The Lincoln Continental marque has been used by the Lincoln company for various high-status luxury cars since 1939. It has endured the competition in the auto industry for more than 60 years, which clearly speaks of its exemplary capabilities, distinctive styling and notable luxury features. The Continental was first created exclusively for Edsel Ford's spring vacation, although it was said that he planned to manufacture it later on. Bob Gregorie, the company chief stylist, custom designed a luxury convertible with long hood covering, long front fenders, short trunk and covered spare tire, which became a distinguishing mark of Continental vehicles.
Edsel Ford got very positive remarks from friends that he immediately ordered the production of the Continental. Both convertible and sedan versions of the Continental were hand-built to ensure superior quality and excellent body design. The first batch of models even had hand-hampered body panels. The production of Lincoln Continentals ceased during the war and was resumed in 1946 but post-war Continental autos had similar trims with the rest of Lincoln vehicles. It was in 1958 when Continental became a separate Ford brand, which was designated as the Continental Mark II. Like the first Continental cars, these catered to the high-class market.
A new Lincoln Continental was introduced in the 1960s. They were full-size four-door cars with unibody design and prominent rear suicide doors, which have hinges close to the rear end of the vehicle and are opened from the front. Lincoln Continental rear doors were designed this way because they were too heavy to be front-hung, especially on the convertible models. In the mid-60s, a two-door Continental was made and it carried a bigger engine. At the end of the decade, a new series Lincoln Continental Mark came out in the market. They were two-door hardtop coupes, which competed well against other top-notch personal luxury cars.
Lincoln continuously evolved all the way through the 70s, 80s and 90s until 2002, its last year of production. From 1970, Lincoln continental models no longer had suicide doors and in the next decade, lighter and shorter cars were produced to meet fuel economy and emission regulations. Engine line-up included more powerful and bigger V8 and V6 engines. The Continental sedan was substantially changed in 1995. Its styling resembled that of the Lincoln Mark VIII coupe, which is less-conservative than other models. On its remaining years, Lincoln Continental had only few modifications which included minor restyling and added interior comfort and safety parts. Offered from 1995 to 2002, was a 4.6 L 260-hp V8, which was upgraded to 275-hp V8 in 1999.