Early evening has long been one of my favorite times of the day, when there’s still enough light outside to see things plainly and clearly, and with various lights flickering to life on buildings, street lamps, and passing cars. I’ve been a sucker for things that light up since childhood, and for this reason, I find vintage lighting of any kind captivating, whether in a domestic or outdoor setting. The size and shape of automotive taillights has often fascinated me. I found it particularly “dishonest” when (the appearance of) a wide swath of red- or amber-tinted plastic was illuminated by just a few, dinky bulbs. One example that readily comes to mind is the J-Body Chrysler LeBaron, thanks to a recent feature by Brendan Saur. And then, there was the 1976 (and ’77) Chevy Vega that, despite the presence of an amber section on its taillamp lenses, signaled a turn with the red portion. Go figure.
I like the placement of the round, sealed-beam headlights and integrated turn-signals / side marker lights on this ’68 Continental two-door, which I had spotted not far from where I had photographed a baby blue ’79 Town Car about a few weeks prior. I had started to think that perhaps this neighborhood, Rogers Park on Chicago’s north side, was some sort of haven for vintage Lincolns. I haven’t spotted any classic Lincolns since then (that I can recall), but I did consider this a happy coincidence. I can’t remember how many two-doors I had seen within the last decade or so, as most Continentals of this era were four-doors.
Production figures from ’68 would confirm this ratio to be very skewed, with about 9,400 two-door sold versus 29,700 four-doors, with the former accounting for just under a quarter of total Continental production that year. Even with the introduction of the Mark III personal luxury coupe for ’68, two-door Continental production, then in the third year for this bodystyle, dipped just 14% from the ’67 tally, so it would seem that most Continental shoppers simply wanted their chariots with four doors.
With so much mid-century modern architecture lining this section of North Sheridan Road, the sight of this Connie against this backdrop made me feel almost as if it was the late-’60s for a few moments. As I was snapping these pictures, I might have been listening with my earbuds to the soulful sounds of organist Jimmy Smith on his Hammond B-3 or the jazz guitar of Gabor Szabo, while this Aspen Green beauty’s 340-hp 462-cubic inch V8 hummed steadily, moving this 5,000-pound coupe along at a good clip. While waiting for the 147 bus to carry me home from Rogers Beach, the fading, summer sky, the throaty exhaust note of this Lincoln’s V8, and the smooth melodies coming from my earbuds combined to reassure me that sometimes things can come together unexpectedly for a perfectly orchestrated moment that can seem completely random.
Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois.
Friday, August 3, 2018.