Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022
When Lincoln (well, Ford), spun Continental off as a separate marque for 1956, the new company’s goal was to build the best car in America. And they did. The price reflected it too as the two-door Mark II cost $10,000 when new. In 1956. Which made it the most expensive American car you could get at that point.
Because they were so expensive, the product line made Ford rethink the whole thing pretty quickly. The model was only around for two years, with a combined production of just 3,005 units. And only one of those was a convertible. This one.
Ford sent this Mark II to Derham in Pennsylvania to figure out how to make a drop-top out of the car, as the range was supposed to expand to other body styles. But never did, which is a shame as this car looks GREAT with the top down.
After the show circuit, it became the personal car of Martha Firestone-Ford, wife of Continental head William Clay Ford. Before she received it, the mechanicals were updated to 1957-spec. The unrestored-but-repainted car is powered by a 300-horsepower, 6.0-liter V8.
Post-Ford ownership included a brief stint with a Ford employee before remaining with one family for over 60 years. It’s now offered without reserve. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 5-7, 2018
Photo – Mecum
Here is one of the loveliest American cars of all time. When it was released in 1956, it was the most expensive car sold in America. In 1956 the base price was $10,400 – the same as a Rolls-Royce and double the price of a Cadillac. And this was no Lincoln. Ford knew they were making a special car and created the Continental Division to produce this car under a separate marque.
It was so opulent that it only lasted two years, through 1957. It’s powered by a 285 horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8 (the ’57s got 300 horsepower). While Mark IIs look best in white (opinion) I really love this 1950s pastel blue with wide whitewalls. The interior is the same shade of blue, mixed with white.
In beautiful condition, this Mark II was once owned by socialite Lolita Armour. It’s one of just 2,550 examples built in 1956 and one of only 2,996 built in total. They’re rare, but they’re around. Click here for more info on this one and here for more from Mecum in Houston.
Update: Not sold, high bid of $42,000.
Update: Not sold, Mecum Indy 2018, high bid of $35,000.
Update: Not sold, Mecum Harrisburg 2018, high bid of $40,000.
Offered by Mecum Auctions | Kansas City, Missouri | December 8, 2012
The Shelby Cobra was more than just a badass sports car – it was an inspiration and a new way of thinking in the automotive world. A completely redesigned Sunbeam Alpine appeared in 1959. It was supposed to be a sports car. But by 1963, the most powerful engine available was an 80 horsepower straight four. Meanwhile, Carroll Shelby had transformed the 120-horsepower AC Ace into his famous fire-breathing 271 horsepower monster – and that was just the start, as later cars would have 425 horsepower. The Alpine didn’t compete with the Ace in terms of performance, much less the Cobra.
Ian Garrad, West Coast Sales Manager for the American arm of the Rootes Group and a few other employees realized the Alpine’s potential and figured out that Ford’s Windsor V8 would fit in the car. They sent an Alpine to Shelby and had him wedge one of the engines in. Then they shipped it to England to have the Sunbeam folks evaluate the car.
Sunbeam approved and tasked sports car maker Jensen with the production of the Tiger. Series I cars used the 164 horsepower 4.3-liter V8. Series II cars had a 200 horsepower 289 Ford V8 (4.7-liters). This is a Series II car and they are very rare – only 536 of the 7,085 Sunbeam Tigers built were 200 horsepower Series II cars. While it doesn’t compete with the Cobra in terms of power or performance, this is still a fast, powerful British sports car from the 1960s. And there is that always-desirably Shelby connection.
This being a Series II car ups its value to a fair degree. To read more and for more pictures, click here. And for more from Mecum in Kansas City, click here.