Archive for the Requiem For A Legend Category

Cadillac: The Standard of the Entire World

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Notorious Retrospect, Requiem For A Legend with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

…Automotive milestones

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…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Theodore MacManus wrote in his famous “The Penalty of Leadership” advertisement: “That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial.” Cadillac prowess in the luxury car arena made headlines all over the world. From the massive V16 and V12 powerplants to the modern V8 engines…Cadillac was the master builder of the luxury automobile.

Fisher Body, Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell, and a host of other talent made the brand the undisputed “Standard of the World”…in the entire world. Will the brand ever stop chasing everything that moves in Europe…and return to being the pride of the USA and the envy of the world? NotoriousLuxury retros back to the days when Cadillac reigned supreme…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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There was a time when Cadillac had no product recalls…they even sold without advertising. Cadillac was recognized as the luxury leader world-wide. The mere mention of “Cadillac” had the competition in a nervous frenzy. The brand had absolutely no interest comparing itself to European brands simply because the European brands were taking notes from Cadillac success!

The “Standard of the World” was the innovator displaying engineering prowess with outstanding fit & finish. Cadillac couldn’t have cared less about achieving 0-60 mph in a nanosecond, nor was it trying to compete in every automotive class – a Cadillac was a luxury car…period. Cadillac has since forgotten all of its loyal following that made it the “Standard of the World.”

1976 Coupe deVille 1

1976 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1976 Coupe deVille 2

The Cadillac name was synonymous with luxury, prestige, and quality. The association was that of superlative status such as the Cadillac of appliances…the Cadillac of electronics; this meant the product or service was the best in its industry. And of course…the Cadillac of automobiles was the one and only “Standard of the World.” It was everyone’s dream car…the envy of the driveway.

The mere sight of a big, shiny, classy Cadillac sent shock waves throughout the entire automotive industry. The exclusivity and supremacy made quite a statement about its owner. A Cadillac was a supreme achievement in motoring…I used to polish mine for hours upon end to a glassy mirror-like reflection that was so shiny, my girlfriends used to apply their make-up using my Cadillacs as a mirror! Those were the good old days.

1976 Coupe deVille 3

1976 Coupe deVille 4

Once seated behind the wheel…a turn of the ignition key brought the powerful V8 engine to life…it didn’t roar its existence – it whispered its presence. The transmission engaged imperceptibly…the steering was light as a feather…I could turn the steering wheel with one finger action.

Once the ride was under way, boulevard travel intrusion was negligible…a Cadillac managed the roughest pavement with ease. There was nothing else on the road quite like it. In fact, there was no more magnificent manner in which to view the world than from behind the wheel of the “Standard of the World.” Its presence enhanced any occasion…its eminence never went unnoticed –

1970

Not many truly understand this automobile’s illustrious heritage. Let’s take a look into the history of the “Standard of the World.” The brand was established in 1899 as The Detroit Auto Company. It was the first venture of its type in Detroit. It was struggling to survive; the company floundered and was dissolved in January 1901 after only 20 vehicles were built.

The company was reorganized on November 20, 1901 as The Henry Ford Company. Henry ran the company for three weeks then resigned to move on to other endeavors. Henry Martyn Leland, a reserved traditional entrepreneur, reorganized the venture and the company was renamed after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of the city of Detroit. The Cadillac Model A was introduced in 1903.

The brand did not spring forth as the “Standard of the World.” This formidable title was garnered through evolution and dedication to quality. It’s an American success story that unfortunately has a not so happy ending. To regain the illustrious title the brand must cease and desist with the kitschy-faux, make-believe unreasonable facsimiles and build real luxury automobiles once again –

1904 Model B Touring 1

1904 Cadillac Model B Touring

1908 Model S

1908 Cadillac Model S

Model 30 1913 2

1913 Cadillac Model 30

Model 30 1913 1

1918 Model 57 Raceabout

1918 Cadillac Model 57 Raceabout

Fisher Body, the coachbuilder for GM was founded in 1908 by Fred and Charles Fisher of the famous Fisher brothers in Detroit, Michigan. It all began here in Ohio in the beautiful area of Norwalk in the late 1800s building horse-drawn carriages. The transition became necessary because the internal combustion engine and its torque created way too much vibration and the bodies of the horse-drawn units couldn’t withstand the forces.

1929 Cadillac V-8 Dual Cowl Phaeton

Before Fisher Body became a company, the Fisher brothers built bodies for Cadillac. By 1910, Fisher Body became the supplier of all closed bodies for Cadillac. They also built bodies for Buick, Abbot, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Packard, Studebaker…even Ford. By 1913 Fisher Body had the capacity to build 100,000 bodies per year. This success caused the company to expand into Canada right across the lake from Detroit. By 1914 they grew becoming the world’s largest manufacturer of automobile bodies.

In 1916 Larry Fisher joined the company placing emphasis on the Cadillac brand. He wanted exclusivity for the brand. Fisher Body developed the art of interchangeability of wood body parts. They created precision wood working tools, thus, increasing production output. The company became The Fisher Body Corporation in 1916 with the capacity to build 370,000 bodies per year. Larry Fisher became general manager from 1925 until 1934. He oversaw the purchase of The Fleetwood Metal Body Company of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania in 1925.

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Cadillac was the first American car in 1914 to introduce a V-type water-cooled 8 cylinder engine and was also the first to use a thermostatic controlled cooling system. In 1920 the Clark Avenue plant was built in Detroit, Michigan and was the most modern facility in the entire industry. In 1922 Cadillac introduced a thermostatic carburetor control for efficiency. For the 1923 model year Cadillac was the first in the industry to build the inherently balanced V8 engine with a compensated crankshaft…and a four-wheel braking system.

Cadillac was the first in the industry in 1926 to offer a comprehensive service policy on a nationwide basis. In 1928 Cadillac developed the clashless synchromesh transmission that eliminated the chafing noise and friction of gear shifting, thus, laying the foundation for the first fully automatic transmission called the Hydra-Matic in 1941 which eliminated the clutch and manual shifting. In 1929 chrome plated accessories were standard.

1930 Cadillac Model 452 V16

1930 Cadillac Model 452 V16

1930 V16 convertible

1930 Cadillac V16 Roadster

1930 V16 Roadsters were the world’s most luxurious cars

1930 V16 Phaeton 1

1930 Cadillac V16 Phaeton

1930 V16 Phaeton 2

1930 V16 Phaeton 3

After the stock market crash in the 1920s with The Great Depression, GM never lost money due to its diversity under the leadership of Larry Fisher. Fisher Body was an innovator in the industry. They introduced car window regulators to raise and lower windows, closed bodies offering year round comfort wet or dry…rain or snow, and many other features automakers take for granted today. The Fishers turned a $1,000 investment from Fred’s sister into a multi-million dollar company a few years later. In 1919 General Motors paid $27.6 Million USD for 60 percent of Fisher Body, and in 1926 GM paid another $208 Million USD for the remaining 40 percent of Fisher Body.

And in case you didn’t know…Cadillac was a pioneer in the automotive industry. Cadillac luxury and elegance are prominent attributes but innovation and engineering prowess were paramount. Cadillac introduced many firsts to the automotive industry. It is the only ‘foreign’ automobile to win the coveted Dewar Trophy from the Royal Automobile Club of Great Britain…not once…but twice. In 1908 Cadillac won for introducing standardization and interchangeability of parts. In 1912 it won for introducing the Delco electric lighting and ignition system. In 1905 Cadillac was the first to offer a multi-cylinder engine. In 1910 it was the first auto manufacturer to offer closed bodies as standard equipment. For the 1911 model year the illustrious Fleetwood hand-crafted coachwork made its grand entrance.

1930-1932

This is one of Cadillac’s coupé body designs from 1930-1932

1931 Cadillac V12

1931 Cadillac V12

1933 Cadillac V16

1933 Fleetwood-bodied V16

1936 Series 90

1936 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 90

Next…enter Harley Earl. He created Cadillac works of art. Harley Earl initiated the process of freeform sketching and hand sculpture techniques. His “concept car” theory is still used today for the design process. He was discovered by Larry Fisher who was intrigued by Earl’s concept car and clay model processes. Harley Earl’s methodology was far ahead of its time. The comradery began in 1927 when Fisher commissioned Harley Earl to design the 1927 LaSalle which was to be a companion entry-level car for Cadillac.

Harley Earl was named the first director of GM’s Art & Colour Section which was an in-house design studio and is an industry first, established December 15, 1935. Earl’s legendary techniques were a shock to conservatives at General Motors. He brought luxurious style to Cadillac…just what Larry Fisher wanted.  Before the Art & Colour Section, there really wasn’t a great importance to how an auto body looked. By 1937 The Art & Colour Section was renamed “The Styling Section” and Harley Earl was named vice president. This is the first time in automotive history that a designer became a VP of a large corporation.

1936 Cadillac V16 Series 90 Town Cabriolet

1936 Cadillac V16 Series 90 Town Cabriolet

The big news was the ultimate automobile powerplants introduced in 1930. The massive 16 and 12 cylinder engines, both V-types…made Cadillac the first auto manufacturer to offer a complete line of multi-cylinder automobiles. Cadillac introduced the hydraulic valve silencers the same year; Cadillac was the master builder for multi-cylinder engines.

This made the competition appear dated – placing the competitors even further behind…for the 1932 model year Cadillac introduced safety headlamps, an air-cooled generator, a completely silent transmission, and full-range ride regulator. And you thought Cadillac was merely a luxury car…Cadillac was the engineering leader…it “started the dance” the rest of the auto industry followed in subservience…especially European luxury “wannabes.” 

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1936 Series 70 V8 coupe

1936 Cadillac Series 70 V8 coupé

1936 V16 convertible

1936 Cadillac V16 Convertible coupé

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 1

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special with body by Derham

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 2

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 3

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 1

1940 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 5

The glamour of a Cadillac was second to none. There was style…grace…and the poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. It used to be the luxury car enjoyed by more luxury car buyers than any other brand. These resplendent automobiles were an ultra-exclusive realm of motoring majesty. Now…enter Bill Mitchell, a bright and talented advertising illustrator.

Harley Earl recruited him to join the GM Art & Colour Section in 1935. Bill Mitchell designed the fabulous Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special. He influenced the design of over 72.5 million GM automobiles. Some of his monumental designs include the 1955-1957 Chevy Bel Air, the 1961-1976 Corvette Stingray, the 1963 Buick Riviera, and the 1975-1979 Cadillac Seville. Bill Mitchell eventually became the VP of Design for GM.

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 6

Beginning the 1934 model year, Cadillac was the first to begin stream lining the coachwork…the spare tire was now concealed within the body. The 1936 model year is another important milestone year. Bill Mitchell designed the Fleetwood-bodied Series Sixty-Special. This car revolutionized luxury automobiles. It was the first car to use fender mounted headlamps when everyone else attached them to the hood.

The elegant Series Sixty-Special was sans running boards which was shocking at the time. It had a faired-in rear deck lid, thin door posts, and chrome banded window frames which became Fleetwood signature features for many years. A hydraulic braking system was also introduced by Cadillac in 1936 as a first to the industry. The Sixty-Special was released for the 1938 model year; its design was copied by the rest of the auto industry. This milestone vehicle made everything on the road appear outmoded. This car influenced automotive design for an entire generation.

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 2

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 3

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 4

1940 Series 72

For the 1940 model year, Cadillac was the first to introduce an ultra-modern large, luxurious motorcar to the industry known as the Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two. It was similar to the Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five but is 3″ shorter. It rides upon a long 138″ wheelbase. The Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two is powered by a 346 CID V8 engine that produces 140 hp.

The Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two uses a 3-speed manual transmission and is equipped with a four-wheel hydraulic braking system. This is the only year it was produced and only 18 were built. 1940 introduced the first ball bearing steering system making these large vehicles easier to maneuver.

1941 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1941 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1941 Cadillac Sixty-two Coupe

1941 Cadillac Series 62 coupé

1947 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1947 Cadillac Series 62 convertible coupé

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 5

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 

Harley Earl’s first monumental design is the 1948 Cadillac. This is the birth of the iconic Cadillac tail fin. The Lockheed P-38 was the inspiration. During this genre, air craft and space rockets dominated the designers’ imagination for automotive design. The tail fin wars of the 1950s were instigated by Harley Earl and Chrysler’s chief designer Virgil Exner. Tail fin mania spread like wildfire throughout the industry. The greatest engineering achievement in 45 years was Cadillac’s new compact…more economical and smoother operating overhead valve V8 engine for the 1948 model year. 

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 1

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 2

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 4

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 3

Harley Earl and Alfred P. Sloan, GM’s president at the time developed the annual model change implemented as “Dynamic Obsolescence.” This associated model identity to a specific year for product success. This principle is used in the marketing strategies today. Harley Earl is the pioneer of using clay models to evolve various body components. He is the first designer to create complete automobiles; blending the main body structure with hoods, fenders, lights, and trim to enhance styling continuity. The rest of the auto industry scrambled to adopt this theory.

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 2

1949 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 4

Public acceptance was important to Harley Earl. It was his fabulous idea that led to the formidable GM Motoramas. Between 1949 and 1961 these glitzy, glamorous extravaganzas showcased notorious conceptual designs aimed at public reaction. Comments were taken seriously and used towards production models. Harley Earl designed the pillarless hardtop design which was the first of its kind in the automotive industry.

He ordered the two-door hardtop design into production as the very first Coupe deVille for the 1949 model year. Earl visited Italy and after seeing a Lancia sedan sans “B” pillars…he introduced the hardtop Sedan deVille for the 1956 model year for luxury car buyers that wanted a pillarless four-door configuration. The Orleans four-door hardtop sedan was a concept car that debuted at the 1953 Motorama which appealed to customers and spawned the Sedan deVille. The DeVille series is among the longest and most successful production runs in the history of the brand. They earned the title as “America’s favorite luxury cars.”

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 7

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 3

The Coupe deVille mocked a convertible with chrome roof bows

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 5

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 6

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 8

1949 Series Sixty-Special 2

1949 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1949 Series 62 convertible

1949 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1950 Cadillac Sixty-two Convertible

1950 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1953 Series 62 Eldorado 4

1953 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado convertible

Cadillac even outdid itself for the 1953 model year slapping the competition with the highest horsepower V8 engine to power a domestic production vehicle with an astounding 220 hp in the magnificent limited edition Series 62 Eldorado convertible…a Harley Earl masterwork! The 1953 Cadillac Eldorado is an exclusive trim option package for the Series 62 and the image car for General Motors. It was also the most expensive model at $7,750…you could have purchased two Cadillacs for this price.

Distinctive signature features which set it apart from the stock convertible are a wrap-around panoramic windscreen, a sculpted beltline that incorporates a cupid’s bow in its design, a sleek metal parade boot, and Kelsey-Hayes genuine wire-laced wheels. Only 532 were built making it highly sought by collectors world-wide today. They now sell for six figures…that is if you can find one for sale – Harley Earl’s legend will live on forever. He and Bill Mitchell made Cadillac the quintessential luxury icon.

1955 Cadillac for racing 1

Cadillac was into stock car racing, 1955 Series 62 coupé shown

1955 Cadillac for racing 2

1955 Eldorado

1955 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado convertible

1956 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1956 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five limousine

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 1

1956 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan deVille

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 2

The pillarless hardtop Sedan deVille became an instant success

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 3

1958 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five limousine

Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 1

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 3

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The last of Harley Earl’s masterpiece designs is the magnificent 1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Broughams. This is the most spectacular Cadillac motorcar of the 1950s. Its sheet metal wasn’t shared with any other Cadillac. The Eldorado Brougham was one of the world’s most expensive cars at the time selling at $13,074. Understated luxury from bumper to bumper with a custom appearance makes this automobile totally unique for the genre. Harley Earl designed some of the most significant Cadillacs of all time. He retired at age 65 in 1958 shortly after directing the design of the iconic 1959 Cadillacs. By this time, General Motors had become the largest corporation in the world.

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The 1959 tail fin

The iconic tail fin from the 1959 Cadillac

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 1

1959 Cadillac Series 62 “Flat Top” hardtop sedan

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 2

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 3

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 6

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 5

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 4

1959 Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 1

1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 2

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 3

For the 1960s, Bill Mitchell promoted what he called the “Sheer Look.” It was an aerodynamic design that is sleeker and more contemporary. He broke away from the designs of Harley Earl with his own interpretations of what a luxury car should be. The designs under his direction are noted as the “Bill Mitchell Era.”

He gave GM vehicles a more conservative, streamlined look. His restrained use of ornamentation, less chrome, and the elimination of tail fins instituted an understatement which made these automobiles timeless challenging the years gracefully. Mitchell’s last accomplishments are the radically down-sized Cadillacs for the 1977 model year. Both Bill Mitchell and Harley Earl left an indelible impression on the automotive industry.

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 5

1960 Series 62 convertible 1

1960 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1960 Series 62 convertible 2

1960 Series 62 convertible 3

Cadillac was still a heart-throb with its “Sheer Look”

1960 Series 62 convertible 4

1960 Series 62 convertible 6

1960 Series 62 convertible 5

1960 Series 62 convertible 7

1967 Fleetwood Eldorado

The 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado with front-wheel drive is the world’s finest personal luxury automobile. It successfully combined the traction of front-wheel drive, maintained perfect poise with Automatic Level Control, and the maneuverability of Variable Ratio Power Steering…all as standard equipment. This car gangster-slapped the industry big-time!

1971 Coupe deVille 1

1971 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1971 Coupe deVille 2

The Bill Mitchell Era exemplified Cadillac luxury and distinction to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy. This elegant era in luxury motoring was augmented by “Cadillac-Style!” Bill Mitchell had the entire industry “nervous.” Each time the competition ‘thought’ they had caught up with Cadillac-Style…Bill Mitchell bitch-slapped them with something more intriguing…with an attitude –

1971 Coupe deVille 3

1971 Coupe deVille 4

1971 Coupe deVille 5

1972 Fleetwood Brougham

1972 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 2

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 6

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 3

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 4

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 7

Cadillac pioneered many features and accessories the auto industry takes for granted. I could go on and on with praise for the brand’s outstanding automotive achievement. The 1960s and 1970s were equally as innovative…but something happened during the mid to late 1970s. The music stopped for Cadillac in the 1980s – it became adulterated with so many generic shortcuts which made it a mere hodgepodge of GM parts adorned with Cadillac nomenclature. Quality, fit & finish came to an abrupt halt. Its styling became nondescript and austere.

And as the years went by, it began chasing/emulating anything that moved from Europe. It has become too many things: a jack of all trades and a master of none. Its luxurious demeanor has become diluted to the point of kitsch. All models are recalled annually because of defects and short-sighted engineering. It is no longer a real luxury car…it masquerades as everything. In order to regain its stature, it must cease and desist with the intent of trying to be all things competing in areas which it should not.

Cadillac was snob wagon supreme…formidable in its existence, causing the competition to take note. The entire world waits with bated-breath for the supremacy and exclusivity once presented by Cadillac to dominate the industry and once again become the pride of the USA and the envy of the world. This is another NOTORIOUS flashback…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

1973 Coupe deVille 1

1973 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1973 Coupe deVille 2

1973 Coupe deVille 3

1973 Coupe deVille 4

1973 Coupe deVille 5

Fisher Body Logo

“GM mark of excellence…”

1975 Fleetwood Brougham

1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1976 Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon 2

1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon

1976 Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon 1

1990-1992 Brougham 3

1990-1992 Cadillac Brougham 

1990-1992 Brougham 2

1990-1992 Brougham 1

1990-1992 Brougham 4

Brougham d’Elegance interior

1990-1992 Brougham 5

Special thanks to the best caretakers in the classic car business: Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Jim Hailey’s Classic cars, Matt Garrett/GM Classics, MJC Classic Cars, Liberty Old Timers, Bob Adams Classic Cars, and Park Ward Motors Museum.

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Will there ever be another “Standard of the World” creation?

Cadillac Wreath and Crest

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Requiem For A Legend: 1976 Continental MK IV

Posted in Classic American Marques, Editorials, Lincoln, Requiem For A Legend, The Bold and the Beautiful Lincolns with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

This is the finale for the beautiful MK IV

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The only luxury car to place the Cadillac Eldorado in 2nd place

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The grand finale for the most beautifully designed automobile in the world came with the 1976 model year. The Continental MK IV is a stunning example of American ingenuity and luxury at its finest. Ford has always been successful with marketing special limited editions. The Continental MK IV in its basic form has more luxury as standard equipment than any other personal luxury car at the time.

The eminent Designer Series provided the buyer with more distinction than traditional models. The luxury of choice was alive and well back in the good old days in America. Our luxury cars put the rest of the world to shame. The Continental MK IV is powered as a true American luxury car. Luxurious appointments and classic styling made the MK IV the obvious choice in personal luxury cars…the Lincoln Continental MK IV is what a luxury car should be…

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Black Diamond Luxury Group

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Style code #65D Continental MK IV coupe had a base price of $11,060 and 56,110 were built. It was introduced on October 3, 1975 as a 1976 model. The 1976 edition is one of the most popular model years for the MK IV. Here are the production numbers for model years 1972-1976: 1972 had a base price of $8,640 and 48,591 were built; 1973 had a base price of $8,984 and 69,437 were built; 1974 had a base price of $10,194 with 57,316 built; and 1975 base priced at $11,082 with 47,145 built.

Continental 1

The car that began it all was the original Continental built in the1930s as a one-off custom car serving as a concept car directed by Edsel Ford. It was a modified Lincoln Zephyr. This first creation gave birth to the Continentals built from 1939 until 1948.

Continental 2

Continental 3

Continental 4

Continental 5

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In 1955 Ford Motor Company set out to introduce an all-new personal luxury car. It was to be one of the most exclusive and expensive automobiles in the world. This is the beginning of the ultra-exclusive Continental MK II and the brand new “Continental Division.” The Continental MK II was the most expensive model in Ford’s model hierarchy. They shared no sheet metal with the other Lincolns…in fact; the Continental MK II is NOT a Lincoln. Ford used a naming convention to denote the version. (MK II, MK III, MK IV etc.) This all-new approach to luxury carried a price tag of $10,400 which was almost twice the cost of a Lincoln.

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For the 1956-1957 tenure, 2,996 were built. Almost half of these remain road-worthy and will carry a hefty price tag today. The Continental Division of Ford Motor Company was a stand-alone brand for these two years only. It was integrated into Lincoln in 1958 dubbed the MK III and was not restricted as a two-door coupe but also offered a four-door hardtop sedan and a convertible.

These are some of the largest cars ever made. The 1958 Lincolns were even longer than Cadillacs. They are the longest Lincolns ever built. The MK III convertible is the longest American convertible ever built, with the exception of the extremely rare 1934-1937 Cadillac V16 convertibles. Back then, bigger was supposed to be better…

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1959 Continental MK III

1959 3

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To make the Continental MK IV even more exclusive, there were Luxury Group and Designer Series packages available. The 1973 MK IV introduced the Silver Luxury Group which was so popular; it was repeated for the 1974 model year. Also available for the 1974 model year was the Gold Luxury Group which attracted more buyers. It was expanded to include the Blue Diamond, Saddle/White, and Lipstick/White Luxury Groups which attracted even more traffic to Lincoln showrooms.

The 1976 MK IV was available in Blue Diamond, Black Diamond, Saddle/White, Lipstick/White, Gold/Cream, Red/Rose, Jade/White, and Dark Jade/Light Jade Luxury Groups. Another popular Luxury Group was the Versailles Option. It was available in four interior colors with special “floating-pillow” style cushioned seating. This exclusive velour trimmed not only the upholstery but the headlining, and door panels as well. Each Luxury Group and the Designer Editions had a color-keyed luggage compartment with the same carpet that was used for the interior. Each Luxury Group was the epitome of Lincoln luxury and elegance.

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Blue Diamond 1

Blue Diamond Luxury Group

Blue Diamond 2

Blue Diamond 3

Blue Diamond 4

Blue Diamond 6

Blue Diamond 7

Blue Diamond 8

Blue Diamond 9

Lipstick and White 3

Lipstick and White Luxury Group

Lipstick and White 1

Lipstick and White 8

Lipstick and White 10

Lipstick and White 11

Lipstick and White 6

Lipstick and White 5

Lipstick and White 14

Dark Jade Light Jade 1

Dark Jade Light Jade 2

Dark Jade/Light Jade Luxury Group

Dark Jade Light Jade 3

Dark Jade Light Jade 6

Cartier 1

Cartier 2

The real excitement came the final model year for the MK IV in 1976. The illustrious Designer’s Series combined spectacular color combinations and special features and accessories to complement each in a unique manner. The eminent designers that coordinated these works of automotive art include Bill Blass, Cartier, Huber de Givenchy, and Emilio Pucci with each being a Mark of distinction. Each exclusive limited edition features a 22-karat Gold plaque for engraving the owner’s name. The designer’s signature was etched in gold into the opera windows.

The Bill Blass Edition features Dark Blue Diamond Fire Metallic with a Cream Normande Grain vinyl landau roof. It is highlighted by Cream and Gold pinstriping with either Cream or Dark Blue body side moldings. The interior is elegantly tailored in Blue Versailles cloth ($2,000) or Dark Blue leather with Cream accent straps and buttons. ($1,500) This Designer Group was also available for the 1977-1979 MK V. There were 3,213 built as Bill Blass Editions.

Cartier 4

The legendary Cartier, the famous Fifth Avenue Jeweler presented his edition in Dove Grey, the color of fresh water pearls with a matching Valino Grain vinyl landau roof. Dove Grey bodyside moldings blend in for a monochromatic look. Red and White pinstriping adds a luxurious contrast and intrigue. The interior is graciously tailored in Dove Grey Versailles cloth ($2,000) or Dove Grey leather ($1,500). This Designer Group was available for the 1977-1979 MK V with a color change to Light Champagne for the 1978-1979 model years. For the 1976 model year 4,786 were trimmed in leather and 930 with velour trim.

Cartier 3

The Cartier Edition MK IV

Cartier 5

Cartier 16

Cartier 6

Cartier 7

Cartier 8

Cartier 9

Cartier 10

Cartier 11

The Givenchy is finished in Aqua Blue Diamond Fire Metallic with a White Normande Grain vinyl landau roof. Black and White pinstriping is used to extend the color combination. White or Aqua Blue body side moldings allowed the buyer to blend or contrast the color combo. Aqua Blue Velour or Aqua Blue leather were the choices for the interior upholstery and trim. The dash was highlighted by light simulated wood grain with black-grained inserts. This Designer Group was $1,500 extra for both velour and leather choices. Huber de Givenchy used his talent also for the 1977-1979 MK V.

Emilio Pucci chose Dark Red Moondust Metallic with a Silver Normande Grain landau vinyl roof for his elite edition. Silver and Lipstick Red pinstriping added a startling contrast. Red or Silver body side moldings were available. The interior is tastefully trimmed in Dark Red Versailles cloth ($2,000) or Dark red leather ($1,500).

Pucci

Cartier 12

Cartier 13

The ultimate personal luxury car is powered by the Ford 385-Series 7.5 litre 16-valve 460 CID V8 engine. It is equipped with a Motorcraft 4350 4-bbl carburetor, “Stay Full” radiator system, and Ford’s C-6 Select-Shift 3-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 202 hp @ 4,000 rpm with 478 Nm of peak torque @ 1,600 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 12.6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 42.7 seconds, and 0-110 mph in 91.9 seconds. Don’t scoff, this is an enormous vehicle with a cast iron engine and the body has NO aerodynamics. The top speed is 114 mph ungoverned. It does the ¼ mile @ 75 mph in 19.2 seconds.

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The 1976 Continental MK IV is a personal luxury car that is luxurious and fully equipped in its base model form.  Standard equipment includes: Automatic Temperature Control, Twin Comfort Front Lounge Seats with 6-way power for both driver and passenger, power steering, power 4-wheel disc brakes with dual hydraulic master cylinder to facilitate independent front and rear braking systems, Dual-Note horn, Cartier electric timepiece, power windows, Power Lock Group, front & rear center folding armrests, AM/FM Multiplex radio with power antenna, automatic parking brake release, opera windows, full vinyl roof, cornering lamps, and Sure-Track Braking system.

Popular optional features and accessories for the 1976 Continental MK IV includes: Power Glass Moonroof, Custom Landau Vinyl Roof, power vent windows, rear window defroster, “Quick Defrost” rear window, leather trim, Versailles Luxury Group Option which includes floating pillow-style seating in elegant velour, illuminated visor vanity mirrors, Moondust Metallic paint finishes, Diamond Fire Metallic paint finishes, tilt steering wheel, premium bodyside moldings, forged aluminum wheels, Security Lock Group, custom paint stripes, and wide-band whitewall tires.

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Special thanks to Rik Gruwez at Liberty Oldtimers, Bob Adams Classic Cars, and Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars for allowing me to make this tribute to the Continental MK IV possible.

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The 1976 Continental MK IV is a large front engine rear drive vehicle. It rides upon a long 120.4” wheelbase, has the luxury length of 228.1”, and is 79.8” wide. Its styling is the main focal point. The long, low silhouette boasts a long hood and short rear deck. The front end styling ensemble is augmented by hidden headlamps and unique radiator grille design with stand-up Lincoln star. The rear is exceptionally classy with its ersatz spare tire design. The Continental MK IV is the quintessential personal luxury coupe.

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The Continental MK IV is indeed a classic in its own time. It is the personal luxury coupe that the competition was judged by. A MK IV offers a quiet ambience with comfort and conveniences beyond the norm, smooth handling with outstanding workmanship, and luxurious appointments. The Continental MK IV is a car complete with more features and accessories as standard equipment than any of its competition.

For 1976, there was a new approach to luxury and distinction. Some of the world’s most significant designers coordinated and put their names on limited editions of the Continental MK IV. In addition to the opulent Designer’s Series, the MK IV was available in special Luxury Groups to further enhance the experience. There were features and accessories available to make the MK IV as distinctive as its owner’s requests. Power, performance, and presence are yours in the 1976 Continental MK IV. The legacy of the illustrious Continental Mark Series will live on forever…

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The End

1976 Continental MK IV

Requiem For A Legend: Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III

Posted in Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Park Ward Motors Museum, Requiem For A Legend, Rolls Royce with tags , , , , on October 11, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

The pride of the UK…envy of the world

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The quality will remain long after the price is forgotten

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Charles Stewart Rolls (1877-1910) and Sir Frederick Henry Royce (1863-1933) 1st Baronet of Seaton were obsessed with quality, fit & finish. Perfection was a way of life, not an afterthought. Their impetus…”Take the best there is and make it better.” The very first Rolls Royce automobile – the Rolls Royce ’10hp’ was introduced December 1904 at the Paris Salon. This was the birth of a legend. A Rolls Royce is the most distinguished brand in automotive history. The Silver Cloud series epitomized the brand from 1955 until the end of its production in 1966.

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A formal partnership was created in 1906 from “Rolls and Royce” to “Rolls Royce Limited” with Charles Stewart Rolls appointed as technical managing director. He funded the company to compliment Sir Henry Royce’s technical expertise. Sir Henry was fascinated by anything mechanical. In 1907 Rolls Royce Limited bought out C.S. Rolls and Company, one of Great Britain’s first car dealerships. It was located in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham SW6 in southwest London, England. The dealership sold the French Peugeot and Belgium’s Minerva vehicles. Rolls Royce began winning awards for quality and reliability of their cars by 1907.

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The Rolls Royce Silver Ghost

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From its inception, this iconic brand has been a motoring superlative internationally. There is no other automobile in the world that exhibits one’s success and stature more eminently than a Rolls Royce. It has always been the epitome of luxury and elegance. The Silver Ghost earned the title of “The silent motorcar” and was built from 1906 until 1925. This car began the tradition of excellence that still exists today. Following the Silver Ghost was the Phantom, Wraith, Silver Wraith, and Silver dawn…all equally luxurious with meticulous fit & finish.

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It is the formidable Silver Cloud series that catapulted the brand to world-wide notoriety and success. It is the single most immediately recognizable automobile in history. This iconic model appeared in various forms of the media representing the good life. The incomparable Silver Cloud was built in three elite series: Silver Cloud I, Silver Cloud II, and Silver Cloud III. They were built in many different coachbuilt body styles as well as the standard steel saloons. All Rolls Royce motorcars have a history book that follows the car through its production being signed by each technician that crafted the car.

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Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I

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Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II

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Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III

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The beauty of the Silver Cloud series was its versatility. They were built as body on frame construction which allowed coachbuilders to create highly bespoke vehicles of distinction. The Pressed Steel Company of Great Britain built the bodyshells. The Silver Clouds were built with stressed steel bodies fitted with aluminium doors, bonnet, and boot lids. The standard steel saloons measured 212” in length and rode upon a 123” wheelbase. Long wheelbase versions added 4” to the wheelbase. It was added to the rear doors affording more space in the rear compartment. With the anonymous integration of the added length, it retained the Silver Cloud’s original design.

The Silver Cloud III included refinements from the previous two series. It can be more readily identified by quad headlamps, and a slightly lower bonnet & radiator grille. The silver Cloud III was built from 1963 until 1966. There were 2,044 built as standard saloons, 206 long wheelbase variants, and 328 coachbuilt versions. These custom-crafted coachbuilt versions were built as coupes, convertibles, hearses, and limousines.

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The Silver Cloud III was equipped with the Rolls Royce 6.2 litre V8. Enhancements to the engine included a nitride hardened crankshaft. There were issues with early Series II models with breaking crankshafts due to the lack of lubrication to the bearings. This 6.2 litre V8 was introduced for the Series II models and wasn’t as smooth and quiet as the former 4.9 litre in-line 6-cylinder engine. It was also cramped into the engine bay as it was designed for a narrow engine block. In fact, the front right wheel had to be removed in order to replace the spark plugs. Another refinement to the 6.2 litre V8 was its higher 9:1 compression ratio for the use of higher octane levels of premium fuel. GM’s Hydra-Matic transmission was the new medium for the transfer of power to the road.

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Inside the Silver Cloud III, opulence abounds. Hand-polished wood veneers accent the dash and door capping rails. It takes at least eight invisibly joined slivers of wood to make the veneers. Rolls Royce has experts that travel to Milan, Italy – a city renowned for its market in wood veneer of the highest quality – to obtain the materials for the next year’s production run. The craftsmen spends hours carefully building the veneers, then they create a pattern of which no two cars will ever share. It then takes hours of hand-polishing that follow the lacquer that makes the wood shine like glass. The veneers are mirror-matched to reflect the opposite side of the cabin. A piece of the veneer is kept on file in the event the original is damaged. In the construction of the best car in the world…there is no room for compromise – “Nil fato relinquemus.”

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The aromatic scent of natural grain leather wafts through the cabin. The wider front seats were upgraded for the 1964 model year. Connolly Brothers – the masters of the art – takes only the finest hides to create upholstery that rivals fine European furniture. It takes up to 10 perfectly matched hides to create the upholstery for a Rolls Royce. The same leather is used to pipe the carpets. Hand-cutting, hand-stitching and finishing is done painstakingly slow to create unparalleled elegance. The rejected hides end up as expensive leather goods such as ladies hand bags, shoes, and belts.

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Under foot…luxuriously under foot…are Wilton hand-tufted wool carpets. They are so decadently luxurious they resemble velvet. The carpet padding not only insulates sound, but also makes the carpet deep and luxurious. For the pièce de résistance…lambswool mouton rugs, just like the type in opulent living rooms, are an attractive option. A Rolls Royce cossets its occupants in first-class luxury.

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The cabin is so quiet…”whisper…tick…soar, the loudest sound you will hear in a Rolls Royce is the beating of your heart.” Nylon gears in the window mechanism silences their operation. The electric seats “glide” in silence, all switches and controls virtually make no sound whatsoever… special touches such as these are why a Rolls Royce is the pride of the UK and the envy of the world. Once the vault-like doors are shut, the Rolls Royce ambience becomes apparent. Welcome to another world…in these hurried mass-produced times…there is one thing that will not compromise…a Rolls Royce –

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The Silver Cloud III has a stately demeanor associated with its exterior design. Every curve, and each contour is done completely by the hand and the eye. It took anywhere from six to eight months to build just one Silver Cloud III. Before the bodyshell received its first coat of primer, a craftsman did nothing but study the surface by hand. Ultra violet lighting is also used to find flaws and imperfections. After the first coat of primer is applied, a different craftsman would hand rub the body circling imperfections with a grease pen. It takes over 55 hours just to prepare the naked steel body for painting.

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The bodyshell is stripped, the imperfections are remedied followed by more primer. It isn’t until the craftsmen are completely satisfied, that it receives its first coat of the pigment color. After the base coats are applied the bodyshell is baked and more hand-polishing is done. Between each application, there is extensive hand-polishing. This is why a Rolls Royce shines with such depth. Many coats of paint are applied depending upon the color itself. Many, many hours of hand finishing are clocked until that Rolls Royce shines as a Rolls Royce should. Much of the same handwork can be found in today’s Rolls Royce. Some things will never change…

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2014 Rolls Royce Phantom Series II

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The classic radiator grille is built completely by hand using the same technique as was used to build the Parthenon in ancient Greece. A process called entasis is used to make each line in the grille to look perfectly rectilinear by making each line slightly bowed. It takes one man almost an entire day to soft soldier the almost invisible joints between each of the eleven pieces of hand formed stainless steel that forms the main structure of the grille. After the grille has been built it is polished for up to five hours. It is only then that the “RR” badge is attached. Each grille is initialed by the craftsman that built it, should it ever become damaged it could be repaired by the person that created it.

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The Spirit of Ecstasy is the symbol synonymous with motoring excellence. It is the crowning glory of a Rolls Royce. Around 1910 the directors of Rolls Royce became dismayed to find a number of owners had used a strange variety of mascots to adorn the Rolls Royce radiator grille. A Rolls Royce is meant to be as beautiful as possible. In 1911 Claude Sykes was commissioned to create the beautiful Spirit of Ecstasy. It was designed to deter the use of grotesque figurines to top the classic radiator grille. It won a first prize gold medal for the best motorcar mascot in the world in 1920.

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The Flying Lady is made by the ancient Chinese “lost wax” process. A wax figure pattern is made then surrounded by a refractory material. When this material is set, the refractory material is heated allowing the wax to melt leaving a perfect impression inside the material. The molten casting material is poured into the refractory block and allowed to cool. After it cools and hardened, the refractory material is chipped away leaving a perfect reproduction of the wax model. The Spirit of Ecstasy and the radiator grille have become renowned and recognized all over the world as sterling hallmarks of motoring excellence.

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1958 Silver Cloud “Honeymoon Express” by Freestone & Webb

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Silver Cloud III Mulliner Park Ward Drophead

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Eminent coachbuilders would create completely bespoke versions of the Silver Cloud III. They were superbly transformed into one of a kind works of automotive art. HJ Mulliner, Park Ward, and James Young were just a few of the masters of the craft building custom-bodied Rolls Royces. These highly bespoke vehicles now sell for six figures. Mulliner Park Ward created coupes, convertibles, and magnificent limousines that have become museum pieces. The eloquent Rolls Royce Phantoms were built specifically as limousines…not “double-cuts” merely adding fake body tubes as the limousines of today. They were all crafted by hand with no two being alike. These fine automobiles are as unique as their owner’s specifications.

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Aluminium bodied Silver Cloud III by Mulliner Park Ward

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Rolls Royce Phantom VI by Mulliner Park Ward

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Rolls Royce Phantom V with James Young body work

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Mulliner Park Ward drophead

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The Silver Cloud series is one of the most successful production runs in Rolls Royce history. It is the iconic body style that is the most highly recognized in the entire world. It was the star of the show from 1955 until it ceased production in 1966 when the Silver Shadow made its debut for the 1965 model year. Kings, Queens, heads of state, actors & actresses, and the extremely wealthy clientele were all cult followers of these luxurious land yachts. Built in three series, each has become treasured classics. The Silver Cloud III is the finale to the highly prized series and is destined to continue its reign as one of the world’s top choices for luxury automobiles. Charles Stewart Rolls and Sir Frederick Henry Royce thought in terms of perfection…taking the best and making it even better – they would be proud to know their exclusive brand is still alive and quite well –

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Thanks to Rodd Sala, Daniel Schmitt & Rolls Royce Motorcars

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A thing of beauty is a joy forever…

Requiem For A Legend: Sergio Scaglietti

Posted in Exotic Exotics, Ferrari, Requiem For A Legend with tags , , , , on September 11, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

“Nil fato relinquemus”

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…the continuing saga of Prancing Horse Passion

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Sergio Scaglietti (1920-2011) was an eminent Modenese coachbuilder and a brilliant artisan who was not only a business partner but also the best friend of Enzo Ferrari. Sergio Scaglietti helped to build the foundation for the continuing saga of Prancing Horse Passion. He was brilliant. Sergio Scaglietti designed some of the most beautiful cars to come out of Maranello. He worked diligently earning the trust and respect from Enzo Ferrari.

In 1951 Carrozzeria Scaglietti, the company founded by Sergio himself, designed and built sports racing prototypes. His most famous work of art is the 250 Testa Rossa. In 2004 Ferrari introduced a new 12-cylinder Flagship. It’s a GT 2+2 coupe designed by Pininfarina to honor Sergio Scaglietti, coachbuilder extraordinaire…Scaglietti is to Ferrari as AMG is to Mercedes. The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti was built from 2004 until 2010.

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In 1939 Sergio Scaglietti met Enzo Ferrari. A professional relationship and friendship began. Sergio repaired wrecked racing cars, and was so talented that Enzo sent drivers and customers who needed repairs. Sergio was extremely talented, not only did he repair cars he also modified them. This is what fascinated and intrigued Enzo…

Sergio rarely used blueprints or diagrams. He used a hammer and his intuition to create automotive masterworks. This genius hand-crafted Ferraris that won Grand Prix races in the fifties and the sixties. These cars now sell for millions of dollars. A Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa sold for $16.4 million USD in 2011 according to the November 2011 New York Times.

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Carrozzeria Scaglietti, was a design and coachbuilding establishment. He was located not far from the Ferrari plant in Maranello. Scaglietti & Co. was very impressive. Sergio was also very young to have the values and principles he possessed, this is why he impressed Enzo. They both strived for excellence. He bodied Pininfarina designs such as the 250 GT California, 250 GTO, and the 250 Tour de France.

Scaglietti & Co. was commissioned to body new cars for Ferrari. Enzo helped Sergio secure the financing he needed to expand. His first work was the Ferrari 500 Mondial. He became an integral part of Maranello. The collaboration between Scaglietti, Pininfarina, and Enzo Ferrari together, designed some of Ferrari’s greatest models from the fifties, sixties, and seventies. Both Sergio and Enzo believed in speed, power, utility, superb craftsmanship and beauty of design. They both detested mass-production.

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The 612 Scaglietti is built in the great Ferrari 2+2 tradition. It is the first all aluminium V12 Ferrari. The sculpted beauty of its architecture hints at Sergio Scaglietti’s hand-crafted style. The sleek body shell is augmented by an innovative panoramic stratified glass roof that spans from the windscreen to the backglass. Three tint level settings allow passengers to adjust sunlight entering the car. The 612 Scaglietti is a spacious two-door four-seat elegantly sporty rear-wheel drive berlinetta. It is designed to deliver maximum driving pleasure and in-car comfort.

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The 612 Scaglietti panoramic roof

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The 612 Scaglietti uses the same engine as the Ferrari Maranello 575M. It is powered by the Ferrari Dino F133F 5.7 litre 48-valve DOHC V12 engine. The engine produces 532 hp @ 7,250 rpm with 589 Nm of peak torque @ 5,250 rpm. It is equipped with a Bosch Motronic ME 7.1.1 engine management system.

Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 8.6 seconds with a top speed of 196 mph. It does the ¼ mile @ 119 mph in 12 seconds. The engine is mated to the F1A 6-speed electrohydraulic sequential manual gearbox. The engine is mid-front mounted with the gearbox and differential at the rear to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. It has an excellent weight distribution of 46 percent in the front and 54 percent in the rear.

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The F1A SuperFast gear shifting strategy was introduced on the 599 GTB Fiorano. Drivers can adjust the system to suit their driving style. The driver can select gear shift strategy of the F1A gearbox only in the SPORT/NORMAL positions. The car can then be driven in two other dynamic combinations: gear selection in SPORT with manettino at the COMFORT setting, or gear selection in the NORMAL setting with manettino set to SPORT. The gearbox is equipped with a smaller flywheel and twin-plate clutch. The sophisticated SuperFast system cuts gear shifts based upon the acceleration gap to 100 milliseconds during high-performance driving.

The 612 Scaglietti has a ‘thinking’ suspension. Active damping and variable calibration allows the suspension to monitor the independent aluminium dampers with coil springs, to evaluate road surface characteristics and make the necessary adjustments. The independent suspension uses forged aluminium wishbones front and rear with anti-dive geometry in the front and anti-squat geometry in the rear. It is equipped with electronic CST (stability & traction control), ASR (traction in acceleration), and ABS. It is the first Ferrari to use a system of this type. The 612 Scaglietti rides upon a 116.1” wheelbase, is 193” in length, and 77” in width. It is a large coupe.

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The 612 Scaglietti has body on spaceframe construction. Its spaceframe is developed in collaboration with Alcoa. The aluminium architecture is bolted onto the spaceframe with self-piercing rivets. Adhesives are not used on this model. This was the perfect tribute to Sergio Scaglietti, aluminium was the medium of choice for his lightweight aerodynamic speedsters. The 612 Scaglietti was produced at the Scaglietti Light Alloy Facility. It is a beautifully sculpted 2+2 coupe in every respect. The pleasing dimensions add roominess to the cabin. Classic Ferrari DNA is apparent in its silhouette. The fastback design sweeps from nose to tail. The 612 Scaglietti augments Ferrari’s talent for innovation and design.

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It is a luxurious grand tourer. Open the doors to elegant sophistication. It is a bespoke automobile and was built to the owner’s requests exclusively. It is an imposing car with a capacious, ergonomically designed cabin. There is an electric “easy entry-exit” switch which lowers the front seat and headrest as it slides forward for rear seat access. The rear compartment seats two adults comfortably.

Standard equipment includes an automatic dual-zone automatic temperature control, power windows and seats, premium 8-channel Bose audio system with surround sound specifically designed for the 612’s acoustics, driver & front passenger air bags, and posh leather trim. This is luxury on the grand touring scale. The steering wheel mounted manettino switch and start button are Ferrari signature features. A 5” multifunctional display with graphics has three display modes: base, trip computer, and tire pressure.

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The Scaglietti MY06 has an even more luxurious trim level. Leather not only upholsters the seats, it is expanded to include the headlining, side panels, and other conspicuous areas. This limited edition escalates the 612 Scaglietti to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy. The upgrades includes CD, navigation system, voice recognition, MP3 player, and Bluetooth capability. The system features a compact flash memory card reader which stores 4GB of music.

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The owner of the 612 Scaglietti is one of the fortunate few to drive such an individual automobile. It’s an exclusive grand tourer for the discerning driver who demands a distinctive sporting machine with unusual charm. From the unique panoramic roof to its sleek aluminium architecture, the 612 Scaglietti is a rare motoring experience.

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The 612 is designed to honor one of the most eminent coachbuilders in the world. Sergio Scaglietti designed and built some of the most famous track and road-going Ferraris. This was the first Ferrari dedicated to a living legend. He created masterpieces by hand without blueprints or diagrams…these automobiles are now priceless works of art that sell for millions of dollars.

Sergio Scaglietti and Enzo Ferrari were quite a team as both business partners and best friends. The world lost a brilliant artisan with old-school values… and those values are still in place at Ferrari. Enzo & Sergio laid the foundation for the continuing saga of the Prancing Horse. With a ferocious V12 engine, the latest technology for the day and a posh leather cabin, the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti is another serendipitous adventure in paradise…

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Photos courtesy Ferrari Media Club

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Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

1956 Cadillac Series Sixty-two Convertible

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Requiem For A Legend with tags , , , , , , on June 19, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

…This was when Cadillac ROCKED the world with prestige

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 The continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns”

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The year was 1956. The average price of a new home was $11,700…a gallon of petrol was $.22 (no not a typo)…and Elvis Presley sang “Heartbreak Hotel” on the Ed Sullivan Show. Life was good…Americans were livin’ large. Cadillac was the “Standard of the World” in prestige. Cadillac for 1956 was one of the most magnificent model years in the brand’s history. Cadillac “Presented the most inspiring motorcars the world had ever seen…”

They featured the finest performance in Cadillac history. For the adventure-seeker, the brilliantly engineered Cadillac Series Sixty-two convertible with its youthful appearance had the perfect balance of performance and luxury.

There was nothing more glamorous than a Cadillac convertible in one’s driveway…The spirited 1956 Series sixty-two convertible provided elegance and distinction combined with Cadillac quality and craftsmanship. Here is another eloquent encore performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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The 1956 model year received a “Cadillac Beauty treatment.” With its massive new front end ensemble, and tapered rear bumper with exhaust ports, it presented a fresh new look. The iconic Cadillac tail fins made the Series Sixty-two convertible appear even longer…the rear end styling was augmented by those fins.

Cadillac had once again set the pace in automotive styling elegance for the entire industry. This classic convertible maintained a poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. The Series Sixty-Two was truly a masterpiece from the master craftsmen.

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This beautiful convertible came standard with a leather upholstered interior. The seat cushions were restyled for 1956 to be even more comfortable. Richly textured “Elascofab” was used for the door panels and arm rests.

Standard features for the 1956 Series Sixty-two convertible were; power windows, power seat, power steering and brakes, glare-proof rear view mirror, robe cords on front seat backs, courtesy lighting, and a fully automatic, power folding fabric roof.

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The 1956 Cadillac was built as body on frame construction. It used GM’s rugged I-beam, X-member frame for strength and rigidity. This was new for the 1956 model year. The construction provided the safety of sturdy, channel-section side rails with rugged I-beam and X-member extending beneath the passenger compartment.

This type of build is usually reserved for convertible models by some auto makers because it supplied a strong, rigid backbone to the entire car. Its sturdy front cross member provided extra support for the engine, steering and front suspension components.

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The front suspension used upper and lower control arms with independent helical coil springs. Ample provision for wheel travel for both compression and rebound enabled the front suspension to absorb road impact without bottoming out.

New direct-Acting hydraulic shock absorbers utilized a floating base valve that offered no resistance to the gentle flexing of the springs. On rough roads, the greater flexing of the springs forced the floating base valve as far as it could travel, then it provided progressively greater resistance to flexing of the springs minimizing pitch to hold the vehicle level.

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The rear suspension featured semi-elliptic long, wide, splay mounted springs with fewer leaves. The spring leaves were lubricated with wax impregnated liners. This enabled the springs to flex easily absorbing small road irregularities without noticeable action to the frame or body. Resistance to side-to-side motion is provided by the wide leaves, by mounting the springs with a ‘toed-in’ effect and by the inverted “V” mounting of shock absorbers.

 The 1956 Cadillacs used Hotchkiss Drive. This is the name given to the method of transferring the thrust of the rear wheels to the frame through the rear springs. The springs cushion starting/stopping motion of the car, the passengers sense a smooth gradual feeling of motion. Unsprung weight is minimized with Hotchkiss Drive.

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The 1956 Cadillacs has a near 50/50 weight distribution which provided excellent traction and stability. Because of the long 129” wheelbase there was less ‘pitch’ to the car as it negotiated potholes or uneven pavement. The longer wheelbase also increased interior legroom.

The luxury length of 223.3” and the hefty 80” wide stance gave the Series Sixty-two convertible a solid feel with Cadillac’s magic carpet ride. The lower center of gravity contributed to enhanced road-holding qualities, amazing cornering ability, and resistance to roll-over which is so important to a rag top.

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Engineering developments included an all-new 365 CID 16-valve OHV V8 engine. It produced 285 hp @ 4,600 rpm with 542 Nm of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 11.3 seconds, 0-100 mph in 35.5 seconds with a top speed of 115 mph. It did the ¼ mile @ 80 mph in 18.2 seconds.

The engine utilized a new combustion chamber to assure progressive and complete burning of each air/fuel charge. The force exerted on the piston head was smoother with powerful thrusts without sudden shock or strain to the piston head or other engine parts. This new system with the use of high-octane fuel permitted higher compression power and performance without engine ‘ping’.

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The engine was equipped with a new high-lift camshaft. Higher cams lift the valves higher off their seats. They were built with super hard friction-resistance cam and bearing surfaces, and wide cams which increase contact surface and minimize wear on cams and tappets.

The engine block and heads were made from cast iron. The all-new engine featured a new piston-crankshaft assembly. The five main bearing crankshaft was made even more rigid through larger main bearing journals and heavier bearing caps for increased strength and durability.

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Other engine refinement included a new high-lift valve mechanism to aid the engine’s breathing ability. With the valves lifted higher off their seats, provides larger openings for the entrance of air/fuel mixture and faster escape of exhaust gases. New valve lifters were designed to maintain constant contact with the cam surfaces at any engine speed for smooth and quiet operation.

This new engine used larger exhaust ports. This increased the breathing efficiency permitting rapid exit of exhaust gases so that there is minimum back-pressure and minimum dilution of the fresh air/fuel mixture as it enters the cylinders. Large intake valves and ports enhance the engine’s breathing ability.

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The engine was fitted with a new four-barrel carburetor. The carter WCFB 2370S 4-bbl was designed with larger primary barrels, increased to the size of the secondary barrels. This allows more air to be drawn into the carburetor then into the intake manifold. The manifold was the free-flow type to accommodate the larger primary barrels.

The larger passages provided a uniform charge of air/fuel to each cylinder for smooth, powerful performance. The greater volume of air entering the cylinders combined with the higher compression ratio increased the power and torque. A separate idle air inlet provided the exact amount of air required for smooth consistent idling. A vapor vent provided quick starting when the engine was hot by preventing the accumulation of fumes.

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The 1956 Cadillacs used an improved Hydra-Matic (Jetaway, Flashaway) 4-speed automatic transmission. The new refinements yielded new smoothness and greater dependability. The band and multiple disc clutch on the front gear set were replaced by a simple one-way clutch that required no adjustment.

The rear gear set received a one-way clutch also and a smoother more consistent application of the rear multiple disc clutch enlarging the clutch face area and improved control of oil pressure. New gear ratios provided more even stops between gears further enhancing shifting during acceleration or deceleration.Image

A unique new feature for the power brakes was the design and location of the foot pedal. It was lower and extra-wide providing advantages in safety, plus comfort and convenience. Since the brake pedal was located closer to the floor it took less time to swing the toe from accelerator to brake pedal. It also took less pedal travel to apply the brakes.

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The name “Cadillac” has for years earned the total respect and admiration of the luxury car following. The 1956 Cadillacs heightened its reputation among those whose motoring requirements were well beyond the ordinary…It was a different clientele…professionals, Actors & Actresses, Public Officials, Presidents…CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s…lest we forget the wealthy…all turned to Cadillac luxury. Cadillac was “Standard of the World” and the luxury leader.

The Cadillac Series Sixty-two convertible was the quintessential status symbol of the 1950s…glamour was synonymous with the Cadillac convertible. Its esteem was further dramatized by its performance. It had power to spare with the hefty 285 hp V8 engine that was all-new for 1956…combined with the improved Hydra-Matic transmission and Cadillac’s engineering prowess.

The 1956 Cadillacs were the latest editions of “Standard of the World” luxury. With legendary Cadillac exemplary fit & finish, the 1956 Cadillac Series Sixty-two convertible was a superb example of American luxury car ingenuity. This drop-dead gorgeous Doll is another classic tribute…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Here ends still another successful episode…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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1956 Cadillac Series Sixty-two convertible

Requiem For A Legend: The Lincoln Continental

Posted in Lincoln, Requiem For A Legend with tags , , , , , , , on May 24, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

“The Bold & the Beautiful Lincolns” presents…

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The historic end of an automotive legend…

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The 1979 Lincoln Collector’s Series TownCar was the finale to a long and successful production run of the full-size American luxury car. The 1979 Lincoln Continental was the last of the breed. To commemorate this end of an era, Lincoln offered the four-door TownCar in a special limited edition.

This was the last model year in which to purchase a full-size Lincoln. It was comprehensively equipped with every available option as standard equipment. This was the final curtain call for one of the most significant stars of the show…in the continuing saga of “The Bold & the Beautiful Lincolns.”

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The 1979 Lincoln Continental was the descendant of a long line of luxury cars. The original Lincoln Continental was built between 1939 and 1948. It was Edsel Ford’s personal car in 1939; he said if it proved feasible it would be put into production. The 1939 Continental was designed by chief stylist Eugene T. Gregorie.

He worked the prototype of the Lincoln Zephyr into a luxurious convertible coupé. The externally mounted spare tire became a signature feature for the Continental Mark Series. This “one-off” creation stirred interest. Twenty-four 1939 models were built and 400 were built for 1940. The 1939 models are often referred to as ‘1940’ models.

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The 1939-1948 Continentals were recognized as a “Full Classic” by the Classic Car Club of America, and was one of the last built to be recognized as such. WWII interrupted production of the Continental in 1942 and was re-started in 1946. The 1948 Continentals were the last V12 engine cars produced by an American automaker.

The first generation Continental is rated as one of the most beautiful designs of the pre-WWII era. The Continental was a cabriolet, however, a few rare hardtop coupes were built. The 1939 and 1940 Continentals had “hand-hammered” body panels. The dies for machine-stamping weren’t available until 1941.

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The second generation of the Continental was revamped for the 1956-1957 model years. It was produced as a stand-alone brand called the Continental MK II…it was NOT a Lincoln. The Continental Division existed only in 1956 and 1957. The MK II had the highest quality control ever seen in the automotive industry.

These cars were even more exclusive than the original Continentals. They were also the most expensive automobiles in the world at $10,000 when the standard Ford could be purchased for less than $2,000. It was rumored, dealers turned away potential buyers that were deemed unacceptable to own a Continental. (The MK II reached new heights in snootiness, I love them for that!)

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The $10,000 price tag was put into place to elevate the car’s status. It was targeting the world’s wealthiest clientele to retain the Continental MK II’s exclusivity. Among the Continental MK II’s most impressive owners include Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, The Shah of Iran, Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, and actress Elizabeth Taylor. Warner Brothers Studios gifted the MK II to Ms. Taylor in a special color that matched her eyes.

The Continental MK II’s production totaled 2,996 including two prototype convertibles. The Continental MK II was an “image car” and Ford unfortunately lost money on each MK II sold. The 1956-1957 Continental MK II is a highly collectible car that is appreciating in value rapidly and is a wise investment vehicle. The Continental Division of Ford produced a hand-crafted automobile only…for two years exclusively.

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The Third generation of the Continental was built from 1958 through 1960 as the first to be built on a unibody platform at the new Wixom facility. Known as the “Mark III” and sharing bodywork with the Lincoln, this full-size sedan differed in their roof treatment and trim. It had a unique feature; its rear backglass was ‘reverse-angled’ and retracted behind the rear seat aka “Breezeway Window.” The Continental was no longer hand-crafted to reduce production costs, mainly factory burden.

A hand-crafted automobile not only slows production, it also increases factory burden, thus, absorbing company profit. Ford lost revenue in excess of $60 Million Dollars between 1958 and 1960. The reason for the negative was the fact that this genre Continental was big and gawky, clumsy as a luxury car with an enormous appetite for petrol. These automobiles resembled stately old homes cruising down the highway. This era Continental was the largest unibody cars ever built. They were also the longest production Lincolns ever built. Sheer excess dominated this generation of extremely poor selling automobiles. Image

Image Another issue with the third generation Continental was the confusing, superfluous, serialization of the Mark Series. The Mark III was built for the 1958 model year, the Mark IV for the 1959 model year, and the Mark V for the 1960 model year. These “Mark” Series were all luxury sedans.

Next, the “Mark” Series was revamped as a personal luxury coupé in 1968 as a 1969 model known as the Continental MK III. It was built from 1969 through 1971. Next came the MK IV built from 1972 through 1976. Last, for model years 1977 through 1979 as the MK V. Subsequent Marks in “Mark-O-Mania” were downsized and in the process went from caricature to kitsch, which sullied their exclusivity through repetition.

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The fourth generation of the Continental was built between 1961 and 1969. Elwood Engle (who also styled the Chrysler Imperial) completely redesigned the 1961 from the ground-up. The Continental name was merged with Lincoln into a single product line. To simplify production all cars would be four-doors offering two body styles a sedan and a convertible.

The main selling feature of the 1961 through 1969 models were the elegant rear forward-opening coach doors. This genre was designed to be the finest production automobile in the world…and they were indeed. The 1961 redesign sold 25,160 vehicles. The slab-sided design was changed slightly from year to year but remained consistent so as not to make past offerings appear ‘dated’. This type of owner loyalty is non-existent in today’s world.

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The 1961 Lincoln Continental

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The 1961 Continental was the first car built in America to offer a 24,000 mile or 2 year bumper-to-bumper warranty. It was also the first post-war four-door convertible. The 1969 Continental was the last production model to use the classic rear coach doors. Sales for the Continental had held steady at 38,383 units and another 30,858 for the Continental MK III.

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Here is a bit of trivia, the Kennedy Presidential limousine was built on the 1961 chassis by Hess & Eisenhart of Ohio. It had the code name of SS-100-X and it was this vehicle in which President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. At that time, the limousine was re-done retro-fitted with armor and a fixed roof. This famous limo is on display in the Henry Ford Museum.

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1965 Lincoln Continental

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The 1966 Lincoln Continental

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The fifth generation Continental was built from 1970-1979. It was a completely new design borrowing styling cues from the MK III. It retained the signature ‘knife-blade’ fenders that spanned the architecture.

The front end design used concealed dual headlamps. Uni-body construction was superseded by less costly body on frame construction. The suspension now used coil springs instead of leaf springs.

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The fifth generation Continental shared the platform with the full-size Ford LTD and Mercury Marquis. The 460 CID V8 was shared with the Mercury beginning with the 1972 model year. Lincoln revamped the TownCar name last used for the 1959 model year to upgrade Continental luxury to a higher level.

In 1973 the Continentals received the federally mandated 5 mph front impact bumper system. This generation received a re-work for the 1975 model year. Coupes got a center “B” pillar with special fixed coach windows while the four-door model received a new roofline to differentiate it from Ford and Mercury models. The Continental was one of the first American automobiles with 4-wheel disc brakes by Bendix.

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The 1973 Lincoln Continental coupé

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For the 1977 model year the Continental received a ‘Rolls Royce’ style radiator grille with a stand-up Continental star as the hood ornament. It was the last Continental to wear the classic rear fender skirts. The standard 460 CID V8 was an option at extra cost for the 1978 model year. The 400 2-bbl was the standard engine.

The 460 CID V8 had a better power to weight ratio and greater fuel economy than that dinky 400 2-banger. By the 1979 model year the 6.6 litre 400 CID 2-bbl was the only engine available for the Continental. The length had grown to 233” and became the largest production passenger car in the world.

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Special luxury editions for the fifth generation Continentals included the 1971 Golden Anniversary TownCar to commemorate Lincoln’s 50th Anniversary. It was available in Gold Moondust that was exclusive to this model. Around 1,600 were built.

The Williamsburg TownCar was available for the 1977, 1978, and 1979 model years. It featured an understated dual shade paint, custom accent stripes, power mini-vent windows, twin comfort lounge seats and dual lighted visor vanity mirrors.

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The 1977 Williamsburg TownCar

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The Collector’s Series TownCar option package was offered to commemorate the last full-size Lincolns to roll off Ford’s assembly lines. The price exceeded $18,000. The Collector’s Series TownCar came standard with most options. The only options available were a power moonroof, 40 channel CB radio, “Sure-Track” braking system, and a plush “Kashmir” velour interior. Only four colors were available for the Collector’s Series. Dark Blue, White, and limited-issue mid-year offerings of Medium Blue (only 197 built) and Light Silver (125 built). The Collector’s series was also available on the 1979 Continental MK V.

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The 1979 Continental MK V Collector’s Series

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The 1979 Collector’s series TownCar was the last of the breed. It was the largest production passenger car for the 1979 model year. The Collector’s Series was built to commemorate this historic automotive milestone. It was equipped with nearly every option available as standard equipment. The Collector’s Series embodied everything that made a Lincoln Continental the legendary icon that it was during its heyday.

What came next was rather disconcerting. It seemed the more that Lincoln down-sized, the more obscure it became. The Lincoln went from caricature to kitsch during the 1980s. There will never be another thoroughbred such as the Lincoln Continental…the full-size Lincoln Continental that is. This was the final curtain call for the legendary Lincoln Continental…in the continuing saga of “The Bold & the Beautiful Lincolns.”

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The 1969-1971 Continental MK III

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The 1976 Continental MK IV

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“The Bold & the Beautiful Lincolns”

Requiem For A Legend: 1978 Cadillac Eldorado

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Requiem For A Legend with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

This was the finale for the glamorous Cadillac Eldorado

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The Season Finale for “As the Standard of the World Turns”

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A Cadillac Eldorado was once the epitome of Cadillac elegance

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It was farewell to another Cadillac legend for the 1978 model year. The classic Eldorado series was the last full-size version of this legendary icon. It was a car of unequaled luxury and roadability. The Eldorado, or “The Gilded One” was a superstar of the show. It was the largest automobile made by General Motors in 1978.

The Eldorado began as a fancy trim option for the Series Sixty-Two in 1953. Its special styling features were unique and would soon be shared by the rest of the Cadillac models. The Gilded One was a styling predictor and a showcase for Cadillac elegance and prestige. There will never be another automobile like the Cadillac Eldorado. This was the season finale…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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The Cadillac Eldorado dominated the luxury car arena during the 1950s. An Eldorado was the most elegantly luxurious Cadillac in the model hierarchy. They were always built at a restricted pace for exclusivity…and on the grand Cadillac scale. Its inception in 1953 was so successful that it became its own series beginning the 1954 model year. The 1953 Eldorado convertible had a specially designed body with a variation from the Series Sixty-Two.

It had a gracefully sculpted body with a “cupid’s bow” lowering the body lines. A classy parade boot, panoramic windscreen, and Kelsey-Hayes long laced genuine wire wheels were signature Eldorado features.  It was so exclusive that it became the official inaugural parade car for President and Mrs. Eisenhower January of 1953. Only 532 were built making it extremely valuable not to mention rare. 

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The 1953 Eldorado was the most expensive Cadillac at a staggering $7,750 which was a lot when other luxury went for far less. It was available in four exclusive colors: Aztec Red, Alpine White, Azure Blue, and Artisan Ochre which was a yellow hue not black as stated in its brochure.

The 1953 Series Sixty-Two Eldorado was a GM image car, they actually lost money on each vehicle built. The 1953 Eldorado was a spin-off of a 1952 GM Motorama show car. It was a joint styling venture of two star Cadillac designers Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell. They initiated the Eldorado revolution which remained popular until the haphazardly designed models after the 1985 model year.

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The Cadillac Eldorado took on many forms of prestige during its heyday. It began as an elegant ragtop, and for the 1956 model year the fabulous Eldorado Seville was introduced as a hardtop coupe with a fancy Vicodec covered roof. The convertible was re-named Eldorado Biarritz. This formidable Eldorado team graced the luxury car scene until the 1960 model year when the Seville was drooped at the end of the model year production run.

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The elegant Eldorado became an elite limited production hand-built hardtop sedan featuring a brushed stainless steel roof and forward opening rear coach doors for the 1957-1958 model years. Cadillac lost money on each built…there was an assembly line joke that suggested at the end of the production line, a $10,000 bill should be placed in the glove box for its new owners.

The Eldorado Brougham’s production was farmed out to Pininfarina of Italy for the 1959-1960 model years to cut costs. With the nature of its hand-crafted construction, it hung up the Fleetwood assembly lines too long. It was more cost-effective to produce the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special and Series Seventy-Five which were higher production targets bringing in more $$$.

Sadly, the 1959-1960 Eldorado Broughams did not have the quality fit and finish as the 1957-1958 Detroit models. Upon receipt from Italy, they usually had to be touched up sometimes repainted due to cracking lead used as body filler. The 1959-1960 models unlike the exclusive 1957-1958 models, shared various parts from the standard Cadillacs. 

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You GO Matt Garrett!!

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The 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado was introduced shortly after the world debut of the 1966 front-wheel drive Oldsmobile Toronado. It was so successful that it took the automotive world by storm. GM pioneered the front-wheel drive system that the rest of the automotive world adopted. The Fleetwood Eldorado’s production ran from 1967 until its grisly demise in 2002 when it had become redundant and nondescript. The last Eldorado went into the Cadillac museum…..Why?

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The 1978 Eldorado came standard equipped with front-wheel drive, four-wheel disc brakes, power steering, Electronic Level Control, AM/FM Signal Seeking Stereo radio with scanner and automatic power antenna, power windows and door locks, cornering lamps, six-way power seats, lamp monitors, steel-belted wide whitewall tires, Soft-Ray glass, quartz digital clock, and automatic parking brake release.

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The 1978 Eldorado was powered by Cadillac’s 7.0 litre 425 CID 16-valve V8 engine mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic THM-425 3-speed automatic transmission. The engine had a cast iron block and heads, five main bearings, and hydraulic valve lifters. It came equipped with a Rochester 4-bbl Quadrajet, mechanical fuel pump, solid-state voltage regulator with integral 63 amp generator, and High Energy Ignition system with 8mm silicone insulated wiring. The engine produced 180 hp @ 4,000 rpm, with 434 Nm of peak torque @ 2,000 rpm. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 13.2 seconds, 0-100 mph in 46.6 seconds with a top speed of 113 mph. It could do the ¼ mile @ 75 mph in 19.4 seconds.

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The 1978 Eldorado was the last Cadillac to be built ruggedly, unlike today’s biodegradable kitschy-faux luxury sedans. It used body on frame construction built upon a ladder-type frame with welded crossmembers. It had the luxury length of 224’, rode on a long 126.3” wheelbase, and was 79.8” wide. The front suspension used upper and lower control arms with independent torsion bar, link-type stabilizer bar, and hydraulic direct action shock absorbers. 

The rear suspension was set-up to accommodate electronic height control with specifically designed dampers. It was equipped with Cadillac’s four-link drive, coil springs, and hydraulic direct action shock absorbers. Superb engineering, advanced design, and dedication to excellence made the Cadillac Eldorado one of the most desired luxury cars. Cadillac’s magic carpet ride made it the car everyone wanted to own.

The Gilded One came standard with Cadillac’s triple braking system. The power hydraulic master cylinder utilized two separate chambers in the fluid reservoir for independent front and rear operation. The power booster used the “Hydro-Boost” system that worked in conjunction with the power steering pump.

Also standard was four-wheel ventilated disc brakes. Each disc had cooling fins to rapidly dissipate heat. It used single piston sliding calipers front and rear. The parking brake had silent action and an automatic vacuum release. It was a true auxiliary brake since it wouldn’t lock with the engine running and car in gear.

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An elegant special edition was available for The Gilded One. The Eldorado Custom Biarritz was an ultra-luxurious expression of this magnificent motorcar. Its interior was upholstered with Sierra grain leather by Fleetwood. It was the epitome of grace and elegance.

Cadillac contoured pillow-style seating was available in five colors. Signature features included Dual Comfort front 50/50 seating, a Cabriolet roof treatment with frenched rear limousine-style window and French seams, opera  lamps, accent striping, color coordinated wheel discs, remote passenger side outside rearview mirror, and five distinctive exterior colors from which to choose.

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The Custom Biarritz Classic was the most luxurious version of the Biarritz options. This limited edition was designed to commemorate the end of an illustrious era in motoring. The distinguishing features that differentiated this opulent luxury group from the Biarritz was its two-toned leather upholstered interior in light beige and dark saddle with a leather steering wheel jacket, and a duo-toned exterior finish in Arizona Beige and Demitasse Brown Metallic.

Gold plated “Biarritz” nomenclature was affixed to each roof sail panel and rear deck lid. The 1978 Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classic was built at a restricted pace of 2,000 vehicles. It was outsourced to American Sunroof Corporation (ASC) out of Southgate, Michigan. The entire modification added five extra days to normal production time.

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The Cadillac Eldorado was the world’s finest personal luxury car. It had to be seen to be believed…driven to be appreciated, and owned for total satisfaction. The 1978 Cadillac Eldorado was base priced at $11,921 and 46,816 were built. The Eldorado was a snapshot in time. A time when America was America and not a by-product as it is today.

The cars of yesterday, especially cars like the Cadillac Eldorado were driven daily without the thought of gasoline mileage. America had just exited the “Ward & June Cleaver/Ozzie & Harriet Nelson” era of the 1960s, we were half-way through the Spirited Seventies and lost our beloved land yachts to become victims of vicious, haphazardly down-sized hatchet jobs leaving America with elegant puddle jumpers. 

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The 1978 Cadillac Eldorado was the last full-size Eldorado and GM’s last traditionally built luxury cars. The Eldorado was world-class with its 7.0 litre V8 engine, front wheel drive, Electronic Level Control, and Variable Ratio power steering all as standard equipment. This was the last of the magnificent Cadillac motorcars.

Equipped as a true Flagship, the 1978 Eldorado was a car complete…Cadillac-style. It was another nostalgic end of a grand motoring tradition. There will never, ever be another Eldorado. This exemplary encore performance deserved a standing ovation and was a requiem for the legend…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Tune in next season for the continuing saga of…”As the Standard of the World Turns.”