View Full Version : X-1500

Barry Wolk
04-03-2014, 06:49 PM
The Holy Grail of Mark II lore.


04-03-2014, 06:56 PM
Are you going to give us a peek inside?:)

Barry Wolk
04-03-2014, 09:26 PM
Currently, it's at the Benson Ford Research Center, in their archives. On the 7th of April I'll be using it as a show-and-tell piece when I talk before the Lincoln design team. I hope to get images of all of the pages.

When I dropped my car off I was introduced to the group and virtually none of them knew of the Mark II's place in Ford history. I offered to their boss to enlighten them by doing a Powerpoint that focused on the design aspects of the Mark II. They liked it so much they asked me to speak, for an hour. :eek: I didn't know how I was going to fill the hour so I started thinking about my audience.

For those that don't know the X-1500 was the Mark II project's name. The Continental team came up with a design that was mercilessly rejected by Henry II. It was decided that there would be a competition for the design. The in-house team was up against four outside design concerns, some very well known. The competitors all had to meet the standard parameters and had to be rendered from the exact same angles, using the same colors on the same background. The groupings were hung separately with no hint as to which group was which. It was a true blind competition. The in-house's second attempt won the competition, much to the delight of William Clay Ford. The renderings were bound and given to WCF and ended up in the research center's archives.

I live by the old "If you don't ask, you don't get" philosophy. I started with the woman that runs the Ford Estates. I met her when we were at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford Estate for the MKZ shoot. She put me onto the head of The Henry Ford who "suggested" to the Benson Ford Research Center that they find a way to accommodate my request. Well, apparently, if you want to do anything that honor's WCF's achievements, they're all for it. The were more than happy to accommodate my needs. He was, after all, the museum's largest contributor and leader in many areas. So, they're sending the Holy Grail of Mark II lore as a show-and-tell piece. I was hoping they had a Sample Book, but they couldn't find one, so I boldly asked WCF's long term assistant if there was one floating around. I'd love to give the design group an idea what it used to be like to buy a high end car. The Sample Book is a tactile wonderland. Anyone have one that can be here by 2:00 on Monday?

Is there a way to post a Powerpoint on a forum?

Pat made a suggestion that I posed and got a very favorable reaction. Pat suggested the we swap a copy of the set of Invoices, which they don't have, for a set of copies of the Production Orders, which they do have. The POs have a lot of hand written notes, both front and back, that give a great deal insight into the history of Mark II production, some are marked missing radios or shortages of some other part the kept them from being sent out. It's just stuff that geeks like Pat and I and others enjoy. That swap would greatly expand the Forum's database.

Monday should be pretty exciting.

RL Chilton
04-03-2014, 09:56 PM
Wow! That's so cool I can't hardly stand it. Sure wish I could be there to hear your presentation, Barry! That's a real honor. You mentioned that none of them knew the Mark II's place in Ford's history, lemme see, how did you put it . . .

" . . . virtually none of them knew of the Mark II's place in Ford history."

What do you think the average age of the design team is? 30+?

I'm not super savvy with Powerpoint. I do know if it has your speech within the presentation, the file becomes quite large (probably too big to email, for instance). However, if there is a way, I would love to see/hear/have/ buy the CD with it burned onto it, or whatever you can work out.

Maybe that's the answer: burn it onto a DVD, make copies and sell them to cover your costs, etc.

Cool. Cool. Cool!:cool:

Barry Wolk
04-03-2014, 10:10 PM
Yes, you are correct on the age. I have underwear older than some of them. Interestingly, though, there were few young modelers.

It's a relatively short Powerpoint. I don't want to stand up there and read what I wrote, as I often speak differently than I write so the presentation will be sent to the participants ahead of time. I hope to just tell about my first experience see in a Mark II at an old mansion my parents were thinking of buying when I was 14 and the car was 10. I'm hoping the presentation will garner enough questions to fill the rest of the time. Even though I covered it in my Powerpoint, having the design book should raise some interest with them and give me something else to talk about.

Roger Zimmermann
04-04-2014, 02:45 AM
It would be great to be here on Monday...Halas, I cannot! Interesting to know that the design people are not knowing the history from their company...OK, I suppose they are there because they found a job...
I wish you a great time on Monday!

Barry Wolk
04-04-2014, 09:14 PM
I think it's a valid point about their age. I think that Lincoln-Continental have been together so long in marketing that they've become synonymous. Then there's the Lincoln drivetrain and the fact that it was sold through Lincoln dealers. I can see where the confusion comes from.

Plus, it was kind of an obscure car. I don't remember seeing any clips of TV advertising. All I've ever seen is print. It seemed almost quietly marketed. I had never heard of one until I was 14 and I grew up in the largest concentration of Mark IIs, anywhere. If you go through the records you'd see that Continental's biggest customer was Ford.

04-05-2014, 01:31 AM
This has been posted before, but I supposed the presentation is as close to an advertisement I've ever seen.
Continental Mark II Intro - YouTube

04-05-2014, 08:54 AM
Interesting to hear when you first became aware of the Mark II.
I still remember being smacked in the jaw by the elegance of this car, even though I was even younger than you.
My family traveled between Kalamazoo, MI and Homestead City, FL frequently from around 1957 to about 1961 when my dad was building houses in Florida. I would have been between 5 and 9.
I was a rotten kid, and I took delight in annoying my dad. But, we did share a love of cars, and he taught me to recognize every car on the road in those days, probably when I was closer to 5 than 9.
One late night when we'd been driving too long, my mom finally insisted that we stop at a pretty "up town" looking inn. We drove in the circular drive, past the fountain that dominated the front entrance. Parked directly in front of the entrance was a long, low black Mark II, the most stunning car I'd ever seen, and for once a car that I did not recognize.
We just kept driving around the circle...out to the street, looking for another place. My dad explained that if the inn attracted a customer driving a Mark II, it was obviously a budget buster for his young family.
Much later, my dad always drove Lincolns, and had two of them when he finally quit driving. I know he's smiling somewhere, looking down (or up) at me driving that very same car that forced us out into the Georgia night looking for a cheaper motel....

Barry Wolk
04-05-2014, 09:14 AM
I don't know if I related my first interaction. My father wanted me to follow in his footsteps and go to his technical high school and go into his field and his business of advertising. I wanted no part of that rat race, but did want to go to Cass Tech in Detroit. However, you had to be a resident or pay huge tuition.

To that end my folks, who liven in the suburbs, started looking for a house in Detroit and looked a some mansions in Palmer Park, a well-known ritzy area, but dirt-cheap compared to the suburbs. We went to look at a 10,000 square foot house that came furnished as the man that had passed had no family. It had a movie theatre, a billiards room, formal dining areas and a host of other amenities.

We toured the house and ended up in the kitchen. The agent hit 5 buttons on the wall and all 5 garage doors opened, the closest one revealing a 10 year old Mark II that came with the house.

The view must have had an impact on me as I had a visceral reaction to seeing the car I have now from the same view.

It turns out that the utility bills were equal to the house payment my father was making so we didn't get the house, or the car, just the love of the design that's kept with me until this day.

In my effort to find a sample book, Pat Marshall stepped up and is bringing one up for show and tell. He's also bringing a suitcase-full of styling tidbits like emblems and such so the designers can see and feel the heft and quality of the objects. I am more than pleased to share the stage with Pat.

It seems I can only post my Powerpoint as a movie, but that distorts the pictures. If anyone would like to see it I could send it as an e-mail.

Sean Rollins
04-05-2014, 09:40 AM
I would love to see it Barry. I'm glad to hear Pat will be able to come up also as due to the volume of information he has sifted through and posted here, he is a walking book of knowledge about mark ll history. Those designers stand to learn a lot from you fellas.:)

Barry Wolk
04-05-2014, 09:43 AM
Send me your email, Sean.

04-05-2014, 09:57 AM
I'd definitely like to see it: joenorthrop@yahoo.com

Mark II Seeker
04-05-2014, 10:30 AM

I'd like to see it also.

My email is bmce01@verizon.net


04-05-2014, 05:14 PM
Here's to a great presentation by Barry and Pat!

RL Chilton
04-05-2014, 09:44 PM
Barry had sent it to me and I thanked him via email, but just wanted to say I hope y'all enjoy it as much as I did. It's a good presentation and well-thought out. The design team are in for a treat on Monday, I believe.

04-06-2014, 06:39 AM
The Holy Grail of Mark II lore.


This is the second time that your posted pic will not show. Am I alone in my inability to see the pic (the other thread is the sad MarkII thread)?:confused:

Barry Wolk
04-06-2014, 06:47 AM
It's a picture of the design study book for the competition for the Mark II design. I believe everyone else can see it.

Pat Marshall
04-06-2014, 08:43 AM
I can see it!

Joseph Stebbins
04-06-2014, 09:37 AM
Check your browser settings. You may have your security too high and it is not displaying the attachments.

Mark II Seeker
04-06-2014, 10:49 AM
Barry and Pat,

I just finished viewing the Power Point presentation. It is an excellent work, thanks for sharing it with us.

The designers are in for a treat and I hope they see it as an inspiration to their own future designs.

04-06-2014, 04:44 PM
Just watched the presentation. It is outstanding!!!!

Barry Wolk
04-06-2014, 05:30 PM
I was able to save it frame by frame.



















04-06-2014, 07:42 PM
Very cool Barry, thanks for sharing

04-06-2014, 11:12 PM
Check your browser settings. You may have your security too high and it is not displaying the attachments.


But, now I see the Sad MarkII pics....and I wish that I didn't. :(

Barry Wolk
04-07-2014, 09:12 PM
At 2:00 I met Pat outside the Product Development Center. A few minutes later the head of the Benson Ford Research Center walks in with the curator if the transportation collection of The Henry Ford, a bit of a surprise. We were escorted through the winding hallways and into the Lincoln Design Center lobby where we had to relinquish our cell phones and cameras and sign some kind of security document.

Pat had offered to bring a collection of chrome goodies, but really hit a home run with half a grill and an instrument cluster. What really had them salivating was the dealer book. They were incredibly impressed. What blew them away is that the sample book credits John Rhinehart for the car's design.

The X-1500 book was very well received. It was incredibly well-preserved. The pictures were a bit curled, but looked brand new. There were far more renderings than I had remembered, and there were some line drawings I don't remember at all.




Apparently some had not read the presentation so I simply use the pictures as a guideline and ad-libbed the rest. The time flew by. I did a segue to into the Mark II Forum and turned things over to Pat for a few minutes. I asked if there were any questions and the first one was about the top. Reliable was at the dock waiting to pick the car up so I offered to put the top up. At that point the meeting broke into pretty much what happens at a Concours, everyone has questions. I was in my glory.

As the meeting was breaking up a man came in and introduced himself and asks for a few minutes with the two of us. Turns out the he's up there in Ford and wanted some guidance on buying a Mark II. The Lincoln design chief also expressed an interest in acquiring a finished Mark II. It seems we've piqued some interest in their history after all.

Pat now knows the head of the Transportation Collection and the Benson Ford Research Center. This will likely make him far busier as tomorrow I will introduce him to the Mark II Production Orders which covers the 300 cars that the Invoices are missing.

Thanks a ton to Pat for driving up here at the last minute and making my dog and pony show a hit. Thanks to Dina Mein for making the X-1500 book available.

Thanks to Lincoln for the free winter storage. Thanks to my wife for being understanding when they said that she couldn't join me.:(

Pat Marshall
04-10-2014, 10:04 PM
Barry did a great job on his presentation and his beautiful car sitting next to us was the piece de resistance for the occasion. I was pleased to have been able to help a little bit - they really loved the grill-half that they passed around, their reaction to it was a sight to see.

It was a great day but it didn't end there. Barry invited me to see his shop - the Continental Flyer and Ford pick-up are fine restorations, and his Ruxton is well on the way.

Afterwards I was Barry and Glynette's guest for dinner in their home. Their collection of artwork was a joy to see, each piece with a good story and uinque characteristics. When Barry excused himself to check his emails Glynette played several classical pieces on her Steinway-she said she hadn't practiced much, but it all sounded perfect and wonderful to me. Finally, we had dinner - prepared by Barry and, of course, he's an excellent cook.

What a day!

The next day Barry and I went to the Benson Ford Research Center - a real treasure! Barry and I looked at original William Clay Ford correspondance and I dug into their Production Order Files. We now have a great "in" with the Research Center and should be able to fill in many of the Dealer and car specifications gaps left by the missing+ 200 Original Dealer Invoices.

The two days were very enjoyable and rewarding. I thank Barry for the opportunity to participate in his presentation and for his and Glynette's hospitality.

Sean Rollins
04-11-2014, 09:43 AM
I bet they were shocked to feel the heft of a grille half. Weighs more than a modern bumper...

Barry Wolk
04-11-2014, 09:44 AM
It was our pleasure hosting you, Pat. I'm hoping the relationship you fostered with the Benson Ford will continue to bear fruit.

RL Chilton
04-11-2014, 03:10 PM
What a great adventure, y'all! Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

Barry Wolk
04-11-2014, 05:27 PM
I was certainly grateful Pat shared his chrome bits. You should have seen that crew. I'm a very tactile person so I understood how they caressed some of Pat's goodies. ;)

What astounded me was the level of interest in the Sample Book. BTW, they might be interested in purchasing one if anyone is willing to part with one in good shape.

As you can tell from the database Pat is a numbers guy. When he opened up the first box of Production Orders he went wide-eyed as one of the first things he found was a PO with no serial number on it. He matched the known info on that owner and was able to provide the Research Center with the serial number. They were thrilled, but they couldn't quite figure out new information coming into their possession without going through their dog and pony show. In all, Pat's work was deemed research, and was allowed to fill in the blanks of 40 cars on his first 6 hours there. We still couldn't find 1248 or a couple of pre-1000 serial numbers, but we did come across some confirming information.

It appears that I was confused about there being two body suppliers. There were references to Ionia Body and to Mitchell-Bentley Body. I thought the references were to two separate firms. M-B owned Ionia.

However, my story was absolutely true. Pat will correct me if I'm wrong. The Mitchell-Bentley company was just a body assembler while Hayes Body actually did the stamping, providing the parts to M-B.

We read about a conflict between Continental and M-B. That's where I got confused. It started with M-B complaining to Continental that they weren't making any money on producing bodies at 4 a day and wanted to bump to 6, but Continental didn't want to take 6.

There was a flurry of letters leading to Continental doing a study on opening their own body assembly plant and taking the work away from M-B, but there appeared to be contract problems. My memory was also correct in recalling that that 50% of the bodies being delivered were requiring many man-hours to make right before the car could be put into production. I've heard that parts were not exactly interchangeable.:mad:

Fascinating reading. Would go again.