Vehicle Description 1956 Mark II This California Mark II is arguably one of the finest in the world, that is available for purchase and well below market price! This Mark II was the lucky recipient of a extensive restoration, which took nearly two years to complete with absolute close attention to detail. Finished in the end of 2017 and still looks as nice as it did the day it was completed. Having considered using an outside design team, Ford turned inside to their own Special Products Division. In Fall 1952, they designated John Reinhart as chief stylist; Gordon Buehrig as the chief body engineer, assisted by Robert McGuffey Thomas; and Harley Copp as chief engineer. Ford had wanted to use unibody technology, but Copp argued against such a choice for a high-brand/low volume model, which was required to be delivered into sale in a short time scale. What emerged was something quite unlike other American cars of the period. While other makes experimented with flamboyant chrome-laden styling, the Continental Mark II was almost European in its simplicity of line and understated grace. The new Continental was introduced in October 1955—but not at big American auto shows, such as those in New York and Chicago. Rather it was unveiled at the Paris Auto Show, and later that October at Ford headquarters in Dearborn. There was something of the style of the early Ford Thunderbird at the front, which was introduced earlier at the Detroit Auto Show on February 20, 1954, with a tasteful egg-crate grille; a long, curving hood; and straight fenders to the headlights. The fender line went back to behind the doors, at which point the line kicked up a little before curving back down to the taillights. 1956 Mark II interior Little chrome was used compared to other vehicles of the time, and the only two-tone paint combinations offered were limited to roofs being contrasted with bodies. The car had power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, power vent windows, and a tachometer. The vanes on the wheel covers were individually bolted inside the frame of the cover. It sported a high greenhouse and a wraparound windscreen. Fueling was accomplished via a swingaway left taillight. The Continental Mark II had only one option, air conditioning, for $595. Cars with A/C had different body parts. Most of the car was hand-built to an exacting standard, including the application of multiple coats of paint, hand sanding, double lacquering, and polishing to perfection. Bridge of Weir leather was used throughout the interior. For power, the Mark II featured the newly offered 368-cubic-inch (6.03 L) Lincoln V8. Standard equipment in the Lincoln line, the engines selected for the Mark II were effectively factory blueprinted, assembled from the closest-to-specifications parts available. Turning out 285 hp in 1956, the engine was tuned to produce 300 hp in 1957. The engine was mated to a three-speed Lincoln automatic, and both engine and transmission were subject to extensive pre-release testing. The Mark II sold for $10,400, the equivalent of a new Rolls-Royce or two Cadillacs (at least until the $13,074 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham out-priced it in 1957). In spite of this, Ford estimated they still lost over a thousand dollars per car on the 3,000 that were built. About 1,300 were sold in the last quarter of 1955 after the car's October debut at the Paris Motor Show; another 1,300 or so in 1956; and 444 in 1957, some with factory-installed air conditioning. Initially, Ford accepted losses on the Mark II in return for the prestige with which it endowed its entire product line; but after going public, tolerance for such losses fell. Famous owners included Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, the Shah of Iran, and a cross section of the richest men in America. Taylor's car was a gift from Warner Bros. studio, and was painted a custom color to match her distinctive eyes. The car was featured in the 1956 film High
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