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Rare Luxury: 1956 Continental Mark II

When Ford decided to produce a successor to Edsel Ford’s incredibly beautiful Lincoln Continental, they set their sights higher than even the Lincoln Division. Ford decided to create a Continental Division that would eventually have a whole range of ultra-luxury American cars. Unfortunately, the division never produced more than 3,005 Continental Mark IIs, one of which is being sold here on craigslist out of Mulino, Oregon. Largely hand-built, these cars went through the strictest of quality control to justify their exorbitant price tag. While it was said that Lincoln lost almost $1,000 Eisenhower era dollars on each one produced, this very solid and complete Continental could be a current bargain at a $9,700 asking price. The only problem is that the windshield is missing! Thanks to Ikey H. for this fifties find!

This is a big problem.  A quick search of the internet revealed no source for reproduction windshields for the Continental Mark II. I hope for the buyer’s sake I am incorrect. However, my guess is that this is one of the reasons this car is being sent down the road before work proceeds any further. The only realistic source would be a parts car windshield. The problem is that these cars weren’t produced in large enough numbers to make finding a parts car an easy proposition.

This big snag is a major letdown, as this is a fundamentally sound car. According to the seller, the car only has a few dings. We can see from the pictures that the panels are in good shape and any rust that may have been present was likely dealt with before the car was primed.  All of the chrome is said to be with the car and in good condition as well. The only major body problem is in the rear bumper.  There are some dings and rust to contend with. The services of a chroming shop on a piece this big could be costly.

Looking underneath, this Continental is remarkably free of rust in the pans and frame rails.  Some of these cars ended up with rust problems that were expensive to repair.  The general condition of the underside and body makes me wonder if this car should have been left together and just cleaned up…

The space-age interior of this Continental appears to be complete and in very restorable shape.  Even the leather seats have survived in decent condition.  There was only one option available on these cars, and that was air conditioning.  There is no mention of this in the ad.  Perhaps an eagle-eyed reader can look at these controls and tell us if this car was so equipped.

Power for this 5,000 lb. cruisers came from a 368 cubic inch “Y-block” V-8.  This engine produced 285 horsepower and a whopping 405 lb-ft of torque.  All of that power was channeled through a three-speed automatic transmission.  The seller tells us that the engine we see in the photo above was freshened up years ago, and it turns over by hand with no rough spots.  Bear in mind that there are many definitions for “freshened up.”

Whoever buys this Lincoln has two big problems on their hands. The first is the windshield dilemma. Second is putting the puzzle back together again. The seller has all of the parts and pieces, and many of them appear to have been stripped and primed. Some appear to have been restored. You would almost need to find a parts car for both a windshield and as a pattern for reassembly.  When you were all done, you’d have a very nice car to cruise around in. You’d also be out a lot of money. There are stories out there about how expensive it is to restore one of these hand-built showpieces. Do you think this car is worth all the effort?


  1. Arthell64

    Between finding parts and the cost this would be a tough car to restore.

    Like 6
  2. canadainmarkseh

    First of all they want to much for this car considering the agony your going to go through to get this back together. My first thought is there has to be a ford windshield out there from around the same year that is close. And with some trimming and tweaking could be made to fit. It’s possible the windshield that fits this is also used in something else. Option 2 would be to get something close and modify the opening to fit. Once fitted buy a spare. Without doing this first there is no sense going any further with the restoration. In my opinion because if this problem I’d value this car much lower say $4500.00 and ten years of your life building it.

    Like 3
    • Andy

      Look at other FoMoCo cars next to this and you can see it’s totally unique. The rest had either fully vertical or back swept A pillars, and all but the Lincolns were noticably smaller. In fact the shape of the windshield helps to make this car as timeless as it is. This car makes a perfect case for figuring out how to 3D print a windshield.

      Like 11
      • r s

        I’m not sure if it’s possible to 3D print something that big that needs to be optically transparent…

        Like 1
    • Paul

      Mark II Continental windshields are one model, 2 years only.
      That alone could be a deal breaker for this car.

      Like 0
  3. Gaspumpchas

    Getting glass for some of these old cars is getting to be a problem. It took me almost a year to get the ‘shield for my 57 ranchero. I’m with Canada and Andy-
    surely there must be something out there; I’d ask someone with the Lincoln Continental owners club- LCOC. I remember seeing one of these on the top of the debris heap after Hurricane Agnes hit Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Good luck to the new owner! Heck, they made a windshield once!!!

    Like 4
  4. That Guy

    It’s a seemingly minor detail, but the hubcaps are also not correct. I say “seemingly” because like everything else on these cars, the wheelcovers were handmade works of art, and getting replacements could be even more difficult than a windshield.

    This car is a gamble. If it’s almost complete and everything is in good condition, it could be a fairly straightforward restoration. A parts car with hubcaps and a windshield would be a good thing to have though.

    Like 3
  5. Michael

    I don’t think you could legally modify another windshield to fit. It would likely distort the glass. The reason ( in Australia at least ) they outlawed buffing of them.

    Like 1
    • PeterfromOz

      Micheal, who ‘óutlawed’ buffing? I used to work in one of the Oz State registration Authorities and we never had such a rule no did we ever get asked about buffing.

      Like 0
  6. Dominick Toscano

    You can obtain a repo windshield in either green tint and clear, from Jack Rosen, the CEO of Mark II enterprises, same with the wheel covers he may have them used !

    Like 0

    There was an episode on Wheeler Dealers where Mike found a guy in Cali that custom made windshields from a warehouse full of existing ones. I’m sure he could do one.

    Like 7
  8. Barney

    These cars should be rare today based on the number built but they are not. I’ve seen several of them. I have a friend that had one in his back yard. They make really cool customs.

    Like 1
    • Dominick Toscano

      Many parts for the MKII,s are available used,rebuilt,and repro,.Jack Rosen CEO of MKII Enterprises has repro,windshield,green tinted,or clear!

      Like 6
  9. Roby Ballard

    I think the Mark II windshields are the same ones used on the Lincoln Premieres of the same years [56-57]. I think Sedan and Coupe are same but convertible is unique.

    Providing this in case any of the readers are interested.

    Like 0
  10. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. Assuming that all the parts are there and and available, I can see this being a great restoration project.

    Like 2
  11. Purple sky

    If you’re looking for an investment this is the wrong one. I have a friend I am restoring one of these for. With the value of these cars, after all the costs of a restoration you’d be better off buying one finished. You’d probably be upside down in this 3 times.. 1957’s are more valuable due to half year production since Ford pulled the plug on them in 1957..

    Like 3
    • JP

      You’re almost always upside down on restorations unless you do the bulk of the work yourself. Usually better to buy someone else’s money pit (after the pit is full, of course).

      Like 3
      • Wishful Thinking

        Well said JP! Bang on. I’ve been restoring vintage cars for myself as a hobby / personal challenge / passion spanning the past 45+ years. Despite doing the majority of work myself, I can say without hesitation I’ve never sold a car for close to what I have invested in it, let alone the value of thousands of hours of work, shop space, insurance, electricity, etc.

        I agree with canadainmarkseh (above) Despite what seems like a low number, this 1956 MkII project car was only worth $4,500. as is. No doubt someone paid a lot more for it — too much.

        The out-of-pocket cost to fully restore this car is easily $50,000. In 2020, these sell for less than that. If you want to own / drive one, save yourself years of work and just buy one done for $40,000.

        Like 1
  12. Peter B Member

    Unfortunately, this car looks like it may have been a parts car already. One would need to know what parts the owner still has.

    Like 1
  13. stillrunners

    Haven’t we’ve seen a lot of MarkII parts cars right here on BF ?

    Like 2
  14. Andrew Franks

    Among other things the handles for the controls in underneath the dashboard are absent and impossible to find, very expensive when done so.
    It’s true that most of the car is available in the aftermarket and Dominic was generous in providing a source for a windshield. It’s a tough restoration, and the person who commented that you can buy a nice car for probably less than restoring this one is probably right. The issue is, would anybody take it on to save the car. They were monumental in their time, and a gutsy chance for Ford to take.

    Like 0
    • JP

      I’m sure someone would, but not at the asking price. Problem is, these days everyone who has a car more than 20 years old thinks they’re sitting on a priceless classic. While this one does qualify, condition still matters, although nowadays no one seems to believe that.

      Like 3
  15. Del

    Unless this is reassembled , he will not get 2 grand.

    Asking price for this jig saw puzzle is not silly. its stupid

    Like 4
  16. Miguel

    This is the only car left on my dream car list, but I have to get one in perfect condition or pretty close.

    It kills me to see once luxury cars in this condition.

    Like 0
  17. TimM

    Really hard car to find parts for because of the limited number of them made!!! Great car nevertheless!!! I hope it is saved because there weren’t very many made!! It’s kind of a double edge sword!!!

    Like 0
  18. Thomas

    I know where there is a parts car in the Detroit area for this Continental. Tom

    Like 0
  19. Daniel Brooks

    Unless you have lots of money to throw away, are really really bored and have all the free time in the world it’s best left as a parts car.

    Like 0

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