There was nothing ironic that 1958's Lincolns and Continentals -- including the 1958 Continental Mark III -- were the largest, heaviest postwar Detroiters yet. They were simply out of phase with the times, conceived in boom-market 1955 amid predictions that people would always want the biggest cars they could get. Bigger was usually better in the Eisenhower era, but that started to change in 1958, when a deep recession caused lots of car buyers to "think small."

1958 continental mark iii
The 1958 Continental Mark III was incredibly large and heavy in
an era of small cars. See more pictures of classic convertibles.

Riding grand 131-inch wheelbases, these Lincolns were boxy but clean and imposingly massive, though slanted quad headlamps were dubious. Continental was renamed Mark III, but though still a separate make, it was now a more luxurious Lincoln, unlike the unique, timelessly styled 1956-57 Mark II hardtop coupe. At least the Mark III offered more models priced up to $4000 lower. These included two hardtops and a sedan, plus the first open Continental in 10 years.

The 1958 Continental Mark III featured a 430 V-8 engine with 375 horsepower.
The 1958 Continental Mark III featured a 430 V-8 engine with 375 horsepower.

Despite the recession and a stiff $6283 price, the convertible sold respectably at 3048 copies; only the hardtop sedan did better. Like standard '58 Lincolns, Mark IIIs featured a big new 430 V-8 with 375 horsepower, plus unit construction -- the biggest "unibody" cars yet -- and surprisingly decent handling. A distinctive reverse-slant rear window with drop-down glass distinguished all Marks -- even the convertible. It made for a very complex top mechanism, but then this was the '50s.

1958 continental mark iii
The 1958 Continental Mark III boasted a distinctive reverse-slant rear window.

For more classic convertibles of the 1950s, see:

1950 Oldsmobile 88

1955 Cadillac Series 62

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

1951 Chrysler New Yorker

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

1957 Lincoln Premiere

1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan

1955 Mercury Montclair

1957 Oldsmobile Super 88

1951 Rambler Custom Landau

1956 Ford Thunderbird

1958 Edsel Citation

1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta

1956 Lincoln Premiere

1959 Cadillac Series 62

1954 Hudson Hornet Brougham

1956 Packard Caribbean

1959 Dodge Custom Royal

1954 Packard Caribbean

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

1959 Ford Thunderbird

1955 Buick Century

1957 Chrysler New Yorker

1959 Pontiac Bonneville

For more information on all kinds of cars, try these: