Lincoln was one of the few makes to miss out on Detroit's 1955 sales boom, but it came back strong with the 1956 Lincoln Premiere: dream-car styling, massive new proportions, and horsepower to match. Ads proclaimed the '56s "Unmistakably Lincoln," but there was nary a trace of the lithe and lively Mexican Road Race-winning models of 1952-55.
The 1956 Lincoln Premiere was the only Lincoln convertible for that model year.
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Styling borrowed heavily from the 1954 Mercury XM-800 show car and conveyed substance without looking fat or resorting to glitter. Wheelbase grew three inches to 126, overall length added seven inches, and width swelled by three inches. Even so, the '56s didn't weigh much more than corresponding '55s, and with a mighty new 368-cubic-inch big-block V-8 packing 285 horsepower, they were the quickest Lincolns yet. They also cost a whopping $500-$700 more than the '55s, but such was the price of "progress" in those days.
Lincoln continued with two series for '56: Capri and new upmarket Premiere, each with a four-door sedan and hardtop coupe. A convertible was exclusive to Premiere and the priciest '56 Lincoln at $4747. Though just 2447 were built, Ford's luxury nameplate moved just over 50,000 cars in all, versus some 27,000 for '55.
The 1956 Lincoln Premiere also came in a four-door sedan or a hardtop coupe.
Today these Lincolns are bona fide collector's items, the rare ragtop especially. Considering all they offered, it's a wonder they didn't "go gold" a long time ago.
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