Last post on Mar 16, 2010 at 7:02 PM
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Lincoln Continental, Convertible
#27 of 66 Re: roydonahue [Mr_Shiftright]
May 27, 2006 (11:12 am)
Maybe he can cut the top off and weld up some suicide rear door hinges.
#28 of 66 Lincoln Convertibles
Jul 19, 2006 (6:53 pm)
Having driven them for 32 years, and more than 1Mn miles, I know that most of the comments posted herein are incorrect.
The 61-3 drive very well when properly sorted, and the brakes are redone, with correct 9.50x14 tyres. I drove one 100K and had a great time with it. The convertible top system was the most reliable of the entire decade...being that it DID NOT have the Upper Back Panel Limit Switch used in later cars to cut down the number of relays and switches. All of the convertibles used heavier steel and components to support the added weight and the car drove quite well considering what it was. The 66-67's drive the best and easiest to maintain. The 64-5's are the hardest to maintain, with the 65's being by far the better car.
There is, without doubt, nothing like it on the road. Public acceptance of the car then and now is astounding. Most of them were "driven hard and put away wet" , neglected, abused, and forgotten for many years---thus there problematic reputation, dealers didn't want to fool with them. Ergo many were allowed to rot into dust, and often crushed. Why only 25-33% of these cars have survived of the 15,571 that were made.
Ford Motor's $1.5Mn investment in the system was justified in that it gave Lincoln something that no one else had---a design concept now copied by almost every auto maker today: the automatic retracting convertible top system. I spoke with one of the design engineers for the system, a 22 year old man at the time, at it was all excitement at Lincoln then: "We had a great time doing it...a alot of midnight oil on that."
You forget that without the '61 Lincoln, a car that McNamara threatened to cancel, that Walker & Bordinat saved from the ash-heep of history with the revised E-Studio T-Bird clay in July of 1958, Lincoln would have been history---especially if you have ever seen what they WOULD HAVE built. All you have to do is drive a
60's Lincoln around town to see what people really think.
As for the driving, Lincoln offered disc brakes in '65 before Cadillac and Imperial. A well sorted drum system on the early cars still works OK. A ten year development program yeilded the best results: 65-9 Lincoln brakes being the best of any other car in the world save the 300SEL, and Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. The system was not "improved" upon until the advent of hydro-boost a decade a later, but then Lincoln used non-Kelsey-Hayes calipers and the car suffered. A good '66-'69 can outdrive many cars, especially the 460 '68-69 Lincoln with almost perfect weight balance owing to the lighter but more powerful engine. No Imperial or Cadillac can keep up.
Quality issues were excellent. Lincoln/Wixom outdid themselves in this department, with each car being driven 15 miles on public roads before being delivered, and the engine plant inspecting every 100th engine. Each car recieved a 189 point inspection program plus an additional 26 point dealer inpsection. Reason being that the 58-60 Lincolns had been a nightmare and nearly killed Lincolnin the market-place.
The four-door convertible, the ultimate "guys" car, with room for a duffle bag and clubs with the top down, personified the era: JFK drove a '63 in Palm Beach. Earle Stanley Gardner, author of the Perry Mason series, having owned many Lincolns including his first Model K in 1933, has his hero driving Lincolns, and thus it came to be that 'Perry Mason' drove a Lincoln. Raymond Burr became a devotee as well, after having the pleasure of Lincoln's company.
For those who think the cars unweildy, wallowing, or what-have-you, you have not driven a good example, and not had the pleasure of the public acclaim driving one. If you can't catch a date driving a Lincoln Continental Four-Door Convertible, then, to paraphrase Winston Churchil, when Lady Astor told him: "Winston you're drunk", and he responded: "I may be drunk, but in the morning, I will be sober, but YOU will still be ugly"; thus it must be so: if you can't catch a date in a Lincoln Continental Convertible, you're still ugly.
#29 of 66 Re: Lincoln Convertibles [douglasr]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Jul 20, 2006 (8:32 am)
I really like those cars. Very handsome. I have driven them. I guess my major complaint on the car is that the top is pretty badly designed in terms of weather protection and rattles and squeeks. It's got enough canvas to sail a 40 foot yacht but it simply doesn't keep weather or noise out very well. I wouldn't mind owning a nice clean hardtop version, or the ragtop where the top never ever goes up.
I think most of these cars got ratty because they never had the value or prestige of their competitor Cadillacs--being so undervalued, few people were willing to undergo a complex and expensive restoration. They just drove 'em til they dropped.
As for quality, for Ford it was very good at the time but I don't think it approaches its nemesis, the Cadillac.
Jul 20, 2006 (9:48 am)
...one of those. I'm not up to a project car, but I think a great mid-life crises car would be an early '60's Lincoln Continental. There's just something about the look. I guess I'll just satisfy myself with my 1/18 scale model!
#31 of 66 I knew a guy...
Jul 20, 2006 (11:43 am)
who was into both Cadillacs and Lincolns and he said that back in the 60's the Lincolns made the Caddies look like crap, when it came to build quality and such. I wonder if it's because the Lincolns were unitized, and that might have helped give them more of a tank-like feeling? IMO, the Cadillacs definitely have more of a mass-produced quality about them, whereas a Lincoln just seems a bit more custom-built. Or, at least as custom-built as a mass-produced car could be.
#32 of 66 Re: I knew a guy... [andre1969]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Jul 20, 2006 (11:53 am)
Hmmmmm.....it could be true that as a limited production they had more care taken in fit and finish, but that's not the same as quality. Rolls Royce had excellent fit and finish but were pretty awful cars. So the whole "hand-built" argument is ver-y tricky to translate into quality.
You'd be hard pressed to find more bullet-proof drivelines, for instance than Cadillacs of the era, and their tops did fit pretty well and kept weather out.
And the survival rate of old Caddies isn't bad, either.
#33 of 66 LC Convertibles...
Jul 20, 2006 (4:21 pm)
In the 1960's Wixom built Lincolns at the rate of 14 cars per hour, 350 per cycle, each car taking two weeks to make from raw materials to driving vehicle. Convertibles got a separate shunt line; all cars getting a 15.3 mile Road Test Around Wixom, and a 189 point check-list. Subsequent inspections either at the zone lots or dealer comprised of a 27 point checklist. Lincoln relearned how to make a quality mass produced car in the 1960's. Lincoln's volume a fifth that of Cadillac, so they could afford to take their time. No one who bought a '58 would ever have been back to buy a '61 unless they liked the style.
Of the Convertibles, only the 66-67 leaks, the earlier cars don't as long as the top is aligned and the rubber good. The 61-3 tops usually stay working, were-as the 64-67's don't because of the Upper Back Panel Limit switch being out of adjustment, or someone has destroyed it in less than two seconds trying to adjust it without knowing how.... Yes it takes skilled labour to bring one of these cars back. But the factory put them under a third QC review before they were shipped to dealers...when new they were quite nice.
Rolls-Royce were far from being junque at anytime in their history---behind engineering wise, perhaps, but you can always disassemble one, fix and return it to proper glory. They suffer from ill-abuse like any other car, and those are the ones that often have given them---post-facto---a bad reputation. I drove a 1970 Silver Shadow, RHD against a 1969 Lincoln sedan, and outdrove the Lincoln...the RR handling better, and outpacing the Lincoln...Lincoln catching the Rolls in the straights. I was rather shocked, since both cars were mine! We forget that R-R at Crewe only ever had 5,500 people on staff to make an amazing car---today they draw from the whole of BMW AG to make 'the best car in the world'---and it is.
What is true is that in the 1970's Lincoln learned to make their accessories as reliable as the engines, especially considering that suppliers build most of the car. The QC for basic items like trim, body, engines, driveline, etc. are excellent, getting the myraid of features to work is another issue and time consuming.
At the end of the day, LC Convertibles weren't bad cars, an in many places better or equal to anything else then available. Complex, and painstaking to maintain: absolutely. No different than a Ferrari or a Rolls-Royce.
#34 of 66 Re: LC Convertibles... [douglasr]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Jul 20, 2006 (6:32 pm)
My experience with Rolls has been that they are troublesome cars requiring massive amounts of maintenance and money. For the price you paid, it was pretty sad I thought. Yes, you're right, engineering was about 1936, even in 1966. And that V-8 they came out with in the 70s and 80s was just awful. Defective right out of the box. God knows how many they replaced and overhauled. Quite the embarrassment.
A Lincoln from the 60s would be a breeze to maintain next to a Rolls IMO. I mean, you don't have to pay $8,000 for a brake job do you? On a '61 Rolls you do. You don't need special training to fix most things on a Lincoln, which makes them more appealing than a Ferrari or Rolls---where hobbyists dare not tread.
#35 of 66 Lincoln vs. Silver Shadow
Jul 21, 2006 (8:04 am)
S. H. Harry Grylls, the engineer who designed the Rolls-Royce V8 in 1953-58, used both Lincoln 368 CID and Chrysler Hemi as inspiration for their aluminum block, chrome-iron lined V8. It had to fit under the hood of a Silver cloud, thus its compact and narrow configuration unique to R-R. Bored out to 411.2 CID with new heads (changing the plug location) for the 1968-9 Silver Shadow the engine became a mainstain of the industry---the essential block still being manufactured by Cosworth for Bentley today. The V8 was built because the straight six engine had reached the end of its design parameters and could not be enlarged, having had 39 different crankshafts within its lifespan from 1922 to 1959.
The V8 was derived from concurrent 1950's technology, coupled with decades of emperical experience at Rolls-Royce. The Merlin engines providing much input in the ultimate arrangement of the Rolls-Royce V8. Rolls-Royce even developed a DOHC version of the V8 in the 1970's---rejecting it due to its excessive noisiness at idle---moving to turbo-charging instead using a 1969 Silver Shadow test mule for its first pre-Bentley Turbo. The strength of the design is shown in the fact that its horsepower has more than doubled in its nearly 50 year production run, now standing at 453Bhp. Dr. Paefgen at Bentley intends to introduce a 550-600Bhp version of this engine in the next Arnage for 2009.
Having extraordinary familiarity with aluminum through its aviation engine history, the V8 used aluminum for both heads and block. Rolls-Royce maintained its characteristic cylinder bore arrangement even in the V8. The Aluminum content of the engine a unique patented/registered combination of aluminum, silicon, nickel, tin, and magnesium---giving great strength and heat dissipation. You can't melt the cylinder heads with a torch...they can get soft, but not break down the material! Failure of the owners to maintain proper coolants and regular flushing of the block caused problems not inherent in the design. Any engine will fail if it can't cool properly. Current use of GM's DEXCOOL prevents breakdown of the coolant passages and scaling of the aluminum.
Lincoln's 430 engine, by contrast borrowed heavily from the same Merlin Engines. The design engineer had worked (If memory serves, a man named Phillip Martel) for Packard during the refit of East Grand Boulevard to produce Merlins in mass quantities. He used many features of the Merlin design for the Y-Block 430, itself derived from the Mark II 368 of 1956. The 462 being the same engine with different cylinder head porting, and enlarged capacity, the basic design lasted only 10 years, the R-R engine nearly fifty years!. The Rolls-Royce engine producing similar power and torque curves at 25% less the weight of the engine---giving the Shadow a nice weight balance for drivability.
The Shadow style was inspired, in part, by the 1961 Lincoln Continental and the Graber Bentley's of the 1950's. John Blatchley, the stylist for the Shadow, admitted as much in a 1969 interview. Elwood Engel, who designed the '61 was also influenced by the same Graber style, and Facel Vega---a car that Blatchley had also looked at. So both cars share many common historical engineering and styling traits.
As for the cost of a brake job on a Shadow: of course it is expensive---it uses air-craft type braking systems in conjunction with the Citroen licensed height control system pressured from two nitrogen accumulators. It is four times as complex as a standard system on a cheaper car---you always have power brakes even if the engine stops running---you get a couple of jabs of the pedal in case of an emergency. The Shadow brought Rolls-Royce to the forefront in the industry in terms of braking capacity, the old Birkigt designed Hispano-Suiza system adopted by Rolls-Royce in the 1920's having outlived its usefulness by the end of the Cloud era. Four wheel disc brakes with three hydraulic power systems and one mechanical system as back-up, all on independent suspension all round, meant the car really stops!. Lincoln could only boast of Kelsey-Hayes Disc Brakes in the front, and that with a single master cylinder prone to failure at 36 months.
Lincoln convertibles and Rolls-Royce do share one thing in common: requiring proper maintenance and service to keep them it good fettle. Otherwise they become a very expensive habit to bring back to the fore. And they both look great in your garage.
(Sources: 'History of a Dimension', S. H. Grylls, Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1963)
#36 of 66 Just out of curiosity...
Jul 21, 2006 (8:10 am)
why would Rolls Royce overdo it on the brakes, but then keep it nice and simple when it came to transmissions. For the longest time, they were just using GM hydramatics so the tranny in a Rolls Royce was really no different than what's in my '67 Catalina.