While George Washington and Abraham Lincoln vie for greatest U.S. President ever, Honest Abe one-ups the cherry tree massacrer by having a namesake automotive brand. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe 1960 Lincoln Continental might be perfect for a Presidents' Day parade, but is its price unimpeachable?
Today we in the U.S. celebrate the combined birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, men who were, respectively, responsible for the creation of our great nation, and keeping it from being torn asunder. Abe also has the distinction of having an automotive marque named in his honor.
Lincoln was founded in 1915 by Henry M. Leland - who coincidentally also founded Cadillac making him the great-great grandfather of all our current American luxury offerings. Henry Ford bought the financially strapped Lincoln brand in 1922, eager to position it against Cadillac, which was the re-named Henry Ford Company from which he had been forcibly removed way back in 1902. Got all that?
The Continental story is almost as convoluted. First built as a one-off Zephyr V12 for Edsel Ford following a trip to Europe, the car was put into production in 1940 and, due to the placement of its spare tire, engendered the term ‘Continental kit' when adapted to other makes. The Mark II arrived in 1956 as a completely separate brand, distinct from Lincoln, but sold by their dealers. Hand-built and sticking over $12,000, it rivaled Rolls Royce in stature and, unfortunately for the bean counters at Ford, in sales.
The third generation of Continental was reabsorbed into the Lincoln brand, sharing not only parentage but the brand's enormous uni-body platform. You know how they say that King Kong could never really exist because an ape's physiology would never scale that large, the beast's bones cracking and failing under the weight of its massive musculature? That could also have applied to monocoque automotive construction, but apparently no one told the engineers at Ford. The '58-'60 Lincolns, and their related Continentals represent some of the largest unit-body cars ever built, and were created at a time when computer modeling was unknown.
It may be surprising, considering how baroque it appears, but this 1960 Lincoln Continental Mk V convertible is actually toned down from its immediate predecessors, replacing some of the wild jet-age styling details with those more in tune with earlier Thunderbirds. It still has the bizarre angled headlamp pods, hard-angled fins and, at 131-inches in wheelbase and 227 overall, dimensions that may require multi-state registration.
A cool feature at the backend of these Continentals is not a vertically-mounted spare but the Breezeway rear window, which rolls down separately even on this convertible. The interior, in tufted blue leather, and a four-pod color coordinated dash, seems in excellent original condition. It also looks just as deadly as when new, hailing from an era before energy-absorbing dash pads, three-point seatbelts, and collapsable steering columns without sternum-crushing horn buttons were in vogue.
Outside, there's metallic blue paint and lots off it. In WWII B29s were stripped of paint to save weight when deploying from elevated Asian air bases and you might wonder how much of this Lincoln's 5,176 pounds is paint. Certainly a good portion of that heft is found under hood where the 430 CID makes 315-bhp and sends that through a three-speed Turbodrive transmission and limited slip diff. Pretty much everything on the car is power-operated, and the ad implies that it's all in working condition. It also says that this Lincoln comes from the Bliss Collection, and has been ‘reconditioned by what is described as a long time Lincoln collector.
Unlike the later fourth generation Continentals with their slab-sided elegegance and unique pillarless center-latch doors, the third generation of the cars hasn't engendered universal reverence. But with just over 2,000 produced and, according to the ad, less than 500 left today, these are sure worthy of consideration if only on a curatorial basis.
And the cost to do so with this seemingly excellent example is $34,995. What do you think of that price for this Lincoln? Does that increase its electability? Or, should it be some score and seven cheaper?
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