The Continental Mark II is a personal luxury car that was produced
by Continental in 1956 and 1957. An attempt to build a post-World
War II car to rival the greatest of the pre-War era, or anything
produced in Europe, it is regarded as a rare and elegant
The new Continental was not intended to be the largest or most powerful automobile; rather, the most luxurious and elegant American car available, designed to recapture the spirit of the great classics of the prewar period with prices to match.
There was something of the style of the early Ford Thunderbird at the front, which was introduced earlier at the Detroit Auto Show on February 20, 1954, with a tasteful egg-crate grille; a long, curving hood; and straight fenders to the headlights. The fender line went back to behind the doors, at which point the line kicked up a little before curving back down to the taillights.
Little chrome was used compared to other vehicles of the time, and the only two-tone paint combinations offered were limited to roofs being contrasted with bodies. The car had power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, power vent windows, and a tachometer. The vanes on the wheel covers were individually bolted inside the frame of the cover. It sported a high greenhouse and a wraparound windscreen. Fueling was accomplished via a swingaway left taillight. The Continental Mark II had only one option, air conditioning, for $595. Cars with A/C had different body parts.
Most of the car was hand-built to an exacting standard, including the application of multiple coats of paint, hand sanding, double lacquering, and polishing to perfection.
From today's vantage point, it can be argued that the Continental Mark II was successful at being what it was intended to be: an American Rolls-Royce or Bentley, and a re-creation of the grand cars of the thirties
Today, approximately half of the original 3,000 cars still exist.