This 1967 Lincoln Continental is SWEET AND LOW.
By Joe van Zyl Pics by Gavin Kleinschmidt
In last month’s edition of SA HotRods, we met up with Warren Strydom and his 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS. We decided to stay with Warren in this issue and talk about his other baby, a 1967 Lincoln Continental. I met up with Warren for breakfast to talk about what he calls his childhood dream.
“When I was like, fourteen or something, I saw a photo of a Lincoln Continental and I was like man, one day I have to have one of those. I just loved the lines of the car. It doesn’t need to be chopped or channelled or anything, it just looks long and slick. How can you not love it, with its suicide back doors and the luxury feel that the car came with? It’s the Rolls Royce of the American cars. It’s the car Presidents drove in the ’60s. Hell John F Kennedy was shot while driving in a Lincoln.
A few years ago I asked Brad Hall to keep an eye open for a 1961 to 1969 Lincoln Continental, it’s the one with the so-called “slab-side” design. I had a Chevy Impala four-door that was slammed with big wheels, it looked really sick, but I still wanted my Continental.
So one day I get a call from Brad to say that he found one in JHB. It used to belong to the Portuguese embassy and it was still in perfect condition and had the services and warranty book inside. He loved the car so much that he decided to keep it for himself for a while, but I had the first option should he ever sell it.
I was so bummed, especially after I saw it for the first time. Brad then dropped the car two inches and put 20-inch wheels on it. It took the car from cool to insane. After a while, I think Brad got tired of me bugging him for it, so he sold it to me. (Big Smile)
The Lincoln runs a stock 462 Cubic Inches V8 that off the floor produced 340 bhp and 485nm torque. It is known as a lazy V8 so she is a bit slow off the line, but once on the open road, she hauls ass. The only upgrade was a new carburettor and a fuel pump. It still runs the original 3-speed column shift tranny. Driving in the car feels like you are floating on air. The dropped suspension and low profile tires are no match for this Lincoln’s original smooth ride suspension and make the car a dream on long trips.
Then there is the size… this thing is almost 6 meters long and just over 2 meters wide. The wheelbase is 3.2 meters long and it really takes some getting used to. In the tight Cape Town streets, it feels like you are trying to steer a ship through the city. Warren starts to turn the car and a few seconds later the nose starts to swing around into the corner he is turning into. It’s actually amazing to watch. The Lincoln was really a step above the rest, no wonder people like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Louie Prima, Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Spike Jones, Nelson Rockefeller, Henry J. Kaiser and Howard Johnson all drove them.
It came with innovations like tilt steering and a new flow-through ventilation system which Lincoln called, “Fresh-Flow,” .Fresh air was continuously allowed to enter the car, even with the windows up, removing stale air through a system of vents and valves. This is one of the best cruisers ever, it has a real presence on the road. It’s HUGE!! She takes up 9 parking spaces and looks like it has bodies in the trunk. In my ‘perfect’ garage this would take centre stage. A continent crossing Continental. Standard, clean and for king mean.