Pick of the Day: 1956 Continental Mark II, Ford’s short-lived halo car

The stylish, hand-crafted coupe was an effort by the automaker to awe and impress

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mark II
The Continental Mark II was beautifully designed in the style of European GT cars

For just two years in the 1950s, Ford produced a luxury coupe that rivaled the greatest brands in the world, including Rolls-Royce, in design, quality and prestige. The 1956-57 Continental Mark II was a limited-production, hand-crafted beauty with prodigious performance, an array of luxury features and trim, and styling that still looks fresh today.

The Pick of the Day is a 1956 Continental Mark II that appears to be in fine preserved condition, with low mileage and in good running order.

“Looks great, drives wonderfully,” says the Ramsey, Minnesota, dealer advertising the coupe on ClassicCars.com. “Miles showing are 63,566 and by the looks of the car, they could be original miles.”

As is often the case, the Mark II is erroneously listed in the ad as a Lincoln Continental. During this period, Continental had been spun off by Ford as a standalone brand, separate from Lincoln. Still, Continentals were sold by Lincoln dealers, which added to the confusion, a situation that continued until Continental was turned back into a Lincoln nameplate.

mark II

But during its reign, the Mark II served as an aspirational dream car for Ford, a halo designed to shine its glow on all the lesser models. Priced at a then-lofty $10,000, not a lot of them were sold – just 2,550 were built for 1956 and 444 for 1957 – which was probably a good thing since Ford is said to have lost $1,000 on each one.

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But Ford had proven its point, that it could produce a world-class luxury car that would evoke the magnificent coachbuilt classics of the 1920s and ’30s.  The Mark II still resonates with collectors, and there is a strong network of fans.

This clean example has been fitted with “newer exhaust, tires, water pump, fuel pump, shocks, brakes and more,” the seller says. “Chrome is beautiful. The paint is in excellent condition. Stainless is great. The body panels are nice and straight. 

“It even appears to have the original carpet, headliner, door panels, leather seats and rear package tray. This interior is one of the best you can find. Motor runs nice and smooth. Transmission shifts wonderfully and it is quiet with the newer exhaust. You will enjoy this for decades to come.”

mark II

With values ranging from $49,400 for an average Mark II to a high of $175,000 for one in concours condition, according to the Hagerty guide, this one seems to be well-priced at $33,980.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Beautiful Continental Mark II.
    I was about 4 yrs. old when made.
    FOMOCO had the mettle to build the best when they got
    behind the build.

  2. Does someone proof read these posting? Does if have new breaks or brakes? I guess it’s not important to know the difference, but that error jumps out at me every time I see it in a want ad.

        • As far as colors from Continental for these cars, it was based on the owner’s choice where ordered. For example, Liz Taylor’s was violet metallic to match her eyes. This could very well be the original color.

          The issue with these Connie’s is their cost to restore…literally its a hand made car where almost every part is unique to it, and therefore pricier to acquire or fabricate. What’s attractive about this one, is it might avoid a full resto, depending upon how nice the interior can be detailed along with the engine bay. The Rust is the big question mark.

          All in all, this car is in respectable shape considering its price, if everything has been exposed and shown.

  3. Brakes was misspelled”breaks” in the email sent by Journal Home and contained the URL for the ad. No worries — misspellings bug me too. What is the name of the color on this Continental?

  4. In the early-to-mid sixties a neighbor down the street from my house had one of these, a black one I think, in their garage. I knew it was something “different” ,even back then, as my dad had a 61 Imperial Crown coupe (2-dr) so the odd cars always made me look. I never saw the Mark out of their garage!

  5. The Continental Mark II was America’s version of a hand-built Rolls-Royce. While the Lincoln 368 ci V8 was shared with the Mark II, those used in these Continental were hand selected and balanced and blue-printed, so to speak, and rated at 300 HP vs the Lincoln Premieres being rated 275 HP. These were marketed as the Continental, and no where on the car does the word Lincoln appear, it was produced by the Continental Division of Ford Motor Company. The 1940-1948 Zephyr based Continentals were indeed Lincoln, and after 1958, the Continental Mark III, 1959 Mark IV and 1960 Mark V were all Continentals by Lincoln. Funny how in late 1968 when the 1969 Continental Mark III was introduced, the first Mk III to MK V were totally ignored!

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