1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible
Chassis no. 3Y86N426887
The ex-Undersecretary of the Navy Paul “Red” Fay
430ci OHV V8 Engine
Single Carter Two-Barrel Carburetor
320bhp at 4,100rpm
3-Speed Automatic Transmission
Independent Front Suspension – Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Single-family ownership from new
*A very original, California black plate example
*One of 2,857 Continental convertibles produced in 1963
*Attractive color scheme of Metallic Green over Red Leather
THE LINCOLN CONTINENTAL
After several years of producing ever-larger be-finned and chrome-heavy luxury cars, Ford’s management had come in the late 1950s to realize that some serious changes were needed at Lincoln Division. Continentals had become the largest automobiles available to American consumers, to the point that some states, according to the Standard Catalog of American Cars, demanded that dealers install special clearance lights and reflectors. Ford decided that the fourth-generation of that series would go on a diet. The 1961 Lincoln Continental thus was a completely new design, based on the 1958 Thunderbird – but with two additional doors, as mandated by Ford President Robert S. McNamara. The task was given to veteran stylist Elwood Engel. His deft hands would produce one of the most influential designs of the 1960s, one that is still greatly admired by connoisseurs of fine automobiles, and is credited with saving the Continental line.
The new, smaller Continental would be offered as a four-door hardtop sedan and a four-door convertible on a 123-inch wheelbase – more than a foot shorter than the huge 1960 Continental – and both models would feature “suicide” rear doors, greatly easing entry and departure for back-seat passengers. The convertible top was very convenient to use; the driver simply pulled a T-handle, which opened the rear-hinged trunk lid and a smaller extension panel, folded and retracted the top, and stored it in the luggage bay. The entire process took less than a minute.
With its clean and minimalist styling, these Continentals appeared distinctly modern compared to rivals Cadillac and Imperial, which still flaunted huge fins, and it boasted much better build quality than its predecessors. To ensure that new Continentals reached their prospective owners with everything working properly, each was subjected to a 12-mile test drive before leaving the factory in Wixom, Michigan. It was also the first American automobile to carry a 24,000 mile/two-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. The new design was so appealing that it was honored by the Industrial Design Institute with a special bronze medal.
This very original example has been in the family of its original owner, Paul “Red” Fay, since new. Fay became an Undersecretary of the Navy under President John F. Kennedy, who was a close friend; they had both served on PT boats during World War II in the Pacific campaign. Mr. Fay is believed to have purchased this car from a Washington, DC-area dealer, and it is known to have been a frequent visitor to the Kennedy White House. There is even a home video featuring this car with Mr. Fay and the President. After his government service, Fay returned with his car to San Francisco, where his family had owned a construction company. The car was moved to the Palm Springs area, where the Fays maintained a winter home, but following Mr. Fay’s passing in 2009, was put into storage. It was revived a few years later and returned to proper running condition. At that point, the family decided to offer it for sale.
As offered today, this elegant 1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible appears in its original colors of Metallic Green with a red leather interior and white folding top with a black lining. It is equipped with all standard features and options. Mr. Fay’s children recall the car’s links to the fabled “Camelot” years of John and Jacqueline Kennedy and their extended family. An interesting highlight is an original “Kennedy-Johnson” bumper sticker from the 1960 campaign that has somehow survived for more than 50 years. Not only is this Continental Convertible an excellent original example of the model, it was actually on scene at the White House during a very special period in American history.