Q: Greg, I'd like to know about what happened to the Lincolns from back in the 1950s. Up until 1958, I thought the styling was quite nice for a luxury car. Then in 1958, Lincoln came out with a massive piece of monstrosity that to this day I think was the biggest Lincoln to date. What happened in 1958? Chuck L., Evanston, Ill.
A: Chuck, the year 1958 was one of those years that the stylists went crazy with "big." Regardless of model, from Buick to Chrysler to Ford, manufacturers flooded the market with what I call "bathtub" style cars; IE: huge vehicles carrying lots of chrome and weight. The year also turned out to be one of the worst on record for new car sales, both from the economy standpoint and, I feel, the design of the cars.
However, with all this said, today the 1958 Lincoln models are sought after car collectibles, and that huge 1958 Lincoln is one of them. Riding on a 131-inch wheelbase and a full six inches longer than the 1957 Lincoln (which was a great looking car), the new Lincoln had a look all its own that to this day stands out more than any other make that year.
Powered by a 430-inch V8 producing 375 horses, the 1958 wide grille and "quad lite" recessed and outlined vertical headlamps, (slightly slanted actually) along with sculptured side with fender skirts produced the look we all now remember.
The behemoth weighed 4,890 pounds and came with a 22 gallon fuel tank, while the transfer of power came via a three speed automatic transmission called Turbo-Drive. Lincolns for '58 came in Capri, Premier and Continental badges, while an Executive Limo (same wheelbase) joined the fray in 1959 and 1960.
Although not a success at the showroom, these cars today generate lots of interest at the car shows, as do the 1959 and 1960 models.
Available in two-door, convertible and four-door motifs, a total of 12,556 Lincolns were built in 1958, and the base entry price was expensive back then at $6,012. By 1960, the last year for the design, the curb weight went up to over 5,000 pounds and 11,086 were manufactured.
In ending, although I thought the car was way too big and ugly back then, today I'd love to own one. Thanks for your interest and letter.