With a production history of almost 60 years the Lincoln Continental has significantly evolved through ten generations over an eight-decade existence. In 1939 the Continental debuted as a convertible prototype then called Lincoln-Zephyr. Surviving two hiatuses the present-day Lincoln Continental has had more than a fair share of the limelight—and not always for good reasons.
First introduced as a luxury convertible in 1939 the Lincoln-Zephyr Continental served as the personal vehicle of Edsel Ford. Designed by Eugene Turenne Gregorie in 1938, the one off was commissioned by Ford for an upcoming vacation in the hope of drawing customers to the Lincoln brand.
Ford’s strategy proved to be a success when the Lincoln-Zephyr garnered the interest of many sending the Lincoln Continental into production immediately thereafter. In the form of a cabriolet and a limited number of coupes the first-generation Continental was born.
In 1947 Ford Motor Company handed the keys of a 1948 Lincoln Continental coupe to the “Sultan of Swat” Babe Ruth for his dedication to Little League Baseball. The Bambino traveled around the country to promote baseball in his Continental coupe, but sadly the venture was short-lived as he died of cancer not long after. His precious Continental ended up at an automotive museum in Dallas, Texas and was later auctioned with the winning bid going to car collector Lonnie Shelton.
Between 1961 and 1977 the fourth-generation Lincoln Continental with its limousine-like design served as the Presidential state car—one of them given the Secret Service code name: SS-100-XX.
Notoriously known as the motorcade that carried John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated in Dallas the 1961 Lincoln Continental (SS-100-XX) was a modified four-door convertible. Though it received modifications to meet Secret Service standards none of those mods were bullet resistant or bulletproof. Today the car is on collection at the Henry Ford Museum.
In what is perhaps its coolest big screen appearance the Lincoln Continental had a starring role as the Deathmobile in National Lampoon’s 1978 film “Animal House.” If you need to refresh your memory or have never seen the comedy go here to witness the Lincoln Deathmobile destroy a parade.
I drove a generously equipped 2018 Lincoln Continental Reserve priced at $71,685 around Los Angeles for a weekend trip to Universal Studios. Here are five marvelous things about it.
- Revel Audio System
One neat feature of this amazing audio system is the “Play Revel Experience” that I discovered after snooping around the infotainment system. This feature allows you to experience a variety of audio samples that showcase the Revel Audio System’s potential.
- Ambient Lighting
Though this feature is becoming standard in interiors what I really liked about the ambient lighting in the Continental was the illuminated cup holder. During night drives the illuminated cup holder is the perfect place for a hot cappuccino.
- Power Adjustable Headrests
These power adjustable headrests do not just move up or down. In addition to that function the Continental’s headrests move forward or back to help you find a more accommodating position. The headrests can be adjusted via the door mounted uppermost seat controls.
- Inflatable Rear Safety Belts
At a quick break at the park I started scoping out the amenities in the rear seat and noticed something peculiar about the seatbelts. Upon further examination it turned out they were not your typical seatbelts. The rear safety belts actually have a function and will inflate to provide additional protection for rear passengers in case of an accident.
- Approach Detection
After grocery shopping, I encountered this intelligent access feature as I was returning to the car. When I got within a close proximity of the Continental all sorts of things started happening and it kind of freaked me out. When you arrive within eight feet of the car with the key fob in your pocket the car unlocks and welcomes you back by illuminating both on the exterior and interior.