The Last Of A Breed: 1967 Lincoln Continental Convertible

The Continental life…was the good life

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“Come Live the Continental Life” was the marketing theme for Lincoln’s 1967 model year – the Lincoln Continental was one of America’s most distinguished automobiles. The Continental life was a gracious way of living. It was a completely bespoke lifestyle…for the person whose discernment in how they live matches their means to afford it.

A Lincoln Continental reflected its owner’s individuality and good taste. The Lincoln Continental four-door convertible for 1967 was the last of the breed. It was the Lincoln Continental that made the iconic “Kissing-Door” treatment on an open grand tourer famous. Classic dignity, Lincoln Continental eloquence, with a style all its own is the 1967 Continental four-door convertible. 

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This is another fine classic from Daniel Schmitt & Co

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This type of construction requires a very special build. There is more to a convertible than merely snipping the roof off of a hardtop. There has to be adjustments to offset and counter harmonic resonance which is negative energy in the form of vibration that can destroy a vehicle in time. The convertible bodyshell must have a lower center of gravity to make the vehicle hold the road avoiding rollovers.

Finally, it is imperative for side beam networking with a reinforced passenger cell, and a stronger windscreen frame to envelope passengers in safety. The roof is the major structure of the car, once it is removed there must be concessions made to counter the effect. The Continental is large enough to conceal these important alterations. 

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Inside…the four-door convertible had the same spaciousness of the sedan. It has full-width rear seating without the unsightly rear well behind the seats that a convention convertible would have. The elegant Continental touch added folding center armrests for both front and rear seat passengers.

Luxurious top grained leather upholstered the seating. Each hand-stitched pleat is tucked with fiber-foam for added comfort. It was the only four-door convertible built in America. Its classy forward-opening rear coach doors provide easy entry and exit to the rear compartment. With the top down…it has a clean uncluttered look: no top and no boot. The top disappeared beneath the rear deck lid. 

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The roof folded away out of sight completely. This system used a fully automatic folding fabric roof that deployed quickly. With the roof in the closed position it was reminiscent of carriage coachcrafting. The top can even be operated from outside the vehicle with a key at the rear quarter panel beside the fuel filler door. The overall concept of a four-door convertible will always remain as romantic as the day it was conceived. This is an Elwood Engel (Chrysler Imperial) design. The fourth generation Lincoln Continental was built from 1961 until 1969. 

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Note the lock beside the fuel filler door, this operates the top

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The Continental’s prominent knife-blade fenders are an Elwood Engel specialty. They span the entire length of the car. Its design is understated with classic simplicity…yet totally luxurious. A Continental had a slab-sided design which was one of its hallmarks.

Elwood Engel eventually went to work for the Chrysler Corporation. His excellence is evident in the 1964-1966 Chrysler Imperials. His love for the Continental caused the Imperial to “favor” the Continental; he had to overcome this to execute a new image for Chrysler’s Imperial. (The Imperial LeBaron is one of the most revered luxury sedans in history) 

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Style code #86/74A Lincoln Continental four-door convertible was base priced at $6,449 and only 2,276 were built for the 1967 model year. Since this is the finale for this body style, it is highly collectible. Production numbers for the convertible dropped drastically for most automakers by the mid to late 1960s because air conditioning and car stereos were becoming increasingly popular. The 1967 Continental convertible is the heaviest Lincoln since the classic Model “K” of the 1930s & 1940s. This luxury behemoth hit the scales at a whopping 5,712 lbs. It rides upon a long 126” wheelbase, has the luxury length of 220.9”, and is 79.7” in width. 

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Standard features for the 1967 Continental include: power steering and brakes, power windows, power 2-way seating, heater/defroster system, Fresh-Flow ventilation system, dual aluminized and stainless-steel exhaust system, keyless door locking system, electric clock, automatic parking brake release, and remote control outside rear view mirror. The list goes on and on as it was a luxury car complete. 

Popular options for the 1967 model year include: Automatic Temperature Control, Stereo-Sonic Tape system, AM/FM Signal-seeking radio with power antenna, speed actuated door locks, automatic speed control, 6-way power seating, and individually adjustable twin front lounge seats with passenger recliner, tinted glass, and whitewall tires. 

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The Lincoln Continentals were powered by the trusty “MEL” (Mercury Edsel Lincoln) engines. They were introduced in 1958, developed for the Mercury brand. This series of V8 engines were built when the emphasis was on build quality, performance, and overall reliability. The Ford MEL-Series V8 engines were built at the Lima engine factory in Lima, Ohio.

The “Mercury Edsel Lincoln” engine was built in three distinctive cubic inch displacements from 1958 until 1968. These are some of the largest and heaviest V8 powerplants ever built by Ford. Most of these engines were referred to as the “Marauder.” The first of these were 383 cubic inches and were used for the 1958 through 1960 model years. There was also a 410 cubic inch V8 used for the Edsel brand in 1958. It was the “E-475” V8 and was the least common of the MEL-Series. 

Another version of the MEL-Series was nicknamed the “Bulldozer” and was used from 1958 until 1965. The “Super Marauder” was set-up with three 2-bbl carburetors. It was 430 CID and was able to output anywhere from 350 hp to 400 hp during its tenure. Both Lincoln and Mercury used this version. 

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The 462 CID versions were built from 1966 until 1968 for the larger vehicles. It is a 16-valve 7.6 litre OHV design used for the 1967 Lincoln Continentals. The engine is equipped with a Carter AFB 4362 4-bbl carburetor. The engine is mated to Ford’s (C6 XPL) new, smoother, Select-Shift Turbo-drive automatic transmission. The torque converter has a 3-speed planetary gear set.

This engine is noted for its smooth, imperceptible overall operation. The engine produces 340 hp @ 4,600 rpm with 658 Nm of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 9.9 seconds, 0-100 mph in 31.3 seconds, and 0-110 mph in 49.1 seconds. It has a top speed of 120 mph ungoverned. It does the ¼ mile @ 80 mph 17.8 seconds. 

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The Lincoln Continental’s superb ride quality is legendary. The front suspension used silent struts with sealed pre-lubricated ball joints, helical coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers with rebound control. The rear used a Hotchkiss Drive with 64” long leaf springs, rubber-cushioned rear axle mounts, and hydraulic shock absorbers. It was equipped with a 16” steering wheel with integral hydraulic power assist, and a crankshaft mounted hydraulic pump. Its dual hydraulic brake system used self-adjusting power brakes and front ventilated discs for smooth, fade-free braking. 

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Per Daniel Schmitt & Co, classic car enthusiasm has grown and is proving to be among the most resilient and rewarding investments. The Historic Automobile Group Index (HAGI) jumped 39% in 2013 posting gains of 395% over the previous decades. The enigma of the Lincoln Continental is legendary; the 1967 Four-door convertible is one to watch as it grows in value. 

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Exclusivity and supremacy are synonymous with the Continental life. The elegant Lincoln Continentals from the 1960s made a dramatic statement about the people who drove them. The Continental four-door convertibles were the only vehicles of this type built in America at the time. The 1967 edition with its roof lowered made its gleaming architecture span for miles. The top neatly stowed away underneath the forward-opening deck lid, there was no boot, and all hardware was hidden for a clean uncluttered appearance.

The elegant forward-opening rear coach doors are what made this automobile unique. The 1967 Continentals were powered by the MEL 462 CID V8 engine that delivered 340 hp packing a prolific punch with 658 Nm of peak torque. This highly spirited luxury convertible is the last of the breed. The Lincoln Continental was more than an automobile…it was a highly bespoke lifestyle in the true American tradition of luxury – 

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The Continental life was extremely rewarding

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