The Lincoln Continental was essentially a hand-built personal luxury vehicle from 1939-42, and continued to be so upon its post-war run as well. Like most of Detroit’s 1946 models, the Continental had some minor visual differences from the previous version, with a “mouth organ” grille replacing straight bars, and different bumpers. The Continental steering wheel and gauge faces were burgundy and the dash trim was now chrome instead of gold tinted. Interiors were leather and whipcord or custom cloth.
The 1946 Lincoln Continental paced the Indy 500, driven by Henry Ford II, and 201 Cabriolets and 265 coupes were built that year. Its $4,400 base price made it one of the most expensive domestic vehicles for the year.
Production resumed in earnest in 1947 and 738 Continental convertibles and 831 coupes were built, offered in 12 colors, with 3 interior color options. The V-12 engine now had a bigger sump with six quarts of oil, and exterior changes were limited to hubcaps and hood ornament.
The 1948 model year was the last appearance of the Lincoln V-12 engine and the last Continental until 1956 Continental Mark II. Sales continued to be brisk, with 847 coupes and 452 Cabriolets finding buyers. Lincoln’s venerable side-valve V-12 would give way to a truck-based, 337cid V-8 in 1949 in the new slab-sided Cosmopolitan.
Post-war Continentals have held their value well, helped by their limited production and their status as a Full Classic by the Classic Car Club of America. Prices for closed cars remain especially attractive, primarily due to the exclusivity and V-12 cachet the cars possess. That very same V-12 engine, however, can be troublesome and maintenance records are essential, with particular regards to upgrades, like the improved Mercury Marine oil pump.