the view through the windshield
1952 Continental 195X - Lincoln's First Dream Car

Ford Motor Company used dream cars - now referred to as 'concept cars' - to create interest in their standard offerings and to attract people to their displays at auto shows.

The Continental 195X was Lincoln's first postwar dream car and was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in early 1952. The five-seater two-door coupe was not a running model, rather a fiberglass and plaster pushmobile. The public received the futuristic vehicle with great enthusiasm. Many were fans of the original Lincoln Continental and were excited that a second version might be forthcoming.

The 195X was designed by Joe Oros, assisted by Elwood Engel. Both were employees of style consultant George Walker, who was hired by Ford Motor Company as Vice-President of Design in 1956. The jet-exhaust taillights were inspired by a drawing made by Advanced Design studio Gil Spear in the late 1940s.

Ford Motor Company decided quickly to produce a fully-operational version of the 195X. During the same time, the company was beginning development of the 1956 Continental Mark II and, when it was realized the styling of the Mark II would be completely different than the 195X, it decided that a name change was in order. In mid-1952, the Continental script emblems were removed from the car's flanks and it was rechristened the Ford X-100. Nevertheless, the finished car was titled as a Lincoln and was powered by a modified Lincoln overhead-valve V8 engine with a claimed 300 horsepower.

The 195X/X-100 was built in house by Ford Motor Company on a full-frame chassis with aluminum and steels body panels, at a reported cost of $2,000,000. That's close to $20 million in 2020 dollars. In comparison, the fully-operational 1955 Lincoln Futura show car was produced by Ghia in Italy for the relative bargain price of $250,000 in 1955.

The X-100 rode on a 123 inch wheelbase and was 221 inches long. It was unlike any other FoMoCo vehicle produced to date and forecasted many of Ford's future cars. The chrome hood-scoop-emblem was seen on 1956 and '58 Fords. The front fender with headlight eyebrow would appear on the 1956 Lincoln. The rear of the car inspired the ‘61 Thunderbird. The car offered many technical innovations such as a fully independent front and rear suspension, built-in hydraulic jacks, in-car telephone and heated seats. The roof over the passenger area was clear Plexiglas which could be retracted on sunny days. A photovoltaic 'rain cell' would automatically close the roof if it began to rain. Finished in glossy jet black with a padded white leather landau top, the car was strikingly handsome. The Ford X-100 made the full car show circuit and even appeared at auto shows in London and Paris.

Now retired, the X-100 can be seen in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. (posted 1/28/21)

Remember When: 1952
auto blogIn 1952, Elizabeth II became the Queen of England and the United Kingdom after the death of her father King George VI in February. In July, King Farouk of Egypt was ousted by a military coup. General Mohammed Naguib assumed power.

The United States tested the first hydrogen bomb during November at the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. 56 million watched VP candidate Richard Nixon's 'Checkers speech' on TV. Mother Teresa opened a home for dying and destitute in Calcutta. First jetliner service inaugurated by BOAC between London and Johannesburg, South Africa with its Comet jetliner.

An estimated 4,000 to 12,000 died from respiratory tract infections in just 4 days when thick smog envelops London. The dense smog was caused by widespread use of dirty grades of coal for heating homes and buildings.

Packard introduced power brakes on its line of automobiles. Crosley Motors ceased production. A gallon of regular gas cost 20¢.

New products included Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes and Sugar Smacks, Holiday Inn motels, paint-by-numbers painting sets and chlorophyll as an ingredient in various products, including mouthwashes, toothpastes and deodorants. Mr. Potato Head toy was introduced and became the first toy to be advertised on television.

New words included hot-rodder and printed circuit. In 1952, the average price of new house was $9,050. The average annual U.S. wage was $3,850.

Top-selling records included 'Wheel of Fortune' by Kay Starr 'Half as Much' by Rosemary Clooney, Jo Stafford's 'You Belong To Me', Eddie Fisher's 'Wish You Were Here', 'Glow-Worm' by the Mills Brothers and 'I Saw Mommie Kissing Santa Claus' by Jimmie Boyd.

Television's first magazine-format program, the 'Today Show', debuted on NBC with Dave Garroway hosting. Other new TV programs included: 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet', 'Dragnet', 'Our Miss Brooks', 'Mr. Peepers' and 'This Is Your Life'.

The English version of Anne Frank's 'The Diary of a Young Girl' was published. Ernest Hemingway's 'The Old Man and the Sea' was also published in 1952.

Top grossing movies of 1952 included 'The Greatest Show On Earth', 'High Noon', 'The Quiet Man', and 'Singin' In The Rain'. 'An American In Paris' won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Actor Ronald Reagan married actress Nancy Davis.

The New York Yankees won the World Series, defeating the Brooklyn Dodgers, 4-3. Hill Gail won the Kentucky Derby.

More AutoSketch car drawings can be found here.

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The facts presented on this website are based on my best guesses and my substantially faulty geezer memory. The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Probably.

If I have slandered any brands of automobiles, either expressly or inadvertently, they're most likely crap cars and deserve it. Automobile manufacturers should be aware that they always have the option of trying to change my mind by providing me with vehicles to test drive. I'll dutifully report my road test impressions on this car blog.

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