1968 Continental Executive Limousine by Lehmann-Peterson

At the summit of the automaker’s craft…

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The Continental Life is most rewarding driving America’s most distinguished motorcar. The 1968 Lincoln Continental was refined to further enhance the luxury experience. Its tasteful understatement makes it a classic among American automobiles. The Lincoln Continental is engineered to be one of the finest automobiles in America.

In this world…there will always be room for something beyond conventional standards of prestige and luxury – this is why there is the Continental Executive Limousine hand-crafted by Lehmann-Peterson. Ford Motor Company commissioned this eminent coachbuilder to craft these elegant limousines of distinction. What better way to savor the Continental Life than being chauffeured in a custom-crafted Continental Executive Limousine –

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From the tires up, each Continental Executive Limousine is a carefully integrated machine in which every conceivable driving circumstance has been anticipated and planned for. Lincoln Continentals converted by Lehmann-Peterson have been fully tested by Ford Motor Company and carried the same warranty as all Lincoln Continentals.

Lehmann-Peterson is recognized as the ultimate in prestige and luxury motoring world-wide. They earned “The Park Avenue Seal of Approval.” The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the Continental Executive Limousine was $15,000 USD. A typically more exclusive limo sold for $17,000, and for $20,000 it could be highly bespoke to reflect the requisites of its owner. Come live the Continental Life – it’s a room at the top on wheels…

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This beauty was sold by Left Coast Classics

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Lehmann-Peterson was established in 1963 by Robert “Pete” Lehmann and George “Skip” Peterson. They started out modestly in a garage on Harlem Street in Chicago, Illinois. They dissected a 1963 Lincoln Continental and added a 34” stretch. It was named the “Continental Executive Limousine” by Lehmann-Peterson Coachbuilders. Ford Motor Company became intrigued. They were concerned about safety and kept the vehicle for further testing.

They were concerned with structural integrity and the overall strength of the frame with all of the added weight. On Friday February 25, 1964, after 40,000 miles of testing, Ford Motor Company and Lehmann-Peterson Coachbuilders went into partnership, signing  an exclusive contract with the Lincoln-Mercury Division to create all coachwork for Lincoln Continental conversions. This turned into a $2 Million USD a year business re-working expensive automobiles. Lehmann-Peterson also converted other makes upon request.

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Lehmann-Peterson was new to the business with no track record. Ford Motor Company reviewed the 1963 prototype from end to end. Sixty inspectors at Ford studied its construction. The inspectors crammed as many people as possible into the car then proceeded to drive it through torturous road situations. They even raced the limo into an airborne launch where all four wheels were off the ground. The car stood up to the grueling tests unscathed…the inspectors studied every nut, bolt, and weld…they were pleased!

What really shocked Ford executives was the fact that warranty costs were lower for the Lehmann-Peterson stretch limo than they were for the standard factory Continental sedan. The artisans at Lehmann-Peterson scrutinized each car in detail before delivery to the customer. They had a distinctive reputation for quality…and they maintained it. The limousines were more reliable and stringently tested than the factory sedans. Even though the car had been dissected and lengthened, it was stronger than the sedan it was built from…

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Lehmann-Peterson built two limousines the first year. One was built for the White House for official Presidential use and the other was given away on the TV game show “The Price Is Right.” The woman, who won it unfortunately, sold it to a used car dealer! Lehmann-Peterson was appalled! A car of this stature sitting on a used car lot! She had no idea what prestige this is.

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The conversion begins when a standard Unibody production Lincoln Continental was drop shipped to the coachbuilder along with a limousine conversion kit which included heavy-duty tires, springs, shock absorbers, an extra air conditioning system, and an over-sized cooling system. The conversion took around 27 days to complete. The interior is stripped, the roof removed and the Continental is cut in half at the door posts.

Once the car is dissected, it is fitted with important modifications. The limousine is actually stronger than the base Continental sedan from which it was constructed due to its structural reinforcement. An additional “Lipper” roof pillar is fitted to both sides of the car. Four additional “cross-roof supports” are built across the roof of the car. These extend horizontally across the inner roof surface. A 0.125” steel plate is added along each side of the car from the driver’s compartment to the front of the rear seat cushion. Two 0.125” structural supports are built into the driver’s compartment. The box-like structure gives the limousine the necessary rigidity.

Another 0.125” plate is installed cross-one side of the new center of the limousine to the other. Finally, a new 34” section is welded into place on both sides of the car. The new roof is riveted in place with the rivets covered with body lead. New floor panels are welded into place to compensate for the additional length. Here’s an interesting fact: the Continental Executive Limousine weighs 5,939 lbs. which is only 227 lbs. heavier than the four-door Continental convertible that weighs 5,712 lbs.

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interior 1

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The drive shaft had to be altered. With the added length, a longer exhaust system was fitted; longer fuel lines and parking brake cables as well. There were requests as the car moved through its production. Some wanted a 2” higher roof which ran around $900 more. All amenities the customer required were installed or built into the Continental Executive Limousine. Lehmann-Peterson was the only independent shop in the country that made limousines on a production basis.

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Lehmann-Peterson and Lincoln-Mercury dissolved the partnership in 1970 for unknown reasons. There is an undetermined number of Lehmann-Peterson limousines built in 1969 and only one 1970 prototype. After the partnership ended, Lehmann-Peterson assets were taken over by Maloney Coachbuilders.

A Lincoln Continental has a graceful culmination of classic and contemporary styling cues. The 1968 Continental sedan has one of the widest tracks in the world. With its design and sheer weight, it gives exceptional stability and ‘flatness’ to the ride. The Lincoln Continental was an excellent choice for limousine conversions. Lehmann-Peterson retained the poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Lincoln Continental.

1968 Continental 1

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1968 Lincoln Continental sedan

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The 1968 Continental Executive Limousine is powered by the Ford MEL-Series 7.6 litre 16-valve 462 CID OHV V8 engine. It is equipped with a Carter C8 VF-9510E 4-bbl carburetor. The engine is mated to Ford’s C-6 Select-Shift Turbo-Drive automatic transmission, the torque converter has a 3-speed planetary gear set and 6-position selector dial.

The engine produces a potent 340 hp @ 4,600 rpm with 658 Nm of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 11 seconds, 0-100 mph in 32.7 seconds, and 0-110 mph in 47.9 seconds. Its top speed is 123 mph ungoverned. It can do the ¼ mile @ 80 mph in 18 seconds. These times are awesome for an automobile of this magnitude. The Continental Executive Limousine is 255” in length, rides upon a long 160” wheelbase and is 79.7” in width.

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In the hierarchy of the automotive world no other motorcar has the esteem, distinction, and prestige as a chauffeur-driven limousine. The Continental Executive Limousine is the pinnacle of the art of automobile conversion. This luxury behemoth is 34” longer than the standard Lincoln Continental sedan. Lehmann-Peterson added an eloquence and stature which immediately set these fabulous limousines apart from other fine automobiles. The Continental Executive Limousine is the ultimate expression of Continental elegance.

Only 286 were built from 1964 until 1968. The Continental Executive Limousine was the choice for oil sheikhs and maharajas, as well as movie stars, TV personalities, and state dignitaries. Many of these luxurious land yachts are still in service. These are some of the largest Unibody constructed automobiles ever built. Pete & Skip started the stretch limo business turning it into a $2 Million USD a year business. Today’s techniques are spin-offs of the Lehmann-Peterson style…however; the limousines of today do not have the distinguished aura of the classic Lincoln Continentals. The Continental Life includes “A room at the top on wheels.”

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1968 Lehmann-Peterson Continental Executive Limousine

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1967 Lehmann-Peterson Continental short wheelbase limousine

1967 Formal Limousine 1

1967 Lehmann-Peterson Continental Executive Limousine

1967 Formal Limousine 2

1965 Lehmann Peterson 6

1965 Lehmann-Peterson Continental Executive Limousine

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1965 Lehmann Peterson 1

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1968 Lehmann-Peterson Continental Executive Limousine

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