Features A 1956 Continental MK II Owned By Henry Ford II's Wife
The 63rd Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August will have a variety of pre and post-war custom-bodied Lincoln vehicles as one of the featured marques. The marque is also featured this year’s commemorative Pebble Beach Concours poster done by Ken Eberts, founder and president of the Automotive Fine Arts Society. The poster depicts a 1956 Continental MK II in the foreground and a 1939 Lincoln Zephyr.
“In 1955, at 12 years of age, when the 1956 Continental MK II debuted, I was excited. In 1965, as a designer in the Lincoln Studio, I was inspired by the MK II. And today, in creating the poster art for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, I am proud to be portraying this car’s classically simple, subtly sculpted, impeccable design. With just the right amount of jewelry in the form of chrome, it was a statement of exquisite taste and elegance,” said Ken Eberts
The two vehicles in the poster also have something in common; both were owned by members of the Ford family. The 1939 Zephyr was owned by Edsel Bryant Ford, who was the president of the Ford Motor Company from 1919 through 1943. The 1956 Continental MK II was owned by the wife of Henry Ford II, Anne and it has a very interesting story to tell.
When this particular Continental MK II was ordered through Ford’s central office in 1956, Anne Ford and Henry Ford II made some specific choices to make this vehicle stand out from other Continental MK IIs. To start, their Continental MK II was the only the vehicle that was ordered with a Hartz cloth roof. Also, this Continental MK II was finished without a hood ornament per the request of Anne Ford. Inside, the Continental MK II was furnished in gray wool broadcloth with red piping and contrasting black leather on the door panels and dash.
Anne Ford would keep the vehicle for two years before selling it to her assistant. From there, the story gets a bit murky as to what happened to the vehicle until one day when Jim Schmidt came accross the vehicle in poor condition in a classified ad. Schmidt wasn’t sure if he should buy the vehicle and restore it, but came to conclusion he should after finding out the history of the vehicle and also owning two other MK IIs that were owned by members of the Ford family.
“It seemed only right to have the trio of 1956 MK IIs originally owned by the Ford brothers, so we bought the car and dove into the project, taking on our biggest restoration challenge yet. It is now a stunning car, and we’re thrilled to bring it to Pebble Beach,” said Rick Schmidt, the son of Jim and the current owner.
When the car was shown at the 62nd Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the son of Anne and Henry Ford II, Edsel B. Ford II had the chance to look around and admire it. He didn’t know of the family connection till he was told and shown original owner’s manual inscribed with her name.
“My mother was a very sophisticated woman and her MK II definitely mirrored her personality. I am pleased to announce the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is bringing a never-seen-before special Lincoln to the Pebble Beach Concours for display. I look forward to that—and to seeing my mother’s car again. It is a beautiful Continental, and I am honored Rick Schmidt is bringing it out,” said Edsel B. Ford II.