Remember the classic 1961-69 Continental? Sure you do. We all do. But starting with the 1970 model year, non-Mark Continentals were made much less distinctive, though their plush luxury remained. But did you know Lincoln planned to reintroduce the Continental as a suicide-door hardtop?
Yes, it’s true. Lincoln-Mercury would have beaten BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz to the market decades earlier with a “four door coupe” of their own! In the early Seventies, Lee Iacocca wanted something extra special–maybe not as prestigious as the Lehmann-Peterson limo, but something with a bit more presence than the standard Continental Sedan and Coupé. A long-wheelbase hardtop sedan, based on the Connie Coupé, was built, brochures were printed, and production was to commence on the eve of the late 1973 gas crisis. But when gas lines and the resulting automotive austerity changed people’s priorities, the project was cancelled.
The few sales brochures printed were altered, so that the would-be 1974 Continental Hardtop (it would not have replaced either the Sedan or Coupé, but was to be an additional model) was airbrushed into a standard coupe! But I recently got a ’74 brochure on ebay that somehow was missed, and I just had to present it here for your enlightenment. Who knows, maybe we’d still have REAL Continentals today if fate had not intervened, forty years ago.
And by the same token, perhaps Imperial would still be around if the compact versions I reported on a year ago made it to production. A Crown Tiara Coupe might have taken the U.S. market by storm! Coulda, woulda, shoulda–that’s the usual line in the domestic lux market in the 1960s and 1970s…