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Thread: Introductory Units.

  1. #1
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    Default Introductory Units.

    My car is an Introductory Unit. From what I know (correct me if I'm wrong) There were about 300 Introductory Units made for distribution to select Lincoln dealerships. They were supposed to be held on the showroom floor so that prospective buyers would have something to see. Apparently there were some exceptions as Mad's parents got theirs right away.

    I bring this up because of an encounter with the woman that was Doug McClure, Continental's Sales Manager's, secretary Beth Cook, probably one of the very last of the players left with us. She brought me some great mementos of her husband's, as he was in charge of the car's interiors. She's 95 years old and is sharp as a tack. She's a bit frail, but farms some land with her daughter, who's older than I am. She brought me one of the mementos from the very first meeting of the Lincoln Continental Owners Club, long before they added the "and" between Lincoln and Continental. Her husband got it when he attended the meeting in 1954 where the Continental Division and the Mark II were first announced to the public. It's an early '40s Lincoln Continental Convertible that's gold-plated. She gave me what appears to be some type of award using a 1960 Lincoln Premiere hood ornament. With Beth's blessing I re-gifted that to someone that has a '60 Premiere sporting a Lincoln Continental hood ornament.

    Beth related some great stories while I peppered her with questions. Through her I learned that the place the Mark II was born was the closed Ford Trade School and associated "Legion" camp that supplied an endless need for trained machinists and skilled trades. He took kids off the streets, fed, clothed and trained them to slide right into his work stream as seamlessly as possible. He did pay them a decent amount of money to get trained. They got two weeks of shop learning to one week of book learning on various subjects. Once they graduated they reaped the benefits of HF's decent factory wage. I don't think that would work today, but it seemed effective and efficient.

    I asked Beth about one of the subjects that I've received some push-back on as I was only repeating what I heard from Paul Wagner, original public owner of the Derham Mark II convertible. I've stated that there was some type of mechanism where Ford actually owned all of the Introductory Units and that's why there are no invoices for the IUs. Someone that worked in finance at GM berated me mightily that there's no way the dealers weren't charged for the cars, but I countered that it would be a heavy burden for a dealer to have to sit on a car they can't sell until the pipeline started to fill. Beth recalled that there was some financing that was done for dealers so that they didn't get stuck with something they shouldn't sell, but she couldn't remember the specifics of the program. She said she fielded many dealer complaints of missing equipment and options, but no one complained about being stuck with a car they couldn't sell.

    I think there were extraordinary measures taken for an extraordinary car, but would like to gain knowledge, not more speculation. I also don't want to repeat something that isn't true. How did Ford handle financing the Introductory Unit cars?

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    Last edited by Barry Wolk; 03-30-2017 at 12:02 PM.
    Barry Wolk
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  3. #2
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    Default

    I can't answer Barry's basic question regarding the financial arrangement between Ford and the dealers for the "introductory models." Hopefully some other Forum member can offer some insight.

    But, I can add a couple of details to his post. The Mark II was introduced, as Barry states, to the Lincoln Continental Owners Club at Greenfield Village on Oct. 16, 1954.

    Our car, clearly one of the intended "introductory" units, was reserved by my parents shortly after my dad received a letter from the manager of the "special product division" of Ford dated Oct. 13, 1954 (interestingly, before the formal introduction in Greenfield) confirming production was scheduled. Dad essentially agreed to take the first Mark II delivered to San Diego and Wright Lincoln Mercury accepted his offer--but noted that the actual price of the car would be established by "Continental Division of Ford Motor Company." I don't know if that sheds any light on the financial arrangement or not--but apparently the dealer didn't know the price when they accepted Dad's order. My parents paid a down payment for our car almost exactly a year later on Oct. 11, 1955; at that time the car had not yet arrived in San Diego and the invoice notes a delivery date of "prior to Nov. 3." However, the car did arrive shortly after in mid-October and the dealer held an by-invitation only showing of the car on Oct. 20, 1955, with a sign indicating that it had already been purchased. That event apparently satisfied the need to have the car on display, because my parents completed the purchased and the car was delivered on Oct. 24, 1955.
    Last edited by Doc; 03-30-2017 at 06:31 PM.
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  5. #3
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    Do you have the Production Order for your car? Is your folks name on it? I looked at a bunch of Production Orders on file at the Benson Ford (I didn't look at all of them), but I never noticed an owner name on an IU. I'd like to explore whether others had the same "Universal C I T" notation as mine. I may have to go back again.

    There were cars in the first supply that were ordered by people that were not "Introductory Units". I think someone has the production numbers, but I thought I read that they had built about 500 cars by release date. I suppose that number is easy to determine.

    Thanks.
    Barry Wolk
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    Ford is/was certainly not very different than GM. When I was Vauxhall district manager (indeed it was a joke) at the end of the seventies, our dealers could not or were not willing to pay cars for wich consumers had no interest. To have something to show, there was a consignment program: the dealer got the vehicle, but he could not have it licensed until he paid the car to GM. A similar program was probably used by Ford at that time.
    Roger

  7. #5
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    Roger, that was very helpful. I've been going down the path the C.I.T. was some type of organization. I'm wondering if it's an acronym for something like Consignment In Transit???
    Barry Wolk
    Farmington Hills, MI

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