In the 1950s, Lincoln bore strong styling ties to the Mercury, until 1956. With the formation of the Continental division and the introduction of the Continental Mk II, the Lincoln lineup took on many styling elements from the Ford concept and show cars. For 1958, the new idea was a bold move in style and presence, and cost-cutting. With management’s objective to outdo the competition with a longer, lower and faster car, chief stylist John Najjar had his work cut out for him. While high tail fins were still in vogue, Najjar’s design incorporated a modest fin that produced a design that has been coined “rectilinear” yet still keeping the car’s lines in a splendid profile. Expanding the Continental division to share the same uni-body platform as other Lincoln vehicles resulted in a $4,000 price reduction. Produced from 1958 to 1960, Lincolns would become some of the largest and longest wheelbase vehicles ever produced by the Ford Motor Company.
With the emphasis on excess, the Lincoln rode on a 131-inch wheelbase, with an overall length of 227.2-inches and a width of 80.3 inches. Mammoth in proportions, the Lincoln used its sheer size as a fashion statement. Large quad-canted headlamps, sculptured side panels and small tail fins with a dollop of chrome trim, they left buyers awestruck. While the 1958 economic recession didn’t help sales, it was the first time in the decade where sales dropped below 10,000 units per series. Still, it was a beautiful car and made everything else on the road look old and mundane.
For Dan Caron of Headingley, his 1960 Lincoln became part of his life in the late ’80s. His father, Louis, and mother, Isabel, liked to visit southern California during the winter months. While Isabel favoured playing golf, Louis liked to find old cars, especially Thunderbirds and Lincolns.
On a chance trip to Nebraska in 1988, Louis found a 1960 Lincoln coupe. The two-door coupe was in good condition and had some upgrading and restoration done, so Louis felt it was a good car to take back to Canada. Returning with his brother Aime Caron, they loaded the 4,929-pound coupe on a car trailer and headed back to Manitoba. Over the years, Louis did some bodywork, brake rebuild, mechanical work and repainted the car in its original Polaris White. The end product included new black cloth and vinyl interior upholstery.
With Louis passing a few years ago, Dan became caretaker of the fleet and has remained steadfast to their upkeep.
Caron says, “I try to take each one out as often as possible, but with the convertibles, the Lincoln coupe doesn’t see as much use as it should.” The massive road car listed for a base price of $5,253.00, plus optional equipment, in 1960. Power comes from an equally massive (for the time) 430-cubic inch V8 backed by a Twin-Range, Turbo-drive three-speed automatic transmission. Equipped with a Carter two-barrel carburetor 10.0:1 compression and dual exhaust, it produces 315 horsepower at 4,100 rpm and 465 lb/ft of torque at 2,200 rpm. These were highway cruisers. With a 2.98:1 ratio rear axle, it offered 16 miles per gallon and a ride and comfort that made you feel like you were still at home in your parlour.
Caron’s car is equipped with power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seat, Deluxe Town & Country signal-seeking AM radio, tinted glass, whitewall tires and remote control driver’s side rear-view mirror. As large as the car is, 1960 Lincoln coupe production was small, with only 1,670 units built. Finding one of these luxurious vehicles today in this condition is near unobtainium. Locating a respectable candidate for restoration would mean years of parts searching, so even seeing Caron’s car is a rarity and the last of the series.
For 1961, Ford introduced the new Lincoln Continental, a strikingly beautiful car that would go on to be recognized as one of the most influential automobile designs of the 1960s.