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Image: 1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible

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Image: 1963 Lincoln Continental - More space inside, more power under the hoodOnce again, minor styling changes accompanied more robust mechanical and quality improvements on the 1963 Lincoln Continental. Additional galvanized steel was used in the body, and a zinc-rich primer was incorporated into the painting process, both with the intent of fighting off rust and corrosion better.

A new rear deck lid was fitted, and it featured a higher top surface to increase usable storage space inside, equivalent to an additional 2-suiter case. This brought the deck lid up closer to the tops of the rear fenders, and gave the car a somewhat squarer appearance from the rear. Under the deck lid, the luggage compartment was also reworked for maximum storage space. A chrome Continental Star was added to the upper rear face of the deck lid, and the insert below that decorated the deck lid was again updated, resembling the new front grille texture, but not really duplicating it as in previous years.

The radio antenna was relocated from the left rear fender to the right front, which makes the 1963 cars easy to identify from the others, since 1964 and 1965 Continentals were larger and had new roof lines.

A new grille design honored the 1956-1957 Continental Mark II by using that design as inspiration for the 1963 design. A series of small squares served as the main pattern, interrupted by a thin horizontal chrome bar that ran between the headlights, as in 1962. A series of vertical bars sliced the design into six sections, six above and six below the horizontal bar, with the grille areas surrounding the headlights being wider and slightly taller than the center section. Lower in the front bumper, the parking and turn signal lights received new amber-colored lenses, reflecting an industry change to amber signal lights for safety reasons.

Inside, courtesy lights were added to the rear doors on Sedans, a continuation of a late production change for 1962. A redesigned instrument panel had a one piece padded top that ran the full width of the car, and the lower section on the passenger side was reworked to provide almost 2 inches additional knee and leg room, necessary due to the relocation of the front seat forward to increase rear seat leg room, a complaint about Lincolns since this style was introduced in 1961.

Mechanical changes continued as well. Under the hood, a new four barrel carburetor replaced the two barrel design used previously, which was good for an additional 20 horsepower, now 320 instead of 300. The two primaries were centered over the manifold, as engineers felt they would be used 90 percent of the time, with the secondary barrels only kicking in during times of maximum acceleration. Compression ratio was also increased to 10.1:1, attributed to the new step-top pistons. An alternator was provided on all cars for 1963 (although some late '62s also were shipped with them), which allowed for better charging at low engine speeds. The universal joints were also beefed up to handle the additional torque for 1963, and more stainless steel was used in the exhaust system, which was modified with a free-flow design to reduce back pressure by 1/3 and improve performance.

New paint colors made sure the new Lincolns were up to date, color wise, and two new interior fabrics were offered. Regency, a brocade, used five different shades of yarn to create a distinctive look, and Silver Cloud used metallic yarn to create a shimmering, abstract pattern that was most contemporary. Genuine Leather continued to be offered as an option on Sedan models, and was provided as standard on Convertibles. Additionally, traditional All-Wool Broadcloth in Silver Blue was available for the Sedan.

New options included an AM-FM fully transistorized push button radio and power vent windows, (initially optional but became standard early in production). Added to the standard equipment list this year were the six-way power seat and power radio antenna (both options initially, but made standard early in the production run).

Lincoln's trim size was a benefit when it came to parking and handling, but its reduced interior dimensions were issues for some. Now that Lincoln had a style and look of its own, it could concentrate on attending to those concerns. A larger, more spacious Lincoln would debut for 1964, with new styling and interior spaciousness that would allow it to compete with the Cadillac and Imperial. The styling would be updated, but only to accommodate the need for more room inside, or to improve visibility. The classic Lincoln look would continue, but would be carefully refined.


1961 Lincoln Continental | 1962 Lincoln Continental | 1963 Lincoln Continental | 1964 Lincoln Continental | 1965 Lincoln Continental