Monday, July 18, 2011

CAR CRAZY SAGA -My Continental(s)- 10:

My Continental(s)

Three thousand fifteen were produced from June 1955 to May 1957. It was the last hand-built car made in America.

Among the famous owners were: President & Mrs. Eisenhower,
Ronald Reagan, the Shah of Iran, Juan Peron, Elvis Presley,
Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Cecil B. DeMille, Howard Johnson, Nelson
Rockefeller, Stephen Crane, Barry Goldwater, Jack Baily, Darryl
Zanuck, 'King' Vidor, Eli Lilly, Merle Norman, Jack Warner,
Harvey Firestone, Louis Prima, John Daley, Henry J. Kaiser and
Michael & Elizabeth Taylor Todd.
Elvis' only non-Cadillac!
The Continental Mark lI is 18 feet 3 inches long, 6 feet 6 inches wide
and 4 feet 8 inches high. It's 368 cid V-8 delivers 285 horsepower
using a 4-barrel downdraft Holley carburetor. It weighs 5,190
pounds with the option of rear air-conditioning. It gets about 12 mpg.

The Mark II has power-vacuum antenna; signal-seeking, 'Town and
Country' tube radio; vacuum wipers; vacuum w/s washer; power
steering; power brakes; power seat; six power windows; automatic
three-speed transmission; all leather upholstery (first time these
were all standard!) and a 'step-down' or 'cow-belly' frame.

A retractable hardtop was designed for the Mark II, but was never

Although the technology was given to the Ford Division
which produced the famous '57 Ford Skyliner.

The 'Continental Star' was designed for the new Continental Mark
Il—then it was used for all future Lincolns.

It was the most expensive American car: Cadillac was $5,100, the
Continental Mark II was $10,000! (A Rolls-Royce cost $13,000.)
However, it cost the Ford Motor Company $11,000 to build each
Mark II !

The car was scheduled to be produced for four years. But a
combination of too few customers, and Ford Motor Company going
public, killed the full run.

Of the original 3,015, about 1,000 are thought to be extant. If this is
true, it would be the highest percentage of remaining cars for a
car this old. This is attributed to the fact that it was considered
'special' the moment it appeared and many people treated them
carefully. AIso, many people have preserved the car in storage.

This phenomenon has tended to keep the price of the car down and
there is not much turnover. A 1956 Cadillac convertible tends to cost 
over $70,000 now, while a good Mark II, at twice the original cost, 
tends to be in the $40,000 to $50,000 range. This is expected to 
change soon. Prices have been increasing faster in the last few years. 
The Japanese have begun buying Mark IIs—a certain sign.

Next, Further Information.


Don Voth said...

Very interesting! Marilyn

Don Voth said...

Glad you like the story. Just wait for next installment! It's a duesey.