What Is It?

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Last week’s photo showed a front corner of the 1958 Lincoln. All we asked for were the year and make, but many of you noticed that we showed the Premiere, not the entry-level Capri and the top-of-the-line Continental Mark III.

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What is it?  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
What is it?

Although the huge cruisers might look garish today, they actually were ahead of their times in styling. The grilles and bumpers were crafted nicely, the canted headlights foretold the vertical head lamp placement of the coming 1960s, and the taillight and fin treatment was picked up by Cadillac in the early to mid-1960s.

Chosen randomly from the correct entries was Willie Mae Jones, of Augusta, who said the photo showed the 1958 Lincoln Premiere hardtop sedan. She wins a prize from The Augusta Chronicle. Other readers identifying the vehicle were:

AUGUSTA: Lowell Fritsche said: “At one point when I was living in Indiana, my neighbor had four-door hardtop that was sitll all-original. He drove it every week. It ran real fine. At one point, I put it on eBay for him. He asked $15,000, but his best offer was $12,500 and he wouldn’t sell it. He opened up the front of his garage to get it all the way in – it was that long.”

Gary Engen: “It’s a 1958 Lincoln Pre­miere, which, at 19 feet long, was one of the largest American cars ever made. Your photo shows the canted headlights and scalloped fenders, which was unique styling for that year. Bigger was usually better during most of the early to mid-’50s, but that started to change in 1958 when the recession caused many buyers to go for smaller cars. This model was quite similar in design to the more expensive Continental Mark III.”

John Hayes: “I think today’s car is a 1959 Lincoln Premiere.”

Sammy Whitfield was in the right family, saying it was a 1960 Mercury.

Ace Brown: “In addition to the outward slanting headlights (I believe 1958 was the first year of dual headlights), it had tail fins, front bumper bullets, and an odd reverse slant to the rear roof pillar. In some models, the rear window was almost vertical, and would retract. I also remember an automatic headlight dimming accessory and air conditioning with two Plexiglas tubes funneling air from behind the rear seat.”

Walker Mobley Jr.: “The car is a 1958 Lincoln Capri or Premiere. The Continental of that year had the script ‘Continental’ on the front fender just behind the upper headlight, and I don’t see it in this picture. These were huge cars, and you can imagine what the fuel consumption was! Of course, gas was much less than a dollar a gallon then.”

Tom Staton: “This car was, I believe, a 1958 Mark III. It was probably the biggest car built at the time, truly luxurious. I used to dream about it; I was barely of age to get my driver’s license. It cost under $6,000 brand new and have over 300 horsepower. It had all the power options available at the time. Super car, nice car – the size of an aircraft carrier.”

Norman Lewis: “At the time, the base retail was a whopping $5,765 and it was the longest (229 inches), widest (80.1 inches) and heaviest (5,000 to 5,700 pounds) production car at the time. The engine was a 430-cubic-inch, 315 horsepower V-8 coupled to a three-speed Turbo-Drive automatic transmission and flowing through dual exhausts. Several models were available, including a four-door sedan, four-door Landau and Town Car sedans, two-door hardtop and convertible and a four-door limousine to suit their customers’ taste.”

Tom Turner: “I think the photo is of a 1958 Lincoln.”

CANTON, GA.: David Anderson: “The 1958-60 Lincolns all appear to be the same, but to the trained eye there are subtle differences to identify each model year. The side sculpting ending in the front fender identifies this as a 1958 model, possibly the Premiere since it is missing the Continental script on the fender.

“The 1959’s front bumper is very similar to the 1958 but the side sculpting is extended into the driver’s door, while the 1960 model modified the front end with a new more traditional wrap-around bumper but maintained the same side sculpting.

“As is true of its GM finned and winged contemporaries, the 58-60 Lincolns fall into the love-it-or-hate-it category and today are known as the forgotten Lincolns. Even Lincoln itself ignored the fact that they had progressed the fabled Lincoln Continental Mark brand to the Mark V in 1960, when in 1968 they reintroduced the Mark as the Lincoln Continental Mark III.

“Today, any of these Lincolns can be had for a reasonable price when compared to what the ’60s muscle cars are commanding, but you should have a well-funded Swiss bank account before you even think about restoring one of these beauties!”

EVANS: Bill Harding: “Talk about some strange styling! The canted headlights and heavily sculpted fenders looked as weird in 1958 as they do now. The U.S. was in a recession in 1958, and as a consequence, all cars sold poorly. Although Ford tried to make the case that Continental was a separate division, clearly it was not. The Continental Mark III shared everything with other Lincolns, including the 430-cubic-inch V-8 and three-speed Turbo-Drive (also known as Ford’s Cruise-O-Matic automatic).”

Paul Perdue: “All the pictures show the word ‘Continental’ written on the top of the fender behind the front lights but in your picture it is missing. You must have Photoshopped it out to throw us off.”

Jerry Paul: “My guess is a 1958 Lincoln Continental Mark III.”

PJ Rodgers: “This week’s contest features the 1958 Lincoln Capri in ‘Lime Twist’ color and the unusually shaped front fenders.”

Glenn Frostholm: “The car in the photo is a 1958 or ’59 Lincoln Continental.”

Larry Heath: “Options were plentiful by 1958 standards and were selected individually rather than as part of packages, as is the norm today. The scalloped fender treatment fore and aft of the front wheel was a unique styling treatment for 1958 only.

“Lincolns were a rare sight in 1958 in my small town. Simply seeing one on a trip to Augusta in the late ’50s was an event to remember.”

Wayne Wilke: “The car is a 1958 Lincoln Capri.”

Jim Williamson: “The vintage vehicle is a 1958 lincoln. It was a total restyle from 1957, and for ’59 a little different bumper and parking light configuration.”

Pete Schiffbauer said it was the Continental with the 375-horsepower V-8.

GIRARD, GA.: Henry Glisson

GROVETOWN: Chuck Bissell said he thought it was the biggest car every made.

HEPHZIBAH: John Williams: “That was a good year.”

Also, Phillip Ware and Herman Keith

LOUISVILLE, GA.: Jimmy Marsh said it was the 1959 Edsel, also in the same family.

Bob Holbert: “The car is a 1958 Lincoln Continental Mark III. It could also be a 1959 model as they were very similar, but the ’58 had a more severe body scoop forward of the front wheels. A real ‘land yacht.’ ”

LINCOLNTON, GA.: Donnie Reid

MCBEAN: Robert Lamb

MARTINEZ: Christopher March Sr.: “This week’s auto had a 430 cubic inch, 375-horsepower engine with a Turbo-Drive transmission This was the third-generation Lincoln.”

Joe Bert: “It had a big engine, 430 cubic inches, the largest available in 1958. Has canted headlights. Ford Motor Co. designed it to outdo the luxury classes of the Cadillac. That was a big cruiser.”

Lloyd B. Schnuck Jr.: “A 1958 Lincoln Premiere (’59s and ’60s had different bumper). The second generation of the Premieres, 1958-60, designed by John Najjar, who would later design the Mustang Concept I. Larger than the Cadillac of the day. Unibody construction. Still holds the record of the roomiest Lincoln.”

Jim Muraski: “This car was one of the largest cars ever produced with a unibody construction. Because of economic conditions in the late 1950s, Lincoln experienced very poor sales for this model, and because of the costs involved in producing this unibody design, Lincoln actually lost around $60 million from 1958-60.”

NORTH AUGUSTA: Dee Adkins

PERRY, FLA.: Larry Anderson: “It’s a 1958 Lincoln Premiere ( the Continental had its name on the fender, and I see none on your pic), so I assume it’s a Premiere.”

TIGNALL, GA.: Gene Wilson: “I’m guessing it is a 1958 Lincoln. I want to say Continental, but most Continentals have ‘Continental’ on the fender, and this is plain on the fender. I thought it might be a newer model, but it’s got to be a 1958.”

WADLEY, GA.: Don Hall said 1958 Lincoln Continental, maybe a convertible.

WAGENER: Tom Asbill

THIS WEEK’S CONTEST

What is the make of this 1947 automobile? Here’s a hint: If this photo had been shot 95 years earlier, it might have shown a covered wagon.

If you know what this car is, call (706) 823-3419 or send an e-mail to glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.

Tell us your name, telephone number and city. You have until midnight Tuesday to respond. Remember, we’d like to hear your comments, not the Internet’s. A winner will be chosen randomly.

– Glynn Moore, staff writer

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