Hagerty.com

Long Read Rewind: Jan/Feb 2018

It was the high-water mark of postwar American luxury, that place—as Hunter S. Thompson once said of San Francisco at the same time—where the wave finally broke and rolled back. Its predecessors were unpleasantly bloated, its successors uncomfortably baroque, but the 1961–65 Lincoln Continental was simply perfect, a mid-century-modern vehicle that coincided neatly with, and became symbolic of, the thrill and tragedy of John F. Kennedy’s Camelot.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2020/03/23/long-read-rewind-jan-feb-2018

This is a true story about how some guys never stop winning! I bought a sports car, a new '64 XKE Coupe (opalescent blue), on Jan 1965. I had celebrated my 28th birthday the prior month. Not important how a 28 year old afforded it ,but i didn’t have the right school tie nor financial aid from my parents. I also got to use my bosse’s Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 when business called for it. Believe it or not I used the XKE as my daily driver in New England until end 1969 whenI had put over 150,000 miles on it. I did have all the work done on it to run it at track days at Lime Rock with guidance from Oliver Jones and scared the hell out of myself. After the '60s I lost interest and in 1970 went back for motor cycles (I rode a Harley in 19530.
Road raced and drag raced Suzukis with my last being a first year GS1100 my late wife surprised me with just a couple of months before she passed away in 1980. I was still riding a bike until 2019.

Here comes the part about never stop winning - In 1989 i remarried. This wife is much much younger then i. She got the bug for sports cars and bought a new 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. I now ride as passenger in that cool piece while being driven by my striking wife. Its one thing for a guy to seen driving such a Porsche with a beautiful woman as passenger. It is really cool for a guy as passenger to seen in that car being driven by a beautiful woman. Some guys never stop winning!

If Ford had only captured the classic fenders with its trim and used a larger chassis(and trunk) I might have been able to accept it as a Continental.
This new car looks like all the other loaves of bread made for the last three decades.

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I think I’m qualified to comment here because I just returned in a 2017 Continental (2 year lease) while owning 3 Town Cars in my lifetime. Yes, the Town Car is a dinosaur but compared to it’s cushy, pillow-like ride, the Continental rides like a WW2 jeep. In regard to technology and bells & whistles, the Continental wins hands down. Gas mileage? Surprisingly it’s a tie. Both cars averaged in the low 20s combined with each getting 25-28 on the highway. Considering the Continental’s high tech engine, transmission and computer system, this is disappointing to say the least. However, I must admit that the power and handling of the Continental far outshines that of the Town Car but for me personally, I’d rather have the cushy ride and bullet proof reliability of the 4.6 L engine. Trunk space? No comparison. You can practically park the Continental in the trunk of a Town Car.
A plus for the Continental is it’s AWD. The Town Car’s rear wheel drive sucks in the Midwest.
Anyway, knowing my lease was ending, I went out and found a 2004 Town Car Ultimate in Florida with 27,700 original miles. It was like meeting an old friend and a whole lot cheaper than just about any new car. Plan to update it’s antiquated radio with a modern unit with bluetooth. 200,000+ miles here I come.
As for a 64 Continental, one would look very nice in my garage next to the Town Car.

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The one car I have always regretted in selling was my 65’ Continental convertible. I had a 64 sedan simultaneously and always wanted to put the 64 front end on the 65 convert. I purchased the car in 1988 for $2600. Fortunately for me everything worked including the A/C, convertible top and dropping rear door windows. I spent the next couple of years refurbishing all the cosmetics including an engine pull to detail that area of the vehicle. It was powder blue with pearl white leather seating and a wedge wood blue cloth top. JFK would have liked it.

I was four or five years old when my dad bought a 1961 Continental. I think that car started my life long love of automobiles.

A wasted paragraph about the rear seat in the 64. He claims the cars are about the same width. In my 64 Continental two grand parents and a child seat are possible. In the new car you must make two trips.

@begley.philip - The newer car likely has more crash structure and therefore the same overall width but a narrower seat.

If I could get the new one with suicide doors I would seriously consider giving up my Cadillac!
The new body style Continental with suicide doors would be absolutely outstanding!

The doors on the 64 are plenty thick enough for safety if they had thought of it. The new one has a 15 inch wide console, maybe empty, maybe full of computers. Safety is not the reason.

I agree with the author on the BAMoonroof being an awesome feature, likewise the power of the 3.0L 400HP TT6. My only complaint with mine is the big torque steer to the left if you get on it. I’m thinking it needs more of a rear bias, with RWD and front kicking in during traction loss rather than the other way around. Curious what your thoughts are.

Ah, but the 1939 - 41 by Edsel original may have been the most beautiful car America ever produced…

I like the early-60’s Continentals, but always though the trunk lid was too long. The sedans look good, but the convertibles better.

Personally, as I am gradually tiring of trying to keep old cars running right, I would happily drive the new Conti, with the 400HP engine. (Anyone recall the Foreigner song, “Rev on the Redline”? I want a 400HP car before I die.) The new Conti may not be quite as big inside, but new cars are generally so much better in handling, braking, and often ride, that I could certainly live with the smaller innards. As for looks, I really like the new model, although a trunk just a few inches longer (ironic, in light of my earlier comments), would probably make it look sleeker. Maybe I will watch for an off-lease low-miler, in a good colour, to pop up.

Lincoln has plans for another very-limited-edition model with suicide doors, I think for 2020; the last batch (in 2019) sold out very quickly.