Live Auctions

Original And Untouched: 1957 Lincoln Premiere

Lincoln was making quite the fashion statement in the ’50s! Last week we covered their very exclusive Continental Mark II and today, thanks to Barn Finds’ own Adam Clark, we have a 1957 Lincoln Premiere two-door hardtop for review. This “styling standout” is located in Madera, California and is available, here on craigslist for $10,000.

While Lincolns ended up with JuJu eyeballs starting in ’58 and continuing through ’60, the ’57 Premiere didn’t go quite that far. The fenders developed a hooded headlight look, but the headlights themselves retained a verticle over-under arrangement. Overall, it’s a sort of restrained look, but not entirely as the taillights seem larger than runway warners but the enclosing fins are moderate in their height. It’s an amalgam of styles that actually work.

Proclaimed to be a solid example, this Lincoln isn’t without a bit of wasting away syndrome as the seller states, “Now for the rust, these cars are common for tons of rust especially under driver side floorboard as they placed the heater core there and a terrible design which always got rusted out. Also, battery box which is placed on passenger side floorboard. Spare tire in the trunk area on the bottom portion. Which for me rust isn’t an issue and an easy fix for me. This one has those areas of rust and other than that solid from what I’ve seen so far as I hadn’t got into really inspecting it“. Translation: This one’s going to need quite a bit of metalwork. That said, the body panels, trim, and bumpers still show pretty well.

The 300 HP, 368 CI V8 engine has been dormant for some time now – it’s dusty enough to qualify as an archeological dig. The seller advises that the engine has “low spark” so it’s going to need some ignition work – at the very least. Apparently, the brakes are on the fritz too. As with the Continental Mark II, this Lincoln, when running, relies on a “Turbo-Drive” automatic transmission.

We grouse about black or gray monotone interiors today but that’s not how things were in the ’50s. Not only were vibrant colors in vogue, two-tone combos, like this Premiere’s black and red fabric and leather mash-up, were also very popular. From what can be seen, the seating upholstery and door panels show pretty well but there’s something way out of wack with that dash pad. One option prominently promoted for ’57 Lincolns was seatbelts though this example doesn’t appear to be so equipped.

The seller concludes his listing with, “I had planned to build a new frame on air-ride, redo the flooring to accommodate for the body drop and do a coyote swap. I do high-end restorations for a living and no longer have the time to mess with this one“. So, his not wanting to mess with this Lincoln opens up an opportunity for someone new to mess with it; interested?


  1. Todd J. Member

    For me, the ’56 is better looking, I’m not crazy about the fins they added for the 1957 model year. Having said that, I always thought these were classy-looking cars and to see a nicely restored one is a treat.

    Like 6
    • MikeH

      That rear bumper is one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen on a car. I thought that in1957 and still do.

      Like 3
      • Ted-M

        Think that it was for continental kit, the spare tire is missing!

      • GitterDunn

        The rear bumper had to be that size so the points of those long tail fins would be protected in case you backed into something. Given that, I think their styling department actually did a damn nice job on it.

  2. Steve Clinton

    It looks good. Just don’t look underneath it.

    Like 13
  3. Joe Haska

    I am on the same page as the seller. The rust is the issue and that would dictate how would build it. The easiest way first if it is as the seller thinks I would do that. If worse some sort of custom frame, art Morrison / roadster shop. Yes it could be expensive and no I would restore it. There’s you opening you can all scream and yell about destroying this iconic car. I f making it a fantastic driver quality care is considered that. SORRY

    Like 4
  4. Todd Fitch Staff

    Nice find, Jim / Adam! The ’57 Premiere is one of my favorites and I hope to own one some day. On a good day $9000 will buy a never-restored driver. Restomod or stock, I’d back whatever gets it on the road.

    Like 7
  5. Mike

    Lincoln was so far ahead of everybody else. They put 5mph bumpers on their cars 16 years before they were mandatory.

    Like 7
  6. Bob C.

    Stacked headlights for 1957? Lincoln was looking ahead. Much better looking than their 1958 to 60 models IMO.

    Like 6
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Bob, The lower lamp was not part of a quad leadlight setup, it’s a smaller fog lamp. Note the upper lights are the regular size [larger] 2-headlight arrangement.

      Like 3
      • Bob C.

        Thank you Bill. Kind of what Plymouth did in 57 with the inner being a turn signal, then becoming a high beam for 58.

        Like 3
  7. Bultaco

    If the frame is actually solid (a huge if) and assuming the engine is free, it might be possible to clean it up, fix the floors, get it running, recommission everything, and drive it as it is. Probably not worth a full restoration, and the world has enough tacky resto mods.

    Like 11
  8. losgatos_dale

    One extra zero, and Mr. High-end Resto knows it.

    Like 3
  9. S

    Gosh – this IS a find. How many of these are around at all, let alone an original one? Quite a beautiful car! But the rust!! This guy says rust isn’t an issue for him. For most people it is. He should fix it if it’s no big deal for him.

    Like 6
  10. Tman

    I can’t imagine how hot the floor got with the heater core there. That rear bumper must weigh more than 500 lbs.not to mention the damage it was able to do if you rear ended it.
    The battery box under the seat is no surprise. My Chevy Traverse has the battery under the backseat floor

    Like 3
  11. DeeBee

    All it needs is an old Russian apparatchick in the back seat!

    Like 2
    • Mountainwoodie

      Where is my Zil?

      Like 2
  12. Greg

    Like the looks, but it hasn’t run for how many years ? And for that price, that’s not even realistic.

    Like 4
  13. GitterDunn

    That’s got to be the rustiest, rottenest-looking undersides I have ever seen on a California car. But aside from that, it sure is (potentially) a thing of beauty! I’d have to go with the “resto-mod” idea on this one – fully original appearance in and out, but updates and improvements underneath. $10,000.00 seems awfully optimistic, though.

    Like 2
  14. Larry D

    I love those Batman fins on ’57 Lincolns.

    Like 1
  15. John Member

    Geez, at least they cod have washed or at least hosed it off, lazy. the front bumpers weren’t light weights either.
    Didn’t Studebaker put heaters under the passenger side seat back in the day?? think I had a 48 Commander W/that.

    Like 1
  16. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    The ’57 Lincoln has always been a favorite of mine. Those bumpers, front and rear, could really do some damage. There was a place in N.J., back in the 80s where I used to buy antiques and they had a pink one out in front.
    I, personally would like to keep it original, but. I can see a restomod with updated engine, brakes, radials and such. But this one needs power windows.
    As for all the comments on the ’58 through ’60, those were more than land yachts, they were battleships! Love them too.

    Like 4
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Angel, Take a closer look at the photos with the doors open, you can see the power window switches, it’s also got a power seat and the first driver’s remote control for the outside mirror, located on the driver’s door.

      But for me, a luxury car of the late 1950s has to have factory A/C or it’s a deal breaker. 50 years ago I had no problem driving an unairconditioned car in the mid-Atlantic tropical summers, but today I gotta have my air conditioning!

      Over the years I’ve had people in adjacent cars [usually during hot summer days while sitting in stopped traffic], who ask me how I can drive my vintage 1950s cars in hot weather with the windows up, and they are amazed to learn the car had working factory air conditioning!

      Like 2
  17. Harold S

    Back in the 60’s as a kid, a friend of mine his dad had a car lot. We use to wash cars for his Dad. I remember one just like this 57 and it was Black too. It had Black and White interior. I really liked that car and wished I was old enough to buy it but I was not. My Dad would not pop for it either, This is the only one I have ever seen like the one back then. I say do the work on it and drive it. Not many are around like it.

    Like 2
  18. steve

    Such a shame that someone has let this beauty turn into a RUST BUCKET!!!!

    Like 1
  19. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    There is a Youtube video just recently released, it covered a huge vintage car collection near Austin TX. The owner bought hundreds of cars in the 1950s to about 1970. He built corrugated metal sheds to store the cars, and there were acres of sheds, typically housing 10 cars, each with it’s own garage door.

    Based on the video, the man had dementia, and his wife, who hated the cars, had a salvage company come in and crush most of the cars. One of the few cars not crushed was a white and pale green 1957 Lincoln Premiere 2-door hardtop like this featured car. I suspect one of the reasons it was saved was because it had factory A/C, as evidenced by the external air scoops in the rear quarters.

    It was so sad to watch the video as car after car, some quite rare and worth far more than scrap value, were loaded into a crusher, and watch numerous 1930s to 1950 cars flattened and loaded onto flatbed trucks. From Fords and Plymouths, to Cadillacs and Packards, they were reduced to 11 cents a pound.

    Like 2
    • MikeH

      She probably hated him as well as the cars. That story reminds me of a guy that had 3 Hudsons and a barn full of NOS Hudson parts. He died and I had a friend who was interested in the parts. Trying to be courteous, he waited a week before calling the widow. Cars and parts were already gone. She hired a couple of guys with a truck and they took the parts to the dump. Within a week she had cleaned out every trace of the man. Don’t remember what happened to the cars.

  20. Miminite

    We had a couple of ’56s when I was growing up. Gone by the time I got my DL, so never got to drive either. I think Dad got these as they were cheap used family transportation in the days of sub-30 cent a gallon gas.

    My oldest brother (by 6 yrs) did get to drive the 2nd/black one as sort of a first car. This car wasn’t “fast” but it would go pretty good once you got a head of steam and the weight moving. I remember one time he was going fast on the country road where we lived and couldn’t get it stopped via the old power drum brakes and went a good distance beyond our driveway and had to turn around up the road.

    I actually like the fins on this one, so 50s! It’s not something I can take on, but if I had the room and resources, surely would look at it closer.

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