Car Show Capsule: 1956 Lincoln Premiere: Roses Are Red, Lincolns Are Wisteria

(first posted 11/21/2012)    While there’s no doubt summer’s over, I still have quite a cache of car show pics to keep you entertained throughout the long winter ahead. To wit: How about a colorful 1956 Lincoln Premiere hardtop?

I saw this sharp Lincoln last July at one of the North Park Mall cruise-ins. It was a late arrival, and I waited patiently for the crowd surrounding it to disperse so I could get some good shots for you CCers. I have always had a thing for unusual color schemes, and this Lincoln was amazing! Most ’56 Lincolns were quite colorful, with an available color palette of various pinks, corals, yellows and aquas. This one’s finished in Wisteria, an actual 1956 factory color, and its interior is every bit as bright and cheerful as the exterior. Premiere models featured three-tone interior schemes, including the black/white/wisteria  combination shown above.

The 1956 Lincolns were longer, lower and wider than ever, and sported spiffy, all-new bodywork. It was clear that unlike the 1952-55 “Road Race” Lincolns, these were more than dressed-up, longer-wheelbase Mercurys. The Capri was the ‘standard’ Lincoln, and the Premiere represented the top of the line. In addition to a slightly flossier interior, Premiere buyers got power windows and a four-way power front seat as standard equipment.  A 368 cu in, 300-hp V8 engine, breathing through a four-barrel Carter carb, powered both models.

Also standard was Turbo-Drive automatic transmission, which had replaced the GM-sourced Hydra-Matic in 1955. The newly home-grown automatic utilized a torque converter with three planetary gears. Like many ’50s automatics, its primary mission was smooth, unhurried operation (after all, this was a luxury car). It did offer lower-gear starts for speedier takeoffs when the go-pedal was floored.

Our featured car, priced new at a princely $4,601, is one of 19,619 Premiere hardtop coupes built for 1956. Interestingly, the Premiere hardtop was the best-selling 1956 Lincoln, outselling the four-door sedan by about 150 units.

Despite sprouting fins that looked slightly tacked on, the 1957 Lincolns retained much of the cohesive design of their predecessors. But come 1958, the gigantic and boxy all-new Continental Mark IIIs and Lincolns would take Ford’s luxury make in a totally different–and perhaps questionable–direction.