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Lincoln Continental: Buying guide and review (1961-1969)

Lincoln Continental: Buying guide and review (1961-1969) Classic and Performance Car
Lincoln Continental Lincoln Continental Lincoln Continental Lincoln Continental Lincoln Continental
The ultra-cool looking Lincoln Continental launched in 1961 represented an entirely new design direction for Lincoln, spearheading a much-needed change for the company. In the late 1950s, Lincoln was stuck in a rut of early post-war spin-offs. A radical rethink was needed, so the fourth-generation Continental, with its elegant styling and smaller dimensions ushered in a new era for Lincoln. 
Modern design methods, high levels of standard equipment and a renewed focus on quality meant that the cars were not cheap. Sales started off slowly in 1961, improving dramatically in subsequent years as the buying public took a liking to these well-built and handsome machines.
All new Continentals were put through a rigorous quality testing procedure and a number of changes were made to components to ensure that they would last longer. To underline its belief in its own products, Lincoln offered a 24,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a first for any manufacturer in the US. The suicide rear doors with frameless door glass and angular, minimal tailfin design really made the new Continental stand out from the competition; its striking looks saw it make a number of appearances on TV as well. The elegant styling by Elwood Engel even appealed to the US president, who added some to his fleet. 
Which one to buy?
The fourth generation Continental was subject to numerous changes each model year, as is customary with US manufacturers. Changes ranged from minor grille modifications to uprated engines and additional safety equipment. What they all had was a comprehensive list of standard equipment to further solidify Lincoln’s place at top of the automotive pecking order. 1966 was the best year for the fourth generation Continental, as a two door coupe was launched – helping sales reach 54,755 units. This was also the year that the exterior received its biggest redesign as well as a larger 7.6-litre V8.
Restored cars and convertibles command the highest prices and it is almost always better to buy a properly restored car than doing the work yourself. Some collectors hanker for the 1961 models, as these are the rarest, however the later models incorporated some useful changes as well as more comprehensive standard equipment. Above all, body style, condition and service history should be the most important factors when choosing a car. 
Finding original examples can be difficult, and looking for the right one in the UK may take some time. There are a lot more cars available in the US as well as specialists who supply parts.

Performance and specs
1961 Lincoln Continental 
Engine 7046cc, 16 valve OHV V8 
Power 300bhp @ 4100rpm 
Torque 465lb ft @ 2000rpm
Top speed 120mph 
0-60mph 12.4 seconds 
Fuel consumption 14-19mpg 
Gearbox Three-speed automatic
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 3124mm
Length 5395mm
Width 1996mm
Height 1361mm
Weight 2360kg
Common problems
Parts for these cars are readily available, with clubs and specialists being the best way to source the more elusive components. 
• Engines are un-stressed, and will soldier on for years if well maintained. Signs of neglect, sadly quite common, can mean large bills in the future. Check that belts, fluids and filters have been regularly changed.
• Exhaust manifolds can crack and warp so check these out for any signs of damage or blowing
• Air conditioning and heating problems were evident on the earlier cars, and changes throughout the Continental’s production run solved most of the issues. Check that all dashboard vents and controls are working.
• Relays are found in abundance, and can cause various electrical issues when they fail. Also check that all the powered windows, door mirrors, seats and anything else with a button is operating correctly, as repairs are usually expensive. 
• Convertibles are desirable, however the automated top mechanism is complicated and will require professional repair if it is not functioning correctly. New parts can be sourced but are not a cheap option.
• The unibody construction means that rust can be an issue, especially if it has not been looked after. Take a close look at all the body panels, paying close attention to the rear quarters, front arches, lower door frames and the passenger floors for signs of bubbling or corrosion. Repairs are costly and a car with extensive rust should be walked away from, unless it’s of some special significance.
Model history
1961: Fourth Generation Lincoln Continental goes on sale in four-door, convertible and saloon body styles. First American car to offer 24,000-mile warranty
1962: Simper front grille design implemented
1963: Rear legroom was increased, alternators replaced generators as an electrical and battery upgrade
1964: Extended wheelbase further improved interior space, slight modifications externally to front grille and roofline
1965: Changes to grille and lights. Standard front disk brakes and retracting seatbelts improved safety
1966: Two door hardtop version introduced. Existing models received extensive redesign and grew in size, while the engine size increased to 7.6-litres
1967: Minor changes, including standard lap belts and energy absorbing steering column
1968: External lights changes to meet federal regulations, shoulder seat belts added for front occupants. New 7.5-litre engines were phased in
1969: Head restraints added as well as standardisation of the 7.5-litre engine across the range
Clubs and websites
• www.thelincolnforum.net - Lincoln Forum, useful for connecting with enthusiasts and finding spares
• www.lcoc.org - The Lincoln and Continental Owners Club
Summary and prices
Brave and adventurous types can find rusty projects for around £3000, but as restoration can be a daunting task, this will be the cheapest stage of your ownership proposition. Despite the complexity, these cars tend to be reliable if well looked after, so a less stressful way to enjoy a Continental is to look for a well maintained mid-‘60s model for around £30,000.
Concourse condition cars are closer to £80,000 however this value can change significantly based on history and body styles, with the convertibles being highly sought after. The ultra rare presidential versions can be worth up to £230,000 when they do crop up for sale. 
Not many other cars can offer the combination of style, comfort and elegance that the Lincoln Continental does, with seating for up to six, and a convertible option for those fleeting summer days. It really is a unique car, that if well maintained can offer years of enjoyment.
Words: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 29th Oct 2015
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Lincoln Continental
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  • Lincoln Continental

    €10,750(£0) €10,750(£0)

    Very nice, good running / driving, all original 1971 Lincoln Continental MK3. NO rust. Comes with Dutch registration and MOT, so ready to use and enjoy. The 460 engine has 365 HP so enough power. Engine is running on natural gas so cheap in use. Ch # is 1Y89A850278. Drive it home !! Biggest choice in REAL classics, with more than 450 cars in the 'stolze collection', from project to perfect !! Visit our showroom or our website www.stolzeclassiccars.nl to see the total collection!

    • Year: 1971
    • Mileage: 74290 mi
    For sale
    €10,750(£0) €10,750(£0)
    Joop Stolze
    +31 174 520884 View contact number
    Joop Stolze
    +31 174 520884 View contact number
  • 1956 Lincoln Continental MKII Two Door

    $129,500(£0) $129,500(£0)

    Unlike his extremely pragmatic father, Edsel Ford had a firm grasp on the importance of style and fine design when it came to selling cars. The younger Ford would often have special one-off cars built for his own personal use; casually showing them off to his wealthy, influential friends to gauge their reaction. Late in 1938, Edsel Ford partnered with stylist Eugene T. “Bob” Gregorie to create a one-off personal car based on the V12 Lincoln Zephyr. Lincoln needed a new car at the top of its lineup, and the one-off car created for Edsel proved to be a huge hit with his friends. From his vacation home, he sent a telegram back to Dearborn proclaiming he could sell thousands of the new car and thus, the Continental was born. Having bridged the pre-war and post-war years successfully, the Continental was discontinued in 1948. But by the early 1950s, under the guidance of Edsel’s son William Clay Ford, Ford Motor Company began working on a new brand that would could not only compete with, but surpass Packard and Cadillac. This would be a car comparable to the likes of Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz, an American luxury car to take on the best the world had to offer… and the name Continental was the perfect moniker for this European flavored personal luxury car. For the Continental’s second incarnation, Ford created The Continental Motor Division which was a separate, stand-alone division independent from Lincoln. Their first model, the Mark II was designed from the ground up with the goal of being the finest on the market. An all new chassis was designed with outboard frame rails which allowed the body to be mounted very low. Suspension was conventional, with some parts sourced from other Ford divisions. Power came via a Lincoln-derived 368 cubic inch (6.0 liter) Y-block V8. What differed however, was that each Continental engine was balanced, blueprinted, and rigorously tested to ensure it met the quoted 285 horsepower output. The new chassis was clothed in a body penned by John Reinhart and engineered by the great Gordon Buehrig. At 18-feet long and just 4-feet, 8-inches tall, it was no doubt imposing, but Ford took bold step to buck the popular trend of chrome and fins in favor of a look that was elegant, understated and minimally adorned. It was a model of sophistication and in many ways, well ahead of its time; judged today as one of the most beautiful American cars of the era - and perhaps of all time. Aside from its graceful style, the two-door coupe was built with the finest materials such as Bridge of Weir leather and hand finished paintwork. Every car had electric windows and seats, along with power steering, power brakes, tachometer, and automatic transmission. The only option available was air conditioning – which cost a staggering $595 (more than $5000 today). Each car was road tested and delivered in a special fleece-lined cover. Given the meticulous nature of the Mk II’s assembly and despite its $10,000 price tag (the most expensive American car at the time) it is said that Continental lost money on every car sold, and the division was folded into Lincoln after 1957. Regardless, the Continental Mk II made a bold statement that Ford was not afraid to take on the best the world had to offer, and they did so with a most breathtaking automobile that was embraced by celebrities and business moguls the world over. Our featured 1956 Continental Mk II is a very fine example that has covered just over 61,000 miles from new and has been lovingly maintained and cosmetically restored to a very high standard. This car is finished in its original and desirable color scheme of black over a two-tone white and red interior –the same as what appeared in many of Continental’s original promotional materials. According to a copy of the original invoice, it was delivered via L&W Motors in Canton, Illinois to Robert J. Burst. It appears to have spent much of its life in that state before being sold to a buyer from Sweden in approximately 2008. While in Sweden, it was treated to a high quality bare metal respray, all body rubbers were replaced and a new exhaust system fitted, using parts sourced from American specialists. Today, this Continental presents in beautiful condition, with an exceptionally straight body and consistent panel fit. The black paint remains in superb order, accented by high quality chrome bumpers and trim, most of which appear to be outstanding originals. Given the cost and complexity of restoring a Mk II, many have been mistreated or neglected, so it is rare to find such a handsome and well-presented example as this. The luxurious interior is trimmed in supple leather as original, with white bolsters accented with red inserts as per the original invoice. The seats and soft trim are in fine condition, showing only light use. Door panels, dash and carpets are excellent and all original switches and chrome fittings remain in good condition. The beauty of a Mk II can be found in the details, such as the quality of the ash trays and the simple but elegantly styled instruments; details that reveal just how hard Ford worked to ensure the Continental would be a true world-class luxury car. Mechanically, these cars are known for their refinement and robust build quality, and of course this example is no exception. The big Y-block V8 is beautifully detailed and correctly presented, with proper fittings, 1094 carburetor, and factory correct paint finishes. It of course runs strong and delivers excellent performance. The chassis and undercarriage are tidy and well detailed, showing this as a car that has been sympathetically restored but also carefully used and enjoyed. The Continental Mk II is one of our very favorite post-war American classics. Bold and brash in concept, yet subtle and sophisticated in the metal, it was a true showpiece of what American car makers can do when brimming with confidence. With only 3,000 built, the Mk II is also relatively rare, with fine examples such as this proving very difficult to come by. This car comes complete with the original hardbound book that accompanied every Mk II, as well as restoration receipts, invoice, original brochures and period sales training literature. It is a fine example of what may be the ultimate personal luxury car.

    For sale
    $129,500(£0) $129,500(£0)
  • Lincoln Continental MK4 1976

    €19,950(£0) €19,950(£0)

    Lincoln Continental MK4 1976 rare Lipstick edition For sale is this beautiful 1976 Lincoln Continental MK4 Lipstick edition. Only few of these editions were built. Original crème white paint, lots of chrome pieces on the car. V8 engine is in good condition and has the great American sound. Interior in white leather with red lipstick details. Seats and windows are electric. This continental drives great and has the optional power brakes and powersteering. Originals books and some invoices of the past are present Car has Belgium title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any import taxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1976
    For sale
    €19,950(£0) €19,950(£0)
  • 1967 Lincoln Continental Convertible

    $36,500(£0) $36,500(£0)

    Chequered Flag International is pleased to offer this 1967 Lincoln Continental Convertible in Powder Blue with Blue leather interior and new Dark Blue Canvas soft top. Sold new in Seattle WA and lived there until this month. Last owner since 1983 - 31 years. Very good body with excellent panel fit. Nice paint, some small chips on the trunk mainly. Fantastic leather interior. Brand new top. Mechanically good, runs and drive nicely. Needs power seat motor. This is a way better than average example. Lots of records spanning 34 years, handbook, etc. Inspections encouraged. All sales AS-IS. Sales tax and license fees due if delivered in California. Visit Chequered Flag International online at chequeredflag.com to see more pictures of this vehicle or call us at 310-827-8665 today to schedule your test drive.

    For sale
    $36,500(£0) $36,500(£0)
  • Lincoln Continental Mark VI '80

    €5,950(£0) €5,950(£0)

    141Hp >>>>> Oldtimerfarm specializes in consignment sales of vintage and collection cars and we are proud to present you this car. Oldtimerfarm is located in Belgium, 9880 Aalter, Steenweg op Deinze 51C, where this car is in our showroom. We are open from Tuesday to Saturday 10-17h (also without appointment). We are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Mondays on appointment only. Make sure you scroll down to look at the extensive photo report (100 pictures). Of course, a more detailed description can be obtained by telephone. Contact us: Xavier: 0032 472 40 1338 (NL, FR, DE, EN, IT) info@oldtimerfarm.be Olivier: 0032 473 11 7300 (NL, FR, DE, EN) olivier@oldtimerfarm.be Oldtimerfarm from Aalter would also like to sell your classic car or car collection. For more information, please contact Xavier. Exhibitions where you can find us: Pictures of the car:

    • Year: 1980
    For sale
    €5,950(£0) €5,950(£0)
  • Lincoln Continental Lehmann-Peterson Limousine '68

    €29,950(£0) €29,950(£0)

    Lowered price from €32.950 -> €29.950 From 1961 until 1969, Lincoln produced the fourth generation of his flagship, the Continental. The design was anchored in a "form follows function" simplicity, with a complete absence of ornamentation. Sightlines across the hood, rear deck, and fenders all seemed to vanish to infinity. The overall effect evoked a sense of dignity, great mass, and authority, in motion or parked. For 1968, Lincoln made several styling changes to the Continental. To meet federal safety standards, the parking lights, taillights, and front turn signals were returned to a wraparound design on the fenders to satisfy Federal standards for side marker lights. For the outboard front seats, shoulder seatbelts were added. For 1969, the fourth-generation Continental entered its last year of production. Lincoln added relatively few changes aside from the addition of federally mandated head restraints. At the beginning of the model year, the 460 V8 entered full production, becoming the sole engine in the Lincoln model line until 1977. Lehmann-Peterson was founded in 1963 when Robert "Pete" Peterson met George "Skip" Lehmann. Robert Peterson was in auto racing and for many yea

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
    €29,950(£0) €29,950(£0)
  • Lincoln Continental MK2 Hardtop coupe 1956

    €49,950(£0) €49,950(£0)

    Lincoln Continental MK2 Hardtop coupe 1956 very rare The Lincoln was at the introduction in 1955 the most expensive and most luxurious car of the American production available. The Continental MK2 was provided with power windows, power steering, power brakes and power seats. This impressive hard top coupe was delivered in a very beautiful white paint and beautiful chromeparts. Recently the brakes and brake assister were fully revised. The interior has beautiful leather in a red and white colourcombination and looks as new. Even the impressive steering wheel has leather too. Only 1600 examples of the Lincoln MK2 left. A rare classic car for collectors. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any import taxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1956
    For sale
    €49,950(£0) €49,950(£0)
  • Lincoln Continental Convertible 1965

    €34,950(£0) €34,950(£0)

    Lincoln Continental Convertible, 1965, V8 big Block, suicide doors in good condition The Lincoln Continental convertible was the most luxurious Lincoln. The model got its famous suicide doors from 1960’s. This 1965 model had beautiful green paint. The green leather interior offers lots of comfort. Dashboard has many original chrome. The softtop is electric and in good shape. The Big Block V8 , 7047CC, 324HP engine has an automatic gearbox and is a very comfortable car to drive.

    • Year: 1965
    For sale
    €34,950(£0) €34,950(£0)
  • 1948 Lincoln Continental

    $39,900(£0) $39,900(£0)

    The Classic Car Gallery is proud offer this Rare 1948 Lincoln Continental Convertible. The car is in excellent driver condition, and was clearly restored at some time in her past. This post war Lincoln is one of only 452 produced in 1948 and marks the last model of V12 American car ever produced. The body was repainted in her original Pace Car Yellow and all exterior chrome and trim was either replaced or refurbished. The 292ci V12 runs very well and produces great power and torque. The 130 3-Speed manual transmission shifts smoothly and transitions through gears with ease. The Pace Car Yellow paint is in overall good shape but has some signs of age. The paint has flaked in a few areas, but is in overall healthy condition. The tan canvas top is new, the rear plastic window is clear and the hydraulic top mechanism operates as it should. The Burgundy Leather interior is in excellent shape and has very little wear. The dash and all supporting instrumentation shows well and the clock, radio (radio doesn’t play), gauges all light up and work. The hydraulic windows work well, and all mechanical systems work as they should. The car just received a full tune-up, including fluid change and

    • Year: 1948
    For sale
    $39,900(£0) $39,900(£0)