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Lincoln Continental Convertibles of the 1960's

parmparm Posts: 723
edited July 8 in Bentley
In talking to a classic Cadillac owner who's also a Lincoln owner, he asked if I'd ever considered a 1960's Lincoln Continental convertible.

I told him I had, but not seriously like I have Cadillacs. However, he got me thinking and the "wheels in my head" (they're small) started to turn ever so slowly.

So, rather than jump into the deep end, I thought it best to start in the "baby pool" with regard to building my personal knowledge base on this marque.

Therefore, I'm turning to you folks, my cavalcade of classic car experts, as my initial foray into this marque. In terms of this forum discussion, I'd like to learn about '66-'67 Continental convertibles, but I'm certainly open to hearing about other years as well.

So, at the risk of being "shunned" by the Edmunds flock for excessive waffling, I'd appreciate any comments about Continentals of the 60's, but would prefer specific advice/input on 66-67's.

I'll probably also pick brochures on Ebay for 66-67 Continentals. I'm pretty sure '67 was the last year for the Continental convertible.

According to some price guides, it looks like the value of a 66-67 Continental convertible is generally less (by $2K to $5K) than a 62-64 Cadillac convertible (my favorite years) even when compared to an Eldorado. So, one could make the argument that by going Continental, I'd get more car for the money.

But, is this a car I want more of?


  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    Is there a reason (other than styling) that you prefer the '66-67 over the '61-65? I like the styling on both, the '66-67s are generally a bit cheaper. Do know that they are GIGANTIC cars (221 inches long, 5500 pounds, which is about 800 pounds heavier than a '62 Eldo) and that the top mechanism is beyond complicated. I'm guessing a suuuper nice convertible should be around $15k. I probably wouldn't touch a needy example, they're not cheap to restore.
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    I don't car for the styling of the 61-65's. But, I do like the 66-67 models. Yeah, these things are huge. At 221 inches, they're almost identical in length to a '62 Eldorado (222 inches).

    Anybody know how much trunk space is available when the convertible top is down? Do you have to use the mechanism to open the trunk or is there a separate conventional pop-up trunk deck?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,849
    ...are the '62-64. I didn't care too much for the '61's grille...has that T-bird-era "peakiness" to it. And the '65 just has kind of a cheap, pretentious look to it. More like a Mercury or Chrysler than a Lincoln.

    Not sure about the convertible's trunk room, but here's a pic of a '65 sedan's trunk...

    It's kinda hard to tell from a pic, but it doesn't really look like there's a whole lot of room in there. The car looks like it should have a lot of room, but because it's so low-slung, stuff like the suspension, sub-frame rails, gas tank, etc are going to intrude into trunk space. I'm guessing the spare tire would have to go down in that well for the 'vert, taking up even more room.

  • parmparm Posts: 723
    The convertible "Flair Bird" (64-66 T-Birds) had nearly zero useable trunk space when the top was folded down. I would think buyers of a Lincoln convertible would demand some useable trunk space with the top down.

    Does anyone know if the only access to the trunk was via the power rear lid apparatus or was there also a pop-up trunk thus allowing more conventional trunk access. I suspect the former is true.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ...the trunk was 'normally' accessible (via rear opening with regular hinges).
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    In his book, Lincoln and Continental 1946-1980: the Classic Postwar Years, Paul Woundenburg has this to say about the convertible's trunk: "The convertible's trunk was nearly useless with the top down and extremely awkward for loading with the top up. Side loading over the fenders was difficult with luggage and it was nearly impossible to reach the spare tire."

    A bigger concern is the mechanical complexity of these cars. The top mechanism requires eleven relays, motors and switches. (Ford probably used a lot of the technology and engineering from the 1957-59 Skyliners.) The rear door glass automatically lowers six inches when the door is opened to clear the convertible top. The power window motors were sealed in rubber at the factory.

    These cars are beautiful - I especially like the 1961 with its Thunderbird-like grille - but undoubtedly a nightmare to restore. They are probably considerably more complicated than Cadillac or Imperial convertibles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,413
    One of the best looking post WW II American cars ever made, hands down (my other favorite for beauty is the '65 Corvair hardtop coupe). From 1964 on, however, the Lincoln convert got messier and messier, and became a grotesque car eventually after the convertible was dropped.


  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    No wonder the Lincoln ragtop was dropped in 1967, right?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,413
    Yes, '67, I think that's right. Sometimes the convertible of a car looks better than the hardtop, and vice-versa. In this case, the 60s convertible Lincolns were in my opinion by far the more handsome, as they cut the cars height and bulky slab-sided look.


  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    The Continental convertible wasn't made after 1967 (which was the lowest production year for the 'vert, at 2276 units). I also saw (at Volo Auto Museum) a '66 Cadillac 4-door convertible, which GM was supposedly considering for production until Ford's decision to discontinue the Continental convertible.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,413
    Good move to cancel it. 4-door convertibles are an old fashioned style, going back to the idea of the "phaeton". 4 doors and convertible are almost a contradiction in terms to a modern buyer.


  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,603
    I would proceed with great caution...these cars can be real pigs. I agree with Shifty...they are one of the best looking cars of all times both sedans and convertables.

    They can be mechanical nightmares however and handle horribly. The front suspensions are troublesome and the electricals are worse.

    Kinda like the T-Birds of that era only worse.

    GM offerings were MUCH better in those years.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,413
    Yeah, you need to do a lot of sorting out of factory sloppiness and poor engineering.

    But there are websites that tell you most of the nightmares and how to go about correcting them. When you get them squared away, they are a real crowd pleaser. Handsome car, the early ones I mean.


  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    These were some of my favorite cars when they were new, especially the convertibles. Not only were they some of the best looking, most elegant cars on the road but the four-door convertible was a real novelty.

    I like the first year the best, with the Thunderbird front end. It's a surprisingly sporty look although it probably doesn't blend with the rest of the car as well as the later more formal front end.

    Perry Mason drove one, the ultimate product endorsement in those days.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,413
    No wonder the front suspension suffered!


  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    in those springy 55 Buicks! I bet they sagged to the left as he drove off.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,603
    The 1961's were the first and the worst of the bunch. It didn't take a Raymond Burr to quickly wear out the front suspension bushings, shafts and ball joints. The power steering gearboxes were a miserable problam area too.

    I remember the exhaust manifolds would crack and were a real PITA to replace.

    The more I think about it the more nightmares I remember with the 61-67 Lincolns.

    Still...they were classy looking, no doubt about that.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Speaking of exhaust manifolds, the Lincoln 430 was kind of an odd engine. Like the 348-409 the combustion chamber was contained in the piston crown, not machined into the cylinder head. A good engine by late '50s standards--lots of cubes, big ports and valves--but really heavy. There was a factory three deuce set-up available on the '58 Mercury 410. There was also a 383 version that was standard on the top line Mercs.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,603
    I remember as a kid working in a gas station, we had a customer with a '58 Mercury Wagon that had the three two barrel carbs. I was impressed at the time but the car was a piece of junk that we hated to work on.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I wonder why both GM and Ford went the same route--chamber in the piston, not the head--at the same time. Both the 348 and the 383/410/430 came out for the '58 model year.

    Apparently it makes for a really heavy piston. That's probably less of a problem if the engine is intended for low-speed applications, and the 348 was designed for truck use. Maybe Ford thought big-inch engines were just for luxury cars, not racing, although they did have some factory racing parts for the 410.

    What's the upside? It's probably makes it easier and cheaper to machine the cylinder head.
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