One of 2,447 built and one of the few still in existence, the ’56 Premiere was the first Lincoln to synthesize the numerous changes that transformed the cars from the early part of that decade. Exterior styling had evolved from the “bar-of-soap” look to a crisper set of lines that incorporated the now ubiquitous wraparound windshield and peaked headlight brows. The large grille was cleanly laid out and reflected in the rear-end styling. A subtle accent crest flowed along the sides of the car, which also featured uniquely-shaped front wheel wells, smooth rear fender skirts and a flourish of chrome that tied front and rear elements together.
The elegant wheelcovers certainly must rank among the most attractive of the era. While fins had not yet fully announced themselves, the car’s rear fenders crested into peaks that enclosed the rear-angled taillights and barely suggested the imminent new trend. Formal gold-plated “premiere” badges adorn the rear flanks.
Competition in the Carerra Panamericana and other grueling races had brought improvements to Lincoln suspension, brakes and handling, including a unique automatic chassis lubrication system, but the most noticeable change was in the powerful new 285 horsepower 368ci “True Power” “Y-Block” V8. One of the strongest of the new generation of overhead valve V8s, the engine pulled the heavy machine with aplomb and certainly helped its designers win an award from the Industrial Institute for excellence in automotive design.
Lincoln promoted the all-new Premiere as “the longest, lowest, most powerful, most wanted Lincoln of all time”, and this Premiere convertible is a remarkably well-executed restoration that lends great credence to that contention. Its bright Amethyst and White color combination is echoed in the interior, which features the period’s popular “tuck and roll” look. The dashboard retains chief designer Tom Hibbard’s elegant “rolled-top” design, with its horizontal speedometer and instrument layout. The well-padded seating and upholstery are up to Lincoln’s industry-leading fit and quality. Power windows and four-way power front seat were standard.
Low production numbers insured the Lincoln Premiere’s exclusivity; only 2,447 were built, and this is certainly one of the finest remaining.
Amethyst exterior over Amethyst and White Leather interior
Power steering and brakes, windows, seats and antenna
Twin spotlights and fog lights, Town & Country radio