Mark II Continentals were Ford Motor Company’s image cars during an era when the then-family-owned automaker sought to compete with GM by making a stock offering to the public in 1956. These cars didn’t sell well, but they were never intended to. They were sold by the then-new Continental Division through Lincoln dealers. This car marks the first use of the modern perimeter frame, allowing for a Hudson Hornet-like “step-down” interior and lower center of gravity. The lower roofline adds to a look that seems modern even to 21st century eyes. Renowned as one of the 1950s finest designs, these class-act automobiles were built as well as anything in the world at the time. Only a handful of custom-crafted convertible versions were built by coachmakers, but they were equally stunning. Styling was an intentional update of the original Continentals from the 1940s. The engines were specially constructed Lincoln-derived units individually tested prior to installation, and the new Multi-Drive automatic meant that Ford no longer needed to rely upon arch-enemy GM for automatic transmissions in luxury cars as it had through 1954. Costing a then-astronomical $10,000 plus, the cars were exclusive when new and are even more exclusive now. Merely 2,550 were built for 1956 and 444 for 1957.
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