1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet
The Lincoln Continental has had an interesting and somewhat choppy history. It originally started out as a custom one-off for Edsel Ford himself, but Ford realized that he could sell such a model, and the prototype quickly became a production model. That was 1939, at which point every Continental that was built was done so by hand. Eventually, Lincoln got around to making machine dies in 1941, but the car was only produced for another year before WWII brought production to a halt. Which brings us to this car – a 1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet.
This car will be going under the hammer at Mecum’s auction during the 2016 Monterey Car Week, and is just 1 of 136 models that were produced before the war forced Lincoln to stop production. Even more important is the fact that only 27 of the original 136 models are believed to be in existence, making this one rare vehicle. It has been through Concours restoration and has even be refreshed in the correct Darian Blue from 1942. And, as you can see from the picture above, this is one fine example of history – one that I could go without writing about when I saw it listed for auction.
With that said, let’s take a good look at the car and talk a little more about it.
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1961 Lincoln Continental Convertible
Some cars are special because of their racing background, recalling a moment when man and machine triumphed in a battle of speed. Other cars are special for their heritage, representing a particular slice of time that encompasses an experience from long ago. This car is special because of its previous owner. You see, the bright white slice of Americana you see before you was once the personal transportation of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the wife of John. F. Kennedy and First Lady of the United States. This Lincoln Continental was parked at the White House garage and used by Jackie O during JFK’s tenure as the 35th President of the United States, and perfectly encapsulates that period through it’s broad, simple design, boat-like on-road demeanor, and seemingly endless style. What’s more, it’s going up for sale later this month.
This luxury full-size four-door carries the VIN number 1Y86H420678, and is a certified history lesson on wheels. It’s seen only one other owner besides the trend-setting First Lady, and it’s received an older restoration to keep it fresh.
So what’s Mrs. Kennedy’s previous personal ride really like? Read on to find out.
Continue reading to learn more about this unique 1961 Lincoln Continental Convertible.
1961 Lincoln Continental
Lincoln Continental was first developed in 1939 as Edsel Ford’s one-off personal vehicle. The car was an elegant convertible with a long hood covering a big V-12 with long front fenders and a short trunk. The externally-mounted and covered spare tire made its first appearance here before becoming the Continental series’ trademark. The design was allegedly sketched out in an hour by Eugene Gregorie working from the blueprints of the Lincoln Zephyr.
But when the 1961 Continental was introduced, the automotive trade press was stunned. The car’s look was a dramatic departure from the styling of the 1960 Lincoln – in fact, it was a complete break from the fins, fat chrome trim, and dog-legged windshields that were so characteristic of all cars of the prior five years. It did show some hints of fine cars of the past. The Continental Mark II influence could be seen in the mesh grille, the wraparound taillight design, and the rise in beltline just ahead of the rear wheel cutout.
More than just a pretty face, the 1961 Continental influenced design for later models like. This includes the 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix, the 1963 Buick Riviera, and the 1964 Chrysler Imperial. The design turned out to be absolutely brilliant, with clean, uncluttered lines, perfect proportions, and no extraneous decoration. That such a masterpiece ever made it past the committees, politics, and egos then battling for position at Ford was tantamount to a miracle. The new design was a little smaller with the overall length dropping to 212.4 inches from 227 and the wheelbase being reduced from 131 to 123 inches. The rear doors were hung from the rear and opened from the front. This "suicide door" style was to become the best-known feature of 1960s Lincolns.
The model was available in two options: four-door sedan and four-door convertible. The Lincoln Continental sedan shown in the sketch was manufactured at the Wixom, Michigan assembly plant – where Lincolns are still made today. It originally sold for $6,067 and weighed almost 5,000 pounds. The car was powered by a big 430 cubic inch V-8 and traveled down the highways of 1961 in a stately fashion, transporting its occupants in luxury and quiet.
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