CC Capsule: 1966 Lincoln Continental Coupé – Swing (Too) Low, Sweet Chari-Yacht

It looks like CC’s own Jim Brophy is not the only Tokyo inhabitant to have a thing for these gigantic beasts. This one has had a lot of “work” done, but it could be much worse on that score. And the timeless Continental design, even lowered and chopped to within an inch of insanity, makes for a compelling subject to photograph.

But (and that there is quite a butt!) one wonders how drivable this Continental could ever be in this context. It’s a lot wider than almost anything else on the streets of Tokyo and it’s about a foot longer than a new Toyota Century, so one would think the challenge to already be pretty daunting.

However, not content with being unable to park it in 90% of places, the owner of this car thought: “I don’t need all that ride height and wheel travel. Just wasteful. All I need is a couple inches of ground clearance. What could go wrong?”

The interior matches the exterior: all decked out in black, with a bunch of odd mods. That row of mystery chrome switches under the dash looks positively threatening, compounded by the slightly creepy rosary on the radio dial. Felix the Cat takes some of the edge off a bit, thankfully.

So onwards to the eternal debate: what’s the best/worst variation of the 1961-69 Continental theme? Even squashed down like that, with its muffler plowing the road and its roof so low that kei trucks seem to tower over it, this Lincoln was a joy to behold. As to the front end, I for one would like to nominate the 1966-67 grille as the cleanest-looking of the bunch by a mile.

The rear end, for its part, is also pretty remarkably clean. The 1966-67 tail design is certainly unique, in that it’s the only one that puts virtually all of its lights horizontally on the bottom of the bumper, save for the reflectors. Very nice, but I still prefer the 1961-63 design from this angle.

Jim Brophy made the case for the 1966-69 Continental’s “much sleeker shape” in his words, thanks to the smoother Coke bottle-ish beltline and a somewhat less slab-sided overall design. There’s no question it’s sleeker, but it’s also far less iconic than the earlier cars’ ice-cool tiny beltline bump. And then there is the fact that this two-door variant necessarily negates another vital design gimmick that screams ‘60s Lincoln – namely, the rear suicide doors.

Without suicide doors but with a smoothed-down beltline and, as demonstrated by Paul in this compelling post, a rather Riviera-like C-pillar, the 1966 Coupé lost some of what made the 1961-65 four-door Continentals such a stand-alone style statement. It was already pointing towards the unfortunate shape of things to come – for Lincoln in particular and for American full-sizers in general. But that’s only seen in hindsight. Or maybe through crosshairs.

Nevertheless, this was the first two-door Continental of this generation I’d seen in the metal and it was certainly superlative. Longer, lower, wider indeed! I remember taking a good look at a friend’s ’68 Eldorado a few years back and being enthralled by it (save the colour – a very wrong shade of red, but I digress). Faced with an early FWD Eldorado and a ’66-’67 Continental coupé, I now know I wouldn’t be able to pick. Perhaps a two-door 1967 Imperial could break the tie?


Related posts:


Car Show Classic – 1966 Lincoln Continental Coupe – Where Have You Been?!, by Tom Klockau

Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1966 Lincoln Continental Coupe – With A Little Help From My (GM) Friends, by PN

COAL: 1967 Lincoln Continental Coupe – Black on Top, Unfortunately Brown on the Bottom, by Jim Brophy