What to look for if buying a 65 Lincoln Cont. Convertible?

pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
edited March 2014 in Lincoln
I have the oportunity to buy a nice looking, low rust 65 Lincoln Continental Convertible. Here are the problems. Leaks at the front crank seal quite a bit. Leaks from the power steering box and both rear windows do not function but the top goes up and down flawlessly.

Overall body is in very good condition, interior as well. current owner has redone the brake system so it is virtually new.

what else should I look for? any good or bad things I should know about this year lincoln?

I want to thank all that can comment or help me in any way in advance and I hope that if this car does become mine I can come back here again and again over the years to get and give advise for this style car.

once again thanks in advance and I hope to hear from you soon!!!!!

ps - car is in another state and I have not physically seen it but I had it brought into a mechanic and I spoke extensively with him about it after he went through it.



  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15

    not a single person has any info or even an opinion about this?

    I was hoping for a better welcome being new to this board!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well it's fairly esoteric knowledge you are asking for. We certainly welcome you, we just don't know the answer to your questions about 1965 Lincoln Continental mechanical weaknesses or issues.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 9,850
    A bigger question than the car is you - what are you wanting, a project car for you to work on using your extensive skills, or something you hope to have others fix for your use? These cars are old and complex for their period, so various parts will fail with some regularity. How much do you trust the mechanic who looked at it?
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    the car will be rairly driven, mostly it will sit in a garage, covered and only taken out on extremely nice days. I understand things go wrong and somethings I can fix them and at other times they must be done by someone with more knowledge than me. I do not know the mechanic who looked at it but it did seem like he gave me an honest assesment. I was hoping someone who really knows this car could give me a bit of advise.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 9,850
    There must be some local or national Lincoln owners clubs with members that could get you the detailed info you're looking for. Give Google a shot.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    There definitely is some guy named somthing like....Mr. Continental....or something like that...who has a website. I'm sure there are very knowledgable people on the Internet for this car.

    My dim recollection of these cars is that this era 60s Continental definitely had some recurring and persistant problems that are well-known....but alas....not to me.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,517
    Well, those things were unit-bodied, so rust can be a much bigger problem than a body-on-frame car like a Cadillac. IIRC, electrical problems were also common. I think you can say that about any luxury car of the era, simply because of all the wiring and motors and servos and such that powered the seats, windows, etc. However, I think the electrical stuff that powered the metal boot that the top stows under could also be troublesome.

    I've also heard that they handle like crap. Even though they're borderline compact compared to the Cadillacs and Lincolns of the era, they were extremely heavy cars. I'd guess around 5200 pounds or more for the convertible. Still, you don't buy a car like this to go through the slalom or drag race, so sloppy handling's probably not a deal breaker.

    Did these cars run on 14" rims? If so, forget about ever trying to modernize to radial tires. I don't think they make 14" radials with a high enough load rating for a car that hefty. However, if it's on 15" rims, you might be able to find something.

    Anyway, good luck if you do decide to purchase it. Those 4-door Lincoln convertibles are beautiful cars.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,331
    Since you asked...

    Those cars were PIGS! They handled like crap, they were very hard on brakes and front end parts. They crack exhaust manifolds that are a nasty b***h to replace. They are very difficult to work on and they get 9 MPG.

    That convertable hydraulic system is VERY complex and the few people who knew how they worked are probably long dead.

    They have vacuum door locks and wipers and A/C controls that will cause you constant trouble and are nasty to fix.

    All of this being said, they do look good and there are no doubt clubs out there who can offer youy some support.

    Every car has it's following it would seem.

    I wouldn''t touch that car with a twenty foot pole.

    You did ask, remember...and WELCOME!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,331
    Did we scare him away?
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 9,850
    After your pep talk, what do you expect? ;)
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    my first choice is also black on black. the price unfortunately for a like condition one is about 2 - 2 1/2 times what I paid for this so I had to go with white.

    when it comes time to redue the interior I will do a two tone (non original) white and red to rid the inside of ALL the red it currently has. (this is the only thing I dislike but can live with it because of its shape, condition and price!
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    It would take a lot more than that to scare me away from here and even more so from a car I have always loved and wanted to add to my collection.

    I came to this board hoping that someone would know a little something about this car and maybe advise me what to look for in the purchase process. I did not stop here though and with a bunch of research I found several people who are very knowledgeable and who were happy to help me in telling me what to look for.

    These cars I have found can have rust problems and as one of you stated, uni-body construction with rust can be a big issue. That is why the one I am buying has very little undercarriage rust. They can also have electrical and mechanical issues too but I have been advised that the mechanical issues are actually pretty easy to handle (something I plan on taking care of) For the electrical issues (and at the moment my new car to be does not have any) there is a guy who travels all over the country (in a large SUV) fixing these issues but he does charge an arm and a leg! If the doors or windows or top ever do give me a problem I will break down and give that guy a call. Everyone with knowledge who I did talk to all recommended this guy as a great person to do the work; they also said he backs his work with a minimum 12 month guarantee!

    Anyway, the new car is in transit and it will be here next week. My plans are only to drive it only when it is very nice outside, I have no work and there are two or three girlies to cruise around with. With that being said, I live in Southern California, 3 blocks from the Pacific Ocean and have a bunch of girl friends that cannot wait to go for a cruise!

    Here's a pic of my new ride for all of you to enjoy, ridicule or whatever you may....
    it shows up next week, I can hardly wait!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I actually like these cars a lot. I have also heard they tend to be troublesome, relative say to their GM counterparts, but the important thing is that you like your old car---then anything is workable, fixable....if you don't have any real affection for a particular old car, then when things go wrong, it's not a challenge or a hobby, but merely an annoyance.

    The "traveling top fixer" is a true story. I have heard about him before---although I think that any really clever person could do this sort of thing. This isn't rocket science, but rather a question of patience, alignment, adjustment, etc.

    Yeah keep us posted. These guys aren't as mean as they sound :surprise:

    Maybe YOU will become the resident expert on these cars, for the next guy who buys one.
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    what do you think of this particular one? Or should I say, my new, old ride!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Nice! My ideal version would be a black on black sedan.
  • scootertrashscootertrash Member Posts: 698
    No one said they aren't beautiful!

    It sounds like you did your homework and understand what you're getting into. I've heard of the traveling convertible guy too, there seems to be a lot of tech and parts support for these beasts. Pick up a Hemmings.
    Enjoy, and keep us posted!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,331
    And I gave my not so humble opinion.

    I too grew up (?) in Southern California a few blocks from the ocean so I have no idea what rust even is.

    I'll stand my my mechanical opinion of these cars and I truly hope you can avoid much of the troubles these are known for.

    I perfer the sedans too but that convertable is one beautiful ride.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,517
    beautiful car, but watch out...

    Big back seat + lots of girl friends who want a ride = pregnancy! :shades:
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    Yes I did ask and yes your opinion is not very humble. Be that as it may, you SELL cars, you don' fix them! And Honda's for Pete's sake, Yuck! The people I spoke with ONLY FIX OLD LINCOLNS, they don't sell them! (They do sell parts though) Look up Baker Auto in MA if you want verification...

    They and others have never mentioned there being a problem with cracked exhaust manifolds but as in all vehicles (more so in older ones) it is a possibility, as well as other potential problems, which I understand. I, of course, was looking for info on what to look for; I found it and then found a car that hopefully does not have a bunch of those issues but well see! They also told me (as well as I have experienced) that these cars drive like a dream. There not going to go down a slalom course but I am not buying it for that, they cruise down the freeway at 75-80 and glide. I remember that feeling the first time I rode in one, with the top down and I LOVED it. Pigs? Not for a second. Gas hogs? You bet!
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    Actually, I would not mind a child or two at this stage in my life! It's the wife I am trying to avoid at all costs (and in cali it is COSTLY!)

    Here's one more!
    <img src="http://www.residentialpros.com/00005.jpg
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,373
    Looks like a very good driver, I am sure you will have fun with it.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,331
    You have no idea what my background is. You have no idea that I put myself through school working in a gas station that had a very busy shop.

    And, you have no way of knowing that at age 23, I managed a 40 bay shop. I've seen it all and I'm old enough to remember those cars. I remember them well and shops hated to work on them. My best friend has owned two of these and he kept me well versed on the many problems he had with them. If floating down the road is your idea of a "dream" you be a very happy person. They do have a nice ride.

    I'm glad you have people with the knowledge and patience to work on these. You will need them so be nice to them!

    You shouldn't ask people's opinions if you are going to snap back at them. You also shouldn't ask for opinions if you have already decided to buy the car.

    I do wish you well. It is, indeed a good looking car. I would leave the interior red. It actually looks good in that car.
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    When I asked for the opinions I asked what to look for when I buy one, not if I should buy one. I decided years ago that someday I would buy a lincoln like this and now being that I can, I did. Maybe you should re-read my first statement.

    Your opinion as well as all others were appreciated but to be honest I asked for advise on what to look for so I did not buy a lemon so to speak.

    My point is that your choice of wording in your first post was a bit off the mark. Thanks for the positive comments in this post, they were definitely different than your last!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,331
    Maybe I should re-read it because I thought you were thinking about buying one and asking what the pitfalls were.

    I probably would have toned down the content of my post had I KNOWN you had made up your mind to buy one.

    As long as a person KNOWS what they are getting into and still decides to proceed it's their choice.

    My feelings about these cars remains the same. They are very troublesome cars that are difficult to work on.

    You seem to be going in with your eyes wide open and it sounds like you have the financial resources to feed and repair this beast.

    As they say in the car biz.." There's an a** for every seat"!

    Join a Lincoln club and have fun!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    let's move on to more constructive comments, please....


    Shifty the Host
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    my thoughts exactly!

    I'll post some pictures of my own when the beast arrives!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    To make the next pictures more interesting, please take a cue from the auto shows and include the "girlies" with the car. Or in the car. Or, on the car. Whatever, but don't forget the girlies.
  • lokkilokki Member Posts: 1,200
    When I was a little kid, our friends had a 63,64,65? Lincoln convertible with the suicide doors. It was white, with a black interior. I remember it well because four of us kids got in big trouble because of it one afternoon. We were all picnicking out in a park by the river somewhere and the Lincoln was parked under a big tree....

    There was lots of room in that big Lincoln in the shade, and the four of us started jumping up and down inside the car, with all the doors open.

    I want to say that we managed to bend the frame, but I don't know for sure; I was just 5 or something - but I sure know that the owner was REALLY mad at us. :surprise:
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    I'd kill you kids if you did that in my new, old ride!!!!

    no worries about the girlies, you'll get a few of those (after I have!) soon enough....
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,331
    A few years ago, I was at an old car show and a guy with one of those Lincolns was lowering his top when it jammed in the mid position. Two hours later when I walked by there again, three or four guys were desperatly trying to figure out what had happened and get that top either up or down.

    I don't know how he would have gotten home with that little problem?
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    maybe if we can come up with a few more of these horror stories I will be sure to encounter at least a few if not all, in a very short period of time. :D

    (I hope you can understand sarcasm)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,331
    May you never have a problem.

    I didn't realize there was such a support group for these and that is a GOOD thing! :)
  • displacedtexandisplacedtexan Member Posts: 364
    Those Lincolns are some of the best looking cars ever made. They certainly went against the prevailing design themes when they were first built and were the antithesis of the overblown fins and chrome barges.

    Maybe you'll have some challenges with it, but I'm jealous. Enjoy the ride!

    Have you checked out Classic Lincolns?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,331
    I see a drop dead perfect black 1967 Lincoln sedan driving around here pretty often and have to agree, those were beautiful cars.
  • lokkilokki Member Posts: 1,200
    Well, obviously, I've wanted one since I was five!

    Seriously, back when I was in college (in the golden age of automobiles), my dreams of success included a stone house in the suburbs with a pool; a trip to Europe every few years on vacation; and a Lincoln in the garage. Caddys were too flashy, and Mercedes were for old, practical Dentists. Japanese cars? Uh, my girl friend was fond of telling me that her crazy brother's Toyota took the same size tires as a large forklift. Who would want one of them things?

    Gimme a real car..... gimme a Lincoln. Convertible, if you got one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Here's the website I've been digging for----has some good tips on things to watch out for on these cars:

  • bob550kbob550k Member Posts: 148
    I looked for one of those for a while, frankly the hydraulic wipers scared me as did the function of the very complex top. So I figured I won't drive it in the rain and I'll always put the top down BEFORE I leave my driveway and put it up when I return to my driveway (don't operate that out, what if it gets stuck mid way?). The electronic issues are just little BS stuff, so window switches go bad... That was the only common problem/complaint I saw, window switches. Heavy, slow, boat like, yeah man! That's what it is, a big boat love it or hate it. I love that White/Red combo, very rich and exactly what I was looking for. But a beautiful triple black '73 Eldo convertible fell in my lap at a price I couldn't pass up while I was searching. So I getting ROASTED in black interior cruising around the Beach at Newport. I would have preferred red interior by a long shot.

    My neighbor has a '64 Slab Side (hard top) that his dad gave him in high school about 30 years ago. He really doesn't have much trouble at all with it except for the window switches.
  • bob550kbob550k Member Posts: 148
    How did you post that Picture?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,517
    the top on my '67 Catalina has never worked for as long as I've owned the car! (since 1994). Fortunately, it's a breeze to put it down manually. And it's not too hard to put back up, as long as I don't try it with a pulled shoulder muscle or wrenched back or something!
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    the picture is parked on my website and then down below I clicked on the IMG button and inserted the link to the exact location of it. Here is an example - (http.www.joeswebsite.com/conti.jpg)
    hit enter and presto! picture is displayed!

    I paid an extra fee to have the car expidited because I needed to get it by today and the shipping company blew it. My car is in Texas (inside) for a month because they could not meet the delivery date I paid extra for. :( They are holding it there because I am going out of the country Monday for a month and if it made it all the way to san diego it would be outdoors collecting dust at $50 per day at the local drop off point! At least in texas its inside and staying for free but I do not even get to sit in the dam thing until I get back! Shoooooot
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,331
    It seems like all Fords had lousy power window switches back in those days. A friend had a '63 T-Bird and, later, a '65 T-Bird and he was constantly replacing switches.

    Much later be found a beautiful 1967 Lincoln sedan. Same thing.

    Hate to say it but GM built much better cars back in the 60's.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,517
    It seems like all Fords had lousy power window switches back in those days. A friend had a '63 T-Bird and, later, a '65 T-Bird and he was constantly replacing switches.

    I remember back in 1999, when I had my mechanic replace two power window motors in my '89 Gran Fury, he said that of the domestics, GM had the best power windows, Ford had the worst, and Mopar was somewhere in the middle. So I guess some things never change!
  • douglasrdouglasr Member Posts: 191
    ...first, all sixties Lincolns have crankshaft mounted steering pumps, and replacing the front seal requires carefully removing it, keeping it primed, replacing the $50 seal and reinstalling the pump.

    ...second rear window motors on convertibles use four (not three) wires and are unique, they can be sent out for rebuild. Installation requires disabling the automatic window feature temperarily so you do not get you arm cut by the window regulator. Window switches are made by Bosche and are rebuidlable, replaceable, and ALL the same, with different pins in the center of the switch depending on location---but housings made of bakelite so be careful removing them.

    ...all '64-65's have weak amp gauges at this point. If you rev the motor and the gauge pegs in sequence then the gauge and/or alternator/voltage regulator is weak. By-passing the wires to the amp gauge only and carefully wrapping them will ensure your car does not catch on fire when the gauge fails, finding a new one is a very expensive propasition. Having the old one repaired is the way to go.

    ...Be sure the top cylces OK. The Upper back panel limit switch is problematic, but can be rebuilt through John Cashmann's. (He also does on site service and inspection for an up-front fee plus time)

    ...They are very fun cars to own an drive, but like any old car require maintenance. And for safety's sake switch the 65-66 master cylinder to a 67 dual type which is available new for a modest price.

  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    thanks to you and to the others for the helpful information and insight. This particular lincoln, which I have still not seen in person, already has the dual type master cylinder. Actually the previous owner redid the entire braking settup, stainless lines, new pistons, new dual master cylinder etc etc. The main issues the mechanic said is a the main seal leak (thanks for the heads up on the repair) and a power steering pump leak, which I have already found rebuilt for $300.00 on exchange. Other than that and needing a new exaust, shocks and bushings all around it is in pretty clean shape but once again, I will not see it for at least two more weeks.
  • pblocalpblocal Member Posts: 15
    This is a nicer car than I expected. Windows, trunk, top, locks all work good. New brakes, almost flawless body, clean, straight, rides great.

    pic's to come, hopefully with a few girlies!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    "...almost flawless body, clean, straight..."

    I hope this describes the girlies too!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,517
    I'm trying to think of a snappy response to that, but the only thing I can come up is a bit too HBO/Showtime for Edmunds tastes. :P
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Agreed. Photos can go in the poster's personal Carspace page if he wishes.
This discussion has been closed.