Throwback Thursday

It is Thursday, isn’t it?

First, a question: what do Lon Babby, the late Jerry Coleman, Theo Epstein, Calvin Hill, Mel Kiper and Gary Roenicke have in common? They all attended my wedding.

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See the source image

From fastlanecars.com, a picture of this week’s throwback car: the beautiful 1956 Continental Mark II. During the two model years in which this car was produced, Continental was a make separate from Lincoln.

Given the time period, the Mark II was relatively unadorned with chrome and fins, but blessed with splendid dimensions and a classic look. From this Hemmings article comes this information:

“Lincoln dealerships had been inquiring about a replacement for the Continental from the time production stopped [in 1948], so in 1952, the Ford Motor Company conducted research to determine whether a market for such a premium car existed; they decided that although they would probably lose money on such a project, the gains in prestige and publicity from a halo car would more than make up for it. A design contest among Ford stylists and outside contractors resulted in a two-door coupe, designed by staffer John Reinhart, that was both traditional and classic, yet incorporated what he termed Modern Formal design-this was the Mark II.

When it debuted as a 1956 model in October of 1955, the $9,966 Mark II was one of the heaviest American cars extant at 4,825 pounds without air conditioning, 5,190 pounds so equipped. Riding on a 126-inch wheelbase, it stretched 218.4 inches long and sported a low 56.25-inch roofline. The original Lincoln-Continental’s proportions remained, with the Mark II’s hood stretching a massive 70 inches. Under that hood was a standard Lincoln engine and drivetrain; the 368-cu.in. V-8 was overmatched by the car’s weight, offering a 0-60 mph time of just under 16 seconds and an indicated top speed of 118 mph.”

Even though the car was very expensive for its day (almost $10,000, according to smartasset.com that is equivalent to over $92,000 today; of course, many cars today cost substantially more than $92,000), as expected Ford Motor Company lost money on every one produced. According to many sources, exactly 3,000 Mark IIs were produced in total for the 1956 and 1957 model years.

Any regular reader knows I am not a FoMoCo fan, but I like to give credit where credit is due. The Continental Mark II is simply a stunning example of the best of American car design.

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