Missed Mark: 1956 Continental Mk II

How does a car that was once very expensive and exclusive, end up in such a state? From jaw dropper to swept under the rug in a matter of 60 years. This was the Ford Motor Company’s 1956 piece de resistance. How and why did it become a Christine? Find this Mark II here on craigslist in Chino, California for $16K.

Wanting to steal GM’s Cadillac thunder, Ford pulled out all the stops to try and create the finest American made vehicle possible. The 1956 Continental Mark II featured handsome, de-cluttered styling and were almost entirely hand built. They featured Lincoln and European design ques, were priced higher than the competition (yet still lost money on each one sold), and were conceived to appeal to titans of industries and celebrities alike. And yet this one looks like it was sentenced to life in warehouse hell.

Dirty, dented, torn, and corroded are not how the Continental Division of Ford imagined their beautiful Marks would end up. Seller states rust on the lower portion of the body, which doesn’t bode well for the unseen chassis. Inside, the Bridge of Weir leather does not look like it is up for anymore crossings. Other than a disintegrated dashboard, all controls and trim look complete. These even had a standard tachometer! A nice touch is the desirable option of integral A/C with ducts in the ceiling. Better wear a fedora!

More than likely the new for ‘56 368 V8 isn’t moving this personal luxury car anytime soon. Built to exacting standards, they were known for quietness and smooth power. This one still retains one of those qualities! The trunk looks like it had been wet before storage. A restoration won’t be easy, and the asking price isn’t helping things. Is this Mark best left to whither away and donate what’s left? Or does it deserve to ride high in April, not shot down in May?


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    At least it wasn’t left outside.

    Like 1
  2. Peter S.R. Member

    “missing Linc.?…”


    It is absolutely worth emptying your wallet to restore this grand sled.
    That being said…let’s get real with the asking price. I got 5 grand laying around.
    Don’t whine…just take my money.

    Like 1
  4. Fred W.

    Wonder why you see so many of these in this condition?

    • Brad C

      Good question, Fred – when I think about the generation that bought these, and the tastes and styles of the intervening times (i.e. my grandparents… to my boomer parents, and now me in my 40s) this doesn’t really have a following like most 1950s cars – and the muscle cars of the 60s that followed.

      No fins, not dripping with chrome, no grumbling Hemi. It’s almost too understated to have been appreciated by a wider audience. It’s hard to believe this was made the same year as the garish, ubiquitous ’57 Chevy. This vehicle is an adult’s car, compared with that caricature.

    • Bull


      Big ole car that was only worth $500 by the mid 1960’s and even less in the early 1970’s when gas doubled from $0.30/gallon to $0.60/gallon. These cars were good scrape fodder when scrape was $10-$20/ton cuz they are HEAVY!

      Obviously some folks decided to keep em and throw in the barn for another day and another dream that never happened.

      That’s what make a good story and a real “Barn Find”!!!!

      Given the current day value of restored & perfect original Mark II’s and the cost of restoration on a Mark II in this condition this Mark II could be FREE and you could still not afford to restore it much less pay the seller’s eye popping asking price and then try to restore the car!

    • Bill McCoskey

      Fred: Spare parts for this car can incredibly expensive. Wheel covers in decent condition are around $1,000 each. Within 10 years Ford Motor Company wished the remaining cars would go away. Unlike older FOMOCO cars like the T-Bird & Mustang, there was zero long-term factory support for the cars due in part to just how rare they are. Plus, most of the parts didn’t interchange with other FOMOCO products. When the cars were worth very little in the 1970s, but the repairs were costing a fortune, people simply parked their cars or even junked them.

    • George B Member

      I have seen two or three rot to bits

      These cars are beautiful, but hideously expensive to restore.

      Unfortunately, they don’t command the kind of pricing that makes Restoration economically viable

      Oh, and before anyone says it: this is not a Lincoln. It was made by the Continental division of the Ford Motor Company

  5. On and On On and On Member

    “Warehouse Hell’……….I like that term.

    Like 1
  6. Calvin T.

    4g and a butt kicking, final offer.

  7. Grid Michal Member

    A posting 10/30 had a ’57 for something like $2500 . That seemed to be more realistic for the condition both cars were in. Even Ii the floors were rotten in the ’57 (a New England certainty) you ought to be able to resurrect them for a lot less than the purchase price difference plus transportation from CA.

    Like 1
  8. Brad C

    Looks like a little brass tag on the transmission hump. I wonder if it’s a custom nameplate or something of the original owner. My grandpa would always personalize his Lincolns with his initials on the door near the handle… and a little brass plaque on the glove compartment.

    Like 1
  9. Mel Shuman

    These were always a favorite of mine because of their understated elegance. I once drove one in good running order and the performance was refined and understated also, offering most of the power down low, not much up top. Still like them, but restoration costs for a rough car will dwarf the finish value unless you donate most of the labor and do well remanufacturing damaged parts. At 10K to 12K maybe, but a physical inspection may reduce that figure. If this was a good deal, it would already be gone. Another risk is price over time since the people that remember these cars are going extinct, so future value growth may lessen.

  10. RicK

    I’d like to know more about the ’56 F-100

  11. ACZ

    Sometimes you have to just turn and walk away.

    Like 1
  12. Jesper

    It look better than the last one we saw in here. For 2800$ the black one from last week could be a parts car, for this one. But 16,000$ ??
    Better give a bit more, and get something there can move under own power.
    But a nice car it was. Yessss

  13. scottymac

    What people from California, and what people from the Midwest call rust are two different things. Besides the trunk, I would want see more of the doors and fenders. Doesn’t really look like much is missing, but the ask seems high.

    Like 1
  14. Grid Michal Member

    Scottymac: very well put.

    Like 1
  15. Paul

    Interesting car, I would like to see it fully restored! (as long as didn’t have to pay for it). I don’t see it ever being worth even half of what the restoration cost would be…however most cars are not worth as much as the cost to restore them. I hope someone else saves it.

  16. Maestro1 Member

    It’s a $5000.00 car maybe and not worth restoring. The expense involved would be simply unrealistic.

    Like 1
  17. Maestro1 Member

    I forgot: There’s a Cadillac convertible project in one picture as well as a Lincoln Mark III. Either one certainly more worthy of dollars. I think the Mark II has gone too far. But they were wonderful cars.

  18. Mike Williams

    Ford lost more money on the Continental than it did on the Edsel, but at least on the Edsel they learned enough about advertising that when applied to the Mustang it became a hugh success.

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