Ford Motor Company's Continental Division built the Mark II in 1955,
1956, and 1957 at Allen Park, Michigan.
Just over 3,000 cars were produced.
Bucking the in-vogue styling trends of all other American cars, the Continental was,
instantly upon its debut, a classic. It is a classic in the truest sense of the word which can be
described as widely accepted as desirable when it was introduced, and having enduring
acceptance as it grows older.
The Continental Mark II had no jet-age fins or other extreme attributes; it used chrome only as subtle accents to its restrained styling. The Mark II's appeal comes from a design which is not whimsical, shallow, or frivolous and therefore is not dated.
And, speaking of not being dated: Ford maintained that the Continental Mark II did not have a year designation, unlike every other car ever produced. It was simply "Mark II". Regardless of when it was built, every Mark II's serial number (or VIN as we call it today) starts with "C56", a vague reference to the model year in which the MKII was introduced. Naturally, motor vehicle departments and other authorities disagreed with Ford's premise and assigned a year designation on titles and registrations. Likewise, bureaucratic entities refuse to acknowledge that a Continental Mark II is not a Lincoln, however its legions of enthusiasts know better. Proof-in-point of the Mark II's desirability is that almost 60 years after it was manufactured, over 50% of these cars survive. Even if we consider individual series or body styles, the Mark II stands alone in this respect.
A Continental Mark II in front of the Allen Park Assembly Plant. The facility was also known as Ford's "Pilot Plant" where pre-Job #1 and other test vehicles were built. In 1957 this building became the headquarters for the Edsel Division, and some Edsels were built here. Ford also tested assembly line procedures here before they were implemented at other locations. The building stands today, at 17000 Oakwood Boulevard, facing I-94.
Continental Mark II VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
The data plate (also known as the
patent plate) of the Continental Mark II,
like the car itself, has a different
concept from other Ford Motor
The Mark II VIN consists of C56, the month of production code, and a serial identification number which consists of either 3 or 4 numbers. There is no single year identification, as the Mark II was just that...Mark II. Instead, the code of C56 is used on all Continental Mark II data plates regardless of when the car was actually produced (1955, 1956, or 1957) C = Continental and 56 = Mark II. (left) The month of production code is a single number or letter. Unlike any other Ford Motor Company VIN, the Mark II makes use of the ninth letter of the alphabet, I, in the VIN which indicates the car was built in July, 1956. The serial identification number ranges from 975 to 3989. Not all numbers were used in the 975 to 1000 range. (below) The "Body Specif" section of the data plate lists the Mark II's color, interior trim type, scheduled date of manufacture, and the day's sequence number. The scheduled date code, in most cases, is a month and day.
Continental Mark VIN Scheduled Date Code in Body Specif line1955 Same as VIN month of production code1956C,D,E,F,G - Same as VIN month of production code.19566n56 - June7n56 - July, used through July 15 then changed to letter IJ,K,L,M,N - Same as VIN month of production code1957 N - used for all months
Some Mark II data plates also list a DSO (domestic special order) number in the case of special paint, upholstery, interior features, or other components. A handful of Mark II data plates have unique information but the vast majority follow the formats above. The data plate pictured below lists the DSO paint code (D19), the DSO number (S284) and the upholstery type (1A1A). No scheduled date is listed. All Mark II data plates list the "Style" of II-60A (Mark II, body style 60A)
Access the Mark II database. All 3,000 Continental Mark IIs are in the database, all VINS,,,most of them have complete data plate code information. Selling dealer, owner history, and other facts when available. The info columns can be ordered as you wish. The Continental Mark II database is a private section of the site and access is granted upon request and review. Send an email to the address noted. Include your full name, location, and expression of interest. Upon acceptance you will be sent the web site address, a user name, and a password.