At its launch, the fourth-generation Lincoln Continental was offered solely as a four-door, as either a sedan or a convertible. For the first time on a Lincoln since 1951, rear doors were rear-hinged (suicide doors). To alert drivers of open doors, Lincoln fitted the dashboard with a “Door Ajar” warning light as seen on many modern automobiles. Latching at the B-pillar with a vacuum-operated central locking system, convertibles used an abbreviated pillar while sedans were “pillared hardtops.” In the configuration, a thin B-pillar supported the roof structure while all four doors utilized frameless door glass in the style of a hardtop or convertible; the layout would become used by several Ford Motor Company sedans during the 1960s and 1970s.
In what would be the first four-door convertible from a major American manufacturer after World War II, the Lincoln Continental convertible was fitted with a power-operated top on all examples. Deriving its mechanism from the Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner hardtop convertible, the Continental was fitted with a fabric roof that stored under a rear-hinged deck lid/filler panel. In a similar fashion as the Skyliner, to access the trunk for storage, the deck lid was opened electrically without raising or lowering the roof.
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