The 1956 Continental Mark II in America’s Car Museum was donated by Steve Boone, owner of Northwest Harley Davidson in Lacey. The Mark II provides viewers with an example of Ford’s forward-thinking designs and attention to quality during the middle of the last century. "To craft the finest automobiles in America" was, after all, the motto of the short-lived Continental Division of Ford Motor Co. Boone said the sleek look and luxurious interior gained his attention when he acquired the car.
“The Continental Division of Ford Motor Company traced its roots back to Edsel Ford's pet project, the 1939 Lincoln Continental,” The April 2005 issue of Hemmings Classic Car noted. The Lincoln line had stopped production in 1948, and dealers were eager to fill their showrooms with a replacement. The Mark II fed into that line. Work on designing the car started in 1952 with research to determine whether a market for such a premium car even existed.
The company determined the model itself would likely lose money, but it would build the brand prestige for other Ford models. A design contest among Ford stylists and outside contractors resulted in a two-door coupe designed by staffer John Reinhart. It was both traditional and classic, yet incorporated what he termed Modern Formal design - this was the Mark II.
When it debuted as a 1956 model in October of 1955, the $9,966 Mark II was one of the heaviest American cars, topping out at 5,190 pounds on a 126-inch wheelbase. Under the hood was a standard Lincoln V-8 engine that could reach 60 miles per hour in 16 seconds.