The Continental Mark II coupe was Ford Motor Co.’s effort to relive the pre-war glory days of coachbuilt luxury cars, with gorgeously original styling, muscular performance and limited, hand-crafted production. Continental was split off as a separate division from Lincoln at this time, although the 1956-57 Mark II was sold through Lincoln dealers, thus adding to the confusion.
The Mark II had a host of luxury features on board, with air conditioning being the only option, and the interior was fitted with beautifully fashioned trim. Highlighting its international style, the Continental was unveiled at the 1955 Paris Motor Show.
The Continental was built as a halo car to demonstrate Ford’s design and engineering prowess, and with its nearly $10,000 price tag rivaling that of Rolls-Royce, not very many were sold, as intended. Probably a good thing, too, since Ford estimates it lost $1,000 on every Continental Mark II. Just 2,550 were built for 1956 and 444 for 1957.
The Pick of the Day is a 1957 Continental Mark II advertised by a private seller in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and listed erroneously, as they often are, as a “Lincoln Continental”; Ford never called them Lincolns.
“Probably the most-sorted Mark II in existence!” the seller states in the ad on ClassicCars.com. “Fresh mechanical restoration with plenty miles put on it to sort it out. Drives like a dream and I would feel comfortable driving it anywhere.”
The car is equipped with factory AC, and the seller says it is a rust-free, three-owner California car. But it could use a paint job, the seller notes, adding that it is basically a clean driver as it is, and decent-looking at 10 feet. The photos with the ad show a very nice-looking interior, with everything appearing intact.
The Mark II’s styling was groundbreaking in its day, low-slung due to its “step-down” perimeter frame, with a sleek roofline and that faux spare-tire bulge in the rear. The trim body was relatively clean and unadorned, in stark contrast with the increasingly baroque, chrome-laden cars of the era.
These cars have quite a network of enthusiastic fans, and the Mark II is seen today as one of Ford’s greatest moments in the sun. A Mark II in impeccable condition sold for nearly $100,000 at the recent Arizona collector car auction by Gooding & Company. According to the Hagerty guide, the ’57 Continental has an average value of $49,400, soaring up to $170,000 for one in perfect concours condition.
Which makes this Continental, with an asking price of $42,500, seem like a fairly good deal, even if it does need paint. These were and still are very special cars worthy of preservation.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.