In the fascinating world of automobile manufacturing, companies often prioritize creating affordable cars to avoid losses. However, in 1956, Ford chose to defy this conventional wisdom with the Continental Mark II.
This luxury car aimed to be the world’s best, a goal many believe Ford achieved. Now, a beautifully restored 1956 Continental Mark II is available for sale in Lubbock, Texas, showcasing its allure with a price tag of $16,000.
The Amazing Story of the 1956 Continental Mark II
Before delving into the details of the available car, let’s explore why the Mark II was a remarkable endeavor. Each vehicle was meticulously handcrafted, reminiscent of legendary coach builders.
The assembly process ensured a precise fit of body and hanging panels, followed by disassembly for a lacquer-based paint finish that rivaled even Rolls Royce.
The attention to detail extended to the hubcaps, a prime example of the no-compromise approach. Unlike typical one-piece steel hubcaps of the era, the Mark II’s hubcaps featured separate components meticulously assembled for a flawless presentation.
With a cost exceeding $10,000, Ford incurred an estimated $1,000 loss on each sale.
The recently restored Mark II radiates excellence, boasting a flawless black repaint that mirrors like a gleaming surface.
The laser-straight panels reveal no signs of the rust that often plagues classics, with meticulously restored bumpers, grille, and trim. The hand assembled hubcaps and wide whitewalls provide the perfect finishing touches to the exterior.
Luxury and Limited Choices
The Mark II’s options list was one of the shortest in automotive history. Aside from paint and trim colors, the primary decision for buyers was whether to opt for the $595 air conditioning feature.
While this particular car doesn’t have air conditioning, its leather trim, power windows, power seat, power vent windows, AM radio, and comprehensive gauge cluster ensure a comfortable and pampered ride.
The restoration included a retrim, and the pristine condition indicates minimal use since the work was completed.
The interior sparkles with spotless seats, impeccable carpet, a flawless dash, and gleaming bright trim pieces, making additional spending unnecessary for the new owner.
Under the Hood: Motoring Excellence
While the seller provides no engine photos, the drivetrain configuration highlights Continental’s commitment to motoring excellence. The 368ci V8, sourced from the Lincoln Parts Bin, underwent meticulous hand assembly and blueprinting before installation.
The three-speed automatic transmission received similar attention, undergoing dyno testing after assembly. Power assistance for steering and brakes emphasized the Mark II’s luxury credentials.
The comprehensive test drive each car underwent post-assembly ensured flawless functionality. With 285hp and 302 ft/lbs of torque, the V8, coupled with a curb weight exceeding 5,000 lbs, allowed the Mark II to reach over 120mph.
The restoration included rebuilding the transmission and speedometer, along with a complete rewiring, though no information on the car’s running and driving performance is provided by the seller.
The History and the Family Feud
The 1956 Continental Mark II, as a pursuit of excellence, achieved success, but the financial loss per sale became a point of contention. If Ford had remained family-owned, retaining the Continental Division and the Mark II as a Halo marque and model might have been possible.
However, with the transition to a publicly listed company, Henry Ford II knew shareholders wouldn’t tolerate such losses.
Having established the Continental Division, he handed control to his brother, William Clay Ford. However, a year later, Henry II merged it with Lincoln, demanding a profit-oriented approach that William found unacceptable, creating a lasting rift.
Today, the restored Mark II stands as a testament to automotive history. Priced competitively in the current market, if its physical condition matches its appearance in the photos, it could become one of the first great bargain buys of 2024.
This classic car not only represents an era of unparalleled craftsmanship but also holds a unique place in the Ford family’s history, marking a significant moment when business decisions clashed with the pursuit of automotive excellence.
As we reflect on the 1956 Continental Mark II’s legacy and the familial discord it triggered, it’s essential to recognize its enduring impact on the automotive industry.
This meticulously restored beauty serves as a living artifact, inviting enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the bygone era of handcrafted luxury and the challenges faced by automotive visionaries like Ford.
The rift within the Ford family, although unfortunate, underscores the complexities and tough choices that come with managing a business, even one as iconic as Ford.
Share Your Thoughts!
Readers, what’s your take on the 1956 Continental Mark II’s legacy and the rift it created within the Ford family? Do you think the pursuit of automotive excellence justified the financial challenges?
Share your thoughts in the comments below! And don’t forget to spread the love by sharing this captivating automotive journey with your family and friends. Let’s keep the conversation rolling and celebrate the timeless beauty of the 1956 Continental Mark II!