In the care of the Kanter Collection since 1984, factory AC, one of 442 built
1957 Lincoln Continental Mark II
Chassis no. C56N3500
The Continental Mark II is one of the great American cars of the post-World War II period. Conceived as a response to continuing customer requests that Lincoln offer a successor to the original Continental of 1940-1948, the Mark II was designed to offer unsurpassed quality and prestige.
The Mark II grew out of a program managed by Henry Ford grandson William Clay "Bill" Ford. Working with chief designer John Reinhart, the premium luxury coupe that resulted featured classic long hood/short deck proportionsthe hood was nearly six feet long. At the rear, a bulge in the decklid suggested the original Continental's famous exterior spare, which inspired the ubiquitous accessory "continental kit" of the 1950s.
The nearly two and a half ton car's relatively low 56.25" height was achieved through a special double-drop "cow-belly" frame that utilized square tube cross-members and side rails designed so that the dual exhaust pipes could be routed inside them, aiding ground clearance. Offered only as a 5-passenger Coupe, the Mark II was a large car. Sharing its 126" wheelbase with the regular 1956 Lincoln, it spanned 218.4 inches overall.
Powering the Mark II was a 368cid Lincoln V8 developing 185hp. The engine received extra care in assembly and was finished with specific cast rocker covers. Each engine was tested on a dyno for six hours before installation. A Lincoln Turbo-Drive 3-speed automatic transmission was standard.
The Continental Mark II was even built in its own plant, constructed in Wixom, Michigan at a cost of $25 million dollars, and it was the single product of the Continental Division, established by Ford Motor Co. to produce the car. With the attention to detail, high quality of the car and cost of development, Ford Motor Co. reportedly lost $1,000 on every one they built.
The first deliveries of the new luxury car were made in late 1955. The list price was $9,695. Full power equipment was standard and buyers could choose interior trimmed in leather, nylon broadcloth or matelasse fabric. Nineteen exterior colors and 43 interior combinations were available, all of them at no extra cost. While 1300 Mark IIs were completed in '56, only 442 were finished by the time production was suspended on May 13, 1957.
This rare 1957 example is finished in black with red and white leather hides inside. It is fitted with factory air conditioning, the only extra cost option available. Many are deceived by the lack of the intake vent on the left rear fender into think that no AC is installed. One of the improvements for '57 was to move the air inlets under the rear wheelhouse, producing a cleaner look free of breaks in the elegant styling.
Coming to the collection of Fred Kanter in 1984 from Morristown, NJ collector James Ragsdale, it soon received a repaint to in its original black color after the prior owner had polished through the paint in places. Additionally, the front seat was reskinned to match the top condition of the rear bench. Most recently the Mark II has received new brake hydraulics and new mufflers. Additionally, the engine and transmission were removed, resealed and detailed.
Offered for the for sale for the time since Apple introduced the Macintosh, it represents a special opportunity to acquire one of FoMoCo's crowning achievements and join the ranks of owners that have included Elvis, Sinatra, Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, and Nelson Rockefeller.