Making a luxury car is a lofty goal on it’s own accord. Making a luxury, hand-built, every-final-detail perfect car is a massive, expensive undertaking that results in a dramatically expensive car. That being said, people can and will pay for such a car…look at the cachet that surrounds nameplates such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, and the like. People will spend fortunes because they know that they are getting a quality product (let’s just gloss over 1970s-1980s era cars, shall we?) as well as a touch of rarity. Not everybody can spend that kind of coin on a car.
To clear up confusion that I myself have had, what you are looking at is a 1956 Continental Mark II. Not a Lincoln. About this time frame, Ford Motor Company wanted to grow brands, so in addition to Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, Edsel and Continental were born. The Edsel story is one that sounds suspiciously like Wile E. Coyote falling off of a cliff with a gigantic rock giving chase to the bottom of a canyon. Continental was to be above Lincoln, the kind of car that competed against high-end Mercedes, Rolls and Bentley. This car’s price, adjusted for inflation, would’ve been getting fairly close to $100,000 in 2018 dollars, and was nearly ten thousand bucks in 1956 cash. If you weren’t ready to look at a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, the Mark II was probably the car for you. It wasn’t the car for Ford, however…each Mark II lost the company an even thousand bucks and in mid-1956 the division was moved back into Lincoln. The four-pointed star with the rectangle frame that Lincoln has used as a badge forever is originally the Continental logo.
It is a struggle to think of another American car since that has gone to the details that Continental went with the Mark IIs. From the Bridge of Weir leather that was imported from Scotland to the lacquer paints the company used, to the production system that actually saw engines tore-down, rebuilt, and blueprinted before the car ever made it to the customer’s hands, the “coachbuilt” plan that Continental was going for was legitimate. Sadly, you have to charge coachbuilt prices for that kind of work. Happily, however, gorgeous examples remain.