the view through the windshield
1958 Lincoln Continental Mark III: Steel Barge

The 1958 Lincolns and Continentals were totally new in body and appearance and were assembled in a new plant. The bodies were completely restyled with an aggressive, angular look replacing the Futura dream car inspired styling on the '56 and '57 Lincolns. The 1958 Lincolns had unit body construction; they were the largest and heaviest frameless passenger cars ever made. The '58 models weighed 5000 pounds and, at 229 inches long, they were the longest non-limo Lincolns ever made to date.

Four body styles were offered: a pillared four-door sedan, a two-door hardtop, a four-door hardtop (known as the Landau) and a 2 door convertible. The cars featured a new suspension - coil springs all around with trailing arms at the rear wheels.

The Continental was no longer a separate model line; it now was the model designation for the top-of-the-line Lincoln. The Continental Mark III featured a reverse slant, retractable rear window; regular Lincolns had wraparound rear windows. Continentals differed from Lincoln Premieres and Capris in the grille design and taillight design as well.

These big cars had power, too - a 430 cubic-inch V8 engine with 375 horsepower. These cars could go from a standing start to 60 miles per hour in 9.5 seconds. Unfortunately, the '58s were plagued by problems - poor workmanship, rattles, squeaks and vibration at speed. The public was not enamored of the new design which ran from the 1958 through the 1960 model year. Just look at Lincoln's sales compared with Cadillac and how sales of the Lincoln and Continental brands failed to rebound from the 1858 recession. Things didn't begin to improve until Lincoln given a brand new body for 1961:

Year
Cadillac
sales (units)
Lincoln
sales (units)
Imperial
sales (units)
1955
140,340
27,222
11,432
1956
154,577
52,978
10,684
1957
146,681
41,567
41,123
1958
121,778
29,684
16,133
1959
142,272
25,906
17,249
1960
142,184
24,820
17,719
1961
138,379
25,164
12,258
1962
160,184
31,061
14,337
1963
163,174
31,233
14,121
1964
165,959
36,297
23,295
1965
181,435
40,180
18,409
1966
196,675
54,755
13,742
1967
200,000
45,667
17,620
1968
230,003
46,904
15,367
1969
223,237
61,378
22,103
1970
238,745
59,327
11,822

Lincoln's new 1961 slab-side, suicide-door design was praised by the automotive press. Car Life magazine awarded the Lincoln Continental its 1961 Engineering Excellence Award; the Industrial Design Institute gave it an award for its overall appearance and execution. But sales were hampered by limited body styles. Unlike its predecessor, the '61 was offered only with four doors - as a non-hardtop sedan or a convertible. Sales jumped when a two-door hardtop was introduced in 1966.

The '58-'60 Continental Models are known as The Lost Marks by most Lincoln enthusiasts. Ford conveniently obliterated the existence of the 1958 Continental Mark III when it bestowed the same name on the 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III personal luxury coupe, introduced in April of 1968.

1958 was the first year that Lincolns and Thunderbirds were produced in the same plant. The '58 T'Bird, which also featured unit body construction, was also produced at the new Wixom manufacturing facility. Ford closed the Wixom Assembly Plant in 2007. The last car produced was a Lincoln Town Car which rolled off the line just after noon on May 31st. Over the plant's 50 years of operation, it produced over 6.6 million automobiles. (7/29/11)

A V-12 Lincoln Continental - But Not The One You Think: When I think of V12 engines and Lincoln Continentals, the 1940-48 models are the ones that come to mind. But at the 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show, held in Las Vegas, there was a customized 1958 Lincoln Continental Mark III convertible which was powered by a Falconer V12, capped with ... (more >>>)
Remember When: 1958
auto blogIn 1958, the U.S. experienced the worst recession since World War II. Jimmy Hoffa took over the Teamsters Union; Nikita Kruschev took over the USSR.

At Arlington Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was completed. In March, Elvis Presley was inducted into the U.S. Army and became a Very Well-Known Soldier.

First-class letter postage increased from 3¢ to 4¢. Explorer I, the first U.S. satellite, was launched.

Starting in 1958, automobile manufacturers were required to post factory sticker prices in the windows of all cars sold in the U.S.

New products included Sweet 'n Low sugar substitute and Bic pens. The hula hoop was introduced; 25 million were sold in the first four months. The first Pizza Hut opened in Wichita, Kansas.

New TV shows included 'Peter Gunn', 'The Rifleman' and '77 Sunset Strip'.

'Kookie' Edd Byrnes' hot rod from the TV show, '77 Sunset Strip', on display at the Peterson Automotive Museum in 2002

'Volare' was awarded record of the year at the Grammys. Other record hits included 'At The Hop' by Danny and the Juniors, Frank Sinatra's 'Witchcraft', Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B. Goode', Jerry Lee Lewis' 'Great Balls of Fire', 'Get A Job' by The Silhouettes and 'Tom Dooley' by The Kingston Trio. Rock and roller Little Richard quit the music biz and enrolled in preacher school at an Alabama Negro college run by Seventh Day Adventists.

Famous people born in 1958 included Michael Jackson, Ellen DeGeneres, Madonna, Prince, Kevin Bacon, rapper Ice-T, Drew Carey, rocker Joan Jett, Jeff Foxworthy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sharon Stone and Andrea Bocelli.

New movies included 'Gigi', 'South Pacific' and 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'. In 1958, an unknown named Steve McQueen appeared in a B-grade horror flick, 'The Blob'. The title song became a minor hit that year; it was written by another unknown, Burt Bacharach. In 1958, a movie ticket cost 65¢.

Tropical fish were the most popular pet for Americans in 1958; 120 million of them resided in tanks in American homes. (On any given morning, a million or two were found floating upside down.)

Lana Turner's daughter, Cheryl Crane, fatally stabbed her mother's mobbed-up boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato, in Lana's Beverly Hills mansion.

sherlock blog
Pius XII tomb

Other deaths included Pope Pius XII, songwriters Lew Brown and Harry Revel, blues composer and musician W. C. Handy, actor Tyrone Power, radio and television actor Tim Moore (he played The Kingfish on 'Amos 'n' Andy'), rocker Chuck Willis who performed 'C.C. Rider' (a #1 R&B hit as well as a #12 pop hit in 1957. Willis' version of the old blues song gave birth to the dance craze The Stroll), Elvis' mom, Gladys Presley, and movie producer Mike Todd, killed in an New Mexico air crash (he was married to Elizabeth Taylor).

The NY Yankees won the World Series, beating the Milwaukee Braves 4 to 3.


More AutoSketch car drawings can be found here.
Other Pages Of Interest

Disclaimer

The facts presented in this blog 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.

Spelling, punctuation and syntax errors are cheerfully repaired when I find them; grudgingly fixed when you do.

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.

If I have slandered any people or corporations in this blog, either expressly or inadvertently, they should buy me strong drinks (and an expensive meal) and try to prove to me that they're not the jerks I've portrayed them to be. If you're buying, I'm willing to listen.

Don't be shy - try a bribe. It might help.


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