Forgotten Find: 1956 Continental Mk II

Few may remember the short-lived Continental division that Ford created in the mid-1950s. The Continental Mk II would be its one and only model, built for 1956-57. Their goal was to build the finest car made in America, but Continental as a company failed to find a market and it was quickly retracted. This first year Mk II has had its drivetrain disassembled and many of its parts are stored inside the car in an outdoor location. This could be a six-figure automobile once restored. It can be found in Tempe, Arizona and is available here on craigslist for $10,500. Our thanks to Craig M. Vossler for bringing this tip our way!

Continental wanted to recreate a legend like the Duesenberg, Cord and or Peerless in order to get one up on the likes of Packard and Cadillac. Their solution was the Mk II, a premium luxury coupe that saw about 3,000 copies built for 1956-57 – and most of those were in the first year. Unlike some of the winged wonders the American automobile industry would start putting out, the Mk II was more conservative with its lack of tailfins, air scoops, chrome moldings, two-tone paint or other “loud” styling cues of the late 1950s. This gave the Mark II a tastefully understated appearance.

It was a beast of car size-wise, weighing in at close to 5,000 lbs. It relied on Lincoln’s standard 368 cubic inch V8 that produced 285 hp to propel the car, but it wasn’t going to break any records by taking nearly 16 seconds to get up to 60 mph from a dead stop. It was also an expensive automobile, at just shy of $10,000 when new, which would make it a 100 grand machine today. The seller’s car is another find in a desert climate, which has probably enabled it to survive with a minimum of rust (the front fenders will need some attention and the rear quarters look to be wearing older repairs).  The seller tells us the floorboards and trunk are solid, which is good because all the stuff in both locations makes scrutiny difficult.

The maroon paint has run its course, while the chrome pieces seem to have held up although there is a break in the grille. We’re told the seller thinks the car is complete, whether that which is assembled or the parts in boxes. But the air cleaner and hubcaps seem to have flown the coop. The reported mileage is about 53,000 and something led to the motor and transmission being taken apart. So, whatever is broken will need fixing before it can be all put back together again.

This car has factory air conditioning which even with a premium car like this wasn’t installed in great numbers in 1956. Production totals for that year were only 2,556 cars, which may be one reason that top flight examples can go for more than $160,000, according to Hagerty. If you allow this car to be described as in Fair condition, the ante should be no more than the mid-20s. If this ‘56 is as complete as the seller suggests, the asking price isn’t crazy money. But we understand that finding parts for these cars some 65 later is a lot harder than going on an Easter Egg hunt.

Fast Finds


  1. Jimbo

    Honestly, I’d pay no more than $6000 for this car. An awful lot of work.

    Like 11
  2. Jeff

    I continue to ask myself why does someone haphazardly disassemble a collectable vehicle, toss miscellaneous pieces and parts of the puzzle throughout the interior, trunk and the Land Of Oz. Then ask a Kings Ransom for the menagerie of what remains? Why…

    Like 34
  3. Joe

    I continue to ask myself why does someone haphazardly disassemble a collectable vehicle, toss miscellaneous pieces and parts of the puzzle throughout the interior, trunk and the Land Of Oz. Then ask a Kings Ransom for the menagerie of what remains? Why…

    Like 5
  4. Richard

    These car don’t have the end value to restore all you can do is get it running and drive it

    Like 3
  5. David

    These are really nice cars. Artwork. If I had the time and motivation I could be tempted. However the price is still out of reach, and maybe unrealistic

    Like 6
  6. CCFisher

    Both bumpers are sagging badly, as if someone used them to tie the car down during towing.

    Like 1
    • JACKinNWPA JACKinNWPA Member

      I would think that the bumpers were just bolted on loosely for the photos.

      Like 2
  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    I would love to hear what Chris at LincolnLand in Clearwater has to say about this car.

    Like 4
  8. Randy

    Looks like this one suffered a common fate. Restoration started by disassembling the engine, then abandoned. I can see no upside here at all. If you are looking for one of these, keep looking.

    Theres a detailed film on YouTube about the genesis of these cars. Made by Ford Motor PR team back in the day. I hesitate to think how much money was lost on the Continental project, but it had to rival the ill-fated Edsel.

  9. Raymond

    Thats to much work money needs spin get car in spotless shape 16 sec to 60 with 285 hp fly can out run that car

    • TimS

      Because, of course, it’s all about acceleration. You clearly have no idea what this car was built for, and what it meant to own one in its day.

      Like 10
    • TItan B

      Acceleration is not this cars job, its to provide a nice ride

      Like 2
  10. Joe

    Breaks my heart. First ever MKII I’ve seen in this condition….

    Like 6
    • theGasHole

      This is one of my all-time favorite car deigns so I feel your pain, Joe. I saw one in a Copart yard back in 2013, it was obviously a flood car (hurricane Sandy), had been hit by a tree, etc. etc. Silver with red interior, I sttill have a photo of it somewhere.

      Like 2
  11. Stephen

    Not sure how this not running basket case is in fair condition?

    Like 4
  12. Stephen

    The car is in awful shape. No where close to even running. But this is fair condition? Not for me.

    Like 4
  13. TItan B

    That does not matter. Speed and acceleration are not what a true luxury car is for. They provide a smooth and comfortable ride to the passengers, no thrills.

    Like 2
  14. TItan B

    a little overpriced for as much work as needed

    Like 1
  15. Cav427

    Looks like the crankshaft and rocker covers are no longer present in the engine block. Very sad. This does not bode well for reassembly, of those three peis are gone, how much of the bearing surfaces and cylinder walls have crusty rust on them. The motor may not be able to be saved.

    Like 3
  16. Mark Houseman

    My father had one of these in the 70s. It was beautiful. It was black with the cream interior. As far as car guys taking cars apart and then letting them sit, I have seen this for years. So I vowed on my last few cars that I bought for my retirement projects several years ago and more, not to disassemble them until I’m ready to start restoring them.

    Like 5
  17. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Most likely end up in one of those shops that bags everything adds their styling ideas and ofcourse a GM V8. Or as some are doing these days do an electric motor conversion. I doubt it will ever be brought back to original again, that would be just to easy for those guys.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  18. bull

    Great Resto-Mod Build Material!

    That’s the only way to even begin to think about spending money on rebuilding this Mark with any expectation of repayment in the future. This comes from someone who sold a 1957 resto-mod Mark BJ for a $100,000 with the buyer re-selling the same car 8 months later at the Monterey auctions for $200,000!

    Like 3
  19. DON

    Such different lines for a Ford product of the 50s . It almost has a Studebaker look to it IMHO .
    So few were made , I hope someone can bring it back again. Obviously a labor of love , but it would be a real beauty when its finished !

    Like 3
  20. Steve Thompson

    Buy it for 5-6 grand and put a Tesla motor in it – could be awesome !

    • Bob Mck Member

      I believe each wheel has a separate motor on a Tesla.

  21. Purple sky

    Where does Hagerty get these prices???? Top Flight in stock form? $100,000+???? Since when??? JMO

    Like 2
  22. Bunky

    This is a modern classic in a sad state of repair. Hopefully someone will save it- and I don’t mean by changing to a Chevy engine or (gag) electric power. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I expect that the original engine is rebuildable, and it’s common enough that parts are available.

    Like 3
  23. DuesenbergDino

    This car is sought after in the right market. Guys that own 8 million dollar Senior Classics drive these like regular weekend cars. Restoration shops can put this on the road for probably 100k which is not bad considering the work involved. We routinely had these “wives” cars in the shop along side CCCA 100 point winners.

    Like 1
  24. Robert Sykes

    0-60 was actually 10.6 seconds and the quarter mile was a tad over 17 seconds.

  25. 1-MAC

    why anyone would leave a car like this outside is beyond reason. But we see it all the time. A car like this deserves to be restored properly, no air bags, no clown car wheels, no Chevy ls motor.

    Like 3
  26. Jack Gray

    Closest I ever came to owning one of these was the MKT model I put together when I was in high school. Hmmmm, wonder what ever became of that when I went in the service in ’60.

  27. Paul

    This looks like it would be a nightmare trying to sort it all out and find all the bolts and screws for everything. You couldn’t pay me enough to take this mess on. Such a shame too as these were such stunning automobiles. I saw a silver one at the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles and it was just stunning.

    Like 1
  28. Thomas Crum

    The car deserves a decent restoration. Very few of the 1956 Mark II were built. At some point in time it will sell for a reasonable amount and a restoration will take place. It would be a pleasure to see a restored red Mark II.

    Like 2
  29. HC

    This Mark 11 was a beautiful and stunning car in its day and its such a shame that someone who didnt know what they were doing, took it apart and left her in pieces. Heartbreaking. Hopefully, someone with the money and the love can put her back together

    Like 1
  30. Howard Greenman

    This car is both rare and significant and should be restored to original. Hopefully the right person will come along.

  31. wooky

    Thing to do with this car is scrap the parts and drop in a late model engine and transmission, get it running and drivable and enjoy the head turning that it will cause

  32. HC

    Just because it came with AC means nothing if its not working. ACs on these were very problematic. That and the fact its engine has been taken apart means an updated rebuild would be the best way to go. Hopefully trans is still there to at least be rebuilt. Vintage air is usually a less complicated plan than working with the oem. These are such beautiful cars. Things of dreams.

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