During the Spring of 2018, I received my monthly newsletter from the Lake Shore Region of the LCOC-the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club. I’ve been a member since 2015. From April through October, there are many club events for the region, which consists of greater Chicagoland, and adjacent parts of Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. What caught my eye was a planned June 16th trip to the S.C. Johnson Company’s headquarters, famously designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and constructed between 1936 and 1939, and its adjacent Tower, completed in 1950.
1976 was, in my opinion, Peak Brougham. It was the last year for the truly large premium sedans, the Cadillac Fleetwood, De Ville, Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight and Buick Electra. Over at Chrysler you had Royal Monacos, Gran Furys, New Yorker Broughams and even the wood-paneled Town & Country station wagon. And over at Ford, there were myriad examples of big luxury cars to fill your requirements: LTD, Marquis, Country Squire, Colony Park, and Continental sedans and coupes. At at the very top, the finest, the Continental Mark IV.
1976 was the final year for the Mark IV, which first appeared in Autumn 1971 as a ’72 model. My grandfather ordered one in triple dark green, to replace his triple dark green 1969 Mark III.
In my opinion, the 1972 was the prettiest with its small, integrated front and rear bumpers. In 1973, the Mark IV, along with most other Detroit rolling stock, got the new 5-mph front bumpers due to new federal regulations. In 1974, a larger rear bumper was added to match the front.
Today, let’s take a closer look at the Wixom-produced example of the road-going Chris-Craft…the 1958 Lincoln Continental Mark III. Some love them. Some hate them. But there’s no doubt the 1958-60 Lincoln Continental Mark III, IV and V were substantial luxocruisers.
The 1958 Lincolns and Continentals were Ford Motor Company’s no expense spared bid to out-Cadillac Cadillac. Their 131-inch wheelbase was longer than the Cadillac Series 62 and de Ville sedans, and only two inches shorter than the 1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special.
1970 was a big year for Lincoln-Mercury. The Continental Mark III was a sales success, the recently refreshed Marquis/Monterey were strong sellers, the final performance Cougars, namely the 1970 Eliminator and XR7, went on sale, and there was a new Continental. Yes, the 1961 Continental had single-handedly saved the marque from oblivion, and its clean, classic lines and throwback center-opening doors made it an icon of the 1960s.
And the look was deftly maintained throughout the decade. These new Sixties Continentals looked nothing like prior Lincolns, and especially unlike the enormous 1958-60 models. Sounds a lot like 2017, when the new Continental appeared, doesn’t it? But I digress.
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.