Your definitive 1961–69 Lincoln Continental buyer’s guide

The 1960s were a golden age for American luxury sedans. Lower and wider, yet still relatively restrained, these cars exercised considerable restraint when compared to their finned predecessors and Brougham-styled successors. One of the era's most enduring icons has been the fourth-generation Lincoln Continental, a vehicle that would make a searing mark on automotive history by way of its timeless styling, the significant changes it would being to the brand, and a tragic brush with history in Dealey Plaza.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/09/11/lincoln-continental-buyers-guide

Interesting article. Until reading this article I thought they were actually 4 door hardtops and was surprised the term “sedan” was being used. I found another article on the web that cites the Lincoln Continental Owners Club (LCOC) claiming that Lincoln produced nine 4 door hardtop (body style 57C) models in December, 1960, and one more in January, 1961. Supposedly they had the same rear doors, windows, and wiring as the convertible, where servos would lower the glass when the doors were opened. http://www.curbsideclassic.com/automotive-histories/cc-unicorn-hunt-1961-lincoln-continental-pillarless-hardtop-sedan/

Always loved these, even though I was a pretty small kid when they came out in 61, but I had 2 much older teen brothers who were into car’s, so I noticed them to. Always wanted one.
About 1969-70 I had a friend his single Mom, had a white 1961 convertible, but at this time that top was no longer working. Another friends parents had a 62 sedan , she was a air Force brat and this Lincoln had been shipped too all her dad’s post including Panama. By 1970 it had some issues, and interesting that this article brought it up, it would sometimes get vaper lock, which they thought was from Panama, but likely a bad or wrong fuel pump.
Just in the last few years, even the sedans are going way up in price, so sadly they are out of my price range. Might have to settle for a 60 Lincoln or start looking at mid 60s Cadillac.
By the way, always heard them refered to as a sedan and convertible

Yep! John C. is double spot on discussing the 60’s Continentals. He was featured with Jay Leno’s garage, demonstrating his superior knowledge of this car in real time.
I have owned 5 Lincolns. Still my favs are the convertibles. Beauty, style and drives like a 60 foot Chris Craft on Lake Tahoe. Still waiting for news if Continentals will survive to 2020 and or with my wet dream suicide doors. Good cruseing to ALL. TOM IN BOERNE.

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I saw that on YouTube, really interesting guy, explained the involved electrical system on that convertible top. It showed me why I couldn’t afford one if those. A Lady in my town here in NorCal, from brand new had a 64 Lincoln Continental covertible, it was a tan gold, unusual, really pretty and they kept it, I think the family may still have it. Her last Lincoln was a 79 Towncar and in the mid 80s a lady I knew told me about riding with her and 4 other ladies to a Daughters of the Nile meeting in Sacramento and coming home on i80, she was running late and the went by the weight station doing about 100 mph LoL, traffic was not bad then.

The 430 and later 462 engines were part of the MEL family of big blocks. The 390 was part of the FE design and not interchangeable with the MEL.

I found my '63 Vert in an actual barn in central CA. It sat for 30 years before I found it. Took me another 5 to restore it. I’ve met Cashman a couple of times, and he is really a great guy. If you plan to get into one of these cars, be prepared for the cost! Very little is interchangeable, and very little is available through the regular parts suppliers…

When I was 15 years old in 1982 I begged my Dad to let me buy a ‘62 sedan that had been sitting in a neighbors’ yard for as long as I could remember. Probably for good reason he didn’t let me. I just loved the look of these cars! I passed on a $500 '64 convertible while stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1989. There were a few rust holes, and the top was in shreds. It had been a beach car. I didn’t care about any of that. I passed because the top was up and it didn’t work. I couldn’t figure out how to get inside the trunk. I ended up with another “beach” car, a $75 '64 Convertible DeVille.

I own 4 of these in convertible. I worked for Ford fixing TBird and Lincoln tops. I still have a business fixing tops. You either buy these cars restored with everything working or don’t but them at all. The parts unique to the car are drying up. The rotary back panel switch even if you find a good one will do you little good if you have too much play in back panel retract gear box. There is a kit for the gear box. Don’t waste your money. Take the old one to a machine shop and have them put new bushings in.They all have bad window switches. Parts for the 61-65 Turbo Drive Transmission are almost non-existent. Because of the fuel pump location they are known for vapor lock. The exhaust manifolds leak and have to machined. Lincoln parts in general for 1969 and down cars have nothing in common with Ford and Mercury. They have a suspension all to their own. The car lays over on a turn.The power steering pump mounts on the crankshaft and are constantly an issue. Again try to find a good one. The gear box is Lincoln only and though they all look the same the splines keep changing as well as the input shaft. Did I mention these cars are notorious for running hot? The engine compartment layout is not conducive for heat dissipation. My 1957 Premiere Convertible and my 1960 MarkV convertible are far superior and more reliable cars.

I know a few guys that have converted the 4-door sedans into hardtops (meaning they removed the B-pillar. It is a serious job. First you need to find rear doors and glass from a vert. You can modify the sedan doors, but you still need the glass, chanels, and associated switches and wiring. The convertibles have a window drop feature that lowers the rear windows a little when they are opened. It does this so that they don’t hit the front door windows when the door is opened. The sedan glass is smaller and doesn’t have that issue (because of the B-pillar). So you need to pull all the wiring, switches, and relays from teh vert and install it in the sedan. It is a massive undertaking, but looks awesome. Or, you could cheat, and hack out the B-Pillar, make it removable, then just remove it by hand when cruising.

The article states that the engine codes were N, K, G, and A, but the photo of the VIN tag shows a code of H. Which engine is this?

I purchased a 65 convert in 1988 for 2300. Cosmetically it needed everything but mechanically and electrically…EVERYTHING FUNCTIONED as intended from the factory. Over the years I meticulously went through all the systems and experienced one of the nicest driving cars I have ever owned. It is the one I should not have sold in 1992 for $10,000.

I worked for LM most of my life and am very familiar with these cars, Especially the very complicated and touchy converts. If you lived in the country and traveled on twisty and bumpy roads, the limit switches were constantly going out of adjustment. I remember the movie Goldfinger , where they crushed a '63. The movie Marnie where Sean Connery drove a '64.

I think (not 100% sure) the 430/462 was heaviest production car engine ever produced!

In 1973 was working in sales for a FLM dealer in south GA. I walked into the service department one day in late spring and saw a 69 Linc. sedan in coal black with black leather with NY plates. It was immaculate it didn’t look like money it looked like the bank. The service manager asked me if anything looked off about this car and I looked it over what I thought was very well as he was always quizzing me about different cars. I looked and looked and told him I didn’t see anything wrong and then he asked me “Does it have air cond.?” It did not and these folks were on their way to south Fl for the summer. Our sales manager told me that he wanted to try to trade them out of it until he realized it did not A/C and that we would never resell it because of no A/C .

An article about the 61-69 Lincolns, and no mention of Elwood Engle?

I was introduced to Continentals in the sixties when my Dad bought his brother’s 1940 Continental cabriolet. That car set into motion a lasting love for old Lincolns, and I was devastated when Mom decreed the car must go when we moved from AZ to OH.

In 1974, I found “my” Lincoln. It was a one owner, estate sale convertible with 27k miles and all original.
It had been purchased new by the family that owned the local Columbus newspaper, radio and television business. Still had the original top, paint and leather.
And to this day, you can still make the same claim.

We owned the car for 40 years, only recently selling it to my cousin, who coincidently also has Dad’s 40. Unfortunately, cancer is leaving me less and less time to play with the old fleet.

The car currently has a bit over 50k miles, and looking back, it has been amazing how little work I’ve had to do on the car. The quality of the car was impressive. All the controls had a nice heft and a well oiled and well machined feel. Very much brought to mind the feel I get with my older Mercedes.

In over 40 years, the top has worked for me with minimal fiddling, and I did have to suss out the rear door window drop, needed new knife switches. But for the complexity, it was quite reliable. Also, the r12 A/C system still blows cold, and it’s 100 percent original.

Tough call to pass the car on, but I know it’s in good hands, and I can still visit it whenever I want.

It came down to selling the Lincoln or the 55 Ford Sunliner, tough choice. The white over red w/ black top Sunliner was bought new by my Uncle, and it was our wedding car in 79. It’s also pretty original and has 50k miles on it currently. I suspect it will eventually share space with the two family Lincolns…

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I have ridden in a Packard convertible. My next dream ride will be in one of these Lincolns. A local doctor had the only one in our town. Beautiful light blue.

I bought my 63 Linc Cont 4DSD in 1980 with a seized engine. A friend of mine would tool us around in it before the engine seized. I told her to let me know if she ever wanted to sell it. She told me about the engine seizing and was going to get $50 from a junkyard for it. I gave her $200 for it and my friends and I removed the engine and sent it out to be prof. rebuilt and reinstalled it. I was a few thousand dollars back then to do this. 10 years later I had the transmission rebuilt by a prof shop.It runs and drives but needs more work to be done to it. It’s been an old friend for 40 years. The pencil shaped rod that goes from the crank (or cam?) shaft to the oil pump was the culprit. For this rod to break is common on these engines. Some idiot bought this black/black car in 1963 w/o AC.!! I’m selling it now. It will likely be chopped up for parts. I just don’t want to see it…!!!

Very good article. Cashman is the man and saw him on an episode of Leno’s garage. Might be mistaken but think an episode of ‘All Girls Garage’ worked on an early ‘60s’ Continental convertible and addressed the rear window down function.
Yes, the convertible’s are unique as well as challenging. I have a 1966 T-Bird convertible. Was able to replace many components of the convertible top function with up/down function with 21 c. more reliable electronics. Regardless, you need an expert. Wasted $thousands to get my conv. top functioning reliable (2 restoration garages), before I found a small neighborhood shop with a mid-20 year old who made my conv. top work perfect.
The above article mentioned power windows. I only have experience with T-Birds. 1961-66 Birds had underdeveloped, under-engineered, power windows from 1961-66, perhaps same for Lincolns (shared parts)? Underdeveloped design from day one. 1967, I turned age 16, parents gave me their 1966 Bird. Power windows failed when my 1966 Bird was less than 12 months old. 1960’s Continentals and T-Birds have issues with power windows. Wonder why there has been no aftermarket part (s) solution since there is aftermarket 21 century parts to improve the convertible top function?