On Blocks Since ’85! 1956 Continental Derham

Is it redundant to put a Continental Kit on a Continental? Of course not! Lincoln’s Continental popularized the rear-mounted spare tire as a tasteful style element of the car’s posterior. So, while the 1956 and 1957 Continentals are not Lincolns, you might argue there is no better recipient of a Continental Kit than a Continental itself. This particular 1956 Continental Mark II’s had its Continental kit (and presumably the roof treatment) added by Derham Body, the company from which Ford’s Continental Division solicited a convertible version of the Mark II. Thanks to reader Matt W. who spotted this unusual rendition of an already rare ’50s luxury car located in Dade City, Florida and listed here on eBay.

Starting with a clean slate, a team of All-Stars, and a virtually unlimited budget, the Continental Division set out to make the world’s greatest luxury automobile. A Mark II cost over $10,000 in 1956, about $90,000 in today’s money (some details courtesy of danjedlicka.com). Today, 90 large will land you an Audi A8 or certain BMW 7-series, but if you want a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, you’ll need to dip deeper into your trust fund. Elvis bought a Continental, an endorsement that would be difficult to top in 1957 unless you inked a deal with The Messiah himself.

The eBay listing includes 141 pictures and most show a well-kept original car that supports the seller’s story that this luxo-barge sat inside on blocks since 1985. The luscious lipstick red seats beckon you to abandon work for a few weeks for a cross-country drive, stopping only to view national treasures like the “World’s Largest Ball of Twine.”

As with today’s super-high-end luxury cars, the Continental’s engines were individually balanced and hand-assembled to “aircraft standards.” The 368 cid V-8 made 285 horsepower and 402 lb-ft of velvety torque. Notice the neat and attractive design under the hood with hoses, wires, and exhaust gracefully routed and artfully detailed. Your neighbors may joke about the wretched fuel consumption of these land yachts, but Popular Mechanics recorded 16.7 MPG from a Mark II, which beats the 2017 BMW M760, Mercedes S600, and Lincoln Navigator (some details from wikipedia.org). What do you think of this Continental Kit-equipped Continental?


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  1. Bmac Bmac Member

    I like the roof treatment, but that swim platform gotta go. IMHO

    Like 1
  2. brettucks

    Exhaust exiting through bumper? I like that. Now speed bumps and driveway departure would keep this stranded everywhere…

    Like 1
    • al8apex

      they did that on the Thunderbirds and the Crown Victorias as well (plus the Mercs and Caddys) during that period

      The “stock” Mark II had bumper exit exhaust as well

  3. 68 custom

    beauty needs a sympathic resto, then a drive!

  4. GearHead Engineering

    What did they do to this poor car?? These are beautiful automobiles, with styling ahead of their time.

    The top treatment just doesn’t work for me, and that ridiculous continental kit would have to go immediately.

    On a positive note, it looks like it’s in nice condition.

    – John

    Like 1
  5. JRP

    WOW, just wow, and another wow. Another car to lust after but can’t afford. Let’s get this beauty in the body shop and start stripping it down. I’d be honored to do the body & paint.( for a nominal fee of course). It’s already been repainted so it’s not going to ruin a survivor status. Oops the hood ornament is missing. That’s the deal breaker…….Yeah, it’s not that I can’t afford it… yeah that’s it.

  6. Dovi65

    These Conti’s are such beautiful works of automotive art. Hard for me to comprehend someone ruining the beautiful lines by adding that hideous ‘conti kit’ escapes logic & reasoning. Tho as my Pops would say .. “there’s an a** for every seat”
    Ditch that kit ASAP, and get her back on the road!

  7. Mark

    Let’s see the Ford engineers come up with Park – Assist for this bad boy!
    Outside of an RV park, I cannot think of a single parking spot that you could park this thing in. Fantastic car if it had been left alone……but to each his own.

  8. 86 Vette Convertible

    I wonder how difficult to remove that continental kit? From what I can see, it looks to be a bolt on that extends the bumper out, but what modifications were done to the body or frame? That thing looks longer than my truck, and my truck is long.

  9. Madmatt

    I think its in way better shape than the one a week ago! LOL
    Very cool cars,and I like the convertible version.
    Seems like a good buy @ that price,would be an ultimate head turner for sure when done…!

  10. JimmyJ

    Awesome car, lose the kit!


    I own a 1998 Lincoln MVIII LSC COLLECTORS EDITION the last year of the 2 door super coupes. It is interesting to see that Lincoln took many styling cues from this car like the wrap around dash and continental kit. The 4.6 mod motor in my Mark moves the car well like i’m sure this one did with its V8.
    Lincoln has class and tradition even in the new MKZ and others but not quite like mine and the others proceeding it. Everything now is unidentifiable in a parking lot as they look the same right.

  12. Brad C

    Awful continental kit, BUT they replaced the rear deck as well, removing the then-redundant hump for a spare in the trunk. THAT detail I really like, as the hump always seemed like the most dated element of an otherwise timeless design. Why anyone would intentionally reduce the rear window to a fraction of its former glory is beyond me; that, too would have to go.

    But since these would all these changes to a one-off… I think I’d rather start with a project car that could be invisibly restomodded and adjusted to my taste.

  13. That Guy

    The original Bosuzoku. Just needs three-meter-long zigzag exhaust pipes and it’s done.

  14. tbyron

    Derham? That’s impressive. They did custom bodies for everyone including Duesenberg back in the 20s and 30s, somehow surviving into almost modern times. I don’t know if that adds any value or not but, this is not something JC Whitney kit.

    Like 1
  15. SAM61

    Very cool! I would remove the rear bumper/extender/filler…source another rear bumper to cut as split bumperettes in the original location and lower the spare tire a few inches.

    IMHO this would “lighten” the look while retaining the 50’s “period” custom aesthetic.

    Preserve the exterior/interior, drive and enjoy.

    Like 1
  16. JimmyinTEXAS

    The convertible would have been a much better option.

    Like 1
  17. skibum2

    Had a ’56 continental from the Scripts family that was the same color..beautiful design and a pleasure to drive, however parts are on the list of NOT…

    Like 1
  18. Karguy James

    This car was on Craigslist for $28,000 a few weeks ago. They had it listed with several bad photos of the car in the garage still covered with dust. Looks like somebody is speculating that the Derham touch will earn them a premium. I was tempted, but my driveway is overflowing as it is. It will be interesting to see what it goes for.

  19. Chuck

    Can you say ” back up camera “

  20. Ohio Rick

    When these cars were originally sold buyers agreed to not modify them in any way. A local businessman took his new Continental to the body shop that customized all his Caddies. In the midst of the customization Ford seized the car and returned the purchase price to the buyer after some legal haggling. I believe there were other restrictions on who could buy the car as well.

  21. shawn

    Here you go guys here is how I found it.

    Like 2
  22. Peter

    Great mayoral car in Street parades.

    Like 1
  23. Wrong Way

    I am sorry, but I never ever got used to those huge rear bumpers on these! Later years are much more appealing to me anyways! I like the continental package on the ones later after they cut off those ungodly, ugly bumpers! Just sayin!

  24. scottymac

    How many layers of paint did you count? Is red the original color, or is that primer? What’s the purpose of the removable panel in the splash pan?

    • Shawn

      I counted two layers and the removal panel is for the spare tire moving out of the way for the trunk to open.

  25. Mountainwoodie

    Man, that Continental kit is way out of proportion! While I guess Derham did this someone really jumped the shark. Just plain butt ugly. The original trunk and shadow Continental bump were so pretty. But what are you gonna do….its unique

  26. Duffy Member

    All I can say, with sadness in my heart, because I cannot afford it, is it’s a beauty.

  27. Andy

    Ever since I first saw a picture of one of these, forty years ago, it’s been one of my favorite Ford products. The proportions were perfect, very similar to the much smaller ’65 Mustang but smoother edges and so much less ’50s looking than the Lincolns of the time. It would still look fresh next to a Mustang, or a ’64 Riviera for that matter. Why ruin it like this? I think blanking out the quarter windows is almost as bad as the bumper. Just doesn’t work for me at all.

  28. Dan

    That bumper is hideous. And removing the hump on the trunk killed the value of this car. What’s the purpose of that extended bumper. We’re they gonna use this car for a presidential motorcade.

  29. Gene

    check oput its progress on You tube barn find one of a kind Derham

    Like 3
  30. Gene Epstein

    Chassis and engine compartment.Months of work with a crew of three.70% complete at this date.Found original Derham photos at the CCCA Museum

    Like 2

    it took three years and over 5000 hours of repairing and correcting the repairs until presented as flawless as possible..Now after winning at two major Concours d’ Elegances (Boca Raton Concours and Amelia Island Concours) it is complete and anxiously awaiting the next major event.It will be the featured automobile at the historic New Hope Auto Show

    Like 3
  32. Todd Fitch Staff

    Hello Gene Epstein. Wow! Fabulous car and it obviously went to the right person. Congratulations, Sir, on taking this one to another universe. All our feature cars should be so lucky. Well done and THANK YOU for sharing the follow-up story and pictures.

    • Gene Epstein

      After two national Concour meets and winning honors at both events I found some minor flaws that happened were never noticed even after numerous inspections..Just finished it and it is ready to be on the National scene.

      I have some current photos taken by Michael Furman at the Simeone Museum but dont know how to send them to you.

      Like 1

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