The iconic Lincoln Continental has been synonymous with luxury sedans since the model’s inception in 1938, when it was commissioned by Edsel Ford himself for use as his personal vehicle.


Over the course of 70 years, the Lincoln Continental became one of the most recognizable automobiles of all time. Now, at the end of 2020, we say goodbye to one of history’s most groundbreaking cars, as the Lincoln Motor Company has recently confirmed that it will end production of the Lincoln Continental at the conclusion of the year.


As one final send off for this historic ride, Carman Lincoln invites you to take a walk through history with us as we revisit the Lincoln Continental one more time.


The 1940s

When Edsel Ford commissioned the first-ever Lincoln Continental for personal use in 1938, the vehicle got so much attention from the public that its demand skyrocketed.


With its elongated, elegant hood and powerful-yet-quiet V12 engine, the first-generation Lincoln Continental was decades ahead of its time. So much so in fact, that legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright dubbed it “the most beautiful car ever designed.” Wright loved the car so much, he bought two of his very own.


Following the conclusion of World War II and the nationwide restart of automotive production in 1946, the Lincoln Continental was as popular as ever. This time, the luxury ride received a bold new grille and a redesigned, majestic hood which still housed a V12 engine. For the 1946 Indy 500 on May 30th, a 1946 Lincoln Continental served as the official pace car. 

The 1950s

By 1956, the legendary Lincoln Continental was still as impressive as ever. Nevertheless, Ford was looking for something a little more bold and flashy to fit the backdrop of 1950s America.


In true capitalist fashion, Ford introduced the revolutionary Lincoln Continental Mark II, which at $10,000, was one of the world’s most expensive rides. The Lincoln Continental Mark II quickly became a symbol of wealth, fame and status, serving as the automobile of choice for people like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra


Even Elizabeth Taylor, considered to be one of the first modern celebrities and the pinnacle of American luxury at the time, was given a Lincoln Continental Mark II by Warner Bros. as a thank you for making the 1956 film Giant. It was painted in a custom color which perfectly matched her eyes.

The 1960s

The early 1960s saw the beginning of a drastic change in American culture, but the iconic Lincoln Continental was there every step of the way.


A modified 1961 Lincoln Continental (code-named “X-100”) with a signature egg-crate grille, an on-board telephone, a rear seat that could be raised ten inches, and rear-opening “suicide doors” served presidents like John F. Kennedy until the vehicle was retired from duty in 1977.


Later, “The Godfather of Soul” James Brown, always one to appreciate style, purchased a 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III as well.

The 1970s

By the mid-to-late 1970s, style and substance was as important to the American people as ever, but as demand for larger, sharper luxury cars grew, Lincoln released the Lincoln Continental Mark V, an impressive car with a vinyl half-roof and body lines that looked like they could cut glass.


This ride became even more iconic as the signature car driven by Jock Ewing on the popular television show Dallas. Lincoln also offered this car in limited-run designer editions by Bill Blass and Givenchy.

The 1980s

With the adoption of federal fuel economy standards making the larger luxury sedans of the 1970s obsolete, the signature Lincoln Continental underwent significant downsizing for its sixth and seventh-generation models.


Now classified as a mid-size sedan, the 1986 Lincoln Continental was the first vehicle to feature the signature “CONTINENTAL” badge lettering on its namesake “Continental spare tire trunk,” a sloping bustle-back decklid which drew inspiration from the original Lincoln-Zephyr of the late 1930s.


The 1990s

When the Lincoln Continental Mark VIII debuted in 1992, the larger, more angular style that had ruled the luxury automotive segment for years has become a thing of the past.


Now, along with most major sports cars, luxury sedans, SUVs, and even pickup trucks, the Lincoln Continental had become much rounder and more compact, with  flowing lines, flush-mounted glass, and wraparound doors.


Late in the 20th Century, the Lincoln Continental offered an incredibly strong resemblance to the newly redesigned Lincoln Towncar, and in 2002 production entered a 14-year hiatus.

The 21st Century

The incredible and incomparable Lincoln Continental would be resurrected for the 2017 model year. This time, Lincoln’s most prestigious sedan had been given a serious facelift, featuring a slightly recessed new signature grille and standard electronically-latched doors which were integrated into the beltline window trim.


The latest Lincoln Continental model exudes refined futuristic integrity and cutting-edge tech features that its ancestors could never have imagined. With Lincoln Co-Pilot 360™, immaculate modern driver-assist features like blind-spot monitoring, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, an advanced lane-keeping system, and more are at the tip of your fingers.


While the Lincoln Motor Company will say goodbye to the Lincoln Continental and the end of 2020, you can still get behind the wheel of Lincoln’s long-running ride right here at Carman Lincoln in New Castle, Delaware. 

Don’t miss your chance to drive history. Check out our impressive inventory of Lincoln vehicles right here.
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