Another Batista classic

                                                                            Photo by Tracey Eaton
   This photo of a 1956 or '57 Continental Mark II can be found in Tracey Eaton's new book, Cuban Thunder: Harley-Davidsons in Cuba. Its Harlista owner, Julio Palmero, says the car once belonged to Marta Fernández Miranda de Batista, wife of former Cuban president Fulgencio Batista.
   The Batistas, we know, liked fine autos, so it's easy to understand how such a handsome luxury coupe could make its way into their collection. Continental was established by Ford Motor Co. as a separate division in 1956, reviving a name that had last appeared on a Lincoln model – also now a classic – in the late '40s.
   The 1956 Mark II was an elegant cigar of a vehicle, with a long hood that paid tribute to its predecessor, near-flat sides and the signature Continental round bump in the decklid to accommodate the spare tire. Its clean lines were a remarkable contrast to the lavish styling of other 1950s American cars.
   With a list price of $9,538, the Continental cost as much as a Rolls-Royce, and far more than competing U.S. luxury cars. Just 3,000 were sold; among the buyers were Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, the Shah of Iran and, we now know, the Batistas.
  Continental was folded into the Lincoln division for 1958.

The Batistas, 1958. Museo de la Revolución / Wikipedia

                                   Ford Motor Co. advertisement


Paul said…
Good evening Rob, just want to let you know Ralphee at CUBANCLASSICS photographed two Continental Mark IIs back in 2009 (a black one in Havana and a light green one in central Cuba)so it appears that there were a few other Mk IIs around.
Caristas said…
Indeed he did, Paul. Amazing, isn't it, that at least three of these rare classics remain on the road in Cuba?
Anonymous said…
Att. brasileiro : Joe l . marinho

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