June 6, 2023


Automotive and technology

The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part IV)


We return to our Lincoln Mark sequence coverage these days, in the midst of discovering about the very first Mark of the line, the Continental Mark II. The Mark II aimed to have on the custom established by the gracious Continental of the Forties, and just take Ford to new heights of luxurious, desirability, cost (and hence exclusivity), and good quality. The latter adjective is where we’ll emphasis right now it was certainly the target of the people at the Continental Division prior to the Mark II’s launch.

It was essential for Ford to get the high quality right on the new Continental Mark II, in section to construct a status for the manufacturer but also to justify its asking price. Recall from our final entry that at $9,966 ($106,912 adj.) in 1956, the Mark II was the most pricey American automobile anyone could obtain. Mark II was meant to mix modern-day car conveniences with the develop good quality and glamour of the past, and remind customers of the coachbuilt K-Series Lincolns of the Thirties.

The Mark II’s excellent control started with a manufacturer new plant. All Mark IIs were being constructed at Allen Park Entire body and Assembly, a facility that opened in 1956 particularly to create the Mark II. The plant was renamed soon just after the stop of Mark II to the Edsel Division Headquarters. Just after Edsel flopped, the plant grew to become the New Design Applications Progress Heart, in which Ford analyzed its new product or service. Nowadays it’s known as the Ford Pilot Plant and serves the very same function as it has since the Sixties. It manufactures and exams Ford’s new automobiles, and files the building solutions ahead of a hand-off to the assembling manufacturing facility.

All over the time Ford decided to create the Allen Park facility, the Continental division crafted up a new excellent management software unique to the Mark II. Within it was seven various key initiatives, meant to assure the utmost in good quality from commencing to finish of the Mark II’s establish process. Recall that most of the motor vehicle was hand-assembled. A lot more on that in a moment, but first let us speak initiatives.

The main and overarching initiative in the QC application was referred to as Good quality Requirements. It mandated that any Continental motor vehicle use only products of the optimum high-quality probable. These kinds of higher standards price Ford far more revenue upfront but would end result in a quite special product. Suppliers of the Mark II were being compelled to enhance their manufacturing criteria to comply if they preferred to engage in ball with Continental.

One result of the Good quality Specs initiative was the alternative of leather in the Mark II. American-sourced leather was sprayed with color, rather than the a lot more costly traditional process the place it was dyed in a vat. So Continental went to Bridge of Weir in Scotland and purchased their dyed leather rather. Lincoln would use the leather for some time and brought it again in the 2010s on the MKS.

In other places, top quality specifications intended no availability of metallic paint on the Mark II. Claimed paint turned common in the Fifties as Us residents wanted shiny, sparkly autos with tailfins. But Continental’s administration was worried about the longevity of metallic paints, so they applied lacquer-centered paint rather. Mark II was the very first Ford automobile to use these kinds of a really hard-sporting paint.

The second initiative was First Sample Inspection. Compared to normal QC procedures in Ford creation, Inspections for Continental ended up established to acquire area before. This meant extra time through the develop in circumstance rejections transpired. Far more inspection orders transpired in the third quality point, Getting Inspection.

It was a notable alter around how automobile components inspection usually worked: Continental pushed the onus back on the supplier on pieces inspection. All components have been needed inspected prior to their arrival at Allen Park Assembly. Once they did get there, they were being inspected by Continental personnel for a second time.

Next was the Supplemental Production Attention initiative. Ford appeared at the assembly time of their Ford and Lincoln-Mercury motor vehicles and allowed twice as extended to make a Continental. Workers at Allen Park were to use the time to examine components to take a look at for fit just before assembly, as well as right any flaws located.

During the Continental’s assembly, the In-Plant Inspection and Screening initiative observed every single Mark II pass by way of 14 various inspection points, all of which were being extensive. A team of mechanics inspected every Mark II prior to the automobile could commence even more. Once assembly was concluded, there was yet another team inspection and a ultimate highway test right before the Mark II was shipped to the receiving supplier.

Via the process, the Mark IIs remained on a rolling cellular provider. There was no classic assembly line at Allen Park to converse of: Via each individual action in the make, a Mark II was moved by hand to the next develop station. Form of the standard British assembly method, but greater good quality.

The other two initiatives had been outside the house Continental’s assembly, at the customer coverage amount. The initially of them was Best Administration Motion, wherever Continental’s brass analyzed info from the several QC checks at Allen Park, then in comparison that facts to any noted buyer difficulties or fix claims gained. It was the type of thing a maker would do with a lot of spreadsheets now, apart from there was no Excel.

Eventually, Continental committed to customer provider with the Discipline Service initiative. It was a software exclusively for Continental buyers, intent upon the correction of purchaser problems, and comply with-up with reported clients to confirm they were being happy with their car or truck. Part of that fulfillment was undoubtedly down to the amount of selection left to the buyer with regard to their Mark II’s visual appearance.


All through the rigorous QC method, the artisans at Allen Park Body would paint a Mark II in one of 19 distinct lacquers. Shoppers paired the thick paint with a person of 43 unique inside colour schemes, which incorporated five distinctive upholstery elements for the interior. The Mark II was not available in garish two-tone like other particular luxurious rivals were so often geared up. Even so, Continental would comply with this kind of a request if the client was established on it.

Regular on the Mark II was quite a whole lot of electrical power devices for the Fifties: Power brakes, seats, and home windows (which includes vents). Gauges had been finish and integrated a warning light for reduced gasoline, each suggestions that had been form of novel at the time. And whilst the Mark II’s wheel handles were being not a exclusive characteristic, the way they were built was.

Each and every of the wheel addresses was established by hand. The multi-spoke style was manufactured up of hand-assembled vanes, each individual a single hooked up independently. In the very same way, a craftsman bolted every single letter of the block Continental lettering on the rear tire hump separately.

Continental staff members also rebuilt every manufacturer new motor in advance of it was set up in a Mark II. As we uncovered final time, the Mark II’s Y-block 368 cubic inch V8 was taken right from the Lincoln lineup. Nevertheless, it was not blithely set up into a Continental, that would’ve been as well easy. Alternatively, each and every engine destined for Mark II use was hand-picked from the Lincoln assembly line (as a “good 1?”) and then taken aside.

The V8 was then reassembled with Continental’s QC tolerances and practices in thoughts, to make certain that it satisfied standards. When it was finished, there have been overall performance inspections far too. Just one wonders if the careful rebuild made a huge variation in the dependability of the motor down the street.

With its extensive high quality regulate, stylish Midcentury styling, and sky-significant cost, it was time to put the new Continental Division’s Mark II coupe on sale to an keen and nicely-heeled general public. And all went perfectly, appropriate? Well, no. Not at all. But that’s a story for up coming time.

[Images: YouTube]

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