Friday, February 01, 2008

It's A Continental Kit ~ And Monkette Wants A Ride!

In 1942, the same year that I was born, Ford introduced the Lincoln Continental. It had an extended rear bumper with the spare tire mounted on it behind the trunk. By the 1950's every teenager in the country thought it was the coolest look possible, especially if you also added skirts over the bottom of the rear wheel cutouts. A bunch of companies sprang up making convertor kits for just about anything with four wheels and a three-on-the-tree*.

Teenagers usually added the kit to an older car that they'd picked up cheap, customized, souped up the engine with a four barreled carburetor and maybe even milled the heads, got all the chrome re-chromed and painted the body and the Continental Kit to match one another.

If you google "continental kit" you'll discover that there plenty of companies still making the things, even for fairly recent autos, but this was the first one I'd seen in decades and the first one Monkette had EVER seen. Actually, I'm not sure that she'd ever seen a convertible for that matter. Air conditioning and Ralph Nader** pretty much killed off "rag tops". We never did locate the car's owner so Monkette didn't get to tool around town in style that morning, but she did get to pose on the bumper. She also talked me into buying a couple of teal shirts...LOL

* "Three on the tree" referrs to a three speed manual transmission with the shift lever on the steering column.

** Ralph Nader wrote a book "Unsafe At Any Speed" and convertibles offer no protection at all in a roll-over. We can thank Ralph for mandatory seat belts and air bags.


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