Lincoln Premiere

The Lincoln Premiere was a luxury car model sold by Lincoln in the 1956[1] to 1960 model years. Positioned below the company's Continental Mark II during 1956–1957 and above the Capri it was based on from 1956–1959, it was produced in 2 and 4 door versions which could both accommodate up to six people.[2] The Premiere sedan was the mid-level sedan under the Continental Mark III-V sedans, until it was replaced with the 1961 Continental sedan.

Lincoln Premiere
1957 Lincoln Premiere (4691118352).jpg
1957 Lincoln Premiere Coupe 2-Door Hardtop
ManufacturerLincoln (Ford)
Body and chassis
Classfull-size luxury car
LayoutFR layout
PredecessorLincoln Capri
SuccessorLincoln Continental (1960)

The Premiere name is currently used as a trim level on Lincoln models.


First generation
1957 Lincoln Premiere Convertible
Model years1956–1957
AssemblyMahwah, New Jersey, United States[2]
Maywood, California, United States[2]
Dearborn, Michigan, United States[2]
Wayne, Michigan United States[2]
St. Louis, Missouri, United States[2]
DesignerBill Schmidt
Body and chassis
Body style2-door hardtop[2]
2-door convertible[2]
4-door sedan[2]
4-door hardtop[2]
RelatedLincoln Capri
Mercury Montclair
Engine368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-block V8[2]
Transmission3-speed Turbo-Drive automatic[2]
Wheelbase126.0 in (3,200 mm)[2]
Length1956: 223.0 in (5,664 mm)[2]
1957: 224.6 in (5,705 mm)[2]
Width1956: 79.9 in (2,029 mm)
1957: 80.3 in (2,040 mm)
Height1956: 60.0 in (1,524 mm)
1957: 60.2 in (1,529 mm)
Curb weight4,500–4,900 lb (2,000–2,200 kg)

The Premiere was introduced in 1956 as an upscale version of the Lincoln Capri. It featured a 368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-Block V8 and it was approximately 223" (5664 mm) long in 1956. The vehicle weighed 4357 lb (1976.3 kg) and had a base price of $4,601 in 1956, which converts to roughly $43,267 in current dollars. The top-end Lincoln, it was substantially different from the much more expensive Continental Mark II sold by Ford's Continental Motorcars division.

The Premiere's appearance reflected the Capri's derivation from the radically different concept cars, the Mercury XM-800 and the Lincoln Futura. It was known for a stylish exterior, high-grade interior and some unique features, such as optional "factory air conditioning being run through overhead ducts much like those in an aircraft. The cool air was directed to the roof via a pair of clear plastic ducts visible through the rear window at each side, connecting upward from the rear package tray. Four way power seats were standard.[1] Front suspension was independent with a stabilizer bar.


Second generation
1959 Lincoln Premiere Coupe
Model years1958–1960
AssemblyWixom Assembly, Wixom, Michigan, USA[2]
DesignerJohn Najjar
Body and chassis
Body style2-door hardtop[2][3]
4-door sedan[2][3]
4-door hardtop[2][3]
RelatedContinental Mark series
Lincoln Capri
Engine430 cu in (7.0 L) MEL V8[2][3]
Transmission3-speed Turbo-Drive automatic[2][3]
Wheelbase131.0 in (3,327 mm)[2][3]
Length1958: 229.0 in (5,817 mm)[2]
1959: 227.1 in (5,768 mm)[2][3]
1960: 227.2 in (5,771 mm)[2]
Width1958–59: 80.1 in (2,035 mm)[3]
1960: 80.3 in (2,040 mm)
Height1958: 56.5 in (1,435 mm)
1959–60: 56.7 in (1,440 mm)[3]
Curb weight4,900–5,200 lb (2,200–2,400 kg)

These were the first Lincolns produced at the new Wixom plant, and were made on a unibody platform, Lincoln's first since the Lincoln-Zephyr.[2] While advertising brochures made the case that Continental was still a separate make, the car shared its body with that year's Lincoln.[2] The Lincoln Premiere was placed between the Lincoln Capri and Continental in trim level, with a traditional roof treatment instead of the Continental's extravagant reverse-angle power rear "breezeway" window that retracted behind the back seat.[2] Lincoln lost over $60 million during 1958-1960, reflecting the enormous expense of developing the largest unibody car produced to date[4] and poor consumer reception. The 1958 full-size Lincoln sold poorly in all models, compounded by the economic recession in the U.S.

The 1958–60 Lincoln Premiere was truly hulking. One of the largest cars ever made regardless of platform, larger than contemporaneous Cadillac Sixty-Specials or Imperials. With awkwardly canted headlights and heavily scalloped fenders its styling was considered excessive even in a decade overcome with it.[5] They are the longest Lincolns ever produced without federally mandated 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumpers.[2][6] The 63.1 inches (1,603 mm)[3] front and 63.0 inches (1,600 mm)[3] rear shoulder room they possessed set a record for Lincoln that still stands to this day. FM radio was a rare option.[7]

The model's overkill reflected the superabundance of styling talent involved in the development and modification of Lincolns of this vintage.[8] George W. Walker, known for his contribution to the development of the original Ford Thunderbird, was Vice-President in charge of Styling at Ford during this time.[8] Elwood Engel, famous for being lead designer of the 1961 Lincoln Continental and for his work as chief designer at Chrysler in the 1960s, was Staff Stylist (and consequently roamed all of the design studios) at Ford during this period and worked very closely with John Najjar in developing not only the 1958, but also the 1959 update.[8] After Najjar was relieved of his responsibilities as Chief Stylist of Lincoln in 1957 he became Engel's executive assistant, and the two worked closely together in the "stilleto studio" in developing the 1961 Lincoln Continental, which won an award for its superlative styling.[8] After Engel left Ford in 1961, Najjar became the lead designer of the Ford Mustang I concept car, which later gave birth to the Ford Mustang. Don Delarossa, who succeeded Najjar as Chief Stylist of Lincoln, was responsible for the 1960 Continental and Premiere update, and went on to become chief designer at Chrysler in the 1980s.[8] Alex Tremulis, Chief Stylist at Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg in the mid to late 1930s and famous for the 1948 Tucker Sedan, was head of Ford's Advanced Styling Studio during this period. It was his Ford La Tosca concept car, with its oval overlaid with an "X" theme, that gave birth to the "slant eyed monster" nickname to the 1958 Lincoln front end.[8] Immediately after he rebounded with a contribution[9] to Joe Oros' dramatic "bullet" design for the 1961 Thunderbird.[10]

1957–1958 Comparison[11][12] 1957 Premiere 1958 Premiere
Wheelbase 126.0 in (3,200 mm) 131.0 in (3,327 mm)
Overall Length 224.6 in (5,705 mm) 229.0 in (5,817 mm)
Width 80.3 in (2,040 mm) 80.1 in (2,035 mm)
Height 60.2 in (1,529 mm) 56.5 in (1,435 mm)
Front Headroom 35.4 in (899 mm) 35.0 in (889 mm)
Front Legroom 44.8 in (1,138 mm) 44.4 in (1,128 mm)
Front Hip Room 61.7 in (1,567 mm) 61.0 in (1,549 mm)
Front Shoulder Room 59.4 in (1,509 mm) 63.1 in (1,603 mm)
Rear Headroom 34.1 in (866 mm) 33.8 in (859 mm)
Rear Legroom–ins. 42.5 in (1,080 mm) 46.6 in (1,184 mm)
Rear Hip Room 63.8 in (1,621 mm) 65.5 in (1,664 mm)
Rear Shoulder Room 58.4 in (1,483 mm) 63.0 in (1,600 mm)


  1. ^ a b Flory Jr., J. "Kelly" (2008). American Cars, 1946-1959 Every Model Every Year. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7864-3229-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Kowalke, Ron (1997). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975. Krause publications. ISBN 0-87341-521-3.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "1959 Lincoln Brochure". Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  4. ^ Popular Mechanics - Google Boeken. Hearst Magazines. January 1959. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  5. ^ "Directory Index: Lincoln/1958_Lincoln/1958_Lincoln_Brochure". Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  6. ^ Flammang, James (1999). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999. Krause publications. ISBN 0-87341-755-0.
  7. ^ "Directory Index: Lincoln/1958_Lincoln/1958_Lincoln_Brochure". Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Howell, James (1997). Lincoln 1958-1969. Motorbooks Intl. ISBN 0-7603-0059-3.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Popular Mechanics - Feb 1957. Hearst Magazines. February 1957. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  12. ^ Popular Mechanics - Feb 1958. Hearst Magazines. February 1958. Retrieved 2012-01-21.