Lot #982.1 - Late in 1952, stylists were working on the first clay models of the 1956 Lincoln. The basic dimensions were based on the 1952 cars, but as the drawings took shape, the stylists agreed that the car was just not long enough to be competitive in the luxury market. On their own initiative, the stylists began to model another car of greater length with a low roofline and incorporating the advanced styling soon to debut on the new dream cars. When the 1956 models were released, the motoring press was surprised. The Lincoln model line made an instant impression as the most radically restyled and thoroughly reengineered luxury car of the year. Lincoln now sported three models; the Capri, Premiere and Continental Mark II. Although the much-anticipated Mark Ii was a styling tour de force, it was the new Premiere and Capri that garnered the critical attention. Hooded headlights with forward slanting lines, narrow horizontal grille, bumpers integrated into the shape of the body, exhaust exiting through the rear bumper, a low roofline and the graceful "waterfall" side panels made for a stunning car. The only resemblance to the 1955 model was limited to a similar treatment of the taillight lenses, but nothing else would confuse 1956 production with any other year from Lincoln. The Industrial Designers Institute, later to be known as the Industrial Designers Society of America, selected the new Lincolns as the first cars to ever be cited for its esteemed award. Lincolns became an instant success with the "smart set." Then Hollywood stars were buying them. Walt Disney and Elvis Presley each purchased a new Premier coupe. Lincoln had arrived on the luxury car scene with a vengeance. The 1956 engine was reengineered to handle more power and torque, now garnering 285 horsepower at 4,600 rpm as compared to the 225 at 4,400 with the 1955 car. Lincoln offered another important feature that had been all but ignored on previous models, safety. For the first time, Ford was selling safety and Lincoln would be the flag bearer of the cause. The new Lincoln featured collapsible deep-dish steering wheel, recessed dashboard with extra padding, and seat belts. The new emphasis on safety was applied to the entire Ford product line for 1956. Radical or not, the new styling had the desired effect on sales. The Premiere and Capri sold a combined 50,322 cars, almost double the total sales of 1955 and the most in Lincoln history. The Premiere convertible accounted for just 2,447 of that total. This car has had a full nut-and-bolt restoration, taking almost six years. Within a few weeks of its completion in '97, it was entered in the inaugural Concours d'Elegance winning first in class.