Curbside Classic: 1972 Lincoln Continental Coupe – Oh Baby, Your Broughaminess Is My Destiny

(first posted 5/14/2014)      I am well known around these parts for my love of Dearborn’s flagship, the Lincoln Continental and its Town Car successors. I don’t think anyone will argue that the 1961-69 Connies are works of art and a true luxury car (’65 Continental CC here), but I also am rather fond of the 1970-73 version. Remember those?

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I most certainly do. And a big part of that is due to an old, forgotten 1971 Continental that was sitting in a 1920s-era one-car garage not far from my neighborhood. From the age of approximately five (when I finally learned to actually stop my red Huffy, and not just leap off of it when I wanted off) through junior high, my beloved bicycles (four of them, over the years) took me where I wanted to go.

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One of the places I liked to go was to pass this black-over-black 1971 Continental sedan. All the years I checked it out, it never moved. About two feet of the trunk protruded out of the garage opening, with the door snugged down to the top of the trunk lid. Peering below the aforementioned door, one could see layer upon layer of dust and four very flat tires, but the car was clean and complete, and most attractive to the then-nine-year-old version of yours truly. I knew it was a ’71 due to the three triple taillight clusters per side.

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I have no idea what that black Continental’s story was. The garage was never in use, and whoever lived in the house had a cream-over-gold 1982-85 LeBaron that sat in the driveway–and the driveway was not anywhere near the garage. Best I can figure is that maybe there was another house on the corner, and it had been torn down, with the house next door (and accompanying driveway) inheriting the garage.

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I actually (stupidly, in retrospect) snuck in the garage one time and actually got into the car! What can I say, kids do dumb things, especially when said dumb kid is totally infatuated with a then-twenty-year-old, neglected Lincoln. I remember sitting in the back seat on plush black leather, and being totally smitten with that amazing dashboard and Y-spoke steering wheel. Is that not a great steering wheel or what?

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Another time (yes, I was dumb enough to do it more than once!) I got into the car, only, to my horror, see the man of the house mowing the lawn at the head end of the garage–less than five feet from the doorless doorway at the opposite end of the garage.

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Oh crap! It never occurred to my nine-year-old brain that I was nigh-on invisible to him, sitting in a dark car in a dark garage on that sunny summer day. So I sat in the rear compartment of that car for what seemed a very long time, but in actuality was probably ten minutes or so. I never did get caught. Such escapades were rare in my childhood, but this car was a special case!

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So I had a thing for these cars. Indeed, at a car show my dad and I attended in 1991, a vendor had a bunch of old car brochures. Dad said he would buy me a couple, and of course I zeroed right in on the silvery covers of the 1971 Lincoln Continental and Mark III brochure, with “my” car in it! My second choice? The equally-plush 1971 Cadillac deluxe catalog. I still have both!

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And thus to we come to the present, featuring this absolutely gorgeous 1972 Continental coupe. The big Connie coupe appeared in 1966, complementing the four-door sedan and unforgettable four-door convertible that had constituted the Lincoln lineup since 1961.

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With the complete redesign of the non-Mark Continentals in 1970, the Coupe returned, despite the fact that the 1969 Mark III’s appearance had substantially stunted the Coupe’s sales. But it gamely hung in there, and retained its classic good looks and lovely pleated premium cowhide.

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The 1970-up Continentals have been said to be a bit of a letdown compared to its 1961-69 forebear. But keep in mind, that generation, despite a refresh for 1966, was rather long in the tooth. What should Lincoln otherwise have done? If they had attempted to revise what was in effect a ten-year-old design, would it have been panned as a half-hearted update of an aging platform? Who can say?

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A case can be made that the 1970 Continental began the gradual loss of “specialness” that afforded the 1961-69 Continental so much love and honor. But I am of the opinion that the 1970-73 (and its netherworld not-quite-1970 and not-quite-1975 ’74 iteration) Continental was still a nice car, and aspirational car. Could they have done better? Perhaps. But I like these cars for what they are.

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It was on a prior post on CC that I became aware of, a Brugge-based “oldtimer” dealership of classic American iron. I clicked on the link back then and was immediately drawn to this classic 1972 Coupe. Such lovely lines! Such lovely colors! White leather! You know I am a sucker for white leather in an old Lincoln, Caddy or Imperial. So I saved some pictures and promptly forgot about it.

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But lucky you, on a recent evening after having a couple of cocktails, I remembered the pics, and my ill-gotten seat time in an old forgotten 1971 Continental. So you see now how nicely I tied the two together! These cars are great.

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