Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part IX)

Our Lincoln Mark Series coverage continues today, and we pick up at the end of 1958. After Ford dumped many millions into the Continental Division and quickly shut it down, the company then spent a lot more money to develop an all-new unibody platform for Lincoln’s usage. In an attempt to woo customers away from Cadillac, the new Lincolns for 1958 wore some of the most shocking styling ever to come from Detroit.

All three of Lincoln’s new “models” were really just trim levels of the same car. Said models included Capri, Premier, and the top-tier Continental Mark III, which was not a Continental except in trim badges. At least it had a Breezeway window! At the 1958 launch of Lincoln’s new unibody line there was a steep recession across the globe, as lots of Americans decided they didn’t actually need a new car every year or two. Nevertheless, the Continental Mark III made up 62 percent of Lincoln’s sales that year. Lincoln veered off on a revised course in 1959, hoping to improve its lot with some more “new” models.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part VIII)

With the Continental Division dead, a cost-weary and (newly) publicly traded Ford Motor Company headed into the 1958 model year determined to unveil a solid luxury car showing against its primary rival, Cadillac. However, the “Continental Mark III by Lincoln” was a Continental in name only: It wore the same metal and was produced at the same new factory, Wixom Assembly, as the rest of the Lincoln models (Capri, Premiere) that year.

Brass at Ford hoped the Continental name on the Mark III would make customers believe it was something special, like the Cadillac Eldorado with which it competed. As mentioned last time, aside from its Continental name, the Mark III for 1958 used One Simple Trick to lure buyers into its leather seats: a Breezeway window. First up today, pricing problems.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part VII)

The Continental Division was in a very difficult place when it designed an all-new Mark III as the (sedan only) replacement for the slow-selling and super expensive Continental Mark II coupe. As we learned last time, shortly after the Mark II went on sale the Continental Division was already on its last legs. It continued to lose money hand over foot after Ford’s huge initial investment and was doomed to a quick closure.

And so it was the 1956 and 1957 Mark IIs became the only Continental Division product and the only Marks that were hand-assembled in a factory-built, especially for Continental. After Continental’s closure, Ford’s new VP of passenger vehicles Lewis Crusoe quickly dismantled the division and integrated its employees into Lincoln. The Continental factory became the Edsel factory, and the three extant Mark III prototypes became a burden.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part VI)

We pick up the story of Lincoln’s Mark series cars once again today, at a low point in the coupe’s history. The intensely expensive development and launch of the new Continental marque arrived at exactly the wrong time for Ford.

Shortly after the family-owned company spent $21 million ($227 million adj.) on the launch of its new super-luxury brand, the company had its IPO. That meant the big money poured into the black hole that was Continental was visible to everyone who cared to see, including shareholders. The pressure was just too much, and the Continental brand was canceled in 1956 by Henry Ford II, just a year after the Mark II entered production.

But let’s back up a year, right as the Mark II went on sale. Management of the Continental Division knew the singular, hand-assembled model was not enough to keep the company going. They needed to save and make more money, and fast.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part V)

We arrive today at the fifth installment of our Rare Rides Icons coverage on the Lincoln Mark series cars. Thus far we covered the first Continental of the late Thirties, and Ford’s desire to go ultra luxury with the Mark II sold under the newly minted Continental Division. The Mark that debuted for the 1956 model year was Mid-century in its styling, built of top quality components, and constructed in a methodically controlled manner via a QC program that consisted of seven initiatives.

It was time to put the new Continental Mark II coupe on sale.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part IV)

We return to our Lincoln Mark series coverage today, in the midst of learning about the first Mark of the line, the Continental Mark II. The Mark II aimed to carry on the tradition set by the gracious Continental of the Forties, and take Ford to new heights of luxury, desirability, price (and thus exclusivity), and quality. The latter adjective is where we’ll focus today; it was certainly the focus of the folks at the Continental Division prior to the Mark II’s release.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part III)

Today finds us at the third installment in our coverage of the Lincoln Mark series cars. So far we’ve covered the original Continental that ran from 1939 to 1948 and learned about the styling decisions that made for the most excellent Midcentury Continental Mark II. The Mark II arrived to herald the birth of the new Continental luxury division at Ford. A division of Ford and not Lincoln-Mercury, Continental was established as the flagship of the Ford enterprise. We pick up circa 1952, with Cadillac.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part II)

We pick up our Lincoln Mark series again today, at a point where Ford’s executives were really not interested in selling a personal luxury coupe. The original Continental was developed as a concept at the request of Edsel Ford, who wanted a car to take on his spring vacation in 1939. After an informal debut in Florida, Edsel came back with 200 orders and the Continental entered production.

Halted by World War II, the Continental picked up where it left off and underwent a light reworking at the hands of Virgil Exner. But the end of the Forties were not kind to the likes of the V12 engine, nor did Ford want to create a new Continental to replace the decade-old one circa 1948. Continental went away, its name unused. Instead, Lincoln foisted reworked Mercurys as the Cosmopolitan and ignored personal luxury. The brand generally lowered the bar of exclusivity set by Continental and the K-Series cars, and made things more affordable to the upper-middle portion of the American consumer base. Things stayed that way at Lincoln for some time.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part I)

Rare Rides Icons concluded its 22-part series on the Imperial recently, as the long-running luxury model-brand-model exercise by Chrysler came to its timely end in 1993. Today we embark on a new luxury car series. It’s one you’ve asked for, and it’s also about luxury cars and will be an extensive series. Come along, as we consider the life and times of Lincoln’s Mark series cars.

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Rare Rides: A 1957 Facel Vega Typhoon, for Luxurious People

As I was perusing the eBay listing for the Dual Ghia we previously featured in this series, another blue two-door classic appeared as a recommended listing at the bottom of the page. It’s from the same seller as the Ghia, and is remarkably similar in concept, execution, and customer.

Presenting the Facel Vega Typhoon, from 1957.

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Rare Rides: The DKW Wagon From 1962 - Deceptive Geography (Part II)

Last time, in Part I of this DKW wagon’s saga, we covered a condensed history of the Audi marque. From its inception as Horch, through separation, renaming, and merger into the Auto Union fold, Audi wavered along unsteadily. The company even performed a vanishing act between 1940 and 1964.

In the middle of all this history is our Rare Ride, a tidy DKW wagon from 1962. But all is not as it seems.

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Rare Rides: The DKW Wagon From 1962 - History Time (Part I)

A little grey wagon popped up on my radar the other day, presenting the perfect opportunity to write about DKW, Audi, and Auto Union for the first time. Those familiar rings on the hood are paired with the DKW shield and an Auto Union badge, but eventually all would separate. A few short years after this wagon was produced, the Audi rings stood alone for the first time in many decades.

This is Part One of a two-part entry into the Auto Union world of DKW and Audi.

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Rare Rides: A Gordon-Keeble From 1965 – Turtles Love Them!

Our last Rare Ride was a convertible Cadillac by the name of Allanté. It mixed American power and engineering with a body designed in Italy. Today we take a look at something with the same sort of principles, but with the additional quirkiness of a British backstory.

And it’s much, much rarer than the Cadillac.

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Close Encounters of the Japanese Kind

At just 10:30 AM the sun was already near its full zenith and it beat down upon the city of Osaka with an intense, angry glare. Waves of heat shimmered up from the pavement and superheated the air which blew around in tepid, weak breezes that offered little respite. Perhaps later, the column of heat created by the great city’s many square miles of pavement would spark a sudden thunderstorm as it rose high into the stratosphere and the resultant rain would bring relief as it cascaded down and turned the streets into raging torrents. For now, however, there was only the glare of the sun, the stifling heat and, for me, the thought that riding an 1100 cc air cooled sport bike in a full set of leathers was a choice I should have avoided making.

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Avoidable Contact: Torture, Forgiveness, Meaning.

Earlier this week, I wrote about the General Motors XP-75 Eagle and the idea that GM might have engaged in a relatively small bit of realpolitik during said plane’s conception and gestation. I’ve been writing for TTAC long enough to have a fairly accurate sense of how the B&B as a whole will regard whatever I write, but in the case of this article my guesses about what I’d find in the comments section were completely and thoroughly mistaken. I’d like to address them as part of larger concerns I have about the future of writing and criticism on the Internet, and I will do so in what you’re about to read.

But first, let’s talk about the way the Japanese treated prisoners during World War II, shall we?

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  • 2ACL In addition to having two decades of wear and tear, several of these old Hondas & Acuras (namely the V6s) also have transmission design defects that would likely send them to the crusher if they manifested. I wonder how many of these recalls are still open because they're attached to cars in some state of inoperability.
  • SCE to AUX I did my own research; recalls are for chumps.
  • Kwik_Shift I don't like the sloping rear.I guess it would look too Volvo otherwise?
  • Kwik_Shift I NEVER answer calls (unless its of high importance). That is why I always suggest using email or text instead.
  • Wjtinfwb We had one of these LTD wagons in the daily rental fleet I worked while in College. It had been returned early from the lease customer and dumped into daily rental duty to milk a few more dollars out of it before it went to auction. As a lease/rental car, it's maintenance had been... eh, spotty at best. But one Friday night I needed a big car to take some friends down to the coast for dinner. The LTD was available so I grabbed the keys. Loaded with 3 couples and a cooler full of beer and wine, we set of on the 60 mile drive to the coast. The HOT light came on about halfway but there was no service station open on the drive down US 319. So we kept driving. Parked at the restaurant, food and many beers and wine ensued, we poured back into the LTD and headed back to campus. The HOT light popped on 20 miles in, so we kept driving. Dropped the wagon back at the rental lot, the V6 dieseling to a clanky end. Monday came, I figured the Ford was toast so avoided it but returned from lunch to find an associate had rented it again. Surprised it even started, I figured a rescue call was soon to be requested. Nothing. Two days later it was returned, the lady returning it said the HOT light came on, but she kept driving as everything seemed fine but she noticed a really bad smell. I drove it around back, popped the hood and started checking fluids; radiator, dry as a bone. crankcase, no oil on the dipstick. Even the transmission and power steering fluids were MIA. I filled the radiator with tap water, poured 3 quarts of 30 weight Quaker State in to the filler and slammed the hood. Eventually, the thermostat was replaced as the cause of the overheating but the LTD kept running until I got fired for wrecking a Fairmont. Tough car...