Our Lincoln Mark Series protection continues at present, and we decide up on the finish of 1958. After Ford dumped many hundreds of thousands into the Continental Division and shortly shut it down, the corporate then spent much more cash to develop an all-new unibody platform for Lincoln’s utilization. In an try to woo clients away from Cadillac, the brand new Lincolns for 1958 wore among the most surprising styling ever to come back from Detroit.
All three of Lincoln’s new “models” have been actually simply trim ranges of the identical automobile. Said fashions included Capri, Premier, and the top-tier Continental Mark III, which was not a Continental besides in trim badges. At least it had a Breezeway window! At the 1958 launch of Lincoln’s new unibody line there was a steep recession throughout the globe, as a lot of Americans determined they didn’t truly want a brand new automobile yearly or two. Nevertheless, the Continental Mark III made up 62 p.c of Lincoln’s gross sales that yr. Lincoln veered off on a revised course in 1959, hoping to enhance its lot with some extra “new” fashions.
Lincoln considerably deserted the Continental Division branding tactic it tried for 1958. Instead of the prior Continental Mark III with “Continental III” badging, the 1959 was formally the “Mark IV Continental.” It was a stunning case of mannequin escalation, and a change in tack from how Marks operated beforehand.
Up to that time a brand new technology, not a brand new mannequin yr, earned a brand new collection of Mark. Continental and Mark IV have been now not collectively on one badge, however separate items of trim because the Mark turned a model of the Continental mannequin, which expanded to cowl extra illustrious territory. The Mark IV title was all the time listed earlier than Continental in advertising and marketing supplies for 1959. Additionally, phrasing like “every Lincoln and Continental” tried to place the Continental as one thing separate.
Lincoln returned with the identical Mark physique kinds in ’59 that it utilized in 1958: Two-doors in hardtop or convertible guise, in addition to four-door pillared sedan, and four-door hardtop marketed as Landau. In addition to the usual Mark IV physique kinds, there have been two model new four-doors in 1959: Mark IV Continental Town Car, and Mark IV Continental Limousine.
The Town automobile and Limousine took the Mark IV to a extra unique degree in 1959, and fashioned the halo providing of the mannequin. In that addition, the convertible was relegated to second tier. Both new variations of Mark IV have been of a extra formal fashion, to attraction to the higher-end buyer for which a daily Mark IV sedan was too informal. It was the primary time the Town Car title was used on a factory-built Lincoln.
The Town Car’s main distinction to the usual Mark IV was within the rear window. Town Car swapped the reverse-angled Breezeway setup for a extra conventional forward-angled piece of glass. Altering the window’s angle meant there was extra room within the again: Lincoln moved the rear seat again by a number of inches to provide the Town Car extra rear legroom than a normal Mark IV. It was intelligent rework, because it allowed for a marketable inside change however required no sheet metallic edits.
To create the even extra particular Limousine model of the Mark IV, Lincoln’s designers added a glass rear partition. Both Town Car and Limousine provided a vinyl roof choice, and even separate air-con items for entrance and rear passengers. In a transfer that might have made Henry Ford smile, the Town Car and Limousine have been provided solely in black.
Of course one of the crucial vital huge information points in vehicles of the Fifties was the annual visible replace. Given Ford had simply spent a lot on Lincoln, the modifications from 1958 to 1959 have been principally minor, and supposed to reel within the extreme (and broadly disliked) seems of the ’58. At the entrance finish, the Continental toned down its canted quad headlamps by integrating them into the grille.
As the lights have been now not in separate pods, the grille was free to increase into the lighting space. That made the entrance finish look extra cohesive. The eggcrate grille (surprisingly) remained the identical for 1959, although it gained a brand new ornament above it by way of a chrome trim strip. Like the grille, the brand new strip blended into the headlamp housing to make it look much less ridiculous.
Under the grille resided a brand new bumper, which misplaced the boob-inspired Dagmars of 1958. In their place was a easy floor that had a smaller license plate cut-out space than earlier than. The less complicated bumper seemed much less heavy, and resulted in two jet-shaped ornamental chrome spears. The vertical space of the spears was slimmer than earlier than, however the tail finish of the rocket newly prolonged into the entrance fender close to the wheel.
From a facet view, the Mark IV was a bit much less jarring than the Mark III. The protruding entrance and rear fender scallops have been smoothed significantly, and appeared way more as an overview than a raised platform. The roof line and different points of the facet profile carried on to 1959 unchanged.
The rear of the Mark IV skilled fewer edits than the entrance in its transition to 1959. The most notable change have been ovoid rear lamps which nonetheless numbered six, however now seemed higher built-in by way of their very own chrome trim ring. The concave rear grille design of 1958 was reshaped for the next yr, and have become convex and softer wanting. There have been no different modifications to the rear bumper or fascia.
With its new much less is extra kind styling, the Mark IV Continental was barely smaller than the Continental Mark III. Overall size shrunk by nearly two inches, from 229″ to 227.1″. Width remained the identical document holding 80.1 inches, and top elevated very barely from 56.5″ to 56.7 inches.
Weight ballooned on the Town Car and Limousine with all their further luxurious gear, and it’s believed the 2 maintain the title of heaviest American normal wheelbase sedans since World War II. The 1959 Continental coupe was 5,220 kilos, whereas the pillarless Landau shaved 4 kilos off the 5,306 of the sedan. The convertible was the heaviest normal providing at 5,330 kilos. Lincoln didn’t publish the burden of the Town Car or Limousine, however inspired consumers to ask their seller.
As the 430 cubic inch (7.0 liters) MEL engine was new for 1958, Lincoln solely made one small change for 1959: Detuning. The 375 horsepower of the prior yr was sapped to 350 in 1959. The three-speed Cruise-O-Matic (Turbo-Matic) remained unchanged as nicely.
Less styling, extra weight, much less energy, however a greater economic system. Did that imply the Mark IV Continentals bought higher than their predecessor? No! While whole Lincoln manufacturing was 26,906 in 1959 (a lot better than the 17,134 of 1958), there have been truly fewer Continentals bought although there have been extra fashions obtainable.
Total 1959 Mark IV manufacturing was 11,126 (down from 12,550). The finest promoting mannequin was the Landau at 6,146 examples, adopted by the convertible at 2,195. The hardtop coupe bought 1,703 examples, whereas the usual sedan with its lack of flamboyance shifted solely 955 examples. The restricted manufacturing Town Car bought 78 occasions, and the Limousine managed solely 49 gross sales.
Part of the sedan’s attraction downside was its matching $6,845 ($68,991 adj.) worth to the Landau hardtop. The hardtop two-door was $6,600 ($66,522 adj.). Forcing the exclusivity of the Town Car was its worth, a surprising $9,200 ($92,728 adj.), topped solely by the Limousine’s $10,200 ($102,807 adj.). Overall, costs in 1959 have been about 12 p.c larger than 1958. One of the uncommon cases it really works, one can get a great inflation calculation of 1959 costs in 2022 by merely including a zero.
Lincoln wasn’t completed with its unibody Continental edits nevertheless, and the elephants would see yet one more mannequin yr earlier than Lincoln threw within the Mark collection towel for practically a decade. We decide up subsequent time in 1960.
Become a TTAC insider. Get the most recent information, options, TTAC takes, and the whole lot else that will get to the reality about vehicles first by subscribing to our publication.