St. John's

27 July 2013

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Lot 176

1956 Continental Mark II

  • Chassis no. C56C2255

Sold for $44,000

300 hp, 368 cu. in. overhead valve V-8 engine, Turbo-Drive three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with upper and lower control arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126 in.

  • Designed to be the world’s finest automobile
  • Equipped with factory air conditioning
  • A must for any Lincoln collection

William Clay Ford’s tribute to his father Edsel, the Continental Mark II, was developed to be the finest automobile possible. Given a classic “long hood/short deck” profile and a simulated spare tire bulge on the trunk lid by a styling team that included Ford himself, John Reinhart, and former Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg designer Gordon Buehrig, it was a semi-custom automobile with a price tag to match. At $9,695, the Continental Mark II, as it would be known, was the most expensive American production car in 20 years. It boasted nearly every comfort and convenience gadget as standard equipment; only factory air conditioning was optional, at $595. Ford was very clear that this was not a Lincoln but a Continental, a separate division established to add exclusivity to the luxury marque.

For one’s small fortune, however, they received the most carefully crafted car in the world. Despite sharing mechanical components with Lincolns, Continental’s drivetrain items were machined to high tolerances and were heavily tested, with each chassis tuned and test-driven before a body was mounted. The bodies themselves demanded 60 hours of metal-finishing, five times that of the typical American car. Engineer Harley Copp’s unusual “cowbelly” frame gave the car a recessed floor, much like the “Step-Down” Hudson of the late 1940s, permitting upright seating without a tall body, as it was only 56 inches in height. Once a Continental was finally completed, the car was shipped to its new owner’s dealer in a fleece-lined cover and wrapped in plastic.

Even at nearly $10,000 a car, Ford reportedly lost thousands on every Mark II sold; it really was too well-built. Only 2,550 were sold in 1956, followed by another 444 in 1957, when production halted in May and the model was discontinued. In the meantime, Continentals had been delivered to Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Nelson Rockefeller, and the Shah of Iran.

The Continental offered here is presented in Starmist White, the most iconic color, with Deep Red and White upholstery. Restored to high standards some years ago, it is described by its owner as an immaculate vehicle, with 59,660 miles showing; it has all of its original brightwork, with the exception of NOS lettering and a hood ornament, and it has an excellent, correct interior, which was installed in 2007. The glass is also all original, with the exception of the passenger side door window, which is also NOS. Both the fuel system, including the tank, and the exhaust were correctly replaced in 2009, while radial tires were installed to enhance driving; importantly, the tires have the proper bias-ply appearance. Reported to be routinely maintained and very driveable, with its added seat belts, the Continental boasts the optional factory air conditioning, which is the final touch on a car that is at the height of driveable elegance, just as it was in 1956.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more