome bumpers and grille, and a 3-speed manual transmission. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2016
Sold for $28,600 at 2016 RM Auctions. This Lincoln Continental Club Coupe has an older restoration and is finished in maroon, with a burgundy leather and broadcloth interior. The odometer shows 34,720 miles, and the car retains a correct radio and dashboard clock. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2016
The name 'Continental' was inspired by the 1940's Lincoln Continental powered by a large 12-cylinder engine. Bentley had used the name Continental on their model line, adding to the ambiance and prestige. In 1956 the Ford Motor Company formed the Continental Division for the production of the Mark II. Its general manager was William Clay 'Bill' Ford, son of Edsel Ford and grandson of Henry Ford. Many people associated the Continental as a Lincoln because it featured the trademark Lincoln spare-tire hump in the trunk lid and it was sold and serviced at Lincoln dealerships. Many of the mechanical components were courtesy of Lincoln such as the drivetrain. The Continental Division lasted until 1957 when it was merged with Lincoln and the Continental Mark II was added as Lincoln's flagship model. The name 'Continental' would stay with the Mark line until the introduction of the Mark VII in 1984.
There never was a model designated as a Lincoln or Continental Mark I.
The Continental Mark II had an understated beauty; it was elegant without the need to be flamboyant. Unlike the flashy American style of the time, it was very tasteful in its design. It did not use chrome, two-tone paint, or sharp styling cues to accentuate its beauty. At the front was an egg-crate style grille and straight fenders. The hood was long and curvy, perfect for concealing the 6-liter engine. Mounted on the hood and in the back was the four-pointed star that later became Lincoln's emblem. The Lincoln 368 cubic-inch V8 was matted to a Lincoln three-speed automatic transmission. The back had the signature Lincoln spare-tire hidden in the trunk lid. Though sharing many similarities with the Thunderbird, these were completely different machines. The Continentals were mostly hand made; the paint was applied multiple times and then sanded, double-lacquered, and polished.
These rolling works of art were very costly. The $10,000 sticker price was equivalent to a Rolls-Royce. Top-of-the-line American luxury brands, such as Cadillac, were selling for around $5000. Even at these high prices, Ford still lost an estimated $1,000 per car. At the time Ford was a private company and was willing to incur these losses but when Ford became a public company, losses were not permitted. A stock Mark II was $10,000 in 1956. Derham and Hess & Eisenhardt both estimated a convertible conversion to cost $18,000 to custom build. That's why there were so few Mark II convertibles.
The Continental was sold to the rich and famous. Anyone who could afford the cost was welcome. Famous buyers included Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Louie Prima, Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Spike Jones, Nelson Rockefeller, Henry J. Kaiser, Howard Johnson, the Shah of Iran, and many other celebrities owned them.
The Continental Mark II was debuted to the public at the Paris Motor Show in 1955. During the close of 1955, around 1300 Mark II's were sold. For the entire 1956 model year, another 1300 were sold. In 1957, around 450 were produced for a total of just over 3000. Around 1500 still exist in modern time. Only three convertibles were created.
Mark III The Lincoln Continental Mark III was produced from 1969 through 1971. Actually, in 1958 the Continental Division of Ford tried to produce the Continental Mark III but sales and production never really materialized. The onset of the 1958 recession accelerated the demise of the Continental Division.
The 1969 Mark III was introduced in 1968 as a 1969 Model year. It was positioned to compete with Cadillac's Eldorado. The Mark III was, in many ways, a luxury version of the Ford Thunderbird. The Mark III and Thunderbird shared many mechanical components; their styling was similar and both were built at Ford's Wixom, Michigan plant. The engine was a Ford 429 enlarged to 460 cubic-inches.
In the back was the signature spare-tire bulge, though no spare-tire was housed in this enclosure. The design was rectangular and smooth. It was taller, larger, 300 pounds heavier, more powerful and luxurious than the Thunderbird. Power brakes, steering, windows, headlamps and front seats were all standard. Vinyl with cloth inserts was standard with leather being optional. The door trim panels and instrument panels were either rosewood or oak, depending on the interior color chosen.
The vinyl roof was popular, even though it was optional. Other options included a variety of radios, 8-track tape players, and air conditioning. Both front seats were power adjustable, but for an additional cost additional power adjustments could be installed. An automatic headlamp dimmer could be ordered, meaning that it would dim automatically for oncoming cars. Anti-lock brakes, cruise control, and a limited slip differential were available for an additional cost.
In its introductory year, nearly 31,000 examples were produced. Though the Eldorado had better slightly stronger sales, this was still a very respectable start for a long and successful series.
In 1970, 21,432 examples were sold. The following year, 27,091 were sold. Even though the best year was in 1968, sales had begun in 1968. Meaning that the sales sold in 1968 and 1969 were counted together.
In 1970 the vinyl roof became standard and the windshield wipers were made recessed. The interior trim was now real wood. A locking steering column was introduced. Radial tires were standard equipment.
1971 was the final production year for the Mark III. Tinted glass, SureTrak anti-lock brakes, and automatic climate-controlled air-conditioning became standard.
In 1972, the Lincoln Continental Mark IV was introduced and would stay in production until 1976. It was similar to its predecessor but grew in both length and width. It still shared a platform with the Thunderbird and in many respects, were similar.
There were few differences of the Mark III and the Mark IV. The Mark IV was slightly rounder, the wheel openings were a little different, and optional opera windows were installed. The grille was longer and a new bumper adorned the front of the vehicle. The popular vinyl roof was now standard. In 1973, a new federally mandated 5 mph bumper was installed.
Under the hood was a 460 cubic-inch Ford 385 Series V8 capable of producing just over 210 SAE horsepower. Power was sent to the wheels courtesy of a C6 3-speed automatic transmission.
Sales were strong for the Mark IV with the lowest production year being in 1975 with 47,145 units sold. 1973 was the strongest year for sales with 69,437. With total sales amounting to 278,559 for the five years of production, the average total sales per year was 55719.
1976 had strong sales partly because of the newly introduced Designer Series. These were special edition Mark IV that were given color, trim and interior choices by famous designers. The designers' signature was placed on the opera windows and a 22 karat gold plated plaque could be found on the instrument panel. The gold plaque could be engraved with the original owners' name.
There were four designer editions offered: Bill Blass Edition, Cartier Edition, Givenchy Edition, and Pucci Edition. The Bill Blass Edition was dark blue with cream accents; the Cartier Edition was dove grey; The Givenchy Edition was aqua blue; and the Pucci Edition was in red and silver.
Mark V In 1977, In Lincoln Continental Mark V replaced the Mark IV, and would stay in production for only three years, ending in 1979.
In comparison to its predecessor, it was rounder, longer and wider and no longer built on a Ford Thunderbird platform. The engine was downgraded to a Ford 400 cubic-inch small-block engine. The Ford 385 460 cubic-inch was available, except in California, as optional equipment until 1978.
The Continental Mark V was a big and heavy car. It averaged 7 mpg under normal driving conditions and 3.5 mpg under full acceleration. Ford was close to violating the Corporate Average Fuel Economy law so in 1980, a smaller Continental was introduced.
Mark VI The Lincoln Mark VI was introduced in 1980 and stayed in production until 1983. It was smaller version of its predecessor with minor design revisions. The headlight covers and steering wheel were new. Under the hood was a 5-liter eight-cylinder engine. With the reduced weight and a smaller engine, fuel economy improved.
Mark VII The Lincoln Continental Mark VII, later just called the Mark VII, was introduced in 1984 and produced until 1991. The Mark VII sat atop the Ford Fox platform, had originally been used for the Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr.
From 1984 through 1985, a special edition Versace Designer Edition could be ordered. A Bill Blass Designer Edition was produced from 1984 through 1992. The Luxury Sport Coupe was produced from 1984 through 1992 while the LSC SE was produced from 1990 through 1992.
The Mark VII continued the ambiance set-forth by its predecessors. Leather seating and all-power options were standard. This included a computer message center, digital instruments, keyless entry and more. The luxury sport coupe (LSC) version after 1986 was did not receive all these amenities.
The ride was smooth thanks in part to a full airbag suspension and electronic ride control system. Power was sent to the wheels courtesy of a four-speed automatic transmission. Under the hood was a 5-liter High Output SEFI or throttle body fuel injected V8 capable of producing nearly 230 horsepower. In 1998 the horsepower was further increased after the throttle body was enlarged and better flowing cylinder heads were adapted.
The Mark VII had electronic 4-channel antilock brakes and composite headlights; the first American vehicle to use these features.
Mark VIII The Mark VIII was the next iteration in the long line of the Mark Series. It was produced from 1993 through 1998. The base 2-door coupe was powered by a 4.6 liter DOHC V8 producing 280 horsepower while the LSC models produced 290 horsepower. The LSC model versions, produced from 1995 to 1996 was the first American vehicle to be equipped with HID headlights. The 1997 through 1998 LSC models continued the HID headlights but with larger housings.
Slow sales resulted in the cancellation of this luxury car series. A Lincoln MK9 Concept was introduced in the early 2000's, but plans of production seem doubtful. By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2008
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