Motor City

25 July 2015

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Lot 113

1956 Continental Mark II

  • Chassis no. C56C2255

Sold for $60,500


285 bhp, 368 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, three-speed Turbo Drive automatic transmission, independent coil-spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel power hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126 in.

  • Equipped with rare factory air conditioning
  • Recently detailed high-quality restoration
  • Timeless elegance and design


America’s post-war appetite for new cars had been sated by the mid-1950s, and manufacturers were looking for new niches. Ford’s flagship marque, Lincoln, had slipped further behind archrival Cadillac in sales. Lincoln had lost prestige after discontinuation of the iconic Continental model in 1949, even though they were successful in competition, scoring well in the Carrera Panamericana race series in Mexico.

Hoping to regain the Continental’s prestige, Ford created a whole new organization, designated simply “Continental Division” and headed by Edsel Ford’s youngest son, William. Designers John Reinhart and Gordon Buehrig (of Duesenberg fame) were given the brief to update the Continental idiom. The result was a clean and understated coupe with the Continental’s hallmark rear-mounted spare appearing as a vestigial “bustle.” Both coupe and convertible versions were initially planned, but the drophead was judged too costly to sell in the small production quantities of a luxury car.

At $10,000, the Continental (not actually badged as a Lincoln but sold through their dealers) was the most expensive American car of 1956. Sales were disappointing, however, and the model was discontinued after 1957. Fewer than 3,000 were built, making the Mark II a rare sight even when new.

This Starmist White 1956 Continental is equipped with rare factory air conditioning and has Deep Red and White leather upholstery. It was restored to high standards some years ago and has all its original brightwork, with the exception of NOS lettering and hood ornament. The interior was installed in 2007, and the fuel system, including the tank and exhaust, was replaced with correct parts in 2009. Radial tires with the correct bias-ply appearance were installed to improve handling and drivability. Recent upgrades have been made to the engine bay, and the car has been thoroughly detailed, inside and out. It is equipped, of course, with all of the standard Continental features: automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, power seat, signal-seeking Town and Country radio, and heater. The mileage showing is less than 49,000 and is believed to be original.

The Continental Mark II has traditionally been undervalued in the marketplace, and this holds true today. This example is a stunning reminder of the 1950s, when Ford Motor Company took a bold step in the luxury market, with the result being an elegant and timeless design.

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

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+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

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
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

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
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

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
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

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
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

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
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

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
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

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
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

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
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

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
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

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
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

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
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

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
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