The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part IV)


We return to our Lincoln Mark series coverage now, in the midst of finding out about the 1st Mark of the line, the Continental Mark II. The Mark II aimed to carry on the custom established by the gracious Continental of the Forties, and get Ford to new heights of luxurious, desirability, value (and thus exclusivity), and top quality. The latter adjective is in which we’ll concentration nowadays it was definitely the emphasis of the individuals at the Continental Division prior to the Mark II’s launch.

It was essential for Ford to get the high-quality proper on the new Continental Mark II, in aspect to build a reputation for the brand name but also to justify its asking rate. Recall from our previous entry that at $9,966 ($106,912 adj.) in 1956, the Mark II was the most highly-priced American auto any person could get. Mark II was meant to blend modern day vehicle conveniences with the create high-quality and glamour of the past, and remind consumers of the coachbuilt K-Series Lincolns of the Thirties.

The Mark II’s excellent control begun with a manufacturer new plant. All Mark IIs had been made at Allen Park Human body and Assembly, a facility that opened in 1956 specially to create the Mark II. The plant was renamed shortly immediately after the close of Mark II to the Edsel Division Headquarters. Immediately after Edsel flopped, the plant became the New Design Courses Growth Heart, wherever Ford tested its new merchandise. Currently it’s termed the Ford Pilot Plant and serves the exact same perform as it has given that the Sixties. It manufactures and assessments Ford’s new cars, and files the development solutions ahead of a hand-off to the assembling manufacturing facility.

Around the time Ford determined to make the Allen Park facility, the Continental division crafted up a new top quality management plan certain to the Mark II. Within it was seven unique vital initiatives, intended to make certain the utmost in excellent from starting to conclusion of the Mark II’s establish system. Remember that most of the automobile was hand-assembled. Additional on that in a instant, but first let’s converse initiatives.

The key and overarching initiative in the QC application was identified as Good quality Technical specs. It mandated that any Continental motor vehicle use only products of the greatest excellent attainable. Such large requirements cost Ford far more revenue upfront but would outcome in a pretty specific product or service. Suppliers of the Mark II ended up compelled to enhance their output requirements to comply if they preferred to perform ball with Continental.

1 result of the Excellent Requirements initiative was the choice of leather in the Mark II. American-sourced leather-based was sprayed with colour, relatively than the more high-priced classic strategy exactly where it was dyed in a vat. So Continental went to Bridge of Weir in Scotland and acquired their dyed leather rather. Lincoln would use the leather-based for some time and brought it again in the 2010s on the MKS.

Somewhere else, excellent specifications intended no availability of metallic paint on the Mark II. Reported paint became preferred in the Fifties as People wished shiny, sparkly cars with tailfins. But Continental’s management was concerned about the longevity of metallic paints, so they employed lacquer-centered paint alternatively. Mark II was the very first Ford vehicle to use these a really hard-carrying paint.

The next initiative was Initial Sample Inspection. As opposed to standard QC procedures in Ford generation, Inspections for Continental ended up established to just take place previously. This intended extra time for the duration of the create in scenario rejections happened. Much more inspection orders occurred in the third high-quality point, Acquiring Inspection.

It was a noteworthy change more than how vehicle parts inspection typically worked: Continental pushed the onus back again on the provider on parts inspection. All components were being necessary inspected prior to their arrival at Allen Park Assembly. As soon as they did get there, they had been inspected by Continental workers for a next time.

Following was the More Production Focus initiative. Ford seemed at the assembly time of their Ford and Lincoln-Mercury cars and permitted 2 times as very long to make a Continental. Staff at Allen Park were to use the time to look at elements to examination for match before assembly, as well as suitable any defects found.

During the Continental’s assembly, the In-Plant Inspection and Tests initiative observed each and every Mark II go through 14 different inspection factors, all of which were thorough. A group of mechanics inspected just about every Mark II right before the car could commence further more. When assembly was finished, there was a different staff inspection and a closing highway examination in advance of the Mark II was transported to the obtaining supplier.

By way of the method, the Mark IIs remained on a rolling cell carrier. There was no conventional assembly line at Allen Park to speak of: By each and every action in the create, a Mark II was moved by hand to the following make station. Form of the conventional British assembly approach, but greater excellent.

The other two initiatives were exterior Continental’s assembly, at the customer coverage level. The first of them was Top Management Motion, where Continental’s brass analyzed facts from the various QC checks at Allen Park, then in contrast that data to any described customer troubles or mend promises acquired. It was the type of factor a maker would do with many spreadsheets right now, apart from there was no Excel.

Lastly, Continental fully commited to purchaser services with the Subject Services initiative. It was a software exclusively for Continental consumers, intent upon the correction of shopper complaints, and stick to-up with stated buyers to confirm they were being contented with their car or truck. Element of that satisfaction was surely down to the volume of preference left to the shopper with regard to their Mark II’s visual appeal.

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During the rigorous QC method, the artisans at Allen Park Overall body would paint a Mark II in a single of 19 diverse lacquers. Prospects paired the thick paint with 1 of 43 distinct interior coloration strategies, which included 5 various upholstery materials for the inside. The Mark II was not available in garish two-tone like other own luxurious opponents had been so generally geared up. Nevertheless, Continental would comply with these types of a ask for if the shopper was established on it.

Common on the Mark II was quite a ton of electric power machines for the Fifties: Electricity brakes, seats, and home windows (including vents). Gauges have been complete and included a warning light for reduced gas, equally concepts that were kind of novel at the time. And even though the Mark II’s wheel covers were being not a distinctive feature, the way they had been made was.

Every of the wheel covers was designed by hand. The multi-spoke design was built up of hand-assembled veins, each individual just one connected individually. In the same way, a craftsman bolted every single letter of the block Continental lettering on the rear tire hump separately.

Continental workers also rebuilt just about every brand new engine just before it was set up in a Mark II. As we realized final time, the Mark II’s Y-block 368 cubic inch V8 was taken immediately from the Lincoln lineup. Having said that, it wasn’t blithely mounted into a Continental, that would’ve been as well straightforward. Rather, just about every engine destined for Mark II use was hand-picked from the Lincoln assembly line (as a “good a person?”) and then taken aside.

The V8 was then reassembled with Continental’s QC tolerances and methods in intellect, to make certain that it achieved benchmarks. When it was completed, there were being overall performance inspections much too. A single miracles if the thorough rebuild designed a substantial variation in the dependability of the motor down the road.

With its substantial high-quality command, classy Midcentury styling, and sky-superior price, it was time to put the new Continental Division’s Mark II coupe on sale to an eager and well-heeled general public. And all went very well, ideal? Properly, no. Not at all. But that is a tale for subsequent time.

[Images: YouTube]

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