Continental has long been associated with the Lincoln marque, starting with pre-war V12-powered luxury coupes and convertibles (which, incidentally, was the last time any U.S.-made production car was offered with a V12). World War II put a stop to the line, but Ford revived the Continental name as a standalone division in 1955 to better compete against GM''s Cadillac and Chrysler''s Imperial. The resulting car -- the 1956 Continental Mark II -- was hand built with a price to match. At prices topping $10,000, it was the most expensive American car ever produced (by comparison, you could buy a new ''56 Ford for less than $2,000). Fewer than 3,000 were built in 1956 and 1957, and the owners formed a who''s who of the wealthy and famous. Frank Sinatra owned one. Elizabeth Taylor owned one custom-painted to match her famous blue-violet eyes. Even President Eisenhower owned one as his personal car. In 1958, Continental ceased to be a separate division and was bought back into the Lincoln fold -- despite the success, exclusivity and high price of the 1956 and 1957 models, Ford still lost money on every car produced.
This 1956 Continental Mark II is a solid driver in sound mechanical condition with no known rust issues. Body panels are straight with good gaps; the paint is older, but it shows well and has no obvious flaws besides some age-appropriate patina. Glass, trim and chrome are of good driver quality (and more importantly, complete), but short of concours quality. The original interior is showing some wear but is completely intact. Although there is some discoloration on the leather seats, remarkably there are no tears.
Black is, of course, the best color -- and this example is nothing short of stunning, even as a driver. With understated, graceful, European-influenced styling, it''s still an exquisite car more than 50 years after it was designed.
The Mark II came standard with a host of luxury features including power steering, power brakes, automatic transmission, power windows (with power vent windows, too) and leather-upholstered power seats. The only option was air conditioning, which this example has-- the a/c system is complete and working, but is still R12 and needs to be converted to R134 and/or charged. The engine runs beautifully, the transmission shifts smoothly; ride quality is, of course, excellent. The brake system has just been completely refurbished with new front drums, shoes and wheel cylinders -- plus a new vacuum booster. Mileage, at just under 55,000, is believed to be original.
Ford published a hardcover book -- "The Continental Story" -- that was included with each Mark II sold; this Mark II still has its original book in good condition.
This example has no immediate needs and could be enjoyed as-is for years to come. Given how solid and complete it is, it would also make an excellent candidate for a light restoration. For more information about this rare 1956 Continental Mark II available at Motorcar Studio in Atlanta, please call 404-692-5250.