Written by Eric Becker
America’s economy following World War II was nothing short of ascendant. The domestic optimism that infused the postwar United States impacted art, industry design and, of course, the automobile. It was the Jet Age, stellar ambition seemed within reach and flamboyance ruled the roadways, with Detroit’s wing-adorned land yachts cruising the boulevards, each seeking a unique space and niche.
There was steep competition, too. The latter portion of the 1950s had Detroit’s most prestigious luxury marques battling it out in newly minted suburban neighborhoods and on showroom floors alike. The Chryslers and Cadillacs of the era sported wings and fins large enough to make even a demur jetliner blush. In Dearborn, however, things were a bit different. Lincoln’s offering didn’t concern itself with homages to aircraft; instead, Lincoln’s Chief Stylist John Najjar penned a radically styled giant. The Lincoln Continental came to life in the design studios, and soon on the boulevards of many American cities.
Offered with No Reserve as Lot #709 at the 2020 Barrett-Jackson Fall Auction, this custom 1959 Lincoln Continental will surely draw appreciative oohs and aahs from the auction arena. If it’s sheer enormity, mid-century touches and, yes, excess doesn’t capture your eye, then the outstanding detail of this beautiful custom roadster will. The Continental measures 230 inches in length and 80.7 inches port to starboard, and has a 131-inch wheelbase. For a frame of reference, the Lincoln is 46 inches longer than the Hummer H1 and just as wide. Even more astounding is the rarity of the car on which this custom is based. Just 2,195 Mark IV Continental Convertibles rolled out of the Wixom, Michigan, assembly plant, making this beauty as rare as it is large.
Long and low, this ’59 was professionally built and restored by the Sacramento-based team at Advanced Restorations. The car would go on as the product display feature for Arc Audio at SEMA, and later was crowned the winner of the Sacramento Autorama’s World’s Most Beautiful Custom Award. One look at the PPG acrylic urethane light blue paint and it’s easy to see why.
From the custom billet grille and brilliantly rendered offset twin headlamps to the Cadillac-inspired bullet taillights, every part of the car was either restored or replaced during its painstaking restoration. The factory convertible top was removed and the windshield lowered, giving it an unmistakable chopped look. The side windows were cut and modified into teardrop shapes, giving the 19-foot Lincoln a true roadster silhouette. Best yet, in keeping with its Jet Age origins, the rear quarter-panels subtly feature fins for that time-capsule-worthy aerodynamic charm.
Under the hood sits a lightly modified Chevy 350ci V8 engine, which was built by Motor Machine Super Shop in Carmichael, California, and features a custom camshaft. The V8 breathes via an Edelbrock 1406 Performer Series carburetor, and rumbles thanks to Sanderson headers and a custom dual Flowmaster exhaust system. Tucked up next to the custom smooth firewall, the engine looks its part, too. A pronounced air filter matches shining finned aluminum valve covers and other billet accessories. The engine is mated to a Turbo 350 automatic transmission connected to a Dana rear end and sits on a suspension with air-ride technology for that perfect low stance. The 18-inch bonspeed wheels are wrapped in Nitto high-performance tires, and the giant Lincoln easily stops thanks to 4-wheel disc brakes.
Inside, the custom interior is finished in gray, with a smooth wrapped dash fitted with billet bezel housing a set of AutoMeter Old Time Classic gauges. The bonspeed steering wheel is mounted to a chrome Ididit tilt-steering column, and the driver controls the pace with Lokar pedals. A Vintage Air climate-control unit will always keep the open-top dream temperate, and the custom sound system is perfect for your favorite tunes.
Don’t miss your chance to bid on this award-winning giant and take in the grandeur of the mid-century.