Automotive Mileposts Home  

1965 Lincoln Continental
Executive Limousine

The ultimate expression of Continental elegance

Image: 1965 Lincoln Continental Executive LimousineThe Executive Limousine was a custom conversion of the Lincoln Continental Sedan by Lehmann-Peterson, coach builders, of Chicago. Lincoln had a relationship with Lehmann-Peterson from 1963-1970, with Lehmann-Peterson building Executive Limousines and custom show cars for the division as well as fulfilling special requests for Ford from Ford's customers. The unique luxury of the limousine conversion resulted in a car that was almost 3 feet longer than the standard sedan. Virtually all of the additional length was added between the front and rear doors. A padded black vinyl roof with rear limousine "opera" window gave rear compartment passengers greater privacy.

Inside, rear-facing companion seats were perfectly positioned to create an intimate conversation area. The rear compartment was carpeted in mouton, and was separated from the front by a divider rising from the floor to the bottom of the window area. A glass panel could be opened or closed in the area above the divider to completely close off the rear compartment. Upholstery in the rear was the finest wool broadcloth available or top grain leather, by customer request. Almost any material could be fitted by special request, however most customers chose the standard interior as it was very sophisticated and elegant in its own right. A hand-rubbed walnut cabinet between the companion seats housed an AM-FM radio for the enjoyment of rear compartment passengers, and contained a storage compartment below the radio to tuck valuables out of sight.

Virtually every Lincoln Continental standard feature was also included on the Executive Limousines, as was the list of Lincoln factory options. Exclusive additional options for the Executive Limousine were also available, and included a separate air conditioner for the rear compartment, a power-operated chauffeur divider window, and a built-in television set. If a busy executive so desired, a built-in dictating machine or a beverage compartment could be ordered.

The Executive Limousine for 1965 was available in Black Satin, Madison Gray, Nocturne Blue, Charcoal Frost, or Royal Maroon exterior colors, and could be special ordered at any Lincoln dealer. The majority of the limos ordered were specified in Black Satin with the Silver Blue Wool Broadcloth rear compartment. A Black Leather rear compartment came in second place, and Silver Blue Leather was third. Obviously, the traditional colors were preferred by Executive Limousine customers. In later years, the Executive Limousine would be available in any of Lincoln's standard colors offered for the year, but thankfully most orders were for the more reserved colors. Ford Motor Company had so thoroughly tested the conversions that it extended its full warranty to the limousines, an unusual move for a manufacturer at the time.

Image: 1965 Lincoln Continental Executive Limousine adIt's interesting to note that the Executive Limousine was promoted more heavily by Ford in 1965 than in any other year it was available. It was included in the sales brochures that year, and print ads were also prepared promoting the motorcar. The ads were mostly black and white ads, featuring a corporate executive posed with their Lincoln limousine in front of their office, or with a representation of their business in the background. (See Santa Fe Railway ad at right—click for larger image in new window or tab). The Executive Limousine was included in factory literature in 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1969. Careful examination of the 1969 version will reveal it is actually the 1967 picture, updated to give the car 1969 styling.

Lincoln didn't really promote their limousine in the same manner as Cadillac promoted its Fleetwood Seventy-Five Sedan and Limousine. The Seventy-Five Sedan featured a longer wheelbase and most of the other limousine components, such as jump seats, but didn't include an interior divider, which the Limousine provided. Cadillac regularly included both models in sales brochures and literature, and also ran print ads from time to time in appropriate business publications. Cadillac continued to build a traditional rear wheel drive limousine through 1984, then switched to a smaller front wheel drive platform for 1985. The final year for a Cadillac limousine was 1988, after which independent coach builders became the only source.

The Imperial, built by Chrysler, also provided a limited number of custom limousines at this time. From 1957-1965, Ghia of Turin, Italy built limousines to special order for Chrysler. In 1966, Barreiros Diesel of Spain built about 10 Crown Imperial Limousines. In October 1967, Chrysler acquired 77% of the company, and by 1969 owned it outright. From 1967-1972, Armbruster/Stageway Coaches of Fort Smith, Arkansas was selected by Chrysler to build Imperial LeBaron Limousines to order. Built in very limited numbers, these later Imperial Limousines included rear-facing seats, no doubt inspired by the Lehmann-Peterson Lincolns.

In spite of the limited number of Executive Limousines built, their presence on the scene was every bit as commanding as a Cadillac limousine, if not more so. The formal appearance of the center-opening rear doors and the slimmer roof line gave the Continentals an advantage over their competitors, and the design of the rear compartment was vastly superior to the forward-facing jump seats provided in other formal transportation.


EXECUTIVE LIMOUSINE EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS:

Wheelbase - 160.0"
Overall length - 250.3"
Overall width - 78.6"
Overall height - 54.5"
Tread (front) - 62.1"
Tread (rear) - 61.0"
Curb weight (no A/C) - 5,664 lbs.
Curb weight (with A/C) - 5,791 lbs.


EXECUTIVE LIMOUSINE INTERIOR DIMENSIONS:

Front headroom - 39.0"
Front legroom - 39.6"
Front shoulder room - 59.3"
Front hip room - 62.3"
Rear headroom - 38.4"
Rear shoulder room - 59.4"
Rear hip room - 62.4"
Distance between rear seat and companion seats - 20.4"