1966-1969 Lincoln Continental

1966 Lincoln Continental

For the 1966 Lincoln Continental model year, Amott B. "Buzz" Grisinger, Chief Stylist of the Lincoln-Mercury Studios, and his crew pushed through major changes. Thus far, the car had sported clean smooth slab-sided styling. The fashion in cars, as well as other areas of industrial design, by this time leaned toward a visual "crispness."

1966 Lincoln Continental
The crease line along the sides of the 1966 Lincoln
Continental sharpened the car's styling.

The 1963 Buick Riviera introduced razor-edge styling to American cars, which had been seen much earlier on the Rolls-Royce and other British makes. Cadillac incorporated some of this into its 1965 redesign. Following these trends, Grisinger cut a slight ridge along the sides of the Continental just a few inches below the stainless steel accent that ran the length of the car atop the fenders and along the belt line. The effect was to "stiffen-up" the design, making the car's lines sharper, even a bit sporty.

Grisinger pointed out that such a ridge had been cut into the length of the body sides of the 1956 Continental Mark II, but lower on the bodyside rather than near the top of the fenderline. The effect on the Mark II had been to make it appear heavy. But with the 1966 the height was broken up by its higher mounted crease line, making the car appear clean-cut and relatively light.

Overall, the 1966 received the most extensive facelift for this series since 1961 In a yearly modified form, this basic crisp theme would be carried through to 1966's curved side glass, which had been eliminated for 1964-1965, returned for 1966, and stayed with Lincoln through 1969; it served to accentuate the car's otherwise straight-line design.

Ahead of the front wheel and above the front bumper, the car carried the four-pointed Continental "star." The 1966 Lincoln deserved this star -- a distinctive benchmark of Lincoln Continental styling. It was as if the creators had placed it there as a tribute to this triumph of design.

Of the 1961 through 1969 Lincolns, the 1961, the 1964, and the 1966 are the ones that set the standard for each sub-series. The 1966 reminds the automotive enthusiast of the clarity of concept found in the original 1961. Everything is in its place, and even though the 1966 is bigger than the 1961, there appears to be not one inch of fat.

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