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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Rare Trio of Ford Family-Owned Lincolns Going on Display


Owning a mint-condition Lincoln Continental Mark II grants you some serious Blue Oval brownie points. Owning one that originally belonged to a member of the Ford family – well, that’s something special. But owning three Ford family-owned Mark II’s? Impossible.
That is, unless you’re collectors Jim and Rick Schmidt, the proud father and son owners of three 1956 Mark II Lincolns originally owned by William Clay Ford, Benson Ford, and Henry Ford II. The rare trio can be seen at the upcoming Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance, beginning October 24.


The tale of how the three cars were united begins in the early ‘80s when Jim Schmidt went looking for a clean Mark II for his father. He contacted a friend at Ford and it led him to William Clay Ford’s Honolulu Blue ’56 Lincoln. He bought it, gave it to his father (who owned it for a number of years), and upon its return in the ‘90s he restored the car to current condition.

While out showing this car at a Lincoln Continental Owners Club meet, Jim came across a retired Ford executive who owned Benson Ford’s green Continental. The two were never able to agree on a price, but upon the owner’s passing a number of years later, his family contacted Schmidt and a deal was made. This time no restoration was needed.


Though that money was likely spent on, in and underneath lucky number three – Henry Ford’s Mark II, originally ordered for his wife Anne. Oddly, finding it wasn’t the hard part. It had been listed for sale on for quite a while, but in rougher than rough shape. Though in a moment of clarity, Jim reportedly set out with an empty trailer and brought the car home two days later.

Each car displays remarkably high-quality restoration work, with the “Henry” appearing as it would have on the showroom floor in 1956. Henry Ford II’s unique Continental sports one-off black canvas upholstery over its metal roof as well as its original 285-horsepower 368ci Y-block engine.


The “Benson” Continental boasts a Lincoln 430ci engine – the original 368ci was replaced at Benson’s orders in 1958 – as well as a special combination of interior colors and Green Lucite Metallic exterior paint. William Clay Ford’s Mark II was also updated by Ford engineers, this time in 1968, and received a big 460ci engine along with other mechanical upgrades.

Adding even more intrigue to the story, the rare threesome will be on display at the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival, offering Edsel Ford II – this year’s honorary chairman – a chance to see the three family-owned cars together for the very first time.