So there’s this ’56 Lincoln coupe that’s been on Craigslist for a couple of months now. It’s not selling, probably because (like most sellers) he’s asking too much ($15,995). But even so, this 38,000 mile example looks mighty desirable to me.
. . . with that great Futura dream car-inspired front end! True Batmobile styling! (And we all know that Batman and his Batmobile are indisputably cool!) It just looks so beautiful parked there.
As Lincoln copywriters noted, it is a “sculpture in steel . . . Every line and plane unite in a clean harmonious whole–pure as a bird in flight.”
From every angle, this car looks good. The previous owner wisely decided to bypass the original bumper exhaust ports. It’s one deviation from stock I approve of.
This is a luxury car, and it shows! Matching two-toned pleated seats front and rear. But again, in the overall spirit of the car, it is lush but somewhat minimalist in conception.
The dashboard is kind of minimalist too, especially compared to Cadillac and Packard. However, it does have one unique feature . . .
. . . a straight-line speedometer that goes to 130! (120 was common at the time). Yes, there is some road-race DNA left in this ’56 Lincoln. Also, why are numbers 30 through 100 taller than the others?
Under the hood we have a 285 horsepower, 368 cubic inch “V-Eight” with 9:1 compression and what the ads describe as “More usable power than any other car!”
I think the air cleaner pipe with a missing hose is a kind of Thermo-Matic carburetor device.
What about the claim that this is the “best looking” of all postwar Lincolns? The generation that came before–nice, but too easily mistaken for a Mercury or Ford. A luxury car must look distinctive!
The ’57 revision is certainly newer, finnier, and has more lights on it. Whether it is better in a timeless sense is another question. I personally like it; it looks longer and has a personality of its own.
The 1958-60s: An acquired taste (that may be difficult for some people to acquire). The longer-lower concept stretched to previously-undreamt-of limits. I admire it for its sheer over-the-top Jet Age lavishness. Like the ’57, the headlight arrangement is probably the most controversial aspect. The ad needs an ocean liner to make the car look small!
The “classic” ’61s. A lot of people think it’s beautiful–I respect it more than I like it. It set the pattern for the plain, boxy cars of the ’60s.
The beginning of neo-classical broughamism.
We’ve come full circle–Lincoln now reflects the glories of the past, rather than the promise of a space-age future. It’s an “old man’s car.”
Not so the ’56. It’s old, yes, but a stylish jet–not stodgy in the plastic wood, vinyl roofed, opera window sense. Let’s hope this transplanted southerner now living on Long Island finds a good home.