Continental Mark II
The Continental Mark
II was penned as a convertible in 1953 by Charley Phaneuf. Hess
& Eisenhardt was given the development task of sorting out the
radically new "ladder" chassis. H & E built the first
convertible prototype from the body of a 53 Lincoln. Hess &
Eisenhardt was then given the task of developing the Retractable
top that ended up on the 57 Ford Skyliner.
Hess & Eisenhardt labored
to perfect a 6-foot folding metal roof. It was a sight to behold. When
the Ford Board of Directors first saw it in operation they were speechless.
the Retractable was being developed, H & E took the body off
the frame of a black car with the serial number of C5681126. The
frame was strengthened by adding 1/4 plate steel artfully cut to
match the contours of the "cowbelly" frame. Heavy steel
tubing was added to crossbrace the "A" and "B"
pillars. Heavy band steel was installed in a "U" shape
both behind the package shelf and spanning the "B" pillar
lockposts. The floor was skillfully hammered to clear the additional
frame bracing. The body was reinstalled on the reinforced frame.
The top was cut away and the door gaps never moved. The rear package
shelf was cut away to become the top stowage compartment and ductwork
for the air conditioning.
At a later date the distinctive
metal boot was fashioned. The boot flips open on torsion bar supports.
A top bow assembly from an unidentified donor was fashioned to fit the
width of the body of the Mark II. The Mercedes top fittings secure the
front and rear of the convertible top. Mercedes fittings were commonly
used on H & E funerary and ambulance vehicles.
The quarter windows were
removed to make way for the top bows. The front window is cut on an
angle to match the distinctive Continental convertible top. The back
seat was narrowed but the center folding arm-rest was retained.
This stylish piece of rolling
sculpture comes with a mystery. There is no record of this car before
1963 yet it is authenticated as built for Ford in December of 1955.
The current owner and
others in the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club will remind you
that it is not a trueLincoln.