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1968 Lincoln Continental
Production Numbers/Specifications

Styling refinements for 1968, and more changes on the way

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Lincoln production dropped for the second year in a row in 1968, which was a concern for Lincoln as the division had been experiencing increases each year during the 1960's.

PRODUCTION NUMBERS
INTRODUCTION DATE:
September 22, 1967
TOTAL PRODUCTION:
39,134
TOP LINE: MODEL/BODY CODE/MODEL NAME/BASE PRICE
BOTTOM LINE: WEIGHT/PRODUCTION
80 65A Lincoln Continental Coupé $5,746
Weight: 5,085 lbs. Built: 9,415
82 53A Lincoln Continental Sedan $5,970
Weight: 5,180 lbs. Built: 29,719
82 53A Executive Limousine $15,104
Weight: 6,100 Built: 91
SPECIFICATIONS
ENGINE CODE
ENGINE DETAILS

Early to mid year:
G - 462 CID V-8
7 - 462 CID V-8 (low compression for export)
462 Installation:
Coupe - 4,284
Sedan - (Researching)


Late production:
A - 460 CID V-8
1 - 460 CID V-8 (low compression for export)
460 Installation:
Coupe - 5,131
Sedan - (Researching)

Early to mid-year:
Bore and Stroke: 4.38 x 3.830 inches
Compression Ratio: 10.25:1
Brake Horsepower: 340 @ 4600 rpm
Torque: 485 lb.-ft. @ 2800 rpm
Carburetor: Carter 4V (C8VF-9510E)

Late production:
Bore and Stroke: 4.36 x 3.85 inches
Compression Ratio: 10.50:1
Brake Horsepower: 365 @ 4600 rpm
Torque: 485 lb.-ft. @ 2800 rpm
Carburetor: Autolite 4V (C8VF-9510J)

TRANSMISSION CODE
TRANSMISSION DESCRIPTION
U Select-Shift Turbo-Drive Automatic
REAR AXLE CODE
REAR AXLE RATIO
C
Optional:
3
E
5
2.80:1
Optional:
2.80:1 Directed power
3.00:1
3.00:1 Directed power
TIRE SIZE
BRAKES
9.15 x 15 Firestone brand Dual hydraulic system
Front: Self-adjusting ventilated disc
Rear: Drum type
WHEELBASE
DIMENSIONS
126 inches
Front Tread: 62.1 inches
Rear Tread: 61.0 inches
Length: 221 inches
Width: 79.7 inches
Height: Coupé: 54.2 inches; Sedan: 54.9 inches
Trunk: 18.0 cubic feet
INTERIOR DIMENSIONS
CAPACITIES
Front headroom: Coupé: 38.8"; Sedan: 39.4"
Rear headroom: Coupé: 38.0"; Sedan: 38.6"
Front legroom: Coupé: 41.0"; Sedan: 41.0"
Rear legroom: Coupé: 37.1"; Sedan: 40.5"
Front shoulder room: Coupé: 59.8"; Sedan: 59.8"
Rear shoulder room: Coupé: 59.3"; Sedan: 59.8"
Fuel Tank: 25 gallons
Cooling System: 25 qts. (with heater)
SPECIAL NOTES
1968 was the first year that the Continental Star hood ornament wasn't provided. New safety laws prohibited it, but it would return for the 1972 model year.

Early and mid-production 1968 Continentals were delivered with the 462 CID V-8 engine first introduced in 1966. Late production units were equipped with the new 460 CID V-8, which has caused some confusion for collectors and restorers over the years.

Lincoln built its one millionth car on March 25, 1968. It was a Continental Sedan, finished in Huron Blue Metallic with a Dark Blue Chalfonte fabric interior. Contrary to some published reports, this particular car was not equipped with a Heritage Roof.
1968 was the first year for:

- Side marker lights
- Recessed armrest controls
- Concealed back-up lights in rear grille
- Rear Defogger/Environmental Control option
- FM stereo multiplex adapter (dealer installed)
- Walnut-tone appliqué on instrument control panel
- Flared Wheel Plates option (deluxe "turbine" wheel covers)
- Energy-absorbing steering column
- Dark Ivy Gold (dark green) vinyl roof color
- Woodgrain steering wheel rim
- Vinyl covered, padded steering wheel spokes and hub
- Automatic Ride Leveler suspension system
- Transistorized Automatic Headlamp Dimmer
- Flexible coupling isolated the steering gear from the steering column shaft

The 1968 Lincoln Continentals featured revised instrument panel and steering wheel designs

Image: 1968 Lincoln Continental instrument panel

Shown above, new for 1968: Energy-absorbing steering column and wheel, woodtone rim on steering wheel, vinyl covered padded spokes and hub, Walnut appliqué on instrument control panel, revised and relocated headlight, heater, and radio knobs, and deeper instrument panel padding.

1968 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL:
THE VALUE OF LUXURY

Image: 1968 Lincoln Continental Sedan

When Lincoln first created its award-winning new look for 1961, it had deliberately priced and equipped its cars to be superior to Cadillac. Lincoln wasn't interested in competing with Cadillac's lower-priced Series Sixty-Two (later Calais) vehicles, but wanted to target its most popular line: the DeVilles. To justify this, Lincoln provided a more lavish level of standard equipment, with a price representative of all the extras provided at the base price. Lincoln was quick to advise that they did not compromise by building less expensive models as some others did, for that would not meet Continental's standards. This meant things like whitewall tires, radio, power vent windows, power door locks, and six way power seat cost extra on Cadillac, even on its higher-priced DeVille series.

By the summer of 1968, it had become apparent that Lincoln's decision to target the higher end of the market was the way to go. In 1962, the entry level Cadillac Series Sixty-Two cars accounted for 36 percent of luxury volume. By 1968, this figure had dropped to just 8 percent. It was obvious that consumer preference in the luxury market was for the very best, and less expensive models were not acceptable. This was also somewhat confirmed in the Imperial line, which dropped its Custom line after 1963, leaving just the Crown and LeBaron models to market.

One might think this was good news for Lincoln, but there were concerns. A report released in 1966 indicated that "Lincoln Continental had not achieved prestige parity with Cadillac in the eyes of the general public and, specifically, luxury car buyers." There was no doubt that owner loyalty among Lincoln owners and their attitudes toward their cars continued to improve, but the same report noted that Lincoln had "...been building a sound platform from which to launch a more direct offensive when the proper opportunity presents itself." That opportunity came in 1966 with the launch of a redesigned Lincoln, and the revelation that a growing number of Cadillac owners were dissatisfied with their car, both in terms of product and prestige.

Additionally, two areas were identified that required attention: Lincoln's weak product offering in comparison to Cadillac's, and Lincoln's pricing policy. Lincoln had a long-range program in place that would ultimately bring the "Lincoln car line in a position directly competitive in price and product with the Cadillac car line." The first step in response to this was the introduction of a two door hardtop model in 1966, and a reduction in the standard equipment provided on Lincoln Continentals.

When the 1961 Lincoln Continentals were introduced, they were merchandised as fully equipped automobiles. Advertising stated that "...there is scarcely anything you might desire that we could add to this car." And that was pretty much true, as options during the mid-sixties included air conditioning, tinted glass, automatic headlamp dimmer, directed power differential, and leather upholstery on Sedans. That was pretty much it. It was believed that so many new options were now available, the standard equipment levels had been somewhat diluted anyway, and it was more important to bring pricing down closer to Cadillac levels, to prevent customers from comparison shopping and immediately dismissing the Lincoln due to its higher base price.

It would seem Lincoln had a good plan, thoroughly researched, and carefully timed to its benefit. And the positives of improved owner satisfaction and loyalty created some negatives. More Lincoln owners were retaining their cars after one year, reducing the number of people why typically might have traded their cars in annually for a new model. In the 1958-60 period, 64% of Lincoln owners kept their cars longer than one year. This figure had jumped to an incredible 90% by 1964! So, while Lincoln's minor styling changes increased owner retention and satisfaction, it also limited the number of people making annual new car purchases. The full impact of this was being felt by 1968.

Lincoln built 39,134 cars for 1968, down from 1967's 45,667. This was typical of a body style in its third year, but it was the second year in a row for a reduction in production for Lincoln, after six years of production increases from 1961-1966. It was one thing to build a car that was so well loved and so carefully styled that owners didn't feel the need to replace them, but quite another to allow that sentiment to impact sales of new models. Conquest sales from Cadillac (former Cadillac owners switching to Lincoln) continued to grow, which pleased Lincoln very much, of course, but even with that sales still trailed far behind those of Cadillac.

Cadillac did offer more models, which no doubt accounted for some of the gap, and Cadillac was quite proud of the wide variety of models it offered, missing no opportunity to remind people they could choose from so many different choices. But changes were coming, and as the 1970s passed, Lincoln would make further advances against Cadillac's superior sales numbers.

There is one area of confusion regarding the 1968 Lincolns that needs to be cleared up. Catalogs for 1968 specify the 462 CID V-8 engine as standard equipment, and no optional engines are listed. However, it is documented that late production 1968 Lincolns are factory-equipped with the new 460 CID V-8. There is a reason for this. Initially, Lincoln intended to introduce the 460 at the beginning of the model year, announcing the advancements in emission control and horsepower. This would be just the thing to call attention to the line until the spring introduction of the new Continental Mark III.

Before production began, 30,000 462 engines were found stored in a warehouse. These engines had been tested, and were ready to be installed. Exactly what events led up to this many engines being stored away is a mystery. We've been told it was due to slower than expected sales for 1966 and 1967, which led to an overstocked inventory. It has also been suggested that someone made a mistake and ordered too many built, and due to communications issues the whereabouts of the engines weren't immediately disclosed. At any rate, the overstocked 462 engines were used from the beginning of production until they ran out, at which point the new 460 was substituted. This would mean that the last 10,000 production 1968 Lincoln Continentals were equipped with the new 460 from the factory.

Is it worth seeking out a '68 Continental with a 460 vs. a 462 engine? The new engine is more efficient and more powerful, and is a more modern design than the 462, and both have their devotees. Both engines are dependable, smooth running, and strong, so it's probably best to base any decision on the car as a whole, rather than search for one with the engine you want that may be less desirable in other respects.

As always, be sure to look for rust in the rear quarters and around the rear window and under the vinyl roof. Look for electrical issues, as these cars are complex and can be difficult to troubleshoot if there are existing problems. Look for one that has most of the options on it, as people generally prefer loaded cars from this era, and that is reflected in resale values somewhat.

These cars always cost more to restore than they're worth, so buy the best one you can afford and keep in mind that you'll likely never recover what you put into it, but collecting classic cars is a hobby, and as such will cost money, just like any other hobby including golf, owning a boat or motorcycle, or any other sport.