|Photo by Tracey Eaton|
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|