Jay Leno Drives A 1958 Continental Mark III

Mar 30, 2020 2 min read
Jay Leno Drives A 1958 Continental Mark III

It’s a couch on four wheels and it’s epic beyond belief.

For plenty of people in other parts of the world, Americans drive huge, heavy cars that appear more like tanks. You have to ask what they would think of this 1958 Continental Mark III recently featured on Jay Leno’s Garage? It’s possibly the longest and heaviest American production car. Even if you’re not a fan of the size, this Continental is a fascinating ride and played an important role in the evolution of the US auto market.

As Jay Leno points out, these cars have been pretty much forgotten. There are some good reasons for that, namely because the ’58 Continental Mark III wasn’t an attractive vehicle by most standards. Maybe you disagree but you’d be in the minority on that. In fact, the Lincoln models leading up to 1958 and even by 1961 are still held up as examples of solid car design.

The dynamics of the 1958 model year are interesting. Having defeated the Axis in WWII and experiencing a surging economy, Americans were feeling particularly optimistic. A baby boom was in full swing and so people wanted bigger cars to accommodate their growing families. European automakers like Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar set their sights on the US as a fertile market, leaving automakers like Ford and GM scrambling to retain their portion of the market.

This where the acres of chrome on Chevrolets and other models came into being. Lincoln’s response was this garish monstrosity. Later, in an effort to make everyone forget about this decision, Ford Motor Company launched a new Lincoln Continental Mark III for the 1968 model year. So when you bring up the Continental Mark III today, most will remember the car from the late ‘60s.

Being ridiculous in every way, the Continental Mark III was loaded up with every optional piece of equipment Ford Motor Company had for 1958. It was the first year FM radio was used in cars. Also included is a central lubrication system for the chassis, which is pretty neat. Check out the video above if you haven’t already.

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