By on September 21, 2020

1989 Lincoln Mark VII in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsFord began selling Lincoln Mark Series cars starting in 1956, with the hand-built Continental Mark II, then mass-produced the first go-round of the Mark III, Mark IV, and Mark V for the 1958-60 model years. Fast-forward to the 1968 model year, for which Lee Iacocca decreed that a luxury-for-the-well-off-masses Thunderbird-based Mark III would be built, and we get to the period of Lincoln Marks that I’ve covered in this series; we’ve seen discarded examples of the III through the final VIII, but no Mark VII… until today. (Read More…)

By on September 10, 2020

Germany’s Schaeffler AG will reportedly be eliminating 4,400 jobs and abandoning several facilities in its home country as the supplier confronts what it dubbed complications relating to the global pandemic. Like Continental, which is actually controlled by the same people, Schaeffler has been coping with lessened demand after automakers around the globe shut down earlier this year as a precautionary measure. While the coronavirus lockdowns can’t be faulted for every issue the companies are facing, they have been a thorn in the side of parts suppliers everywhere.

Continental announced it would need to eliminate roughly 13 percent of its workforce last week. That’s roughly 30,000 fewer jobs. Schaeffler’s restructuring plan only calls for eliminating 4,000 positions. However, it is the smaller of the two and has decided to spread its cuts out as much as possible.

(Read More…)

By on August 27, 2020

Continental commissioned an independent researcher to see what it was up to in the 1940s, with the auto parts supplier issuing a press release detailing the results.

“The study shows that Continental was an important part of Hitler’s war machine,” said CEO Dr. Elmar Degenhart, before adding, “We commissioned the study in order to gain more clarity about the darkest chapter in our company’s history. That’s why we specifically included those companies that were not part of Continental at the time. The study is a consciously chosen opportunity and a renewed motive for us to face up to our responsibility and, on the basis of past experiences, to understand our identity more clearly and to create a better future.”

The company has decided to not only “take responsibility” for acts committed 70-plus years ago, but to also include businesses that were complicit with the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP/Nazi) long before they joined its ranks. (Read More…)

By on July 8, 2020

Parts supplier Continental says the extended lockdown protocols that closed countless automotive factories and dealerships will result in the worst quarter witnessed since the Second World War. It also isn’t overly optimistic about Q3, as supply chain issues will continue making normal business operations difficult while the global recession begins to take hold.

“The second quarter is just behind us. It will be the historically weakest quarter for the auto industry since 1945,” Continental Chief Executive Elmar Degenhart said, according to a transcript of a speech due to be delivered at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on July 14 that was intercepted by Reuters(Read More…)

By on July 2, 2020

As you read in the previous post, Lincoln has finally admitted what everyone by now knew — that the Continental’s days are numbered. The marque plans to shelve the model after pulling the plug on production at the end of the year.

Big sedans have all the appeal of an uncontrolled cough in a crowded elevator right now, so there’s dim hope that the Continental name will ever grace a stately, rear-drive sedan or coupe in anyone’s near future. At least we have our memories, though… not all of which are good ones. (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2020

For the third and perhaps last time, Lincoln will cease production of the Continental.

The discontinuation of the slow-selling sedan at the end of 2020 was confirmed late Wednesday by Automotive News and quickly backed up by a statement from Lincoln, though the news was something we’ve expected for quite some time. It was foretold by unconfirmed past reports and a growing mountain of evidence.

Alas, this year’s destruction of things from the past did not spare a nameplate that first appeared in 1939. (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2020

Long-time readers (thanks, all three of you) may recall a certain, erm, affinity at this site for vehicles from the old Lincoln-Mercury stable. Sajeev shed many bitter tears over various Cougars and Marks found in our nation’s junkyards, while your author freely admits he suffers an odd form of Stockholm Syndrome. And the world turns.

It’s difficult to pin down just how much time the Continental has left on this mortal earth, with the Blue Oval suits pulling the plug on everything with a trunk in Ford’s showroom. Production changes at Flat Rock surely spell its death by 2021 to make room for EVs, but, for now, it remains.

(Read More…)

By on October 4, 2019

Not many of you will, of course, and not just because the Lincoln Continental Coach Door Edition now sells for more than $115,000. There’s too few of them, you see.

Last year’s surprise run of coachbuilt, suicide-doored Continentals sold out in 48 hours and totalled just 80 vehicles. For 2020, the fabulously expensive long-wheelbase Conti stages what might be its last appearance, offering a greater likelihood of scoring a buy. (Read More…)

By on September 24, 2019

Say you’re an auto shopper of wealth and taste who has around $60,000 to spend. Now, let’s assume the usual options from Japan and Germany are not for you. Would you turn to America or Sweden to fill your luxury needs?

(Read More…)

By on September 9, 2019

In the late Eighties, American auto manufacturers still sold large, traditional luxury sedans in decent numbers. Their aging sedan consumer base fondly remembered the vinyl and chrome of yesteryear and still relished brougham-style accoutrements.

Up for consideration today are three comfortable, luxury-oriented sedans from 1988. It’s hard to lose here.

(Read More…)

By on September 3, 2019

1974 Lincoln Continental Mark IV in Denver junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBig, Detroit-made Malaise Era personal luxury coupes still keep showing up in the big self-service wrecking yards, more than 35 years after the last one rolled off the assembly line. Yes, the diminished-expectations Mark VI, the “What Oil Crisis?” Mark V, and the rococo Mark IV— examples of each of these will appear in your local U-Wrench yard from time to time.

Here’s a worn-out Mark IV from the year of Nixon’s resignation and Haile Selassie’s banishment from his throne in a lowly Beetle, now awaiting The Crusher in a Denver yard. (Read More…)

By on January 21, 2019

Image: Lincoln

“Exceptionally popular” is a descriptor that does not jibe well with “Lincoln Continental,” as sales of the division’s flagship sedan haven’t exactly fallen into the category of scorching. Introduced late in 2016 as a 2017 model year vehicle, sales of the Continental fell 3.8 percent, year over year, in December, and 27.1 percent for the entirety of 2018.

While the Continental suffers from a crossover-inflicted illness impacting all cars, one Continental variant has no trouble generating demand: the lengthened, limited-edition Coach Door Edition, which bowed late last year with a price tag of just over $110,000.

People clearly want to be seen exiting from rear doors that open the wrong way. (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2018

Considering they’re only making 160 of them, the suicide doors on the eighty Coach Door Edition Lincoln Continentals to be sold next year have garnered quite a bit of attention.

The use of rear-hinged doors on vehicles dates to the horse age. It seems that sometime in the 1930s the moniker “suicide doors” was applied to them, apparently due to people’s propensity  for falling out of cars in the decades before Ford introduced the seat belt (as an option in 1956). There’s also, at least according to something frequently reproduced online, a connection with gangsters pushing people out of cars — though to my ears, that would be more like homicide doors.

I’m not convinced, though, it’s any easier to fall (or be pushed) out of a car with such doors, other than the fact that aerodynamics will help keep the door open while you’re falling (or being pushed). (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2018

Image: Lincoln

It’s true. You’ll soon be able to slap down a pile of hard-earned cash for a 2019 Lincoln Continental with suicide coach-style doors. Well, 80 of you will.

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Continental nameplate, Lincoln Motor Company went the extra mile for heritage devotees, revealing a limited-edition model that dispenses with front-hinged rear doors and adds half a foot of wheelbase to pull it off. You’ve never had a better look at the Continental’s B-pillar. (Read More…)

By on August 2, 2018

1989 Mercury Sable in Colorado junkyard, door lock keyboard - © 2016 Murilee Martin / The Truth About Cars

That’s one of the unspoken questions contained in Automotive News‘ report on automotive supplier Continental’s new biometric authentication technology. Passwords are the scourge of the modern age, it’s true, and having a secure way of locking and unlocking a sensitive…anything…is preferable to trying to remember that damn combination of letters and numbers.

Computer files. Your phone. The entrance to sterile, high-security office buildings. These are all good candidates for facial recognition technology, fingerprint and retina scans, or voice recognition. But your car? It’s true that using this technology — in addition to conventional keys and fobs — would add an extra layer of defence, improving your vehicle’s chances of remaining unmolested. But at what cost? (Read More…)

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