By on March 24, 2011


Back in my Jalopnik days, I started the whole interesting-street-parked-car-photos thing with the original Down On The Street series. At that time, all the cars I shot were located in my old hometown on Alameda, California, and I got up to 600 or so before moving to Denver last summer. Now I’m back in Alameda, in preparation for my role working the 185-car Sears Pointless 24 Hours of LeMons race, and it wasn’t long before I spotted this fine machine parked near downtown.

It’s a very straight, mildly customized ’62 Continental, suicide doors and all, and it clearly gets regular street use.

Though a bit too slab-sided to look very graceful, the lines of this era of Continental have aged well.

The San Francisco Bay Area has been a car-club hotbed since, well, the dawn of the automobile. I’m not familiar with the Antioch Dragoons; the club could be 9 years old, or 90.

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49 Comments on “Back Down On The Alameda Street: 1962 Lincoln Continental...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    That should be the limo that ferries the winning team to the bar after the race.  Cruise low and slow, Brotha.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Why were they so space inefficient?  Just look at all the hood and trunk….was it just about proportion?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Once upon a time designers were taught “three-box design” for cars.  Engine compartment, trunk, and passenger compartment.  And yes the proportions are rather elegant, and IMHO the ratios seem right.  (Sorry that’s just me.)  This generation of Continental always looked like it should be in a design museum just cause the lines are so clean.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      It might be hard to believe from the pictures, but this Lincoln was over a foot shorter than Cadillacs and Imperials of the time.

    • 0 avatar
      Buster Brew

      That trunk was indeed huge but in 1962 the luxury SUV did not yet exist, and wagons were for wives.  A CEO in need of transportation for his foursome and their golf bags, or for his spouse and their combined matched Hartmann luggage, had to have a large sedan with an equally large trunk.  That is just how it was done.

    • 0 avatar
      K5ING

      Tonyola –> I remember reading somewhere that when the ’61 Connie came out, it was smaller (shorter) than the full sized Ford.  I don’t remember if they were talking about the ’60 Ford or the ’61 though.

      Of all the cars that I love, and would love to own, the ’62-’64 Lincolns probably stand out as my all-time favorite, and the one I would have if I could only have one.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      I seem to recall that cars needed to have a bridge table fit in the trunk, along with the chairs.

    • 0 avatar

      Interestingly, these Continentals were about the same size (length-wise) as the downsized Panthers around today. They look much bigger than they really are.

  • avatar

    Very elegant. But what are the ’57 Chevy hood ornaments doing sticking out of the back of that thing?

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    I know it sounds terrible but this car now reminds me of Entourage which makes me hate it

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    The last truly great American luxury car, IMHO. 

    • 0 avatar
      Zarba

      +1.  This is probably the last great American car design. At the time, Caddys and Imperials were overwrought and baroque.  The Lincoln was understated and modern.
      Ford need to put a 1961 Continental in the Lincoln design studio and lock the designers in there until they get a clue.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The 1962 and ’63 Imperials were the last of the finned models. For ’64, they went over to the slab sided Imperial, by hiring the guy who designed the Continental. Cadillac held onto the fins through ’65. In 1966, the Cadillac had slab sides – sort of.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m actually a big fan of the 64-65 Imperials, which were also designed by Elwood Engle. They are, I think, a slightly more graceful evolution of the Lincoln design, especially in Crown Coupe form.

  • avatar
    Kosher Polack

    It really is its most effective in black, though. White’s alright, but it just doesn’t carry that same rat-roddy menace that a black one does, looks a little too…reverendy.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      My dad had a black ’63 Lincoln for several years. Sadly I was too young to ever drive it. We called it his Mafia car. If a black Lincoln was following you around in the ’60s, it meant probable trouble because the occupants might have been one of the following:
      1. Organized crime;
      2. Unfriendly and evil large corporation; or,
      3. Non-benevolent government agency that doesn’t have to answer to Congress for money or accountability.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I thought all of these had already been turned into giant cakes/deathmobiles
     

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    I still haven’t forgiven my brother Jim for what this 62 Lincoln did to my 59 Plymouth.
    http://www.mystarcollectorcar.com/2-features/editorials/146-my-star-revisited-1962-lincoln-june-2009older-but-absolutely-no-wiser.html
     

  • avatar

    LBJ had a Lincoln. Very similar to this, but slightly later model.

    • 0 avatar
      K5ING

      So did LBJ’s boss.

    • 0 avatar

      After the Kennedy assassination, the Dallas presidential limo was rebuilt by Ford Motor Company for LBJ’s use. It’s now in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum, along with the limos of Ike, FDR, Reagan and the horse drawn brougham of Teddy Roosevelt.
      You can see them at Cars in Depth here:
      http://www.carsindepth.com/?p=744

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I thought that Johnson had a couple of 1960s Lincolns. He supposedly loved them. He apparently liked Ford products in general – for one of his daughters, he bought one of the last 1966 Thunderbird convertibles produced.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      When Johnson retired he kept a Continental convertible (4 door suicide door of course) on his ranch.  There was a little creek on his ranch that he had some engineers construct a “hidden bridge” over ( the bridge was a few inches bellow the normal water height.)  He loved to go tearing across the ranch with journalists in tow and drive like hell for that bridge, with the journalist wide eyed and terrified beside him, until he hit that bridge and got across, spraying water like crazy.  (See what you would have learned if you had me as your American History teacher?)

    • 0 avatar
      K5ING

      Dan… LBJ also wrote Ford and complained that whenever he got up on the trunk lid to shoot at something, it would dent.  Ford had to come up with a reinforced trunk lid for his Lincoln(s).
       
      LBJ was a character.  He also owned an Amphicar that he would take guests for rides in, only he wouldn’t tell them that it was amphibious.  He would head for a lake or the Pedernales River and start “panicking” that the car wouldn’t stop and scare the heck out of his guests as it went into the water.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember vividly as a kid reading about Johnson doing ninety on his ranch roads with some reporters in his Continental convertible. Left a deep impression.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Paul, was that before or after he dangled a beagle by its ears to make it yelp?

    • 0 avatar

      86er, before or after he showed off his appendicitis scar? Or maybe he was showing it off, while he was doing ninety!

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      At least he wasn’t dangling the beagle puppy out the window of the car as he was driving at 90 mph…

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Useless Trivia Alert: Johnson’s Secret Service code name was “Bull Nuts.”  Discuss amongst yourselves.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I’d rather not…I’ll stick to discussing Lincolns!

  • avatar
    anchke

    A college chum had something similar. Nice coeds refused to go out with him, because it was like being picked up by a date in a van with a mattress in back. Townies didn’t mind, though.

    You could keep that little Fiat in the trunk as a spare.

  • avatar
    donkensler

    The ’61 Continental was 212.4″ long, with a 123″ wheelbase, while the basic Caddy was 222″ long, on a 129.5″ wheelbase.  By contrast, the ’61 Ford was 209.9″ long, with a 119″ wheelbase.
     
    I loved these cars when I was a kid (still do).  Much less of a show-off, “do you know who I am” factor than the Cadillacs or Imperials.  Quiet elegance, I guess.  My brother’s father-in-law had a ’61 convertible, painted pale yellow with white leather.  Lovely car (no, the yellow wouldn’t have worked so well on a sedan, but on the convertible it was perfect.

  • avatar
    BoredOOMM

    Another Gem.  Interesting Google Street View has no Baby Blue Boat parked there.   Image search finds few 4 dr Baby Blues.
     
     

  • avatar

    I’ve long thought it would be cool to take a ’61-66 Continental and turn it into the 2 door coupe that Elwood Engel first designed to be a Thunderbird. I’d give it suicide doors, like the Rolls-Royce two-door.
     
    http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/1961-lincoln-continental-6.jpg
    A slightly different treatment of the same idea:’
    http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/1961-lincoln-continental-5.jpg

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Call me adolescent if you will, but the term that comes most quickly to mind is Baberaham Lincoln.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    Best looking non-sports car evah…
    I’ll take one with two sunroofs please…

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Google a company called “Mobsteel” they would build you one for the right price.  Personally I like the one they call O.G. – Original Gangster. http://www.mobsteel.com/ride_og.php That’s a car with presence

  • avatar
    Jedchev

    Great car. It really puts any Lincoln of the past 20 years to shame. I think the values on these are depressed, because they were built so well and there are still plenty around. I had the opportunity to drive a ’63 once. It was being sold, along with a 69 sedan. The 63 was a great handler and was very fast around town. For a large luxobarge, the steering was surprisingly positive. The aluminum finned drum brakes did an excellent job of stopping the car, as well. I ended up buying the 69 instead and putting lots of money and time into it. These are complicated cars with lots of subsystems and a smattering of parts that you can’t get.  If they arrive this weekend, my 69 is getting NOS motor mounts.

  • avatar
    nikita

    This is my favorite American car, styling-wise.My father had a ’64 in metallic turquoise. Luxury ride for sure, but the least reliable car he ever owned. Values are depressed because restoration costs are astronomical. Almost no Ford parts fit. Fenders were welded, not bolted. Engine, transmission (we found this out the hard way), suspension, brakes, etc. were all special. Thunderbirds from the same era were constructed in the same Wixom plant and have similar restoration issues, except they used generic Ford powertrains.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Absoluetly amazing.  I’m glad that someone is taking care od the old girl!  I also could do with out the do-dads.

    I saw a few episodes of Green Acres recently.  Oliver had a suicide door convertable.  Now THAT would put Lincoln back on the map!

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    When I see this Lincoln model, I think of death. It looks like an automotive coffin that killed a president. I’m way too young to have any memories of a Kennedy or a Johnson, but not so young that I wasn’t constantly bombarded by Kennedy and Johnson images presented to me as a kid by people pining for a lost Kennedy and a proud disgust for Johnson. This kind of car was always repeatedly shown with a cross-hair over it and with a morbid parade scene surrounding it.

    Consequently, I have never seen the appeal of these early Lincoln model years. After 1966, I can shake the death images of them, but 1961 to 1965, these years look like death to me.

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry, but there are many people who were around at the time of the Kennedy assassination, are well aware of the symbolism of an open ’60s Continental regarding the assassination, and still think that it’s a magnificent car that we’d be proud to drive.
      As I said above, X-100, the Lincoln limo used in Dallas, was rebuilt by FoMoCo and later used by Johnson. It’s in Dearborn at the Henry Ford Museum.
      President Johnson wasn’t the only one who liked Lincolns. Kennedy had one for his and Jackie’s use at the family compound in Florida. It was up for auction not long ago and sold for $209,000.
      http://www.barrett-jackson.com/application/onlinesubmission/lotdetails.aspx?ln=812&aid=263&pop=0

    • 0 avatar
      K5ING

      Dude… everything you say is true.  I was around back then, but even before that event, I still loved those Lincolns.  Kennedy had a true sense of style as evidence of his picking the Lincoln over the Cadillac, and also the color chosen.  While virtually all limos were black, the color of his was a tasteful midnight blue instead.  It was dignified, yet not imposing or sinister. It’s interesting to note, however, that during the “quick fix”, his car was, indeed, repainted black.
       
      Those Lincolns were a breath of fresh air after the over-the-top fin-filled styling of the late 50’s.
       

  • avatar
    mjz

    Now THAT’S a Lincoln! Mulally, Farley are you paying attention?

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “the lines of this era of Continental have aged well.”

    The lines maybe, but there is a lot of early ’60s awkward garishness in the front and rear treatments. Not up to the level of Chrysler shaved-dog’s-ass ugliness, but this one is lurking around the corner.

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    Sorry, but there was nothing really beautiful about this car; it looks so ungainly.


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