First produced in 1939, the Lincoln Continental was launched in a rather unique way. Edsel Ford had the car designed and built for his own personal use on his spring vacation in Florida. A custom design was taken from the Lincoln Zephyr and it is said that it took Bob Gregorie less than an hour to produce the initial sketch. With clean lines and very little trim, the first Lincoln Continental is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world.
When Edsel Ford was seen with his new automobile, several well off friends immediately showed interest in owning one. At that time Edsel shot a telegram back to headquarters stating that he coluld sell a thousand of them. Those first Continentals were hand built. A very shrewd advertising manuever by an even shrewder businessman.
The Lincoln Continental was in production from 1929 through 2002 and was considered from the first to be the flagship of the Lincoln line.
Though the Lincoln Continental saw various changes throughout the years, the sate eighties and nineties saw big changes for this vehicle as well. In 1988, the Lincoln Continental was the first United States made auto to be fitted with both driver and passenger side airbags. The 1988 Continental utilized a 3.8 L Essex V6 engine and a four speed AXOD-E automatic transmission.
By 1995 the Lincoln Continental would see its eith generation produced. This time it would include a 4.6 L Modular V8 with a four speed AX4N automatic transmission. Gone for 1995 was the V6, it had been upgraded to a DOHC Modular V8 engine.
The ninth and last generation of the Lincoln Continental to be produced was from 1998 through 2002. The engine was not upgraded this time, but many luxury features were added. Some of these included the “RESCU” package (remote Emergency Satellite Cellular Unit) similiar in nature to GM’s Onstar program. Sales lagged considerable for several years and the decision was made to cut the Continental and replace it with the Lincoln LS.