Dignitary’s Delight: 1965 Lincoln Continental Limousine

Among coach builders, the name Lehmann-Peterson is well known. To this day, they still produce high-end executive limousines, but they got their start as a partner to Ford in the 1960s building Lincoln Continental-based limos for heads of state, celebrities, executives and more. They range in value today, with finished cars commanding a high price but basketcases like this one here on eBay being relatively affordable at $7,500. It has suffered from an interior fire and will need extensive refurbishment. 

And isn’t that refurbishment worth it? These are gorgeous, stately cruisers when finished, but the expensive bodywork required here will likely make this one a loser on the investment side. With anything coachbuilt, who knows what intricacies exist in the body lines that will be difficult to replicate correctly. It’s not stated which part of the car sparked the inferno, but the engine bay survived relatively unscathed. The interior, from the dash backwards, is heavily damaged. Interestingly, the seller notes that brackets for flags and a siren remain attached.

Does that mean this Lincoln formerly transported a visiting foreign dignitary or a sitting U.S. president? Who knows, but it’s history would be interesting to trace. The cabin will need new leather seating areas, new carpet, a new dash, new divider upholstery, lots of replacement glass – the list goes on. While the glass in the factory locations like the front and rear windscreens can be sourced, I’m guessing the side windows are all custom pieces for the new doors cut in to the body to accommodate middle and rear passengers. That will be a tall order (and expensive) if the side panels demand glass of a specific size that’s not found in other models.

The 430 CI V8 does still run, making it less likely that the engine was the source of the blaze. Electrical? A fuel line? Who knows. It’s a shame, though, to see such a stunning automobile with potentially fascinating history in this state. The trouble with vintage limousines is the ungodly cost to restore, making it less appealing than starting with a project-grade example that at least hasn’t suffered the extremes of heat caused by fire. The history of Lehmann-Peterson is a fascinating one; but is history alone reason enough to bring this one back?


  1. Peter

    Is this similar to the car body in trees, the $5000, 60 car bodies takeaway?
    Need to go to craigslist site to see.

  2. Derek

    Forget about “heads of state”, “diplomats” and a herd of cows worth of upholstery leather. Upholster the thing in pink velour, install a hot tub and a king size mattress, put a full bar and mega stereo in the trunk, make your kid brother be the chauffeur, and go get some chicks.

  3. Redwagon

    Looks to be an insurance claim. Perhaps it was legit or the car was getting too old and used to continue as a limo w/o extensive updating?

    It has cool lines and looks amazing in that dark blue. With a dark interior, or grey w dark carpeting it would be very striking.

    Where would I park it?

  4. Oingo

    IMHO Jalopnik CP winner.

  5. Classic Steel

    Nice car as is to use for proms !

    I suggest a chain tied to s tow car and it’s a go car 🚗!

    I can see the advertising now “tow limos make fun nights”

    Other than that open up your wallet and drop 30 grand to refurbish on top of insurance flipper fee 🤑💰

  6. Karguy James

    I hope somebody saves it

    Like 1
  7. chad

    i’d B tempted to restore it to right sized…
    just lookin at it reminds me of JFK & Jackie…so much…

    Like 1
  8. GearHead Engineering

    I was going to say it is worth maybe $750 as a parts car, but then I looked at the ebay ad and realized it is not a stock 430. And the rear bumper is bent. There really isn’t a lot here to use for another L-P or a stock Lincoln.

    – John

  9. Rodent

    It’s not a 430 anymore. Looks like a 429/460.

  10. Canadian Mark S. Eh!

    This is one of the ugliest cars Ford ever produced and that is before it was turned into a limo. I’d pull the motor trans and reared if they are still good and scrap the rest. JMO.

  11. DayDreamBeliever Alan (Michigan)

    The fire was bad enough. But then water was used to put it out (naturally) and all that bare metal left behind after the paint burned off got a really good start at rusting. Likely that there is still water sitting in pockets in the chassis.

    Burned cars have to be some of the toughest to refurbish. Body, mechanical, glass, upholstery, electrical, all are damaged, usually severely.

    The seller has some interesting stuff listed. This one is too problematic at a fifth the listed price.

  12. Mike

    The very creepy front seat picture looks like the chauffeur died of spontaneous human combustion.

  13. Rube Goldberg Member

    Put the motor in a rat-rod and then this. (maxing out the new Ranchero, 800 lb load cap.)

  14. Miguel

    $7500.00 for a shell seems a bit much to me even for a rare car.

    Everybody thinks they have their retirement with any old car they have.

    The 2016 Old Cars Weekly Price Guide lists a number 6 car at $1600.00 and a number 5 car at $4800.00

    I think the burn makes it a number 6 car.

  15. Miguel

    You have to admit, the car has been around.

    It has an Illinois salvage title, California plates and is being sold in New Mexico.

  16. Miguel

    Whoever buys it I wish them luck finding all the burnt and melted parts from the dashboard and the unique glass the car needs.

  17. Lance

    Here’s another problem: If the fire was hot enough, the metal will warp. Now you have a structural frame issue with side issues of roof and door warpage. I’d pass on this one.

  18. cyclemikey

    These are a little rare now, and it’d be nice to see somebody save it. But in addition to the long list of downsides (wrong engine, lots of very hard to source small parts, possible structural issues, etc.) the biggest problem is that these don’t command that much. relatively speaking, in finished condition. That’s the killer.

    It would make a cool “Don’t smoke and drive” poster, though.

  19. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I’ve owned a few of these Lincolns from 1965 to 1969, including 3 convertibles and 2 L-P limousines, a 65 & a 66. And many more unusual limousines of various makes.

    First, the Lincoln 430 engine was probably the worst of the big Lincoln V8s. The biggest problem is the oil pump, driven off the front of the crankshaft. When these pumps fail, it’s usually without warning, under heavy load, and there goes the engine. Rebuild time. Putting in the later engine is in my opinion, an improvement, because a typical 430 cannot supply the power needed for this heavy car.

    The L-P cars were notorious for wiring problems. This isn’t the first one to suffer an interior fire. When I decided to repair the wiring in my ’65, I found the L-P people had actually used household 110 volt ceramic wire nuts to connect & splice wiring. As wires would heat up from use and corrosion, the wire nuts would loosen and fall off, leaving exposed copper wires.

    That said, the L-P limo wiring mess wasn’t as bad as the interior wiring on my 1965 Imperial limo with a body by Ghia. The Italians used only black wires to create the interior electrics. Ever tried to trace a wiring circuit when all the wires in the bundle are black?

    I restored the 1975 Daimler limo used by the British Embassy & also the Queen during her visit to the USA bicentennial celebrations. The wiring harness color codes in that car did not match the factory manual’s wiring schematic. I had to create my own diagram using color markers.

    That car was equipped with hard 1 inch Kevlar armor from the belt line down. They would run the wiring over the hard edge of the Kevlar without insulating the wire vinyl coating, and as a result the Kevlar wore holes in the vinyl wires. While that didn’t result in shorted wires, I felt considering this was to be the Ambassador’s limo, to be used by the Royal Monarch, they would have paid more attention to quality. But then again, this was typical automobile build quality for most British cars of the mid 1970s.

    I replaced the HMV British radio in the rear compartment with a far better Blaupunkt vintage radio. Since it was a lot larger because a cassette player was included, I was unable to replace the Kevlar plate between the radio and the right rear quarter panel.

    I took the Kevlar piece out to the back field behind my shop, set it up on a cinder block, and “tested” it’s intended use [we were in the country]. A .22 made it in about 1/8 inch before simply spreading out flat, causing a flat plane split in the Kevlar about 1.5″ across. A .45 bullet made it in about 1/4 inch, fracturing the Kevlar’s immediate area around it. Always wanted to see what a .50 cal would do, but never tried.

    I still have that piece of Kevlar. Used to keep it on my desk, but I started to worry someone might want it more than I did, so I stuck it in storage.

    • Mountainwoodie

      The voice of experience

  20. PatrickM

    This would make a good dog house

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