Mahoning63

1956 Premiere-based Continental V12 What-If

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Pondering different strategy for return of Conti, something with more sharing with Lincoln and meant to surpass 60 Special, and priced a thousand dollars or so above it. Four door hardtop style. Interior of highest quality... leather from Scotland, etc. Axle-dash lengthened 8 inches per Packard's later sharing proposal with Lincoln, bumping wheelbase out to 134 inches or one inch longer than Cadillac. Front track increased a few inches and wheelhouses opened up. Unique front appearance with taller grill. Ford V8-derived V12 underhood to ensure the car sat atop the American fine car field. Most importantly, profitable (?).

 

1956 Continental Twelve 133 WB 2 inch forward hood ornament.jpg

Edited by Mahoning63
10/27 EDIT: axle-to-dash looked a bit long so shortened it an inch, wheelbase now same as 60 Special at 133. Extended hood/ornament forward a few inches to depict more upright grill. (see edit history)
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As much as I love the Mark II, and I do, this probably would have made more sense. Of course they did get there but not with a twelve and not until 1961.

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Ford built a nice V12 out of two V6 Duratec engines when it owned Aston Martin.  Now that they've divested themselves of Aston and Jaguar, perhaps they can start offering it in the new-for-2021 Continental.

 

Craig

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Went with Mercury 312 V8 as donor because Thunderbird 292 didn't result in big enough displacement. 312 as V12 translates to 468 CID. Assuming healthy compression and carburetion, scaling Lincoln 368 V8's 285 HP to 468 CID yields 362 HP, topping Chrysler 300B's 350 HP.  Had fun with V12 engine work-up but am sure I didn't get carburetor count and location right by carrying over 312's image. Need help from engine folks.

 

Continental leads in all specs but width, which is basically same as Cadillac and plenty wide. Proportions arguably better as is styling (to this eye).

 

WB:  SdV  129  /  60S  133  /  Continental  133  (see EDIT in post above)

OAL:  SdV  221.9  /  60S  225.9  /  Continental  229.9

OAW:  SdV & 60S  80  /  Continental 79.9

OAH:  SdV  59.6  / 60S  62  / Continental 59.4 (guessing here... what is height of '56 Lincoln 2D hardtop?)

MSRP:  SdV  $4,698  /  60S  $6,019  /  Eldo Seville $6,501  /  Continental  $7,500

Sales:  SdV  41,732  /  60S  17,000  /  Eldo Seville 3,900  /  Continental  2,550 minimum (Mk II)

 

Conti sales probably would have been higher than Mk II given lower price, more useful but still appealing hardtop sedan body style, and more modern appearance. Also, sales more likely to have been sustained through '57. I like the car for a Fifties flagship because bigness was in. As M-B gained momentum in the Sixties and Seventies, Continental would have needed to reverse course wrt size , and up the tech considerably.

1956 Continental V12.jpg

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I am pleased to note that I am in time to wish you HAPPY BIRTHDAY today ! With these greetings, I highly recommend, especially to you,  but to all who read this : Treat yourself to Karl Ludvigsen's great work  "The V12 Engine".  And thank you for your great work here on the forum. Fine food for thought which always leaves me thinking on after reading your contributions. And particular thanks for your defense of human equality in an earlier topic.   -  Carl 

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16 hours ago, Mahoning63 said:

Went with Mercury 312 V8 as donor because Thunderbird 292 didn't result in big enough displacement. 312 as V12 translates to 468 CID. Assuming healthy compression and carburetion, scaling Lincoln 368 V8's 285 HP to 468 CID yields 362 HP, topping Chrysler 300B's 350 HP.  Had fun with V12 engine work-up but am sure I didn't get carburetor count and location right by carrying over 312's image. Need help from engine folks.

 

Continental leads in all specs but width, which is basically same as Cadillac and plenty wide. Proportions arguably better as is styling (to this eye).

 

WB:  SdV  129  /  60S  133  /  Continental  133  (see EDIT in post above)

OAL:  SdV  221.9  /  60S  225.9  /  Continental  229.9

OAW:  SdV & 60S  80  /  Continental 79.9

OAH:  SdV  59.6  / 60S  62  / Continental 59.4 (guessing here... what is height of '56 Lincoln 2D hardtop?)

MSRP:  SdV  $4,698  /  60S  $6,019  /  Eldo Seville $6,501  /  Continental  $7,500

Sales:  SdV  41,732  /  60S  17,000  /  Eldo Seville 3,900  /  Continental  2,550 minimum (Mk II)

 

Conti sales probably would have been higher than Mk II given lower price, more useful but still appealing hardtop sedan body style, and more modern appearance. Also, sales more likely to have been sustained through '57. I like the car for a Fifties flagship because bigness was in. As M-B gained momentum in the Sixties and Seventies, Continental would have needed to reverse course wrt size , and up the tech considerably.

1956 Continental V12.jpg

Great concept for the car and engine. I have always wondered by V-12 engines were not used in American luxury cars considering how many excellent ones were available in the classic era. Did you consider basing your engine on the Lincoln 368 used that year? Talk about a torque monster... 

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Thought about it briefly but concluded the displacement might have been over the top. Let's run some numbers... 368 x 1.5 = 552 CID.  Power:  285 x 1.5 = 427 HP.  Would have been a beast, no doubt about it. And thirsty. Some folks might have been put off but hard to say. I was looking for something that would always make more power than the rest but would otherwise offer some modicum of efficiency, if you could call it that. The hook would have been its  smoothness and exotic nature, and the V next to that magic number 12. The 468 would have been cranking out over 400 HP by 1960. Of course, Cadillac would have probably responded by green lighting its own multi-cylinder engine . Who knows where it all would have led but I suspect the same place it did in the late Thirties. Mercedes was slowly changing the game. But then again, there eventually came the XJ12 so maybe an even smaller V12 with OHCs would have been the ticket in the Seventies.

 

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Nice concept!
• Merc offered 400 HP in '58 on their 430.
• Mercedes wasn't exerting any influence in the USDM in the '50s, or the '60s (IMO). Too far behind in amenities, size, power, etc. Simply put; not in tune with the market at that point. They didn't put fins on until 2 years before Cadillac would abandon them, and perhaps with the exception of the limousine, I don;t believe they offered A/C until right about 1970.
• If I may; I can see a 'small backlight' on this car, more akin to a limousine, which would give the Twelve a solid C-Pillar in profile to distinguish it. Could also wear some additional upscale features pretty well, such as the Mark II wheelcovers and perhaps the 'spare'. Quickie :

Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 8.29.47 PM.png

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On ‎10‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 1:35 PM, Mahoning63 said:

Thought about it briefly but concluded the displacement might have been over the top. Let's run some numbers... 368 x 1.5 = 552 CID.  Power:  285 x 1.5 = 427 HP.  Would have been a beast, no doubt about it. And thirsty. Some folks might have been put off but hard to say. I was looking for something that would always make more power than the rest but would otherwise offer some modicum of efficiency, if you could call it that. The hook would have been its  smoothness and exotic nature, and the V next to that magic number 12. The 468 would have been cranking out over 400 HP by 1960. Of course, Cadillac would have probably responded by green lighting its own multi-cylinder engine . Who knows where it all would have led but I suspect the same place it did in the late Thirties. Mercedes was slowly changing the game. But then again, there eventually came the XJ12 so maybe an even smaller V12 with OHCs would have been the ticket in the Seventies.

 

That all makes sense for 1956 but 552 cubes would have killed later in the muscle era! One thought, your engine would look very cool with a long version of the Mark II cast aluminum valve covers...

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This is the best I could do to brighten up the engine. Whatever the size must assume it would always have had best HP/CID ratio the company was capable of in any given year. The 430 V8 made 400 HP in '58 so the 468 would have made 435 HP. The problem would have come when V8s grew to same or larger size, then a 552 would have been needed. Am sure the planners would have figured out which size would have best met their customer's needs. Several attributes come into play besides power and acceleration. The typical buyer would have probably been older though not as old as 60 Special buyer, more like richer SdV buyer. Some would have been former Continental owners.

 

Re: image mod... modify away! A good friend of mine also proposed closed in rear quarters and suggested that Herman Brunn, now in house at Ford, and his name be connected to what would have been a special trim offer not unlike the Derham Packard. I like the idea of both versions cataloged. It was the hardtop's beautiful slender and fast C-pillar that drew me to the mod in the first place. The deco trim on it could have been reserved for Continental only, the Lincoln hardtop getting a plain version.

 

While M-Bs were not selling in large numbers in the Sixties in the U.S., they were steadily driving higher pricing and changing the perception of the type of car that that price justified. I think the erosion of prestige of the American luxury marques has its roots in the Sixties. The one-two punch of the '73 S-Class and the oil embargo should have been America's first test of whether our high end product was the measure of the world's best. Instead Seville was just a year or two into development and not really an M-B caliber effort. It takes time to build a knowledge and customer base for the type of car M-B was putting out. Not that the Americans needed to create something as Teutonic. It was in our nature to go for a more stylish vehicle, thank goodness. Looking at the menu of tech that GM offered in its 1961 compacts, there was easily enough there to construct a high end car - my friend suggested it be called Seville - that while not a volume car, would have driven higher pricing than the larger Cadillacs and got the ball rolling. Ditto Lincoln, the '62 Meteor needing more tech than the GM cars but otherwise a good start. For Imperial the '63 Fury was a good platform to work from, not exactly small but fairly efficient. I read somewhere where Exner some time before he left Chrysler, advocated for a smaller Imperial .

1956 Continental V12 chrome covers.jpg

Edited by Mahoning63 (see edit history)
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Variation on WQ59B's mod. Was going to show as b/w "Factory Photo" but red color of donor Premiere was so beautiful had to show in living color. All thanks to whoever now owns the Premiere. 

 

Moved the forward edge of C-pillar far forward to eliminate need for rear vent windows, solving what was the car's biggest design headache: how to get the rear windows to roll down. Vent windows would have needed to open automatically before side glass  moved back and down. That problem now solved, a very sporty profile results. The downside is poor rear ingress/egress. But I like it!  Not sure about the Conti hump for this car but certainly the rear trim applique could have changed from horizontal bars to something more intricate, pattern copied in taller front grill.

 

Perhaps a pillared sedan could have also been offered to increase market coverage, with rear vent windows and Premiere coupe's backlight working from same roof stamping as 4 door hardtop.

 

 

 

1956 Continental V12 133 4D Hardtop.jpg

Edited by Mahoning63 (see edit history)
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18 hours ago, Mahoning63 said:

Variation on WQ59B's mod. Was going to show as b/w "Factory Photo" but red color of donor Premiere was so beautiful had to show in living color. All thanks to whoever now owns the Premiere. 

 

Moved the forward edge of C-pillar far forward to eliminate need for rear vent windows, solving what was the car's biggest design headache: how to get the rear windows to roll down. Vent windows would have needed to open automatically before side glass  moved back and down. That problem now solved, a very sporty profile results. The downside is poor rear ingress/egress. But I like it!  Not sure about the Conti hump for this car but certainly the rear trim applique could have changed from horizontal bars to something more intricate, pattern copied in taller front grill.

 

Perhaps a pillared sedan could have also been offered to increase market coverage, with rear vent windows and Premiere coupe's backlight working from same roof stamping as 4 door hardtop.

 

 

1956 Continental V12 133 4D Hardtop.jpg

I love it, a formal bubbletop! Glad the tire hump is gone and looks great in that color.

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19 hours ago, Mahoning63 said:

While M-Bs were not selling in large numbers in the Sixties in the U.S., they were steadily driving higher pricing and changing the perception of the type of car that that price justified. I think the erosion of prestige of the American luxury marques has its roots in the Sixties. The one-two punch of the '73 S-Class and the oil embargo should have been America's first test of whether our high end product was the measure of the world's best. Instead Seville was just a year or two into development and not really an M-B caliber effort. It takes time to build a knowledge and customer base for the type of car M-B was putting out. Not that the Americans needed to create something as Teutonic. It was in our nature to go for a more stylish vehicle, thank goodness. Looking at the menu of tech that GM offered in its 1961 compacts, there was easily enough there to construct a high end car - my friend suggested it be called Seville - that while not a volume car, would have driven higher pricing than the larger Cadillacs and got the ball rolling. Ditto Lincoln, the '62 Meteor needing more tech than the GM cars but otherwise a good start. For Imperial the '63 Fury was a good platform to work from, not exactly small but fairly efficient. I read somewhere where Exner some time before he left Chrysler, advocated for a smaller Imperial .

1956 Continental V12 chrome covers.jpg

In Cadillac's case its IMAGE and most important, BRAND DILUTION. I consider the last REAL "Standard of the World" Cadillac is the 1966 Fleetwood. It was an honest-to-goodness Rolls Royce contender. The wood inside was genuine, and there was lots of it! The leather was on the entire seat, not just where you placed your butt. The only thing less exclusive is that there were more of them than there were Rolls Royces. For some dumb reason, instead of keeping it a Standard of the World, the real wood trim diminished to nearly nothing by 1970, and starting in 1971, it was replaced by acres of plastic made to look like wood, and continued until the late 90's which didn't help separate it from its lesser brethren. And I believe some of it is still fake on the new models.  Cadillac foolishly abandoned the high end market just because of its expected low volume nature. No wonder sales of Mercedes Benz S-series and BMW 7-series went UP,and in the interest of volume, Cadillac didn't care to notice or do anything about it. And by going 'corporate' with the J-car made into a Cadillac, it only ruined the Cadillac image to the point where they are still struggling to recover. Of course, the (mis)fortunes of the parent company haven't helped, either. At the other end of the scale Cadillac was also trying to get away with was building a full-size car in the 90's that handled as well as a 1938 Ford in the corners. Someone forgot to tell managment that generation was almost all dead. Pontiac was known as the 'performance' and 'excitement' division. That only got diluted to badge-engineered Chevrolets without any added performance extras to differentiate it.

 

Craig

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Very cool to see. The Blk n White pic and the red one,  I'd love to see front back and the interiors of them. Like to see other than hump for Continental trunk, hubcaps, and 4dr version, what else was different and special.. .?

 

I've only many 56 Premieres in the past and had a few wild colored ones too. Not sure who has them now, but I miss mostly my 56 Wisteria coupe with air n cloth seats sold at Barret Jackson in mid-'90's, and my yellow with black and yellow leather convert w dealer air. Anyone know where they are now, they were very strong original cars with great interiors! I miss them...

Edited by StylishOne
Grammar (see edit history)

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18 hours ago, Mahoning63 said:

1956 Continental V12 133 4D Hardtop.jpg

1957 PACKARD!!    (Some may know about James Nance's last-minute negotiations with Ford for Packard to buy the 1956 Lincoln tooling for their 1957-'58 line after they failed to get financing for the Predictor-inspired "Black Bess" line.)

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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Funny you should mention Packard. This exploration started last week when I wanted to see what a Packard might look like! Then it spilled into Continental. Mild chaos is pretty typical of how good ideas come together. Thanks for everyone's input, makes ideas even better.

 

1957 Packard 132.jpg

Edited by Mahoning63 (see edit history)

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Initial exploration of basic frontal proportions. The front needed to look modern yet classic. For sure Lincoln's horizontal bars in grill and rear applique needed to be changed to something very special, perhaps with anodized gold color popular at the time. Ritzy looking.

 

Key to profitability would have been to keep tooling minimized. Perhaps one set of front fender dies could have been tooled for Continental, Lincolns then stamped in same dies and trimmed back 7 inches. The only unique Continental tooled sheetmetal would have been roof and hood, all other unique body parts restricted to side and rear glass, window frames, grill surround and insert, and rear applique. And the Conti star, of course. On the inside, minimalist approach would have been to cover I/P in padded leather and add other nice touches similar to Continental Mk 3-5 strategy. Chassis forward of firewall and engine would  have been all new as previously discussed.

 

An interesting study, can't think of another car in history that spanned 2 brands with this level of sharing. Would it have worked? I think there was enough of a story to enable the car to stand apart from Lincoln yet still belong in same showroom. From the front the Continental would unmistakably announce itself as special. Side view also unlike Lincoln due to greenhouse. At rear, smaller backlight and applique together with Conti star and V12 emblem would have been the visual cues. Perhaps a 4 door convertible could have been the second unique body style rather than 6 window sedan.

 

Continental front themes.jpg

Edited by Mahoning63 (see edit history)

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Hmm, struggling with the front. Jump in anyone.  Also, bad news on the red hardtop, rear window won't roll down, door not wide enough. Pillared would still work, see factory photo. It's basically what in pre-war days would have been called a club sedan, '61 Continental the same. Or the pre-war convertible sedan removable B-pillar method could have been used but seems out of place for the Fifties. 4 door hardtop might have had to wait until '57 with arrival of wider Lincoln rear doors.

1956 Continental V12 133 4D Club Sedan Factory Photo August 55 75%.jpg

Edited by Mahoning63 (see edit history)

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A B-pillar is not going to effect the problem area, which may (or may not) be the rearward edge of the glass. It's not the length of the door in itself, but the glass to door length. Longer doors would also have longer glass, no? Tho I like the red car's modification, the B&W car is closer to production ready here, in that there would be no re-engineering on the body shell (as opposed to the front clip & frame) other than the small rear window. Or, it could incorporate the '59-60 Eldorado Brougham's trick : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PplsTLf4Uqk

 

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Prefer the hardtop, the window issue could be fixed with a small dogleg at the rear of the door or a wheelbase extension. You could also go wild and add a four door convertible way ahead of 1961!

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Wow, the Eldo Brougham was unique even from Cadillac's standard 6 window design, which offset the rear door glass relative to rear vent windows. Eldo Bro keeps them on same plane for better appearance. That car, especially with '60 design, is more incredible every time I see it. Gotta be a Top 10 American even if the body was built in Italy. The engineering and design were all-American. And now I know at least one reason why it had a wider C-pillar... needed a pocket for the vent to slide into.

 

Taking into account period 4 door hardtop typical location of rear window when up, which was forward of front door exterior leading edge and partially above front door exterior panel, the rear window in the red Conti looks like it would have been about same width as the rear door.  The rear glass on all those hardtops typically moved rearward an inch or two before dropping into the rear door. Maybe the Conti's rear window could have moved rearward into the C-pillar, but unlike the Eldo Bro, its assembly would have been a part of the rear door rather than rear body/C-pillar. Which means the ability to open the rear door while the rear window was in C-pillar pocket would have needed to have been disabled, which was probably possible but not without cost, complexity and maybe warranty. The only other option would have been to widen the C-pillar even more to make the rear glass narrower relative to rear door width, but then we affect rear ingress/egress, which is already badly compromised. These things always come down to trade-offs and I agree, the pillared version would have been most doable path, including path to profitability. Every deviation from Lincoln would have added cost that would have dragged on the financials. Conti planners would have needed to choose their battles carefully.

 

All that said, YES the convertible sedan would have been something to shoot for! Now with removable B-pillar. Would have put Conti front and center in parades including of the political variety.

Edited by Mahoning63 (see edit history)

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Ideally, the door would be reconfigured to extend rearward more on the body, allowing more room for the glass to (fully) retract and keep the cutline of the roof where it is. Should only need a few inches... but it would require a new shell/door.

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