Lincoln Continental Executive Limousine
Customer details, movie appearances, and conversion time frame
EXECUTIVE LIMOUSINE OWNERSHIP DETAILS
During the 1968 model year, Ford Motor Company sent out a survey to all of its Lincoln-Mercury dealerships asking for information on Lincoln Continental Executive Limousine sales to date. Ford wanted to know who had purchased them, in an attempt to better understand the limousine market, as well as to provide insight as to which areas to target in the future. Here are the results:
EXECUTIVE LIMOUSINE IN MOTION PICTURES
Because the Lincoln Continental Executive Limousines were so distinctive, they were popular vehicles in motion pictures of the time. The presence of one of these Executive Limousines said much about the person being chauffeured around. Viewers knew the person was wealthy, or had wealthy contacts or friends, that they had good taste, and that they appreciated first class accommodations wherever they went. Some of the contemporary movies with prominent scenes featuring Executive Limousines include:
Note: The movie "A Lovely Way to Die" starred Kirk Douglas and featured a 1967 Lincoln Continental Convertible, which has very good scenes that show off the car very nicely early in the movie. A 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado and a 1967 Mercury Cougar also have roles. It has never been released on video or DVD, to our knowledge.
EXECUTIVE LIMOUSINE ON TELEVISION
Many television appearances of a Lincoln Continental Executive Limousine have been noted over the years. Among the TV shows that have had scenes featuring the motorcars are The Andy Griffith Show, Green Acres, Columbo, Gidget, and others. (We will expand this information in the future.)
EXECUTIVE LIMOUSINE CONVERSION TIME FRAME
A Lehmann-Peterson Executive Limousine conversion took approximately 27 days from start to completion. Below is a break down by day showing the amount of time devoted to each step of the conversion (note that some operations require half days, which can be determined by the same day appearing twice in the listing):
EXECUTIVE LIMOUSINE STRUCTURAL MODIFICATIONS
In order to provide body structure rigidity comparable to a stock Lincoln Continental Sedan, Lehmann-Peterson modified the body structure of the car as follows:
The end result was a body with rigidity that exceeded the stock Lincoln Continental Sedan, which was one of the strongest production bodies ever built at that time.
EXECUTIVE LIMOUSINE INTERIOR SPECIFICATIONS
Most limousines of the time included a row of "jump" seats in the rear compartment, just behind the division the separated the front and rear compartments. These jump seats could be collapsed to provide more rear leg room when not needed, but when used for additional passengers, they created an awkward environment to have a discussion, as everyone was facing forward, which meant passengers in the jump seats had to turn their heads to look back at those who were in the rear seat. This made conversation difficult, as the tendency is to look at people you're talking to when they are present.
Lehmann-Peterson's design (left) was unique, in that it placed the jump seats with their seat backs against the division, so passengers in the rear compartment were facing each other. This made having a conversation much easier, and if business was being conducted—as it often was in a limousine—this orientation made it easier to pass around documents, contracts, and the like. The outboard edges of the seats wrapped around to the side panels, very similar to the coved rear seat design introduced on the Ford Thunderbird in 1964.
Between the rear-facing jump seats, a divider was positioned that housed an ash tray and cigarette lighter, and could be ordered with optional beverage center, television set, or secretary's desk. Space was provided under the seat cushions for storage of small, flat items that would otherwise be in the way. On the left side of the car, a radio and clock were located in the side trim panel (visible in image at left at the left side of photo). This photo shows the optional beverage center between the seats as well.
Above the beverage center, air registers for air conditioning would be placed in the area where the Continental star emblem appears in the photo above. Later, the radio and clock would be relocated to the center section between the jump seats, as shown in the photo of a 1965 Executive Limousine, below. This location allowed better access to the radio controls for all rear compartment passengers, as well as making the clock more visible.
Later models would include seats that could have their cushions folded up out of the way, as well as provisions for air conditioning vents.
Almost anything a customer desired could be accommodated by Lehmann-Peterson. For just $900, additional head room was achieved by raising the roof of the car two inches, allowing space for people to wear their hats inside the car. Gold plated exterior trim wasn't a problem, either. One customer even requested a quote for a car with a safe in the rear, and Lehmann-Peterson was happy to provide a quote, but they never heard back from the customer.
Special interior upholsteries in custom colors weren't an issue, either. A power rear seat could be fitted to allow passengers with special needs the ability to get in and out with assistance from a seat that would slide out of the car, then at the push of a button, rises slightly, turns, and slides back into its normal position in the car. The process reverses to exit.
Over the years, Lehmann-Peterson installed a bar in the back for entertainer Jackie Gleason, one way glass for Victor Borge, special reading lights for chauffeurs who spent a lot of time waiting for their boss, a rear porthole window instead of the traditional limousine-style glass, and for customers who thought the full-length stretch was a bit too much for their tastes, a shorter nine inch stretch could be specified. In fact, pretty much anything a customer might want could be obtained for a price. A wealthy businessman from Hawaii requested two Continental-style rear spare tire humps in the deck lid for his limousine, and liked the idea so well he asked Lehmann-Peterson to customize his Lincoln Continental Convertible to match.
Rear compartment telephones were almost expected in these cars, and passengers fortunate enough to ride in one of these luxury transports didn't have to sacrifice anything while en route. The standard Lincoln Continental was about as nice as you could possibly find at the time, and the only car that could truly surpass them was an Executive Limousine.
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