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Image: 1966 Lincoln Continental Coronation Coupe show car

1966 Lincoln Continental
Coronation Coupe Show Car

A show car was created to emphasize Lincoln's new 1966 styling

For the 1966 auto show circuit, Lincoln wanted something special to promote its completely new styling. Since a relationship was already in place with Lehmann-Peterson of Chicago, Illinois, to build the Lincoln Continental Executive Limousines, they were the logical choice to turn to for assistance with this task.

Image: 1966 Lincoln Continental Coronation Coupe stylist's renderingsSTYLIST'S RENDERINGS: At left, Lehmann-Peterson's Mervin Culver carefully measures a sheet metal insert fabricated to fit in the rear quarter window area. He refers to stylist's drawings to make certain the work is performed in accordance with the original design sketches.

Ford Motor Company stylists had sketched a design for the new Continental Coupe which they thought represented contemporary design as well as a statement to classic coachwork. Named the Coronation Coupe, the show car began life as a production model finished in Arctic White paint with a white leather interior. Shipped straight to Lehmann-Peterson from the Wixom, Michigan factory, work began immediately to transform it into the Coronation Coupe. Lehmann-Peterson began by removing the interior and much of the exterior trim. Interior soft trim including seating, door panels, and the like was sent over to Lehmann's in-house upholstery department to be recovered with a spectacular new custom design.

While the upholstery professionals were working on transforming the interior, expert body men began the process of giving the car a new appearance. The rear quarter glass and mechanisms were removed and metal panels were put in their place to eliminate the windows. This moved the rear roof line forward to meet the front door glass, giving the roof a new, very formal town car appearance. The roof would be covered in padded white Levant-grained vinyl and the rear window would be covered inside and out to give it a slightly smaller, more elegant look.

Image: 1966 Lincoln Continental Coronation Coupe wood veneerWALNUT VENEER: Final measurements are taken for the walnut veneer trim to be added to the custom show car in the photo at left, and the process of trimming the veneer and test fitting it to the show car begins.

On the lower body sides, a 10-inch wide band of genuine walnut veneer was applied to the full length of the body sides, just above stainless steel rocker panel moldings. An additional chrome molding is added to the top of the wood veneer to give it a finished appearance. The veneer was attached to the car with a high strength adhesive.

Additional exterior revisions included the removal of the exterior door handles and filling in the holes for them, and the rear wheel well openings were slightly enlarged to give the car a sportier appearance. Once the body work had been completed, multiple coats of hand-sanded, pearl white acrylic enamel paint were applied to give the car a shimmer and shine unlike conventional automotive paints of the time.

Image: 1966 Lincoln Continental Coronation Coupe grilleGRILL: In the photo on the left, Mervin Culver, pictured at left, and Bill Leahy, on the right, install the redesigned grille on the Coronation Coupe.

A new grille design was created by adding 12 vertical bars to the stock grille, which consisted of horizontal bars. The auto show car grille had a distinct pattern to it, and would be a preview of the production 1967 grille, although the 1967 production grille would only have six vertical bars. The vertical bars on the Coronation Coupe were simply press-fitted into place over the horizontal bars and spot welded.

Once the exterior revisions had been completed, the new interior was ready to be installed. Front and rear seats were covered in luxurious silk brocade with white pearl leather. On the floor, thick white mouton carpeting gave the interior a somewhat decadent appearance.

The blind rear roof quarter panel design allowed rear seat passengers to travel in privacy, although they did create a rather substantial blind spot for the driver. The Continental Star located on the front fender of production models was moved to the roof sail panel near its front edge as a final touch.

Lincoln followed the Coronation Coupe in 1967 with another show car named the Coronation Coupe II, which was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show on February 25, 1967. This car was very similar to the 1966 version, but was finished in a metallic gold pearlescent finish with a matching gold Levant-grained vinyl roof. A power sunroof was fitted, and appropriate updates were made to the interior and its fittings as well as to the exterior trim to reflect its 1967 show car status.

Image: 1966 Lincoln Continental Coronation Coupe interior

Inside the Coronation Coupe, the seats were upholstered with a white silk brocade material and white pearl leather. And on the floor, plush mouton carpeting.