How much would it cost to fully update a 1967 Lincoln Continental?

I’ve been looking to buy a new car and the only one I really want right now is a 1967 Lincoln Continental convertible with suicide doors. Of course, these things are a little hard to find, much less in very good condition. So I am considering just buying a reasonably priced one instead of finding one in the best possible condition. Then I’ll fix it up as I get the money.

The one I am looking at right now has 43500 miles, has a broken A/C, and is the wrong color.

If I do end up buying this car, I will want to overhaul the engine, fix the A/C (lets assume Everything is wrong with it), reupholster the interior, and give it a paint job. I’m also wondering if it is possible to update the dashboard. Not just so that it plays CDs and my iPod, but also give it the features most cars nowadays have, such as the check engine light.

I’d appreciate any information on costs or plausibility of my goal. Which is; ave it run and drive as if it were new.

First off how much is one that is fully restored?
I have heard it said more than once when dealing with classic cars that if you are looking at a car worth less than 50K restored, it is better to buy one restored than to do it yourself. If you try and restore it yourself it seems you can spend a large fortune creating a car worth just a small fortune. :smack:
Engine can cost anywhere from $500 up to OG knows. Depends on what is wrong with it now, and how much you want to replace /freshen up /improve. If you just went in and did the vlaves, new rings and bearings and a new carb probably $1000-$2000 depending on if you do the work yourself, and labor rates in your area. If you decide to bore the engine or replace a cam or other stuff as long as you are there, the price goes up. Way up.
The last V8 I rebuilt for a friend was about $3500 by the time we were done. That was several years ago, and it was a brand new motor when we were done. Not a hot rod, just a very nice street engine.
Interior? Probably can’t do it yourself. Talk to an upholstery shop. do you want leather? Add bucks.
Paint job? Start at about $300 and go up from there. How good a paint job do you want? A twenty footer? A ten footer? A five footer? Or a good paint job? Assuming that you have NO underlying body work or prep figure the $300 is for a twenty footer (looks good from 20+ feet away) double that for a 10, double it again for a 5 and double it again for a GOOD paint job. Custom paint (flames etc) extra. Sometimes lots extra.
Decent prep, bodywork, and rust repair additional.
About the dash. I doubt you will find a modern dash that would bolt in. That Lincoln is much wider than probably everything built today except a full sized pickup. You could adapt the existing dash to take a modern radio / iPod.
Check engine light? To have a functional check engine light you would have to install a modern engine with computerized engine management systems, and all the sensors. Lots and lots of work. I know a guy that put a 2005 turbo fuel injected engine into his 1984 240. Took him over a year of every night and weekend. He had to create a computer network to simulate the one from the car that the engine came out of, make the engine fit, hook up the plumbing, and have some custom software written. Did I mention this guy is a technical genius and very creative?
Can you put a modern engine into a 1967 car and make it work to modern standards? Yes. Is it easy? NO Is it cheap? NO.
You have not yet talked about suspension, and exhaust. Do you live where cars rust?
Are you starting to see why letting someone else spend the bucks on the restoration is maybe a good idea?


Hmmm, OK, briefly, from my experience running an auto repair shop for a couple of years, a few years ago. Adjust for inflation:

Starting with the engine, you’re looking at a couple thousand for a rebuild alone. If you want a really good warranty, then you’ll be installing a remanufactured engine from outfits like Jasper or MidAtlantic, or a new engine from the Ford factory. So anywhere from 2 to perhaps six thousand would be my semi-educated guess.

A/C, assuming everything is broken, probably over two thousand, but less than three, I think.

A couple of grand for a decent quality paint job.

In regards to upholstery, I honestly have no clue.

It shouldn’t be too hard to alter the existing dashboard to take a CD player where the factory radio once resided, not too sure about the IPod. Figure a few hundred.

Now, about a check engine light. This light, on modern cars, serves to warn the driver that any one of a host of systems isn’t functioning properly. To achieve this, you’d actually have to install the entire engine/transmission/exhaust/wiring harness/contol systems from a newer model car. You’re talking about custom work here, and you’re spending crazy money to get it, but I couldn’t venture a guess as to how much. Think in terms of what it costs to build a car from scratch, or perhaps more accurately, building a prototype car from scratch.

Instead, I’d recommend simply installing a full complement of guages to monitor engine/transmission operating conditions, if that’s the effect you’re trying to achieve. This can be done, I’m pretty sure, for well under a grand, but does tend to make your dashboard resemble the cockpit of Barry Goldwater’s private plane. For a less gaudy look, go with smaller guages below the dashboard.

But wait, you’re not finished. You want the car to look and drive like new. So you’re also looking at replacing various suspension parts, along with items such as the covertible top, weatherstripping, and complete brake, cooling, and power steering systems. Then you’ll be hunting down those squeaks and rattles that plague all older cars. Add multiple thousands to the tally.

You’re beginning to see why people who restore old cars almost always do the labor themselves. Instead of paying perhaps 15-25 grand to have a car restored by professionals, you may want to try to buy a classic car that’s already been restored as a labor of love by an amateur. Such people, fortunately for you, are accustomed to the idea of taking a loss when they sell the car. Unfortunately for you, since you have your heart set on a particular (and somewhat rare) model, you may have to wait a long time before you find an attractive car at an attractive price.

Still, those ‘67 convertibles are pretty freakin’ cool…

Well, it looks like Rick said most everything that I said, only faster. Good job, Rick, you’ve rendered me obsolete. :slight_smile:

According to the Gold Book, a 1967 Lincoln Continental convertible in show condition will bring $26,000. Excellent condition $20,000, good condition $15,000, fair condition $8.000.

Hope this helps. The Gold Book is an invaluable resource when looking at classic cars.

For once I wasn’t 14th off the line.
Welcome to the dope, don’t worry you will probably beat me next time.

Here’s the link I was looking for earlier..

Cars On Line specializes in classics. Right now they have one 1967 Lincoln Continental for sale, it’s not a convertible, but only 106,000 miles and $10,500 asking price.

I love browsing these ads.

DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with Cars On Line. Do not purchase any vehicle without the proper precautions. I have not endorsed the purchase of the above car, I simply am providing a place to search for what you want.

Here’s the link I was looking for earlier..

Cars On Line specializes in classics. Right now they have one 1967 Lincoln Continental for sale, it’s not a convertible, but only 106,000 miles and $10,500 asking price.

I love browsing these ads.

DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with Cars On Line. Do not purchase any vehicle without the proper precautions. I have not endorsed the purchase of the above car, I simply am providing a place to search for what you want.

Not to contradict Rick and Enter the Flagon completely, but you may not have to shell out as much as they estimate, depending upon the condition of the car. The first thing you should do is pick up a copy of Hemmings Motor News. That’ll give you a source and prices on parts for the beast. Also check out some of the various hotrod magazines as they’ll have ads for aftermarket items (such as digital dashes, etc.) that may not be listed in Hemmings.

Now to beat some of the costs. Look for swap meets in your area, those can often provide bargains for things that you’re looking for (I picked up a mint condition factory service manual for my Chrysler for $20 and most places want more than that for a reprint.) Were I you, I’d just junk the A/C unit and go for an aftermarket model (Vintage Air seems to be popular with the hotrod set). The ones I’ve seen prices for are cheaper than the prices you’ve been quoted in this thread for rebuilding yours, which would have to be converted to handle new coolant anyway. You might be able to do the interior yourself, as lots of companies make kits for classic cars (this is where Hemmings comes in handy) and if you can find one for your car, then it’s reasonably easy to install.

Hemmings will also have listings of scrapyards that will have parts for your car (and IIRC, Lincoln’s had the same basic body style for a number of years, so you shouldn’t have trouble getting parts you might need), and those will often be cheaper than reproduction parts.

I would not recommend spending less than a couple of grand for a new paint job, unless the painter is a friend of yours. Generally, $300 paint jobs look like they were applied with a brush.

One way that you might be able to get a modern dash (and Rick would be able to tell you if this was possible or not) would be to find a wrecked vehicle with the same size wheelbase as your Lincoln and unbolt the body of the wrecked vehicle and bolt your Lincoln’s body to that. That way you wouldn’t have to deal with all the conversion crap.

As for uprgrading the suspension, that’s not too terribly difficult, depending upon the original suspension that the car was equipped with. If it has the air ride suspension, then forget it. Those things are the biggest PITA known to man. Generally, you can pick up new tie rods, ball joints, etc. fairly inexpensively, and with the right tools, you can do the job yourself (save the alignment) in an afternoon.

The one thing that you absolutely must check on, is if the car has a dual or single brake master cylinder. If it has a single, then before you do ANYTHING to the car, swap it out with a dual cylinder! I owned a car with a single master cylinder and had a wheel cylinder rupture on me, which meant I had no brakes. Damn near got killed before I was able to stop the car (using the “Fred Flintstone method” I might add). It is not an experience I care to repeat.

Another thing you’re going to want to find is a shop in your area where the guys have experience working on carbs. Unless you drop a modern engine in the car, that is. Many of the young guys out there haven’t worked on a carb, so they’ll be lost if the thing needs adjusting (or rebuilt). The Car Talk website used to have listings (and might still) of listener recommended shops. I’d check there to get an idea of the shops in your area, so if you run into something that you can’t fix, you’ll be able to take it someplace where they can do the job right.

Pick up a book on restoring old cars, and pay close attention to the kinds of tools you’ll need as well as how to use them. Unless you get a modern engine (or modern ignition system) you’re going to need a dwell meter and timing light. Buy yourself two complete sets of tools, as well. One set (the good one), keep at home, the other (a cheap one), keep in the car, along with the factory service manual, so that you can make emergency repairs on the road if you have to.

Also, find a car club for your Lincoln and join that. At least some of the guys in the club will work on their own cars and will have figured out solutions to the various quirks that your car has. This comes in handy if the original parts are hard to find, or there’s a problem with the design of some aspect of the car. (They’ll also know good places to take your car, where to get parts inexpensively, and may have spares they’d be willing to sell or trade.)

Finally, once you get the car restored, keep buying parts for it! That way when something goes wrong, you’ll have a replacement part handy and won’t have to try to find one.

Lastly, if body mount bushings aren’t available, you can improvise one by drilling a hole in a hockey puck and using that.

This could be misleading. Automotive A/C is not a unit, like a home window air conditioner. It’s a system. It includes a compressor (on the engine, belt driven), a condenser (in front of the radiator), a receiver/drier, an expansion valve, probably a control valve of some sort (POA valve, suction throttling valve, et.), an evaporator (usually built into the dash), hoses (and maybe some pipes) connecting various parts, and electrical controls and wiring. In a car that has factory air, it’s sometimes problematic to install an aftermarket-design part because the factory-design part is in the way, and they may not mount identically.

Repairing the factory system, while in some ways ideal, has the potentially significant problem of parts availability. Usually there’s just one or two functional problems, and repairing the system is less expensive than replacing it. Of course, with a 30 year old car it is possible that complete repair might cost more than replacement with an aftermarket system. Just be aware that’s it’s probably not as simple and cheap as the phrase “junk the A/C unit and go for an aftermarket model” might imply.

Some of the aftermarket units are designed to mount identically and/or take advantage of any existing hardware. That may not be the case for the OP’s car, however, and I notice that he doesn’t mention if the A/C unit’s factory or aftermarket (which was common at that time).

It’s a 40 year old car, not 30, and I don’t know of anybody that does rebuilds of such old units. There probably is, but what they’d charge and how long they’d take is anybody’s guess.

Hey, someday I’ll learn how to count. :o

Some parts might be available, either because they were used widely (e.g., a standard Tecumseh compressor) or because of specialty supply for this particular kind of car as a collector’s item. But it wouldn’t surprise me if most parts are not available.

just a question that might not warrent its own thread,

any idea what it would take to drop a modern car without the body into an old car body?

looks like a 67 t-bird, drives like an 06 bmw idea?

I can throw a couple of semi-WAGs at the idea. If you’re wanting things like airbags, antilock brakes, etc. then you’re going to have to find a modern vehicle with the same wheelbase, same weight, and same weight distribution for your donor parts (also, unless you’re a trained airbag tech, I’d find one that only had front airbags and the dashes could interchange fairly easily). If you’re looking for something less sophisticated (say fuel injection and modern suspension) then that’s not so bad. You can often find kits to add fuel injection to a carbed engine and can get modern suspension components (either aftermarket units that someone makes or by grafting on ones that are commonly used for such a purpose, like Mustang II front ends).

Critical, there’s a whole industry out there in internetsland, created just for people like you. Want a Lamborghini body on the chassis of a '96 Chrysler? No? Me neither, but some people do!

To discover this vast realm of fantasy drivemobiles, just Google the term “Kit Cars”. You’ll find a surprising number of options out there, from barebones kits to fully assembled roadsters. There are even sites which cater to people buying and selling used kit cars, so you can let someone else absorb the depreciation, and smile while you motor all the way to the bank in your '29 Dusenberg.

Happy hunting!

D’oh! I can’t believe I forgot to suggest this! teemingONE, you might check in your area if any of the local trade schools have automotive courses. Usually, they’re fairly inexpensive to take, and generally you can spend at least part of your time working on your own car. That way you could learn how to rebuild your engine, rather than paying someone to do it. It might take you longer, but you wouldn’t have to spend quite so much (you can take the tuition costs as a tax deduction) and you’d pick up valuable skills that would enable you to broaden your career possibilities (not to mention, if you needed extra cash, you could do repairs for friends, etc.).

You are only a couple of years late, or you could have bought several of them for next to nothing. They auctioned off hundreds of Lincolns, a couple of acres of the suicide door models were crushed as scrap. Says here that there were 33 4 door convertibles. Some prices.

You mention that you are in the market for a new car, keep in mind that a fully restored continental will not come close to handling , accelerating, or stopping like new car. To get these abilities a massive amount of custom brake, engine, and suspension fab will be required. I would suggest retrofitting a newer fuel injected v8 and matching overdrive transmission, then fitting the car with an aftermarket coil-over suspension. Top it off with a 4 wheel disc brake kit, and some aftermarket gauges in a custom cluster, and you have a car that will be daily drivable, and only worth something to you!
I suggest you go test drive any 60’s era luxo-cruiser, then decide if you still want one.

kilgoretrout, I’ll agree with you, partially there. Disc brakes are great (FYI, the Studebaker Drivers Club recommends that if you have a car with disc brakes that was made before the introduction of steel belted radial tires you do not put steel belted tires on the vehicle as it can set up vibrations that can cause components in the brakes to work themselves loose.), and certainly modern engines pack more horsepower than older ones (the orginal HP ratings from the 60s are misleading anyways, and the actual HP at the wheel is lower than the rating), but when it comes to ride and handling, the older cars aren’t necessarily outclassed.

Now, admittedly, I dislike the way Ford’s handle (I always feel like I’m wearing boxing gloves when I drive one), but the ride shouldn’t be all that harsh. The ride in my 1969 Newport (which is about the same size and weight as a 67 Lincoln) is as good as any car I’ve ever ridden in, and I prefer it to the ride in some of the newer cars I’ve ridden in (my father’s late model Buick has such a squishy ride that if I ride in it for more than an hour I need Drammamine). It’s been years since I’ve driven a Ford the age of the Lincoln teemingOne’s interested in, but I don’t recall it being significantly different than the late model Ford’s I’ve driven.

Of course, when compared to something like a Mustang, BMW, or similar, the Lincoln’s going to lose, hands down, but depending upon what teemingOne’s used to driving he may not notice much difference (a long wheelbase tends to smooth out the bumps).