Behind Door Two: 1965 Lincoln Continental Convertible

Here’s the second car in a box listed on eBay. This Continental was purchased from the first owner in the 1970s and has been stored since 1991. It is original except for one repaint. After fresh gas and a new battery, it is said to run and drive well. The electric top and AC do not work.

This Continental really looks ready for a parade or just cruising with the top down. Repairing the top could be really easy or it could be very difficult. There are 4 electric motors, a couple of hydraulic cylinders to open the trunk and 2 more to operate the top as well as the hydraulic pump and all the plumbing. Then there’s the switches and solenoids.

The interior looks really nice. The front seat can possibly be saved with new foam and by cleaning and restoring the leather.

The dash,  steering wheel, and carpet look great, do they not? The plaque with the original owner’s name is still on the dash.

How’s this for original and complete? A little detailing would do wonders.

Hopefully, there’s no rust under that undercoating. The damage on the left side looks serious, especially considering it’s a unibody car. The top side looks great, but does the underside say “run away”?

This is a huge car with several potentially serious issues. There is the possible collision damage and the question of how well it was repaired. Fixing the top could be very difficult and require parts that will be almost impossible to find. It certainly looks nice, but what dark secrets is it hiding? Bidding is over $17,000 at this time, so some folks either think the risk is worthwhile. Really nice examples have sold recently from $35,000 to over $40,000. It will be interesting to see how the bidding goes on this one.


  1. Steve R

    Cool car. When are you doing the Imperial?

    Could that be crush damage from high centering on something?

    Steve R

    • David Frank David Frank Member

      The Imperial should be up soon. I thought it might be crush damage, but look at the big wrinkle. With a car this big without a frame or a top, that scares me. How do you get a wrinkle like that except from an impact?

  2. Nova Scotian

    Wow…the engineering that went into this…considering the times. Heck, I’d love to drive this!

  3. RoughDiamond

    The owner may have parked it after he did whatever it was that screwed up the left underside. I would not want to take a chance on that.

  4. Fred w.

    The damage on the underside doesn’t look like a result of side impact. Looks like they drove over something that snagged it. Maybe a parking bumper? In any case, not that hard to deal with and a lot easier than rust repair.

    • Mark S.

      I agree Fred this undercarriage damage looks like high centring damage. A good metal worker could fix that in less than a day. The real structural integrity is that long rocky panel that’s where the ridgity is, that flat floor offers very little support. This damage would not scare me way from this car. You guys are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

  5. Dan

    Y’all worry too much. Do the doors open and close ok? Then let’s go for a drive!

  6. Maestro1

    I’m with Dan. The secret is in the door alignment on all four, and that underside looks more serious than I think it is. Obviously one would have to get close to this one to really see it. Parts for the convertible top mechanism are easily available from several operations in the Midwest and New England. And it won’t be cheap to fix but absolutely worth it. I have a 1966 and it’s a prince.

  7. grant

    I had no idea these were unitbody construction. Blown away.

  8. ccrvtt

    ’61-’63 Continentals had slightly curved side glass. ’64 & up went to flat glass. I think the earlier cars were a bit more stylish because of this. But this is still a very interesting find.

  9. Femi

    @Maestro….”Parts for the convertible top mechanism are easily available from several operations in the Midwest and New England”. 
    Any leads please ?

    • Gearheadengineering

      Baker’s auto in Putnam CT.

      – John

  10. Gearheadengineering

    I have a ’64. The underside damage doesn’t worry me on this one. Looks like it got lifted wrong or went up on top of something, rather than collision damage. It looks very solid.

    The top mechanism isn’t so hard to troubleshoot. You just need to be methodical.

    Bigger concern is the trunk lid. They rust from the inside out. I see what may be a sign of this in one pic.

    I love to see that high bid. I have been thinking of selling mine and that shows the market is good for these.
    – John

  11. JEFF

    While I love center-opening door Continentals, the ’65 is the least desirable among them. Lack of curved side door glass, the “bumped-out” front, then followed by the beautiful ’66 restyle all work against this particular year. And I have 2 friends that have spent YEARS chasing the top gremlins on their own cars.

    • Gearheadengineering

      Jeff, the ’64 and ’65 have more rear legroom (3″ longer) so some people consider them more desirable. I agree the ’65 front end takes away from the design.

      I have a fair amount of experience with the top mechanisms. I may be able to offer some help to your friends.

      – John

  12. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    The earlier Continental convertibles had a problem with the unibody rapidly flexing on rough roads. Ford engineers came up with an unusual fix to the body vibration problem; Look up under the front & rear wheel well areas just behind the bumper ends, you will likely find large cast iron weights suspended on short leaf springs connected to the bumper bracket bolt areas. These weights vibrate in opposition to the body vibrations, actually cancelling them out!

    The top operation is not the nightmare everyone makes it out to be, it’s very simple to repair, but you BETTER have the manuals before you even think about making any adjustments, or you WILL make the wrong adjustments that can drive ya crazy. Parts are not that hard to source, but they are expensive. last I heard, of the 4 types of relays needed, 2 are now made of unobtanium. The special “knife switches” for the rear door window drop down operation are only available as reconditioned exchange.

    In 1971 I was one of the Ford mechanics who attended the last class at the Ford Factory in New Jersey, for the Retract/T-Bird/Continental convertible tops, and I still have all the teaching materials, manuals and instruction books for these cars.

  13. Mountainwoodie

    I had the very same color in a ’63 4 door hardtop. High times for a college sophmore! Course I only paid 750 bucks and it was in like new condition…..should have kept it another 43 years and I’d be in the money!

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