Friday, August 8, 2014

Seen Connie lately? Looks like she's put on a little weight.

I was rolling through the leafy enclave of Bed Stuy recently when I stumbled upon this behemoth: 
Some big cars try to incorporate subtle styling points to give some semblance of movement or lightness. Others are like this beast; unapologetically gargantuan and brick-like. This mighty pewter slab of American excess is a 1971 Lincoln Continental in full 4-door style (there was a 2-door as well). The official color of this two-and-a-half-ton ride is Gray Gold Poly.
That's right I said 5,000lbs! This is why nations go to war over oil, people; to keep Connies thirst quenched.
You can identify this as a '71 from the grill. In '70 the grill stretched end-to-end with the headlights encased within. In '72 an egg crate style grill made up of chrome triangles took over from this one made up of 6 horizontal bars. 
As we get a little closer we can see she's been around and seen some things over the years. That scrape/dent on the front edge doesn't look too dramatic, but tell that to the modern car that met its end that day, or the lamppost that got knocked over, or the corner of the building that required foundation work after meeting Connie head-on.
The fact that the front bumper continues all the way to the wheel opening is all the more remarkable when you realize that this was years before the government safety mandate requiring all bumpers to be reinforced. The string dangling from the open wound is a mystery, but the rust hole is not. I actually think Big Connie here's spent her life in the northeast.  
The aircraft carrier proportions are on full display from the side. For all the little liver spots and pock marks the vinyl roof is somehow holding up nicely, which is usually one of the first things to deteriorate. If anything I think the roof condition speaks to the build quality of Lincoln at the time, which was actually quite high. This car represents a concerted effort to wrest customers away from Cadillac and claim the throne of the Worlds Most Luxurious Car.
Eighteen rectangles of red plastic make up the taillights on this Continental in blocks of 3. Excessive you say? "Well then you can't afford me" the Lincoln replies proudly.
That one plastic front hubcap breaks the spell a bit. However I'll finish up this post with a direct quote from the 1971 Lincoln Continental brochure:

"In this world, there will always be room for something beyond conventional standards of prestige and luxury. That's why there are the Continentals. Because there has to be something better. In performance, ride, and appointments, Lincoln Continental has an integrity, grace, and elegance equaled by no other car. They are cars apart and above. In a class by themselves. The Continentals: the final step up."

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