1956 Continental Mark II
VIN no. C5601612
285 hp, 368 cu. in. overhead valve V-8 engine, Turbo-Drive three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with upper and lower control arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126 in.
William Clay Ford’s tribute to his father Edsel, the Continental Mark II was developed to be the finest automobile possible. Given a classic “long hood/short deck” profile and a simulated spare tire bulge on the trunk lid by a styling team that included Ford himself, John Reinhart, and former Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg designer Gordon Buehrig, it was a semi-custom automobile, with a price tag to match. At $9,695, the Continental Mark II, as it would be known, was the most expensive American production car in twenty years. It boasted nearly every comfort and convenience gadget as standard equipment. Ford was very clear that this was not a Lincoln, but a Continental, a separate division established to add exclusivity to the luxury marque.
For one’s small fortune, however, they received one of the most carefully crafted cars in the world. Despite sharing mechanical components with Lincolns, the Continental’s drivetrain items were machined to higher tolerances and heavily tested, with each chassis tuned and test-driven before a body was mounted. The bodies themselves demanded sixty hours of metal-finishing, five times that of the typical American car. Engineer Harley Copp’s unusual “cowbelly” frame gave the car a recessed floor, much like the “Step-Down” Hudson of the late 1940s, permitting upright seating without a tall body – only 56 inches in . Only 2,550 were sold in 1956, followed by another 444 in 1957, when production halted in May and the model was discontinued. Continentals had been delivered, in the meantime, to Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Nelson Rockefeller, and the Shah of Iran.
The ownership of the Continental offered here has been traced back to J. Morgan of Norfolk, Virginia, in 1973. Restored in the most iconic color of Starmist White, with crisp Deep Red and White upholstery, it was cosmetically restored while in the previous ownership of a museum, from which it was acquired by the present owner. Reportedly, the car has been driven only 22k original miles, much of them in the dry Southern United States.