Review and Test Drive: 2017 Lincoln Continental

By Jonathan Spira on 30 May 2017
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During my formative years in Beechhurst, I didn’t know much about my neighbor Rudolph Creteur, but what I did know is that he had been somehow connected to the automobile industry. The gentleman had the most amazing cars in his garage: a black 1961 Cadillac Sedan DeVille and a dark green 1964 Lincoln Continental. He was kind enough to allow me, at the tender young age of nine, to wash the beasts. When his contemporaries would come to visit they would usually be driving real old-timers – I particularly remember one gentleman with a 1917 Hispano-Suiza – and they would take me for rides around the neighborhood.

Years later, I grew curious about Mr. Creteur and found an interview of him on the web. He was a coachbuilder who, in his first job at Locke & Co. in the 1920s, designed Lincolns, including the Convertible Club Roadster and the Touring Car. He eventually went on to own Rollson (the company name was a corruption of his failed former employer, Rollston), a custom-body company specializing on Packards.

Mr. Creteur was largely responsible for my love of cars. He was patient enough to talk to me for hours on end about them and to let me enjoy his. I never understood why my parents bothered to have more modern cars than his 1960s classics but no amount of pleading, on my part, to get a similar Lincoln worked.

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Lincoln, Ford’s luxury car division, first introduced the Continental brand in 1939 with a coachworks-built convertible by a company similar to Mr. Creteur’s. The Continental name appeared on a sedan similar to the one he owned from 1961 through 2002, when Lincoln abandoned the name in favor of the Town Car and LS.

Fast forward to the 2015 New York International Auto Show and the unveiling of a concept car that would be the basis of the tenth generation of the Continental. It had a singular look to it, with razor-sharp side-view mirrors and suicide doors, which are rear-hinged aft door that, no surprise here, automakers prefer to call “coach doors.”

The mirrors grew in size and the suicide doors disappeared, but the Continental that went on sale in the fall of 2016 as a 2017 model was one of the most distinctive looking vehicles to come out of Detroit in years, a subtle, understated luxury car that nonetheless draws a crowd.

Indeed to demonstrate how far cars have come since the 1960s, the 2017 Continental’s average fuel economy is 19 mpg (12.4 l/100 km) compared to the 10.5 mpg (22.6 l/100 km) the 1964 model is estimated at.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the 2017 Lincoln Continental 

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