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2023-06-14 19:04:41

Strange, Unique, & Crazy (Dare I Say Quirky) Features of the 1958-1960 Continentals from Lincoln

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I previously detailed a video review of this particular 58 Continental Mark Three convertible .

And to me , it's one of the most interesting cars I'd love to own one .

I don't , I've driven a number of them come close to buying a number of them but never quite pulled the trigger on them .

And I thought it was worth doing a separate video on the special , what I'll call strangest features of these 58 to 60 Continentals , strange unique and crazy features because these cars do have a number of really interesting features for the time and even by today's standards .

So let's talk about it in a bit more detail .

So the first strange thing about these vehicles , at least the up end ones is that they're called the Continental Mark three for 1958 not the Lincoln Mark Three or the Lincoln Continental Mark three .

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You may recall that when the Mark two came out in 1956 that Continental was a new division of Ford .

They were trying to position something higher than Lincoln and Continental was its own division for a very brief period of time .

But these cars did get labeled as Continentals .

And there's also a strange and interesting note here is somebody probably says Mark three .

I thought the Mark three was produced from 1969 to 71 which is true .

Well , in 58 these were known as the Continental Mark three .

In 59 the Mark four and in 1960 the Mark five , so Lincoln incremented that unit every year .

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And while , as I said , the Mark three was produced another Mark three , if you will from 1969 to 71 another mark four from 72 all the way through 76 a Mark five from 77 through 79 Lincoln kind of forgot about these 58 to 60 Continentals when they restarted that nomenclature and the philosophy behind it was that the later Mark three fours and fives were really more in keeping with the original Mark two , uh which was a personal luxury coup just as the mark 34 and five were .

Although it's interesting , uh the 58 to 60 Continental Mark 34 and five were also available as four doors .

And the Mark Six tried to proliferate that name across numerous body styles as well including a four door sedan .

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And it was reported that Ford wanted to also do a convertible , so they kind of slipped back into their old ways with the nomenclature on the Mark six .

So that's the first interesting and strange feature .

The name next is the H VAC control on these and I have never seen an H VAC control that has been patterned off of this before or since everything for the H VAC is controlled through this one dial that you see here .

It's a single control for heater and air conditioning and just one knob works everything .

So you basically continue twisting the knob and it goes through all of these different positions you can see here , heater ventilate air conditioning deicing .

So you rotate the knob around and that then opens various doors to let the air out .

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It also changes the amount of coolant flow into the heater core to enable the outcome air to be cooler or warmer .

And if it's an air conditioning equipped car , we'll turn the air conditioning compressor on too .

Again , all operated through this one control .

And the way that you select the fan speed is you pull the control out toward you .

So you rotate the knob through its various positions .

And then to select the fan speed , you pull the knob in or out .

I just think it's absolutely crazy .

I've never seen anything before or since that was even remotely similar to this .

Next is a strange option .

And for those of you who remember a time when you had to grease your car and cars had grease fittings , everything from the ball joints to the tie rod ends , idler arms .

In some cases , et cetera .

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There is this power lubrication system So as you drive , as the brochure says , you can just push a button and this little light on the dash would illuminate that says lobe and it would grease your front suspension and steering system .

So no need to get out your grease gun on these vehicles .

You just simply push the button on your dash and the various grease fittings in the front suspension and steering components are now greased .

I thought that was a super cool feature of these as well .

Next is the overall body construction and something that may surprise people if you're not aware of these is that they are unibody , they are not body on frame .

And that's despite this car that is just massive , 100 and 31 inch wheel base .

And in 1958 229 inches long , that's 11 inches shy of 20 ft .

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The car did shrink if you can call it shrink uh a few inches in 1959 .

So the 58 is the longest , but this immense vehicle has no separate frame to it .

Now , it is not the longest production car ever made that is bestowed upon the 1973 Chrysler Imperial .

Actually , I should say 1973 Imperial .

That car was also unibody and it was 235 inches long , but it's a bit of a technicality .

In 73 the Imperial added these huge bumper guards in the front and rear that really lengthened it in 1972 .

The car was basically the same , didn't have those bumper guards and was 229 inches long , pretty much the exact same length as the 58 mark three .

Now , why Ford elected to go to unibody for this ?

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I'm not quite sure they did produce these a new plant which was Wixom Assembly at the time , which would later become the home of both Lincoln and the Continental division for some time .

But it just is amazing to me that this immense vehicle is not body on frame .

And consequently , you have to be very careful , you do not want to get one that is rusty because it's very hard to repair .

This unibody construction continued on in the subsequent generation .

The car that was introduced in 1961 but Lincoln gradually started transitioning back to body on frame cars with the 1969 mark three .

And then in 1970 the new Continental which both of which were body on frame .

Next .

Another strange quirk of these which relates to the instrument cluster is that almost all of them that you see have this crack in the glass face of the speedometer , right at about 55 MPH .

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It's super rare to find one that doesn't have this crack and apparently it was an engineering defect .

There was actually a technical service bulletin about it and some folks say it's because it was unnaturally stressed in that area because of the unibody or that it was fastened too tightly , admittedly , not quite sure on what the root cause was .

But you're going to find if you see these at car shows .

Well , if you see them at car shows , these cars are very few and far between these days , but you're almost always gonna see them with that crack in the glass on the instrument cluster .

Next is the engine under hood .

These 58 mark threes had a new M E L Mercury Edsel Lincoln 430 cubic inch V eight .

And it made 375 horsepower , which was immense for the time .

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Of course , that's gross horsepower , not net horsepower ratings that the industry would change to in 1972 which lowered the published figures , but still this was an extremely powerful engine and unfortunately , horsepower declined every year throughout its life from 58 where it was 375 horsepower with a four barrel carburetor to 350 horsepower in 1959 to 315 horsepower in 1960 .

When the engine was outfitted with , can you believe it ?

A two barrel carburetor ?

Yes .

This 430 cubic inch engine had a two barrel carburetor outfitted to it .

And the legend has it that Robert mcnamara who was in charge at the time just thought four barrel carburetors were excessive and expensive and unnecessarily complicated .

And so uh Ford went to this two barrel carburetor .

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And then after mcnamara went into the Kennedy administration , they promptly be brought back the four barrel carburetors uh on cars like this .

So just a very strange series of uh decisions .

The other thing is that this 375 horsepower engine endowed this car with surprising acceleration .

Remember I said this was at the time , the longest production car made later surpassed by the 73 imperial , but these cars could go from 0 to 60 in about the mid eight second range , which for a car that's almost 20 ft long is shockingly fast .

No , it's not fast by modern day standards .

But by the time especially this is the late fifties that was like a rocket ship reserved for sports cars breaking into the eight second range and 0 to 60 was something that was very , very rare and these cars could do it in spite of their size .

Next on .

These is the radio control .

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So on these , they had the typical series of buttons and knobs to tune in your favorite station or to tune to a new one , turn the radio on and off .

But there also was this town button and this country button .

So you could select either of those buttons to try to pick up stations that were more proximate to where you were driving versus those that were farther away .

Kind of a strange feature .

But one that was a bit similar to Cadillac and the later Wonder Bar radios that CAAC had where it would seek signals and you could adjust whether or not it was sensitive to the signal it was seeking or not .

And these cars also did have a foot operated automatic control for the quote unquote travel tuner radio .

So you could change the radio stations with a button on the floor .

Kind of another convenient feature that other cars also had .

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But something that you really don't see , you know , today or even decades later , next is the unfortunate cheapening of this vehicle for the 1960 model year , which is , I guess the result of the finance team , I don't know who else would do that , but they did change the dash in 1960 to this .

I think it's less luxurious look .

And as I mentioned , the car became outfitted with a two barrel car Raiders as opposed to the four barrel dropping horsepower from 350 to 315 .

And then uh lastly , the rear suspension changed from coil suspension to leaf spring suspension , which would also be continued into the next generation cars that came out in 1961 and really degraded the ride quality , which was unfortunate , but that's what happened .

And next is this interesting so-called dual range automatic transmission that these cars had .

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You can see here that there was ad two and ad one position .

And you're saying Well , what is so strange about that ?

Well , if you put the gear selector in D two , this is not like later cars , the D where they had the DS L on G MS or D 21 on the Fords as well as the Chryslers where , you know , it's kind of like a downshift control .

If you selected D two , that meant that the car started out in second gear and upshift it to third gear and first gear was not used .

You had to put the selector in D one for it to start out in first gear .

So again , it wasn't really a , a break , a grade breaking control .

Although you could put these in L and that would allow you to use the engine for grade breaking .

But I haven't quite seen that before since later Ford would have their select shift where if you put the gearshift in the two position , it wasn't just a grade breaking feature .

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The car would also start out in second gear , which is different from G MS as well as Chrysler torque flights where if you put the car in second gear , it just simply wouldn't upshift beyond that point .

But if you have AC six C four F M X transmission from Ford , from the seventies , the sixties and you put it in the second gear position , the car is also going to start out in second gear .

So Ford had a little bit different approach to their overall transmission shifting uh than the other companies .

Next is an interesting under hood quirk of these .

There isn't a power steering pump in the typical location on these , the power steering pump is actually driven off of the end of the crank shaft in the engine compartment .

And that was something that was later used all the way up until 1969 .

So true for these M E L V eight S also true for the 4 60 in the mar threes in the 1969 model year .

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So kind of strange , but it proved handy for vehicles with hydraulically operated wipers because if the belt were to snap and the wipers were powered by the power steering pump , you'd have no more wipers .

And last but not least is the power rear window on these cars similar to some mercies of the era .

These Lincolns , at least the Continentals had a power back window that you could put down and the roof was shaped such that you wouldn't get wet if it were raining and you put the window down a neat feature that continued on for Mercury up until the 1968 model year with the 1968 sedan still allowing you to drop the rear window by about 2 to 3 inches .

It was an option at that point .

There were other features too .

These did have the electronic eye that sensed automatic headlamp dimming .

They did have power seats , they did have power windows including power wing windows .

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But I thought these were the features that were most worth expounding .

And I hope you enjoyed this discussion .

Thanks again for watching .

And until next time , take care and check out the video thumbnails at bottom , left and right for some suggestions for you .


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