I have been a member of the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club since 2015. One of the perks of being a member, other than the excellent club magazine, is the local and regional events that are planned throughout the year. As a member of the Great Lakes Region, most of our chapter’s activities are around the Chicago and Milwaukee areas. For instance, in 2015 we went on a tour of the Pabst Mansion (yes, THAT Pabst) and last autumn we went on a boat tour of Lake Geneva. It’s nice to get out of town for a day and just relax and have fun. And so it was last month when I drove up to Lake Geneva yet again for a club meet, brunch, and driving tour.
This is an annual event for our region, held at the historic Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, Wisconsin, on Geneva Lake. This year, despite the slightly dreary weather, had an added bonus in that we were allowed to display our cars on the grounds instead of in the parking lot. Yes, even my non-classic 2000 Town Car Cartier with 126,000 miles was allowed to sit with the Zephyrs and Continental Mark II!
There were many more attendees this year than in 2016, so we actually had a pretty decent mini-car show.
My favorite car was most likely John McCarthy’s new old car, a triple dove gray 1977 Lincoln Continental Town Coupe’ with original paint, top and interior.
I love this 1970s Continentals and Marks, and the two-doors are not frequently seen. This car was originally sold new in Rockford, Illinois.
While the newly downsized 1977 Cadillacs were attractive and nimble compared to the Nimitz-class ’77 Lincolns, I always felt the Connies had the edge in interior luxe and quality materials. Especially the seats. The only thing that really bugged me about these is how the steering wheel was basically a wood-encrusted version of the ones found in more common FoMoCo fare, like F100s and Mavericks. But I digress…
I will also always have a soft spot for those polished chrome road wheels. My grandfather once had a triple navy blue 1977 Continental Mark V with those very wheels. As an impressionable car-crazed little kid back then, I remember them well!
One of the reasons I love these 1970s luxury cars is all the cool details and, for lack of a better term, jewelry. Chrome trim, opera windows, opera lamps, padded tops. I love all that stuff. Love them or hate them, you can’t say that ’70s domestic luxo-cruisers were sterile!
And that’s not his only car. Last year he brought his 1970 Continental Coupe’ in light green with dark green leather. It was heavenly to hear him start up and hear that 460 idling!
This 1957 Continental Mark II is owned by Barb and Joe Esdale. They also have a ’57 T-Bird. This car was the very first Continental Mark II I ever saw up close, back at an LCOC meet in Rockford in September 2014.
I was rather enamored of it, to say the least.
Here is another picture from that 2014 event. The weather was much nicer that day!
The two-tone interior and full gauges were nice too. These cars even had a tachometer!
Made from 1956-57, these Continentals, part of a new “Continental Division”, sold for $10,000 apiece and yet Ford still lost money on every one. It was an ambitious undertaking by Ford for a five-tier marque linup a la GM, with Edsel as their Oldsmobile, but it never really took off and after a slight nod to a lightly-filagreed 1958 Continental Mark III based on the 1958 Lincoln Premiere, Continental Division was quietly disbanded.
Next up we have a 1970 Continental Mark III in Red Moondust (an extra-cost color) with dark red leather and black Cavalry twill vinyl roof.
This is another favorite of mine. The 1969-71 Mark III was more or less a continuation of the money-losing 1956-57 Mark II, but sold by Lincoln-Mercury dealers and based upon the Thunderbird chassis.
As a result, it actually made money for Ford, and its style and sumptuous interiors made it a sales hit.
The 1970-71 models even had genuine wood trim on the dash and door panels.
Look at all that soft red leather. Ford sure knew how to make a luxury interior then! And I miss red interiors, though it has recently been making a comeback, especially at Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz.
Here we have a classic prewar Lincoln, a 1936 Lincoln-Zephyr sedan.
Powered by a 267 c.i. V-12 and with modern styling influenced by John Tjaarda and modified for production by Bob Gregorie, the Zephyrs, with their much lower price than the huge, coachbuilt Lincoln Model Ks, kept Lincoln afloat during tough times.
It also begat the very first Continental, first as a special Zephyr for Edsel Ford, then head of Lincoln, and later unveiled as a production model.
The details on these cars are amazing. Even the script on the hub caps is beautiful.
Here we have a 1940 Lincoln Zephyr coupe, perhaps one of the most beautiful body styles of the prewar era.
I just adore the lines of these. It’s almost sensual, the line of the roof flowing gently down to the quarter panel and bumper. Back then, designers cared about aesthetics. Of course, there was no CAFE or safety standards to curtail pure design, as it does today…
While the 1936-37 design is a little bit purer, I have to admit the 1940-41 nose with the ship’s prow flowing against the grille’s ‘waves’ is a favorite of mine. The ’42s got a much more squared-up nose and tail, and after that the pure lines of the earlier years just weren’t quite the same.
My first pick, however: ’41 Continental coupe. A friend from my church has one in Brewster Green with green leather and Bedford cord interior, and my dad and I once rode in it. Pure bliss.
This is his car. It is all original. Paint, upholstery, et al. An amazing automobile!
While so many collectors go for the convertibles, I prefer the coupe. And the ’41s are extra cool with their push-button door handles!
So, where was I? Ah yes, 1979 Continental Town Coupe’. This was the last year for the unapologetic, screw OPEC and let’s Brougham on in total luxury Continentals. I love these cars so much. It was great to see not just one, but TWO Town Coupes in Wisconsin on this fine morning.
The turbine alloys on this example were always a favorite of mine. First available in 1977, this wheel design lasted all the way to 1991 on the Town Cars, I kid you not! Not a bad run.
Always loved the white leather with red trim too.
My grandmother had a 1977 Thunderbird with this same type of white interior with red trim. It’s made an impression on me, all these years later. I’d love to see a new Continental or heck, even a Fusion with this interior combo. How can you feel bad when you’re in an interior this bright and cheery?
After a most excellent brunch (my favorite was the omelet bar, with made-to-order omelets on the spot) it was time for the driving tour!
As you might expect, there are lots of fun twisty, scenic roads in and around the Lake Geneva/Delavan area. So we set off with an itinerary in hand from the manager of Lake Lawn Resort.
I didn’t get a ton of pictures of the driving trip as I was in my own car, but I did get a few like this one. Apparently Mr. Burns lives in Lake Geneva. Smithers, release the hounds!
Proof that the new Lincoln Continental has been accepted into the hoi polloi: 2017 Connie in Lake Geneva.
And before we knew it, the trip was over! Hey it was fun while it lasted…
But wait! There’s even more! Our final destination was Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, one of several small towns ringing Geneva Lake.
I have seen observatories, heck, my alma mater, Augustana College had one. But all those have nothing on Yerkes Observatory.
This place was huge! Originally a satellite of the University of Chicago, a dozen years or so ago, some developer had the bright idea to take the surrounding acreage and build McMansions and condos everywhere, with the Obsevatory at its center.
Fortunately the good folk of Wisconsin ran them out of town on a rail, and the property remains on its fine park-like acreage with nary a condo or ES350 in sight.
The huge, long front lawn leading from the building down to the street would be a fine venue for a car show.
The observatory is open for tours, but only on Saturdays. As this event was held on Sunday, we were unfortunately unable to check out the inside, but I imagine it is pretty cool! In addition to cars, I’ve always been interested in architecture as well.
I spent some time wandering around the building, snapping pictures. The vintage Lincolns sitting out front only enhanced the details of the observatory. So many fine details!
Despite the overcast day, the rain managed to hold off until I was on the way home. Stay Broughamy my friends!