Being a child of the 80’s, the years of white walled tires, V8’s and being able to fit your whole family in the back seat of your car, passed me by unnoticed. I grew up with LCD screens, TV remotes and power steering.
Today I received a call from a friend, photographer Albert Bredenhann, telling me he just e-mailed me some photos of a “very cool car” he ran into while on a movie set. I was expecting a Ferrari or a Aston Martin, or at least something with a trip computer and launch control. To my disgust, I found photos of a car I think I saw in a movie called “Grease” once.
My disgust was short lived. As I started researching this car I found myself intrigued by these old cars and their histories. Information was very limited, but I eventually found what I was looking for, the 1958 Lincoln Continental Mark III Convertible.
This car was produced by the Lincoln division of the Ford Motor Company, a subdivision which had a reputation for style, luxury and high equipment levels. This specific “Matador Red” car was one of the first built and still bore the “Continental III” branding on the front fender, although it was generally known as the “Mark III”.
Although 1958 was a recession year for the U.S, the Mark III recorded record sales at the, then, very high price tag of 6283 U.S Dollars. Only 3048 convertible copies were sold and featured a newly developed 430 V8 engine with 375 horsepower (280kW). Another unique “Mark” feature was the retractable reverse-slant rear window, even in the convertible. AM radios were standard, and FM a very rarely installed option.
To rub salt in my wounds, I also found new technology to not be so new:
“All Lincolns came equipped with power brakes, power steering, radio, heater-defroster, clock, windshield washer, padded dash, center armrest, dual exhausts and undercoating – plus many additional options such as air conditioning, power seats and remote control trunk lid.” [Source: conceptcarz.com]
After a lot of reading I came to respect and appreciate this car.
Never again will I look at one of these classics and think “You burn fuel and you’re slow”, because there’s a lot more to these cars than meets the eye.
[Photos by Albert Bredenhann – pixelpro.co.za]