1961 Lincoln Continental
A New Frontier For Lincoln
When the 1961 Lincoln Continental was introduced the automotive trade press was stunned. The car's look was a dramatic departure from the styling of the 1960 Lincoln - in fact, it was a complete break from the fins, fat chrome trim and dog-legged windshields which were so characteristic of all cars of the prior five years. It did show some hints of fine cars of the past - the Continental Mark II influence could be seen in the mesh grille, the wraparound taillight design and the rise in beltline just ahead of the rear wheel cutout.
The new Lincoln Continental was a clean, elegant design which influenced the look of many of the cars of the 60's including the '63 Pontiac Grand Prix, '63 Buick Riviera and '64 Imperial. But the Lincoln Continental was more than just a pretty face. It was a highly engineered product as well. It offered a host of features and engineering improvements to make it a luxurious, quiet and dependable automobile.
Car Life magazine awarded the Lincoln Continental its 1961 Engineering Excellence Award; the Industrial Design Institute gave it an award for its overall appearance and execution. 1961 was the first year that the names Lincoln and Continental were used together for a non-Mark series sedan. The '61 was offered only with 4 doors - as a sedan or a convertible.
The Lincoln Continental sedan shown in the sketch was manufactured at the Wixom, Michigan assembly plant - where Lincolns are still made today. It originally sold for $6,067 and weighed almost 5,000 pounds. The car was powered by a big 430 cubic inch V-8 and traveled down the highways of 1961 in a stately fashion transporting its occupants in luxury and quiet.
The 1961 Lincoln Continental is a milestone classic design - and still looks good today.
In 1961, John F. Kennedy becomes the 35th President of the United States and, at 43, the youngest. JFK is Time magazine's Man of the Year. The Peace Corps is created. The Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba fails. The IBM Selectric typewriter with a moving type ball is introduced. Kids try out Legos and Wham-O's Slip 'n Slide. New words include A-OK, high rise, neutron bomb and soul music. Some car warranties are extended to 12 months/12,000 miles.
Top songs include 'Run Around Sue,' 'Theme From Exodus,' 'Big Bad John' and 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight.' Movies include 'The Absent-Minded Professor,' 'Breakfast at Tiffanys,' 'West Side Story,' 'Blue Hawaii' and 'The Guns of Navaronne.' New television programs include 'Ben Casey,' 'Mister Ed,' 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' and 'Car 54 - Where Are You?'
U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskold dies in a plane crash in the Congo. Other deaths include writers Ernest Hemingway and James Thurber, actors Leo Carillo and Charles Coburn and baseball legend Ty Cobb. The Yankees win the World Series; Arnold Palmer wins the British Open.
Drawing and text copyright 1996, 1998, 1999, 2007 Joseph M. Sherlock. All Rights Reserved.
The Continental Connector is the official publication of the Pacific Northwest Region of the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club. All of these AutoSketch and Remember When articles have previously been published in the Continental Connector newsletter.
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The Pacific Northwest Region of the Lincoln & Continental Owners Club welcomes everyone who enjoys and appreciates Lincolns - classic and new. Founded in 1954, our Lincoln and Continental Club is dedicated to enjoying, driving, maintaining and restoring our favorite marque of automobile. As a car club, we provide our automobile club members with social events, motoring tours, publications and information. The Lincoln Club is an Oregon non-profit corporation, presently operating as the Pacific Northwest Region of the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club. Membership is open to everyone who owns a Lincoln or Continental, or has an appreciation for these fine automobiles.