Don Draper should have driven this car. This red 1956 Lincoln Premiere Series hardtop coupe is everything the Fabulous Fifties were about – forward looking, longer, lower and wider. The sleek ‘flow-through’ styling eliminated any remaining hint of separate fenders. The Premiere Series was introduced in 1956 as the top of the line Lincoln – a step up from the previously style-leading Capri line. The pillar-less hardtop coupe and convertibles took the style to the highest level, with buyers preferring the hardtop coupe by a margin of nearly eight-to-one.
“Unmistakenly Lincoln” read the ads and, for once, the car lived up to its expectations. In the mid-1950s, Lincoln was a venerable luxury brand noted for quality engineering, high performance and understated luxury, searching for a distinctive identity. The striking new look of the 1956-1957 Lincolns achieved that goal, and represented the only all-new styling in the industry when they were introduced for 1956. The look clearly reflected elements of the 1953 Lincoln XL-500 and the 1955 Lincoln Futura show cars and seemed aimed directly at prosperous post-war Americans who were building careers, families and Atomic Ranch-style houses. The design carried forward the nose and the sharply peaked front fenders and elongated rear quarters the XL-500 and Futura predicted, but the clean flow-through look had an identity all of its own. Interiors also met an expectation of stylish design, quality materials and a certain amount of understatement. The engine and chassis were same that had dominated the big car class at the Mexican Carrera Panamericana road race in 1952-1953-1954, with a 368 cubic-inch version of Lincoln’s easy-breathing first ohc Y-block V8 producing 275-285 horsepower and 400+ pounds of torque, riding on a 126-inch wheelbase.
This pillar-less hardtop example, finished in Huntsman Red with a red and black leather interior accented by a black dashboard cover, carpet and pleated seat inserts, is a very nice older cosmetic restoration that included new paint, new chrome, a new interior and a highly detailed engine compartment. As originally built, the car luxuriously includes a Lincoln ‘Turbo Drive’ automatic transmission, power steering and brakes, power seat and power windows. The unique dashboard mounts the speedometer, warning lights and clock above the safety-padded dash panel, with switches below the center of the dash. Aircraft-style levers mounted to the left of the deep-dish steering wheel control air and temperature. Exterior details include restrained use of side chrome with gold-colored accents. Period-correct wide whitewall tires are mounted on stylish red wheel rims with Lincoln Premiere logo full wheel covers.
This is an automobile that makes a strong statement. Don Draper didn’t drive this car, but you can – complete, detailed and ready to be enjoyed.
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