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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale June 5th – 7th, 2015 at Russo and Steele’s 3rd Annual Newport Beach, California Auction. Please contact us for more information.
Exceptional hand craftsmanship, understated elegance, and timeless design labelled the Continental Mark II as the “America’s Rolls-Royce or Bentley.” When new, the Mark II sold for the same price as a Rolls (or two Cadillacs). The Continental Division of Ford Motor Company can trace its roots back to Edsel Ford’s pet project, the 1939 Lincoln Continental and the Mark II was called “A motorcar which, more than anything else, exemplifies the very finest expression of American automotive craftsmanship.” When the European-style, hand-built Mark II debuted as a 1956 model in October 1955, it was one of the heaviest American cars at 4,825 pounds (without air conditioning). As a matter of fact, air conditioning was the only option available on the car. Approximately 3,000 vehicles were built; 1,300 in 1955 and 1956 and roughly 400 in 1957.
The swanky coupe’s styling was considered quite conservative upon introduction; its lack of tail fins, air scoops (on models with air conditioning), chrome mouldings, flashy two-tone paint and other “jet age” styling cues gave the Mark II a tastefully understated appearance. While the Continental spare-tire bulge was more a styling gimmick than useful, it became a trademark used through the late 1990s Lincoln Mark VIII, and details like the stepped-up side character line, small nameplate lettering and fuel-filler hidden behind the driver’s tail lamp were delightful. The conservative style continued inside, where the leather-covered dash was an ergonomic triumph; in an age where engine information was minimal and shiny chrome a distraction, the Mark II had easy to-read round-dial analog instrumentation that includes a tachometer, oil pressure and ammeter.
The standard 368 cu. in. Lincoln V-8 engine sat beneath the long 70-inch hood. The car had a top speed of 118 mph. Today, approximately half of the original 3,000 cars still exist. Famous owners of Continental Mark IIs include Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and the Shah of Iran.
This particular 1956 Continental Mark II is equipped with air conditioning and as such, it is all the more desirable and collectible. The exhaust system has been replaced and routed correctly through the rear bumper. The entire fuel system has been overhauled with the gas tank removed and flushed, carburetor rebuilt, fuel lines flushed and fuel filter replaced, and a new fuel sending unit installed. Aftermarket power disc brakes were added for enhanced safety and drivability. Besides the major items already described, small bits and pieces have been repaired and replaced as needed. A stylistic triumph and one of the greatest American milestones, it marks a fantastic opportunity at auction.