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Money No Object: 1956 Continental Mark II – Hand-Built American Luxury

Money No Object: 1956 Continental Mark II – Hand-Built American Luxury

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.

Mecum Auctions Kissimmee 2019: Lot W19 – 1956 Continental Mark II

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8 thoughts on “Money No Object: 1956 Continental Mark II – Hand-Built American Luxury

  1. elkyguy

    dear santa,i’ve been really good all year…….seriously,one of my all time favorite american cars—smooth, with a refined grace to it—-

  2. Rock On!

    Got a chance to drive one of these in 1983 during my brief period selling cars. Very sweet. I thought that the exhaust exiting through the rear bumper was really cool.

  3. Mopar or No Car

    Money no object? What happened under the hood? Makes me wonder what’s underneath the paint and fabric and trim and everything else. Should come in at the low range compared to fully restored examples. Is that blooming rust on the radiator painted over in black? Where are the undercarriage shots?

    Nice car but I wouldn’t want to have to answer the questions people will ask at a show.

  4. OrphanGuy

    Consider the year 1956. A car with clean lines with no chrome rockets and spears? This car is special.

  5. Tim

    The Mark used to be called the “Rich Man’s Thunderbird.” Look at the profile of the Mark II and you can see the original T-Bird. The Mark III might be an exception but the smoothing of the body to make the Mark IV make it look similar to the 70-76 T-Bird. The Mark V got away from the T-Bird a bit with more flowing lines and thankfully didn’t copy the 76-77 T-Bird. The Mark VI was just plain ugly (I think) and not a real Mark as far as I’m concerned but it did have the basic lines of the T-Bird which I didn’t care for. The Mark VII continued the tradition with the basic shape of the 83 up T-Bird and the Mark VIII is the basic profile of the 89 up T-Bird. Of course the Mark badge ended the tradition with the end of the T-Bird and went into becoming trucks and SUVs but maybe if they copied the last T-Bird they could have turned that strange but potentially good looking car into a beautiful Mark IX.

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