1961 Lincoln Continental Four-Door Convertible
$40,000 - $60,000Offered without reserve
RM | Auctions - THE DINGMAN COLLECTION - Offered from the Dingman Collection - Offered on: Sunday, June 24, 2018
- Offered from the Dingman Collection
- From the first year of one of the best-known designs
- Gorgeous Sunburst Yellow finish
- Timeless design icon of the 1960s
Lincoln boldly switched to unitary construction for the 1958 models, but the result was somewhat underwhelming. The biggest Lincolns to date and the largest unibody cars ever, they came across as perpendicularly sculpted, competitive at first but decidedly dated by 1960. The new 1961 Lincoln started out as a Thunderbird concept. Ford styling vice-president George Walker had chief stylist Elwood Engel round up a team that eventually included John Najjar, Bob Thomas, Joe Oros, John Orff, and Colin Neale. Engel told his stylists, “I want a clean car – no garbage.”
A clean car is what he got, created around a Thunderbird cowl. Robert McNamara, Ford general manager who soon became company president, suggested it become a four-door Lincoln Continental. It went into production in November 1960. The Industrial Design Institute awarded it a coveted Bronze Medal, rare for an automobile. The new Continental was designed for ease of passenger entry: the lack of a wrap-around windshield and use of aft-hinged “suicide” rear doors facilitated this. Novel for the time was a convertible sedan body style, the first since the Frazer Manhattan of 1951. Lincoln, in an understated manner, called it simply Continental Four-Door Convertible.
This 1961 convertible was purchased from well-known Continental expert Gordon Jensen of Marco Island, Florida, in December 2014. Gorgeous in Sunburst Yellow, it has the interior wood-grain accents characteristic of the early Continental interiors. Contours and paint are all excellent, and exterior brightwork is of very good quality. The instrument panel is in very good condition and the padding shows no cracks. The black leather upholstery is near-excellent, only the driver’s seat showing any wear. Both front and back seats have fold-down armrests. The odometer shows some 850 miles, believed to be since restoration.
The undercarriage is generally very nice, exhibiting a factory-like finish. The tires are P235/75-R14 Coker Classic radial whitewalls. The engine bay is highly detailed, with no significant flaws. Very well appointed, the car has power steering and brakes, power front seat and factory air conditioning, windshield washers and power seats, as well as an AM radio. It is also equipped with Speed Control, an early form of cruise control. The top is power-operated and causes a sensation whenever it is raised or lowered.
The 1961–1969 Lincoln Continentals raised the bar on luxury vehicle design. This is a particularly desirable example.