1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible
Premiere Yellow with Black Leather Interior
Completely redesigned for 1961, the Lincoln Continental represented a significant departure for the company. Not only did it consolidate the Lincoln model line into one car, it represented a philosophical shift in approach that not only saved the company, but transformed Lincolns image. Previous Lincolns were enormous cars that never achieved their intended purpose of representing a credible threat to Cadillac, lacking the prestige and styling coherence necessary to win buyers in large numbers. With Lincoln a major loss leader, the division was very nearly axed in 1958, and the 1961 Continental was to be the brands last chance. Accordingly, the car took a dramatically different direction than the previous models. The cars size was significantly decreased in every dimension, being over a foot shorter in length, and the styling took a fresh new start. The rear doors were hinged at the rear, purportedly to aid ingress and egress with the new smaller packaging, and became one of the cars trademark features. The appearance of the new car was clean, modernistic, and elegant, more van der Rohe and less baroque and frivolous. There were no extraneous decorations or panoramic windscreens, the fins were small, and the entire car had a sophisticated execution that contrasts sharply with the whimsical chromed monsters of the 1950s.
The Continental also brought a new focus on quality and craftsmanship. The new unitized construction permitted a more solid platform, and the Continental became the first car to offer a 2 year 24,000 mile warranty. Each engine was bench tested for 3 hours and every car was road tested prior to delivery as well. The corporate ethos behind the car was to produce the finest mass-produced domestic car of its time, and most will agree that the Continental succeeded. It is no surprise then, that the car became intimately associated with John F. Kennedy and his progressive New Frontier, representing a serious and forward-looking perspective that eschewed somewhat the bigger is better mentality of the 1950s. The Continental was particularly appropriate for the administration because it was the only postwar American car that was available as a four door convertible, although it was ultimately in the back of a Continental convertible that JFK was assassinated.
Produced from 1961 to 1969, most agree that the 1964 and earlier examples best exemplify the restrained elegance and purposeful modernity of the original design. The 1963 models were mildly repackaged to permit more interior and trunk space without changing the exterior dimensions, and the electrical system was changed to accommodate an alternator in place of the generator. New front and rear grilles rounded out the exterior changes while a four barrel carburetor increased the power output.
In any given year, convertibles accounted for about 10% of Continental production, making them particularly rare and sought after. In 1963, 3138 convertible Continentals were built and this particular car is a wonderful example that has been restored to the highest possible standards and shown extensively since. In the 63 times that the car has been shown since its restoration, it has won an award each and every time that it was judged (55 times) , giving it legitimate claim to the possibility of being one of the finest examples extant.
This example was sold new in California and was serviced twice in 1963 at Marshall Clampett Lincoln Ford in Los Angeles. The car was owned in the 1980s by Loren Smith, president of Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH). The cars current owner was good friends with Smith, who spoke frequently of his friend Don, whom he indicated would be very disappointed if he were to drive a car that was not made in the United States. The cars current owner came to learn upon Smiths death in 1990, that Dons full name was Don Peterson, and that he was the chairman of Ford Motor Company. Peterson delivered Smiths eulogy, and the cars current owner purchased it from Smiths widow in 1990, purportedly with 40,000 original miles on it. He drove the car back to his home near Sacramento, California. The cars exhaustive concours level restoration was started in June of 1992 and included every system of the car. A pile of records several inches thick from the restoration is included with the car. The restoration was completed in October of 1996, and the car was actively shown from 1996 to 2011. It has won awards at numerous local shows including many times at the Hillsborough Concours dElegance, Palo Alto Concours dElegance, Silverado Concours dElegance, as well as First Place at Antique Automobile Club National Meet. The majority of the awards have been first place awards, and the car has won several Best of Show awards as well.
Throughout its show career, this car was always trailered to events and as a result, it remains in stunning condition and still looks extremely fresh. The paintwork is superb and essentially unmarked while the body is arrow straight with superb gaps. The chrome is also virtually unmarked as are the lights and lenses. The top is in pristine condition and has never been fully retracted since the restoration, although the mechanism works correctly. The black plates were also restored and the wheel covers are correct and like new. The glass is basically unmarked and the car still appears show ready.
The interior is equally nice with excellent black leather and correct carpets which are like new. The dashboard is pristine and the wood paneling is in as-new condition. The dashboard top, instruments, switches, and controls are all in excellent show-ready condition as well. The sill plates and door jambs are beautifully restored and extremely clean. The car is fitted with optional electric vent windows.
The engine compartment is beautifully detailed, extremely clean, and very correct. The decals have been accurately reproduced and there is even a battery inspection sticker affixed to the inner fender dated July of 1963. The battery is correct in appearance and the correct paper tag is attached to the radiator cap. Even the correct Continental washer bag is in place.
The trunk is accessed electrically by folding the rear lid open, which reveals a thoroughly restored compartment with restored actuators and new carpet. The appropriate labels have been sourced and fitted to the inner trunk lid.
This is a truly exceptional example of an important American car. A rare convertible model of one of Lincolns defining automobiles and a high point of Fords history, this car has been spectacularly restored in its original colors to proven show winning condition. This is a California car from new and it would be difficult to imagine that a nicer or more thoroughly awarded example is available anywhere. The car is complete with extensive service records, owners manual, maintenance booklet (with first four service stamps), service manual, service manual supplement, 1963 Continental sales brochure, and a massive collection of awards.
Located in Fair Oaks, CA
Financing, Nationwide Shipping And Warranties Available To Qualified Buyers