With the recent comeback of the Lincoln Continental, 4wheelonline has spent the week reflecting on the history and the legacy of one of America’s most iconic automobiles. And, in order to pay proper homage, we are going to rank the greatest models in order.
Overall, Lincoln has had 9 generations of the vehicle, along with their newest 2016 concept, which is now set for production. All in all, that gives us the perfect top ten list, so without further ado, here is our list…
Coming in at #10, we have the 3rd generation Lincoln Continental, which was in production from 1958-1960.
During its heyday, most people of this time period found this ride to be pretty obnoxious, complaining that the canted headlights and scalloped fenders were over the top. We agree! Only adding to the car’s bad reputation, of course, is the fact that it is actually the heaviest American sedan without an extended wheelbase since WWII, as well as it being the 2nd longest American convertible in history (right behind the extremely rare 1934-1937 Cadillac V-16).
Coming in at #9, we have the 7th generation Lincoln Continental, which was in production from 1982-1987.
This burnt cigarette butt looking vehicle was a break from the Continental’s notorious long-bodied look. It did, however, go back exclusively to the brand’s classic 4 door design (it was the first time a 2-door option wasn’t available for Lincoln since 1965). This car is also known for being part of the “bring-back-the-bustleback-trunk” movement of the 1980s, a movement that should have stayed in the coffin alongside the 1930s British sedans it came from.
Coming in at #8, we have the 8th generation Lincoln Continental, which was in production from 1988-1994.
This vehicle marked the Continental’s official shift to front wheel-drive and went back to the long-wheeled design. In fact, the ride added about 4 inches in length from the 1987 version, while shaving 170 pounds from the total weight. Still, as far as looks go, we have it near the bottom of the list because it lacks any serious eye popping appeal.
Coming in at #7, we have the 9th generation Lincoln Continental, which was in production from 1995-2002.
This model was the very last one to be built before the entire series was discontinued. This vehicle featured more rounded edges and also had a V8 under the hood for the first time since the mid-80s. For the first time in the brand’s history, the 9th generation dedicated a great deal of time and research into the vehicle’s technology, which included Global satellite positioning, a 3-channel Homelink compatible garage door opener, a voice-activated cellular telephone, and an Alpine Audio system. Drivers could also opt for a 6-disc CD changer, heated front seats, and a tinted glass power sunroof with sliding shade. All of that sounds like shit now, right?? In retrospect, maybe Lincoln should have spent more time on the overall styling of the ride.
Coming in at #6, we have the 6th generation Lincoln Continental, which was produced for only one year: 1980.
Amongst our voters here at 4wheel, we had a split in voting. Some gave the vehicle a high rating, while others gave the vehicle no respect. Interestingly about the car, the 6th generation marked a huge downsizing year for the brand’s design, which included a cut of 14 inches from the length, 2 inches from the width, 10 inches from the wheelbase, and about a half-ton from the vehicle’s overall weight! This was a trend that would continue on to the 7th generation, as well.
Coming in at #5, we have the the 5th generation Lincoln Continental, which was produced from 1970-1979– the decade of the stoner and the pimp and the mobster.
And guess what? That cool-as-all-hell look definitely translates to this bad boy, which is one of the reasons that we love it. Unfortunately, though, while maintaining much of the Continental’s styling from the previous generation, this car marked the official end of the “suicide door” setup, a design that needs to be brought back ASAP.
Coming in at #4, we have the 2nd generation Lincoln Continental, which was produced from 1956-1957.
Amazingly, at the time of its release, the Continentals were among the most expensive cars in the world, selling for $10,000 a pop– a price that rivaled a Rolls Royce!! The car also marks the first time that the Continental was produced as a separate marquee from Ford, but even better than that, it had the highest quality control ever seen in the history of the auto industry.
Coming in at #3, we have the 1st generation Lincoln Continental, which was produced from 1939-1948, becoming one of Ford’s official WWII era vehicles.
Amazingly, the car originally started off as a personal vehicle for Edsel Ford (Henry Ford’s only son), but was soon put into production after receiving rave reviews from the auto heir. This elegantly styled ride was spacious and comfortable and featured a long hood that covered the ride’s Lincoln V12. The car is also known for starting the brand’s infamous external spare tire look. What a beauty!!
Coming in at #2, we have the recently released 2016 Lincoln Continental.
Debuted at this week’s New York Auto Show, the car is the first Continental to be developed in 13 years!! Fortunately, the Lincoln Continental has had long breaks like this in the past only to come back to high-profile popularity each time. There have been some complaints about the car’s new look (too much chrome, no suicide doors, and too European), but we just see that as normal nit-picking. In fact, we like the design so much that we’ve put it in the number 2 spot on our list. Much of that, of course, is because this is the first truly great looking Continental since maybe the 1970s!
Was there any doubt?? Coming in at #1, we have the almighty 4th generation Lincoln, which was produced from 1961-1969 (why do so many great looking cars come from that decade??).
Featuring the iconic suicide doors and a perfect blend of hard-nosed styling, this car has gone on to become an all-time classic! It’s been featured everywhere in film from the 007 series to The Matrix to Animal House. In a great twist of fate, the vehicle’s design was actually originally intended for the 1961 Thunderbird, but after a slightly altered design was drawn up, company executive (and future Secretary of Defense) Robert McNamara decided to use it for the Continental– a decision that Ford has basked in for over 50 years.
So, that’s our list! In the comments below, let us know what you think and who your number 1 would be.