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1966 Lincoln Continental
Stainless Steel Convertibles

Built to celebrate the production of 50,000 units for the 1966 model year

Image: 1966 Lincoln Continental Stainless Steel Convertible

The all-new 1966 Lincoln Continental was very popular, and model year production surpassed the 50,000 mark for the first time since the unibodied, center-opening rear door body styling had been introduced back in 1961. To celebrate this achievement, the fifty thousandth car built was assembled with brushed stainless steel body panels for the Lincoln Division. The metal was supplied by Allegheny-Ludlum Steel Corporation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which was the same company behind the stainless steel 1936 Fords and the 1960 Ford Thunderbird Hardtops.

Allegheny-Ludlum ordered two additional stainless steel cars to use for promotions, and they were built at the same time as the fifty thousandth car for Lincoln. All three were Convertibles, and featured a brushed finish on the stainless steel panels. The convertible tops were black on two of the cars, and a dark blue top was fitted to the other. One had a black leather interior, another a dark blue leather interior with individually adjustable front seats and console (this was the one with the dark blue top), and the third a red leather interior. The car with the black top and black leather interior was the 50,000th car, has the 50,000th VIN, and remained with Lincoln-Mercury for years. The other two of course were delivered to Allegheny-Ludlum.

The inside areas of the doors, under the hood, and inside the trunk are painted to match the interior trim color of the cars, as stainless steel was not used in these areas.

The cars were built late in the 1966 production run at a cost of $30,000 each. The two cars built for Allegheny-Ludlum were fitted with 1967 hood ornament, grille, and taillight trim, as well as '67 dash pad, tilt steering wheel column, steering wheel, and padded hub to update their appearance. Despite using 1967 grilles, for some reason, the Continental Star that appeared on the front fenders of the 1966 models only was fitted to all three stainless cars. Documentation shows that the front fenders did not initially have the mounting holes for the ornaments, so they had to be drilled later to attach the chrome decorations. It is not clear why this was done, as not attaching those emblems would have essentially given the cars a '67 exterior appearance.

The car retained by Lincoln (the actual fifty thousandth car) was damaged in the 1970s when a building partially collapsed on the car. It was repaired, purchased by Allegheny-Ludlum, and is now on display in a museum. The car with the red interior was was in an accident and suffered front end damage at some point. It too was repaired.

All three stainless steel Lincoln Continental Convertibles still exist today, and are shown from time to time at car shows around the country.

Image: Stainless Steel 1966 Lincoln Continental Convertibles

The three stainless steel Lincoln Continental Convertibles are shown in the image at left in the special assembly area set aside for these cars. The 50,000th Lincoln is the one on the extreme right in the photo. Note the bracing running from the windshield header, and the pieces of paper taped to the center of the header, upon which the words "DO NOT PAINT" were written. (Click image to view larger version in new window or tab.)