Lincoln Continental 3. Generation Mark V Convertible

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Continental 3. Generation Mark V Convertible





Continental Mark II was the second-most expensive American car in the United States, Ford lost nearly $1,000 on every vehicle built over the two years of its production run. For 1958, the Continental Division was discontinued and integrated into Lincoln; the Continental gained new life as a flagship for the Lincoln line. To bring it in line with its predecessor, the 1958 edition was branded as the "Mark III", with "Continental III" fender trim; the approach was similar to that followed by Chrysler with the Imperial line, with which the Continental competed.

To drop the price from $10,000 ($84,254 in current dollars) to a somewhat more accessible $6,000 ($49,211 in current dollars), Lincoln switched the Continental from a hand-built body to a version of the body shared with the Lincoln Capri and Premiere. The Continental received its own body and interior trim, and its own roofline. For both sedans and hardtops (and even convertibles), the Continental was designed with a retractable "breezeway" reverse-angle rear window (similar to the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser except for its reverse-angle design). AM radio was standard, with FM radio as a rarely ordered option. In contrast to the ceiling-mounted A/C vents of the Mark II, the A/C vents were mounted in the dash board. A unique option was "Auto Lube"; as long as the owner kept the lube reservoir full, the car automatically lubed itself.

In a break from Ford, Mercury, and Edsel, Lincoln adopted unibody construction for what would be one of the largest cars ever produced by Ford Motor Company and one of the largest unibody-chassis cars ever made in the automotive industry. Using a 131-inch wheelbase, the Continental III was longer than any Cadillac or Imperial sedan (aside from limousines); it is the longest car produced by Ford Motor Company without federally mandated 5 mph bumpers. The 1959–60 Continental Limousine and Town Car (which had the same wheelbase as other Continentals but the same rear seat legroom as Lincoln due to the absence of the "breezeway" window) are the heaviest American sedans without an extended wheelbase built since WW II, and the 1958 Continental convertible is the longest American convertible ever produced with the exception of the (extremely rare) 1934–37 Cadillac V-16 convertibles.

For 1959, Lincoln renamed the Continental the Mark IV, and minor updates gave the exterior a slightly more conservative look, in sharp contrast to the massive fins of Cadillac and Imperial. Two body styles were added to expand the model line. Both sharing the wheelbase of the standard Continental, the Town Car and Limousine had a more formal roofline, doing away with the reverse-angle "breezeway" window to increase rear-seat room; both the Town Car and Limousine have a padded rear roofline and are painted only in black. For additional rear-seat privacy, the Limousine added a partition between front and rear seats. The Town Car, costing $9,200, sold only 214 over 1959 and 1960, and the Limousine, costing $10,200, sold only 83 over both years.

For 1960, Lincoln renamed the Continental the Mark V, with minor styling and exterior updates. This marked the last year that the Continental would not share underpinnings with a Ford or Mercury model.

Although less expensive and better-selling than the Continental Mark II, the Lincoln Division lost over $60 million over 1958-1960, partly reflecting the enormous expense of developing what is perhaps the largest unibody car ever made

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