Lavish Lincoln: 1956 Continental Mk II – STILL $56,000
(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)
November 11, 2023 Update – The seller of this rare ’56 Continental replaced their expiring Craigslist ad with a fresh listing. The pictures, brief description, and asking price all remain the same.
When is a Lincoln, not a Lincoln? When it was a Continental built in the late 1950s. Similar to what Chrysler tried to do with its Imperial brand, William Clay Ford (Henry’s Grandson) created the Continental Division as a separate entity within the Ford Motor Company, as he wanted to create the ultimate luxurious halo car for well-heeled consumers. The hand-built Continental Mk II launched the new division for the 1956 model year. With a base price of $9,966 (over $131,000 in 2023), the only option was air conditioning for an additional $595 ($6,726 in 2023). Consequently, only the rich and famous bought one when new, and Ford reportedly lost money on every example sold. Production lasted only two years (1956 and 1957), with only 3,005 examples built.
With that kind of exclusivity, seeing a Continental Mk II always makes me pause and wonder what captain of industry or celebrity was the vehicle’s original owner. That would be the first question I would have for the seller of this driver-quality, black 1956 Continental Mk II for sale, first spotted on Craigslist in West Linn, Oregon (Portland) in October 2023. The next question would be whether the paint is original on this 81,572 original mile example. While the seller does not mention that in their brief description, we believe this may be a survivor-grade example as the slightly weathered white leather interior appears to be original.
Currently offered for $56,000, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is above this guide’s six-month rolling results trend for similar Continental MK IIs produced in either 1956 or 1957. By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:
As a second data point, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $38,500 and its #2 “Very Good” appraisal of $61,000.
In the mid-1950s, the American automotive industry was undergoing a transformative period. Car manufacturers shifted their focus from producing practical, utilitarian vehicles to creating symbols of luxury and prestige. The 1956 Continental Mark II, often considered one of the most elegant and exclusive automobiles of its time, stands as an emblem of this era in automotive history.
The 1956 Continental Mark II was the brainchild of William Clay Ford, the grandson of Henry Ford and a passionate enthusiast of automotive design. Ford set out to create a car that would rival the world’s most luxurious automobiles, a true American interpretation of opulence. To bring this vision to life, he established the Continental Division, a separate entity within the Ford Motor Company, which allowed for complete creative freedom.
The design of the Continental Mark II was a testament to timeless elegance and understated luxury. The car was characterized by its clean, unadorned lines, devoid of the excessive chrome and embellishments that were common in many cars of the era. It featured a classic long hood and a short deck, giving it a sense of proportion and balance. The iconic “Continental spare tire” bulge on the trunk added a touch of nostalgia and sophistication. The Continental Mark II was available in a limited selection of colors, emphasizing its exclusivity and rarity.
Step inside the Continental Mark II, and you are immediately enveloped in opulence. The interior was a masterful blend of sumptuous materials and attention to detail. High-quality leather, rich wood veneer, and deep-pile carpeting adorned the cabin. Each vehicle was meticulously handcrafted, and it showed in the fit and finish. The dashboard was elegantly simple, with a classic, uncluttered design featuring tasteful instrumentation and a sleek, thin-rimmed steering wheel.
The Continental Mark II was no slouch in terms of performance either. It was powered by a 368 cubic-inch V8 engine, which was capable of producing 285 horsepower. While it might not have been as powerful as some of its competitors, the car offered a smooth, refined ride, and its V8 engine was well-suited for cruising at highway speeds.
What set the Continental Mark II apart from other luxury cars of the time was its exclusivity. Each vehicle was meticulously hand-assembled in a dedicated Allen Park, Michigan factory. This attention to detail extended to every aspect of the car’s production. The Continental Division took great care in ensuring that every vehicle met the highest quality standards, and the result was a car that radiated luxury and craftsmanship.
The exclusivity of the Continental Mark II was further reinforced by its price tag. In 1956, the car’s base price was $10,000, making it one of the most expensive automobiles available in the United States at the time. Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to $113,158 in 2023 dollars.
Although the Continental Mark II was produced for only two years, from 1956 to 1957, its impact on the automotive world is still felt today. It pioneered the concept of “personal luxury cars,” a category that would become immensely popular in the following decades. Its timeless design influenced future generations of luxury vehicles, and its dedication to craftsmanship set a high standard for American car manufacturing.
Today, the Continental Mark II remains a collector’s dream and an emblem of a bygone era of American automotive elegance. Those fortunate enough to own or experience this remarkable vehicle can attest to the enduring allure of this classic automobile.
The 1956 Continental Mark II was a masterful embodiment of American luxury and sophistication during a pivotal era in automotive history. With its timeless design, impeccable craftsmanship, and unapologetic focus on exclusivity, it stands as an enduring symbol of an era when American automakers sought to create vehicles that were not merely means of transportation but also expressions of art and opulence. The Continental Mark II will forever be remembered as a paragon of classic luxury and a testament to the innovation and creativity of the American automotive industry in the mid-20th century.
The MyClassicCarTV YouTube Channel features this episode where host Dennis Gage visits a collection containing three significant Continental Mark IIs:
Mid-century Continentals do not come to market very often, and those that do are typically featured in an auction. This black 1956 Continental MKII for sale on Craigslist is a rare treat. Since these cars were hand built, it’s imperative to buy one that’s at least in driver quality condition with all of its chrome trim in place as well as having all of the comfort and convenience options in working order. This example checks both of those boxes. The only thing left is to ask the owner about the car’s history, especially who was the original owner.
If you are serious about buying this rare MK II for sale, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad. When you connect, please mention that you saw their Continental featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
Show or go: What would you do with this 1956 Continental Mark II for sale? Please comment below and let us know!