1956 Continental Mark II Convertible

Discussion in 'Classic Cars' started by basman007, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. Price $18,000 new
    Production 3
    Engine 369 cubic in (6 liter) V8
    Aspiration natural/4 bbl carburetor
    Torque 401 lb-ft @ 2800 rpm
    HP 285 hp @ 4800 rpm
    HP/Liter 47.5

    This is the first of two known Ford authorized Mark II convertibles.

    The Mark II was originally conceived as a convertible as early as 1953 as drawn by Charley Phaneuf. These drawings would inspire some later artful modifications to my car.

    Hess & Eisenhardt, of Kennedy limousine fame, had a long history with Ford Motor Company. The Chicago District of Ford Marketing ordered two prototype convertibles from them in September of 1955. This car was designated as an "Introductory Unit" on its Production Order. It was shipped to a distributor in Chicago where it was supposed to reside in a dealership showroom as a demonstrator, not to be sold until Continental filled the supply pipeline. These were very early production cars and were owned by Ford so that the dealership didn¹t have to carry the burden of a $10,000 car they couldn¹t sell. The serial number of this car is C5681126 and its Production Order number is 137.

    This Mark II convertible was originally built as a dealer demonstrator to show wealthy clients in the Chicago area what a convertible would look and drive like. Ford Marketing in the Chicago District ordered two convertibles. Hess & Eisenhardt took a stock black 1956 Continental Mark II and took the
    body off the frame after welding in temporary supports that would compensate for removing the roof. This black car was C5681126.

    The frame was flipped over and 1/4" plate steel was artfully cut and stitch-welded to the serpentine "cowbelly" frame. There are tubular cross-braces welded in an "X" to further support the "A" and "B" pillars. The floor pan was neatly hammered to clear the tubular supports below. A substantial sub-structure was built to support the convertible top. This structure is independent of the body, transferring the weight and stress of the convertible top to the frame. The stock Continental ³cowbelly² frame was designed with a convertible body in mind. A third cross-member was removed
    for the 1957 frame since plans for a production convertible had been scrapped.

    The body was fitted back to the frame and the roof was removed. Hess & Eisenhardt fabricated a power top mechanism that was driven by a power pack in the trunk. The top fittings on my car are period-correct Mercedes bits and pieces commonly used in H & E convertibles. The end product was very similar to the Derham made convertible produced almost a year later for the Texas State Fair in October of 1956. That car was originally white while on the show car circuit. When Ford was finished with that car it came back and was repainted by Ford Styling. It was eventually painted Honolulu Blue, a favorite color of William Clay Ford and was driven by his wife as a daily driver. Paul Wagner, whose job it became to dispose of cars like this, fought for the car with other Ford executives. He kept the car for a few years but eventually sold it to the Goeppinger family of Boone, Iowa.

    My car changed hands several times and ended up in the possession of a real estate developer in Georgia. He took pictures of the car with the original H & E top when he got it. He envisioned a sleeker design to the fabric boot that covered the convertible top when stowed. Possibly he was inspired by
    the Charley Phaneuf drawings. He was inspired by the SL Mercedes of the late 1960s and fashioned a crude mechanism that flipped the new metal boot backward, just like the Mercedes. Through the magic of lead a beautiful finish was put on the exposed surfaces making the finished product a sleek
    statement of quiet elegance.

    The top was extended rearward and a fastening system identical to the period SL was installed. This changed the roofline to closely match that of the original Continental convertible. The finishing touch was added in the restoration that took place in ¹93. The beautiful fiberglass bow covers replaced the fabric snap on covers installed in Œ69. This Mark II convertible most closely duplicates the original design penned in 1953.
  2. Really nice & important Lincoln but (... and you probably saw this coming <A BORDER="0" HREF="http://www.supercars.net/PitLane?displayFAQ=y"><IMG BORDER="0" SRC="pitlane/emoticons/smile.gif"></A>) that's an awesomely rare pre-A 356 Porsche next to it in that one photo... thank you!
  3. Actually I did <A BORDER="0" HREF="http://www.supercars.net/PitLane?displayFAQ=y"><IMG BORDER="0" SRC="pitlane/emoticons/grin.gif"></A>

    I can't stand that license plate on the 356
  4. I love the exhaust! so stylish.
  5. Isn't that a 356A?
  6. Bent windshield = pre-A
  7. AWESOME 356.
  8. Truth. That is a sweet Lincoln, and Porsche.
  9. Got it. Oh, and what's the meaning with the moving rear light, in the second to last picture?
  10. Lincoln needs to start making cars this nice again.
  11. and porsche written on the front, correct?
  12. That 356..just WOW. Beautiful.

  13. #13 barry2952, Feb 3, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    Thanks for your kind comments. Both of those cars are Continentals. The '55 is the last of the pre-A and is quite rare. There were roughly 2,000 Speedsters, 2,000 Coupes but only 200 Cabrios. About half were exported to America badged as "Continentals".

    This is my web site.

  14. gas filler location i think? A lot of cars in the 50's hid the filler neck/cap (tail light, license plate).
  15. those exhausts are really nice. i also like the fact that the paint has a matt, unpolished look. absolute beaut.
  16. Damn, what a stunning car.
  17. one of the best lincolns of the 50's
  18. It's not a Lincoln. Continental was a separate division of Ford, just as Mercury or Edsel were. To answer the previous question, Yes, the gas tank filler is behind the tail light.
  19. I like that, that tail light is a cool feature
  20. Where are these great images from? Barry can we use them Supercars.net?
  21. #21 barry2952, Feb 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
  22. #22 Archaeopteryx, Feb 18, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    Oh my god... I'm very nearly speechless. You, sir, are fantastic.

    I just spent around 40 minutes on that site. Your two Continentals are really very awesome on their own, but what really caught my interest was your trailer project. Just stunning. I always did love those aluminum teardrop trailers, but yours is just something special. The work that went into it seems incredible. I loved pretty much everything about it... From the interior to the lighting, to the emblem, to the clamshell structure at the back. And then when you were so close to completion, I was shocked to see that it was damaged, and you had to go back and do things over! Seriously, amazing stuff. And a real pity about that Porsche getting dented, seeing a prized possession become damaged like that would just tear me apart. Luckily it was repairable, and the fixed car came out, dare I say it, better than the original pre-crash condition! Good luck getting them both on the road again!

    I have a little question though... What model is your BMW E30? And a pity that Lincoln limo won't fit in the trailer, eh?
  23. Usually, yeah but I've seen some w/o any badges on the nose too.
  24. #24 smokeydonut, Feb 18, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    Awesome, thank you! <A BORDER="0" HREF="http://www.supercars.net/PitLane?displayFAQ=y"><IMG BORDER="0" SRC="pitlane/emoticons/smile.gif"></A>
  25. I think the BMW you refer to is the '88 325iX. It has just under 100,000 on the original clutch. That's my wife's winter car. She drives a Z3 during the summer. The '55 Porsche Continental Cabrio is her show car.

    I like my cars a little bigger. The '68 Lincoln Continental limousine you refer to is 23 feet long. It's made from two cars. It has six doors. Two sets of front doors complete with VIN tags and suicide doors in the back. I also have a '77 Lincoln Continental Town Car with 18,000 miles in triple black. It will fit in the 21 feet of garage space in the trailer, but barely. My 18-foot 1956 Chris Craft Continental looks great behind the 18-foot '56 Continental Mark II convertible. I'm kind of a theme collector.

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