Highly Original: 1956 Lincoln Mark II

Now, here’s something completely different from the usual Barn Finds fare. Offered here on eBay with a $62,900 Buy It Now price, it’s a prize-winning, 51,000-mile 1956 Lincoln Continental MK II. If this car, which spent some years on the west coast and is now in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, ever saw the inside of a barn, it was a mighty clean one. The car is highly original, with most of the paint that went on it when new. There is definitely something to be said for buying this car instead of a total restoration candidate. I’ve been seeing quite a few of those around, which is surprising because of how few were made (3,005). The MK II was a stunning sales flop and was offered only in two model years, 1956 and 1957.

The MK II was stunningly beautiful, and a very tasteful entry in an age of flashy chrome and big fins. But the economics were never going to work. The virtually hand-built car sold for a huge $9,960 in 1956, the equivalent of $93,150 in 2018 dollars. And even at that price, Ford lost almost $1,000 on every car built. It was so loaded the only option was a $595 air-conditioning unit.

This car is really, really nice. You could eat off its original 368-cubic-inch, 285-horsepower V-8 engine. The red-and-white leather interior is pristine, though it’s not completely clear it’s original. There is definitely some work done to the car, but it doesn’t detract from the originality. The car won a national first junior prize from the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) in 2016, and a first-place from the Lincoln Continental Owners Club in 2015.

This Lincoln is outfitted, as they all were, with a three-speed Borg-Warner automatic, power windows, brakes and steering, and Town and Country AM radio, which is still in place. The owner reports, “The stunning deep black paint is mostly original except the hood. The paint does show some crazing as 63-year-old paint might do. The chrome and brightwork [are] excellent. The absolutely beautiful red-and-white leather is in near-perfect condition, showing very little wear. This MK II runs, drives and stops like it did when it was new.”

So if you bought this one, you could just get in and drive it, unless a little cracked paint would bother you enough to commission a respray. That’s, frankly, a bad idea, since the priceless six-decade patina lives in every crack.

You could definitely find a cheaper example of this rare car. Here, for example, is one from the same year in Beverly Hills, California listed at $7,950. That’s cheap, so is it a comparative bargain! Wait! The car you see above is a rust bucket that needs everything. The hood is so corroded at its leading edge it would probably fly up and hit the windshield if you tried to drive it. The interior looks like wild animals got to it. On the positive side, it seems complete. But it “has been sitting for many years waiting to be restored.” The buyer of that car is going to spend at least $50,000 restoring it, so that means a lot of aggravation and effort to end up paying about what our subject car costs as-is. Which one would you buy? I’d rather relax and take this one to shows and on leisurely Sunday drives.


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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Interesting…between this sales flop and the Edsel just a bit later, it’s a wonder Ford Motor Co. made it out of the 1950s. Obviously the Mustang saved their bacon.

    Like 10
  2. Ramone

    Not a Lincoln. A Continental. Just sayin’…..

    Like 24
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I wonder how much of a “stunning sales flop” it really was. It operated at the very top of the automotive price spectrum at the time, so I’m guessing Ford never expected to sell a bunch. The problem was that they lost money on each one. That wasn’t good, but I doubt it was a huge financial albatross from the corporate perspective. The Edsel’s finances had to have been much worse.

    For a point of comparison, $93,000 is about the price of today’s loaded Lincoln Navigator. Ford isn’t having problems selling them.

    Like 14
  4. canadainmarkseh Member

    I’m not a ford guy, but I’ve always found these to be a stunning example on fords part. Given its rarity and condition I think the price is not out of line. I’d be happy to have this parked in my garage. A small lose for ford at the time after all they only built about 3000 of them. Nice find.

    Like 8
  5. IkeyHeyman

    Can’t compare to what Edsel cost them, about $3 billion in today’s dollars.

    Like 3
  6. Ike Onick

    I guessed a $100,000 before reading the write-up. It’s a bargain if you are looking for one.

    Like 3
  7. Nick Hockman Member

    To bad it lacks ac

    Like 3
  8. CanuckCarGuy

    Best looking car Ford ever rolled out the door.

    Like 9
  9. JimmyJ

    I think anybody who likes 50s cars wants one of these, unless you are diehard dodge or chevy guy
    Beautiful car if you want one this is your best chance crazy to restore when you can grab this for 60k!

    Like 4
  10. Jay E.

    Beautiful car. I think it is a bargain too. I’d put a set of Cragars on it and drive it.

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      I hope you are kidding about the wheels.

      Like 11
      • Rex Kahrs Member

        Agreed…Cragars? This car is a home run as designed, and it don’t need no stinkin’ Cragars. Throw those on a Pinto wagon where they belong.

        Like 3
  11. Del

    Mueseum Piece

    Hard to get a buyer probably

    Like 2
  12. TimM

    In my opinion a much better car than the Cadillac of this era!! This car was way ahead of its time!!! Worth every penny in this condition!!!
    I know many people would say to put it in a museum but I’d rather see it on the road!!!

    Like 8
  13. Doug

    Truly, the most elegant production auto built in the US in the 1950’s.

    For pure style, to compete with one of these, one would have to go to Ghia or one of the other European coachbuilders and spend considerably more money.

    Like 4
  14. w9bag

    A stunning example of American opulence. A sensational automobile !

    Like 2
  15. Steve

    Original paint is a plus.

    Like 1
  16. Will Fox

    Not sure how “original” the selle thinks this is, but it’s been refurbished extensively. The leather/carpets are newer, and it’s obviously been treated to some serious TLC under the hood too. These aren’t bad points–I’m just pointing out that this Mark II isn’t as “original” as the seller might lead you to believe. A stunning car well worth the asking price. I would MUCH rather pay this and get a stunning “no needs” Mark II, than the rust bucket at the bottom of the write-up in CA., and have to sink $100K+ into it.

    Like 3
  17. Paolo

    Other than style and build quality these cars offer nothing innovative. Underneath they are a completely conventional example of mid 1950s engineering. They don’t perform or handle particularly well and they are enormous and ponderous. They look great and if you are a big shot tycoon, Arab sheik, or international financier you could look great in it. Those are the people Ford wanted in these sleds. They were most particular who should get one.

  18. Rex Kahrs Member

    Yeah, sure, it’s a Lincoln, and the marque was conceived for people of wealth. Cadillac, Imperial, same deal. My 18′ Newport and 17′ Riviera don’t drive or handle like my BMW 2002, and that’s the whole charm of these old cars. Ponderous? Hardly. I like big boats and I cannot lie!

    Like 2

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