CC Outtake: 1968 Lincoln Continental Coupe – At Last

(first posted 1/16/2012)    One of these days, we’ll have to take up the 1961 – 1970 Lincoln Continental story again, in more detail (update: we did, here). Curiously, the coupe version doesn’t play a big role in that otherwise epic chapter, since it didn’t arrive until 1966, and then sold in relatively small quantities, both in relation to the four door sedan as well as its direct competitor, the Cadillac Coupe DeVille. Laurence Jones caught one of these increasingly rare (in the wild) coupes. I’m not waiting that long.

When the celebrated ’61 Lincoln arrived, it did so only in four door form, including the convertible. Lincoln’s whole existence was on shaky grounds, after successive losses with the Mark II and the failed ’58 – ’60 models. The four door only approach was a way to cut costs in a last-chance shot for the ’61 to redeem itself. Which it did, mostly. Not that it sold all that well, but enough combined with a slimmed down Lincoln operation to turn a modest profit. Which gave Lincoln the reprieve, as well as the money to tool up a coupe for 1966.

Of course, in a way it almost wasn’t worth it, since the new-for 1968 Continental Mark III probably soaked up more of the coupe market than might have been anticipated.

The ’66 – ’67 had a different roof line than the ’68, echoing both the four-door Lincoln as well as the ’63 Grand Prix. For 1968, the roof was redone, to reflect the new direction of the Mark III.

The coupe may have bolstered total Lincoln sales for the first couple of years, but the Mark III soon was outselling by 2.5 to 1. Hardly surprising, either. The Mark III was in tune with the time, ushering in a whole era. Or was it writing the melody? Meanwhile, the full size coupes would slowly wither away and die.