Live Auctions

Les Brown’s Renowned 1956 Continental Mark II

OK, who remembers Les Brown and His Band of Renown? Well, not me exactly (I’m old but not that old) but I do remember, as a kid, when Dean Martin’s show was on the tube and Les Brown was the house band, and that’s about it for me. Nevertheless, today we have Les’ 1956 Continental Mark II for review. Located near Lompoc, California, this special Continental is available, here on craigslist for $30,000.  Thanks to Pat L. for this tip!

Only lasting two years, 1956 and 1957, total Mark II production reached just about 3K units and technically, the Continental Mark II was not a Lincoln as it was produced by Ford’s Continental Division. At the end of the 1956 model year, the Continental Division closed its doors and that being the case, the ’57 version, still labeled and marketed as Continental Mark II’s, were under the aegis of Lincoln.  Regardless of control, the Mark II is still a very impressive automobile and an example of Detroit’s can-do-it attitude that was so pervasive in the 1950s.  Originally priced in the $10K range, a huge amount of scratch in ’56, the Continental Mark II was known for its extensive quality control process and largely hand-built assembly. Unfortunately, the Mark II wasn’t destined for longevity and it was replaced in 1958 with the Continental Mark III, a car that hardly seems like a fitting replacement.

This Mark II’s hue is a bit of a chameleon as it appears to be a very dark green but changes based on the lighting and then trends more towards black. The seller advises that the paint has some blistering but it is a rust-free, lifelong California resident. With a claimed 78K miles, it certainly presents itself as a very stately automobile!

Power is provided by a 275 gross HP, 368 CI V8 engine that is claimed to “run great“. The remarkable thing seems to be how clean the engine is, it doesn’t appear to have experienced 78K miles in its 66 years of life. The three-speed automatic transmission was boldly dubbed “Turbo-Drive” by Lincoln’s engineering team.

An interesting note regarding the swanky two-tone leather upholstery is the mention of the rear seat having been reupholstered – it’s usually the front seat, for obvious reasons, that gets the redo. Suggesting that some TLC is all that is needed, the Mark II presents beautifully inside and out. The sole option available in ’56 was air conditioning and this example is in possession of that desirable option, but it’s in a non-working state, claimed to only need a recharge. That’s always a suspicious claim as a recharge, even with hard-to-find R12, is not difficult and a working A/C unit will only bolster a car’s sale. More than likely there’s a leak or two or three in the system.

So, celebrity provenance? Not really, most people today who can remember Les Brown probably wouldn’t consider him celebrity enough to glean additional value from this great automobile. I imagine that a Continental Mark II can sell itself without a personal association – what do you think on that matter?

Comments

  1. Steve Clinton

    Another example of a clean, unadorned, design that will look good forever.

    Like 40
  2. Joe Haska

    I am old enough to remember Les Brown, but who cares. I want the car no matter who owned it. If it is half as good as it looks , someone is getting a great car.

    Like 36
  3. benjy 58

    Very Nice, it’s one of Detriots best looking cars. Wish I could afford it.

    Like 12
  4. Sam Shive
    • Solosolo Solosolo Member

      Cringeworthy stuff!! To think that we used to look forward to watching programmes like that.

      Like 1
      • Robert

        Well, life was simpler and people 40 look old, there were fewer conveniences…and fewer of us.
        With less stimulation, silly shows were amusing.

        Like 5
      • Peter Storen

        Not cringeworthy at all Solosolo – I’d say ” hilarious “- with an admonition for all of us to remember the 11th Commandment : ” Thou shalt not take thineself too seriously “.

        Like 3
  5. Rodney - GSM

    Thanks Les for not wrapping it around a tree on a late night return home from an exhausting show. Are there any 78rpm records in the trunk?
    I would love to take a “Sentimental Journey” in this beautiful car…

    Like 11
  6. Fred W

    Usually when you see these for sale they are parts cars, one step above a parts car, or rotisserie perfection. Very little in between like this one. Probably a great deal for someone who just wants to drive it and dream they are Dean or Les.

    Like 20
  7. ed the welder

    First time I’ve ever seen a green one . I LOVE it .

    Like 16
  8. A.G.

    Why would Lester ‘Les’ Brown’s car have a plaque engraved with ‘Lee Brown?’

    Like 6
    • normadesmond

      Excellent question! I checked Wikipedia, he was born Lester. Maybe this was just some wealthy man or woman named Lee Brown & the seller thought making Lee “Les” would garner more $$?

      Like 2
      • 86_Vette_Convertible

        Agree that the tag doesn’t line up with the statements being made. Where’s the documentation to back up the claim?
        The car looks good but the claim brings much into question.

        Like 3
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Probably a misunderstanding like “John” Voight’s LeBaron…

      JO

      Like 10
    • Steve Clinton

      “Lee”, “Les”…who cares. I WANT IT!

      Like 7
  9. JimmyinTEXAS

    I think Mr. Lee Brown had a very nice car. I wish I had the cash and space to grab this.

    Like 4
  10. chrlsful

    I stay away from anything w/provenance. Not worth the extra to me. But WoW, really nice !
    The frenched hdlghts, those valve covers and the flow thru air? The seats’n dash, how the exhaust leaves motor & heads on back?…I hear they lost $ on every car produced…1st gen (bent 12, i8, bulge-mobile body stylin), this (small), this & 4th (Kennedy Limo) sure were fine.

    Like 2
  11. fran

    WOW, Lincoln could have kicked ass, and they chose not to….or was it the bean counters….

    Like 1
  12. David Frank David Frank Member

    There’s a tall local fellow with a large collection of micro cars. When asked which of his cars is the most difficult to get in, he’ll tell you it is his Continental Mark II. The “dog leg” makes it almost as difficult as a Ford Model A.

    Like 4
  13. Jeff

    I own a white Mark II and it is a stunning car but the color of this one makes it even better. If it truly is a California rust free car this is a very good price. If anything these cars have lost value in the last five years so now might be the time to get a decent one like this.

    Like 6
  14. JAMES HOMER COOK

    I am 82 yrs old and have never heard the term “dog Leg” as it pertains to a car. Can you explain?

    Thanks

    Like 2
    • Jeff

      James. The dogleg is the area where the wrap around windshield juts out into the door opening. When you enter or exit the car the dogleg is in the way. Not that bad once you get used to it

      Like 3
      • Solosolo Solosolo Member

        In the case of a Model A Ford it must be the part where your hip rests against once you actually manage to get into it. I had a 1930 Phaeton for about 3 weeks before I sold the horrible thing. I found an embroiderer at Hershey Fall Meet in 1989 and had him embroider on the back of my shirt, “I would rather push a Chev than drive a Model A.” It went down well at my Veteran Car Club of SA monthly meets with the Ford gang I can assure you, and I’m a FORD man! Great fun.

        Like 3
    • Patrick M Anderson

      My uncle’s ’58 Ford Pickup had this feature. I speared my kneecap on it many times.

      Like 2
    • Peter Storen

      James, I am only 79 , and as I recall , this ” kneecapping ” design feature ( or flaw , certainly for anyone with long legs ) existed from 1955-60 on most Detroit cars . I guess you were fortunate like me and lost interest in post-1954 designs until the entry-exit process became more user-friendly !

      Like 2
  15. wayne wright

    I am going to leave a comment that most of you will not believe. But 20+ years ago when I was restoring some vehicles I had a couple of Marks and was asked to bring them to the upper panhandle of Texas to sell them I did and was shocked at what was there. Now the rest of the story, This gentleman was a retired Lincoln dealer a struck oil on his ranch, so decided to preserve the Mark history by building a museum in its honor. He had a new one { 1957] IN 1997 in the bldg along with 50+ more used ones. Enough to blow anybodies mind. All of the above is documented and is true Wayne Wright. I was there and pulled the cars up there from Cleburne,TEXAS.

    Like 9
    • jeff

      The man’s name was JC Daniels in Tampa TX and he owned a Lincoln dealership until 1962 then entered the oil business. I don’t know the exact number, but he had over 400 Lincolns, and many, many Mark II’s in his collection when he died. They had an auction and sold off all of the cars. Some of the Mark II’s were in good shape, some were parts cars but all sold.

      Like 5
      • wayne wright

        jeff Thanks for verifying my post. Yes JC and I had a good visit. Most of the good cars were in the bldg. His office was in a barn/shed outside. Nice guy. What happened to the supposed Zero miles Mark11.??? This website is very hard to navigate. I think.

        Like 2
  16. JAMES HOMER COOK

    Thanks Jeff. I now know what I didn’t like about some cars.

  17. Bunky

    Les Brown was indeed a well known celebrity- Lee Brown, not so much. Making an obviously false claim casts doubt on all the representations made by the seller. Why would BaT promote such an obvious con? Buyer beware.

    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Maybe that plaque says “Lee” Brown and maybe something else – the third letter is hard to make out.

      Regardless, as stated by Steve Clinton, does it really matter? Sure, there should be truth in advertising and documentation should be provided. Nevertheless, while there is no proof that it was owned by Les Brown, there’s none that it wasn’t and one can’t call out a seller without proof of their supposition.

      The price for this car, in this condition, is quite reasonable – it’s doubtful that prior ownership has any effect on its market value.

      I have reviewed thousands of cars, literally, and the caveat of “Buyer Beware” should apply to each and everyone, especially when purchased online and not inspected personally or by a representative.

      Thx,

      JO

      Like 6
  18. Patrick

    Les Brown was also the band for Bob Hope!

    Like 2
  19. 4501 Safari Member

    Maybe I am wrong but every AC equipped MK II I’ve seen had the scoops on top of the rear fenders closer to the end of the roof. I’d like to see more of the engine…

    Like 1
    • Jeff

      4501 Safari: there was a point in the manufacture of the car where even the AC cars went without the scoops on the rear quarters. Instead, for fresh air to the AC they ran a hose from the front of the car through the rocker panels. I personally like the scoops on the side.

      Like 3
  20. trav66

    Must have sold, posting deleted. I’m not surprised as these are very valuable in this condition. Someone got a great deal! This design would be a good candidate for the new/retro cars like the Challengers, Mustangs and Camaros. Plenty of room for airbags and other safety equipment.

  21. Tyler

    Weren’t these cars double or triple this price just 10 years ago? Seems like one more thing pre 65 the price is bottoming out on.

  22. Winesmith

    Scoops = 1956
    No scoops= 1957

    • al8apex

      Early 56’s had the scoops

      My father was the hvac engineer on this car. He found that the scoops (all cars used them in the early/mid 50’s) were not effective

      Killer price on this car

      I expect this to be flipped for profit

      Like 1
  23. Mountainwoodie

    Beautiful color for this marque. I usually see them in white. Now if it only played ‘Tiny Bubbles” out the grille………

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