Vinyl Vex: 1963 Lincoln Continental Four-Door Convertible – Sold?

by | Mar 2022 | Classifinds, Topless Thursday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

May 11, 2022, Update – While this “Classifind” expired recently, given the seller’s past history we suspect may not actually be sold yet.  For now, we’re labeling this ride “Sold?” However, we will keep an eye out for an updated listing. In the interim, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

March 30, 2022, Update – the seller replaced their expired listing with a fresh Craigslist ad.  In it, the pictures and description remain pretty much the same, however, the seller reduced their asking price from the original request of $62,500 to $58,750.

One convertible we wish we bought years ago before anyone took notice of how cool they are is a 1961-1963 Lincoln Continental Four-Door convertible.  It wasn’t that long ago that Concours-condition examples could be had for the price of a new Camry. Unfortunately, those days are gone.  This well-sorted, 1963 Lincoln Continental convertible originally listed in March 2022 on Craigslist in Great Falls, Montana will likely get you to and from every car show reliably. However, the replacement vinyl interior (pictures of which have not been provided), lack of radio, and mention of “one small area of the unibody that is rusted through” will not have you winning any Concours events.

Currently offered for $62,500, comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Continental priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $46,600 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $75,500.  Interestingly, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask is five hundred dollars less than this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $63,000. Based upon the seller’s honest and detailed description, we hope there is room for a bit of negotiation of this example.

Following the disastrously poor sales of the too big, too expensive, and gas-guzzling 1958-1960 lineup, Lincoln developed a single, much more conservatively styled fourth-generation Lincoln Continental for the 1961 model year. Lincoln offered the Continental in either four-door sedan or convertible models.  The latter was the first American four-door convertible offered since 1948.

Despite shedding over one foot in length and eight inches in wheelbase, the fourth generation Lincoln wound up still weighing more than its Cadillac or Imperial contemporaries. Ford The toned-down, squared-off was quite a departure from the garish prior generation car.  The fourth-generation Continental rode on a stretched version of the unibody platform produced for the 1961 Thunderbird, lengthened to a 123-inch wheelbase from market launch to 1963.

The only engine available was the 430 cubic inch MEL V8 carried over from the Mark V. All versions of the Continental were fitted with a 3-speed automatic transmission.  At its launch, the fourth-generation Lincoln Continental was offered solely as a four-door, as either a sedan or a convertible. For the first time on a Lincoln since 1951, rear doors were rear-hinged (suicide doors). To alert drivers of open doors, Lincoln fitted the dashboard with a “Door Ajar” warning light, a feature we take for granted today. Latching together at the B-pillar with a vacuum-operated central locking system, convertibles used an abbreviated pillar while sedans were “pillared hardtops”. In the configuration, a thin B-pillar supported the roof structure while all four doors utilized frameless door glass.

In what would be the first four-door convertible from a major American manufacturer after World War II, the Lincoln Continental convertible was fitted with a power-operated top on all examples. Leveraging the system originally designed for the late-fifties Ford Skyliner, engineers fitted the Continental with a fabric roof that folded under a rear-hinged decklid/filler panel. In a similar fashion as the Skyliner, to access the trunk for storage, owners needed to raise or lower the deck lid electrically. The design provides a very clean, top-down look.

For 1963, the Continental underwent several functional updates. Engineers modified the front seatbacks to increase rear-seat legroom and reshaped the trunk lid to increase luggage space.  In line with a number of vehicles in the United States, the electrical charging system introduced an alternator, replacing the generator.

The Hagerty Insurance YouTube Channel features this 1963 Lincoln Continental Buyer’s Guide:

The private seller mentions they can provide a full set of photos taken during the repair and rebuild process.  We recommend reviewing those before putting down any money as they will be a good barometer of the quality of the rebuild process.

Here’s the seller’s detailed description:

“1963 Lincoln Continental 4dr Convertible
8-cyl, 430 CID/320 hp, 4 bbl, factory a/c
Black Satin Exterior with Red Leather/Vinyl Interior

This vehicle was purchased in February of 2014 from a retired physician in Iowa who had owned it for many years. It had approximately 109,000 miles on the odometer. The mileage is currently at 125,500. I have completed a substantial mechanical and cosmetic rebuild of the car. A link for a full set of photos, including those taken during the repair/rebuild process, can be sent to qualified buyers. A complete set of original repair manuals and schematics are part of the sale. This car is sold as-is. Serious inquiries only.

This car is in very good to above average condition. It is a fine example of the 1961-1965 series of Continental with 1963 considered the best year of the five. There were only 3,138 convertibles built in 1963 with 10% of those estimated to be still on the road.

Although the exterior panels have been repainted over time, some portions of the exterior paint could use attention. All stainless steel/chrome pieces are present with expected signs of wear. The convertible top is fully functional, as is the back deck. The top material is in above-average condition. All window, door, hood, and rear deck rubber seals have been replaced. The power windows work as intended including the drop feature on the rear doors. The leather seat material has been replaced with vinyl, which is in above-average condition. The dash has no signs of cracking or damage and all controls on the dashboard are fully functional. The interior in general is in above average condition. The radio has been removed, but the radio face remains. The power front seat has been rebuilt and is fully functional.

Several areas of the vehicle’s underbody have been repaired from previous rust damage including driver’s and passenger side floor pans. There is one small area of the unibody that is rusted through, but it does not affect the function or structure of the car.

Over $35,000 of parts and labor have been documented, including the mechanical, interior, and exterior/body components listed below (a complete list of over 150 items is available upon request).

Engine & Components

Engine overhaul, 2014
Oil Pump replaced, 2014
Fuel Pump replaced, 2014
Alternator, Regulator, Starter replaced, 2014
Carburetor rebuilt, 2018

Cooling System

Water Pump replaced, 2014
Fan Clutch replaced 2014
Expansion Tank replaced, 2015
Radiator replaced, 2019,

Steering & Suspension

Front Suspension checked & rebuilt as necessary, 2014
Steering Box rebuilt, 2015,
Steering Pump replaced, 2015
Front & Rear shocks replaced, 2016

Transmission, Driveline & Differential

Differential rebuilt, 2014
Drive Shaft & U Joints replaced, 2017
Transmission overhaul, 2021

Other Systems

Front Brake drums replaced, brake system overhauled, 2014
Exhaust system completely replaced, 2015

Interior

Carpet replaced 2014
Power seat mechanism rebuilt, 2014
All window relays rebuilt, replaced or checked, 2014-2016
Window mechanisms rebuilt as necessary, 2014-2016

Exterior / Body

Convertible top replaced, 2014
All hydraulic lines, pumps & cylinders replaced, 2014 – 2020″

Do you have a 1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible story to share?  If so, comment below and let us know!

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