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Mario's Tribute to the Continental Wheel Pt 1

1940 Continental Convertible

Our AT friend Rob requested I do a Continental Wheel Kit page. I decided to do this in two parts because of the amount of pictures and data.

Part 1.

Created for the personal use of Edsel Ford intended as a one-off, the Continental was introduced as a production model in 1940 with the covered spare tire outside in the rear. This was dubbed the Continental Wheel.

By the early fifties the Continental Wheel was made and purchased for virtually every make of automobile. It was now an option directly ordered from the car manufacturers.

This is my Tribute to the Continental Wheel Kit Part 1. Enjoy, Mario.

1 1928 Chevrolet Touring. Early cars had an exposed spare tire to get easier when needed. They had an external mounting because motorists would often need to change tires.

2 1932 Nash Ambassador. Exposed spare ready to change a flat. Automakers often mounted a spare tire, or two, on the rear of the car.

3 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Continental prototype. The One and Only created for the personal use of Edsel Ford intended as a one-off.

4 1940 Lincoln Continental was introduced as a production model in 1940. Each hand built just 404 units. First Continental Wheel.

5 1941 Lincoln Continental. The Continental Wheel (covered exposed spare) was a big hit. The original Lincoln Continental was a convertible.

6 1942 Lincoln Continental Hardtop. Extremely rare in 1942.

7 1948 Lincoln Continental. Last year this car was made until 1956 when it was reintroduced.

8 1949 Chevrolet. The Continental Wheel introduced a new level of sophistication by incorporating the spare tire within a decorative metal cover.

9 1949 Ford. This cover often resembled a metal or fiberglass shell that blended seamlessly with the vehicle's overall design.

10 1951 Ford. By the early fifties the Continental Wheel was made and purchased for virtually every make of automobile.

11 1951 Mercury. Because of its dramatic appearance, the Continental Wheel has become a much sought after accessory and typifies the spirit of the fifties.

12 1953 Buick. The Continental Wheel created a harmonious visual effect with the rest of the car.

13 1953 Cadillac. During the 1950s, the Continental Wheel gained widespread popularity and became synonymous with luxury and prestige.

14 1953 Chevrolet. The Continental Wheel was embraced by both car enthusiasts and mainstream consumers alike.

15 1953 Mercury. The Continental Wheel accentuated the car’s length and elegance.

16 1953 Oldsmobile. The Continental Wheel became an emblem of automotive opulence.

17 1953 Packard. The Continental Wheel was often associated with high end automobiles and custom built cars.

18 1953 Studebaker. The Continental Wheel also found its way into popular culture, making appearances in movies, television shows, and advertisements.

19 1954 Buick. Its distinctive appearance on classic cars helped solidify its status as a symbol of the mid-20th century's automotive design aesthetic.

20 1954 Chevrolet Convertible. It is a rear mounted spare tire carrier encased in a decorative cover, which extends the vehicle's overall length.

21 1954 Chevrolet Sedan. The Wheel Kit adds a touch of elegance to the rear end.

22 1954 Ford Glass top. This external spare wheel mount became a customized aftermarket appearance accessory during the 1950s.

23 1954 Ford Sedan. The external continental tire kit was a factory option on various types of cars during the 1950s and early 1960s.

24 1954 Lincoln. The car's rear bumper was often extended and the tire had a metal cover.

25 1954 Mercury. The bracket for the spare wheel was designed to swing away for access to the trunk.

26 1954 Pontiac. A means to increase luggage space in the trunk.

27 1955 Buick. By the early 1950s, rear mounted spares became an impressive add on for many American luxury models.

28 1955 Chevrolet Convertible. Sometimes a smaller centrally mounted bumper extension made a less massive rear end treatment.

29 1955 Chevrolet Hardtop with a centrally mounted bumper extension carrying the spare tire.

30 1955 Ford. The Kits were integrated into the car design by extending the bumper a few feet behind its original position with a valance between the bumper and body.

31 1955 Ford Crown Victoria. The extension formed a shelf to carry the tire.

32 1955 Lincoln. The Continental tire kits became a factory option on various types of cars during the 1950s and early 1960s.

33 1955 Oldsmobile. The external spare wheel mount also became a customizing aftermarket appearance accessory during the 50s and early 60s.

34 1955 Plymouth. It enhanced the “long and low” look that was so popular at the time.

35 1955 Pontiac. It has become an iconic, retro accessory that typifies the style of the mid-1950s.

36 1956 Buick Convertible. Continental Kits were first seen as factory options on Cadillac, Packard, and Buick.

37 1956 Buick Special. It was an option directly from the car manufacturers.

38 1956 Cadillac Convertible. Continental Kits were an effort to enhance the appearance of cars and differentiate them from their competitors.

39 1956 Cadillac 4 Door Hardtop. The Continental Kit is a distinctive automotive accessory that originated in the mid-20th century, primarily in the US.

40 1956 Chevrolet. A smaller centrally mounted bumper extension made a less massive rear end treatment.

41 1956 Ford Club Coupe. The Continental Kit became a popular stylistic element on automobiles during the 1950s and 1960s.

42 1956 Ford Crown Victoria. Henry Ford II complained that the trunk of his personal 1955 T-Bird did not have room for a set of golf clubs without removing the spare tire. So, in 1956 all T-Birds had a Continental Wheel.

43 1956 Ford Thunderbird. All 1956 Thunderbirds had their spare tire mounted outside to open trunk space as requested by Henry Ford II.

44 1956 Mercury Convertible. The Continental Kit contributed to the unique aesthetics of that era's automobiles.

45 1956 Nash Ambassador. Consumers were also able to have aftermarket continental kits installed on almost any vehicle.

46 1956 Oldsmobile Convertible. The Continental Kit and the fender skirts make this car look long and low.

47 1956 Oldsmobile. Beautiful Blue and White 2 door hardtop.

48 1956 Plymouth Sedan. Rare 2 door post with a Continental Kit.

49 1956 Pontiac Convertible. The chrome skirts and chrome trim on the Continental Kit add a lot of class.

50 1957 Cadillac Convertible. A unique full bumper extension.


Video and audio clips

Continental Kits


CARS WITH CONTINENTAL KITS



Related

More Cars of the 1940s
More Lincoln Coverage

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Comments

Mario on Jan 8, 2024 said:

Our AT friend Rob requested I do a Continental Wheel Kit page. I decided to do this in two parts because of the amount of pictures and data.

This is my Tribute to the Continental Wheel Kit Part 1. Enjoy, Mario.

[Reply to this comment]

Anonymous on Jan 8, 2024 said:

Hey Mario, I sure wish EVERYONE took their hobby/life as serious as you do.

OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!!!

And this is only part one??????

This is like a movie and I can't wait till the sequel comes out.

Coming to a website near you:

Continental Kits, PART DEUX......and do it in your James Earl Jones voice.

Excellent work Mario........excellent.

Thank you, words cannot describe my appreciation.

Rob

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jan 9, 2024 said:

Hi Rob, thank you for your compliments but it was you who had the idea and asked me to make a page about Continental Wheel Kits, so I did.

They always fascinated me all the different types and how they enhanced the car's beauty.

Part 2 coming out shortly. Cheers, Mario

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Jan 8, 2024 said:

I have always loved Connie kits on fifties cars but that is about it. I never liked the look of Connie kits on cars before or after the 1950's. I will be the first to admit that it looks better on some cars than others and I realize that it is all in personal taste. My favorite Connie kits have always been the ones on tri five Chevy's (55 56 57). These kits were much cleaner because the bumper wrapped around the wheel and did not have the mass in the corners. I had a non original Connie kit on a 56 Chev I had, that the corners stuck out like most kits and I had an original issue Connie kit on a 57 Chev I had. I loved the look of it on my 56 and 57 Chev but I would never own a car with one again. It is a real pain in the butt to access anything in the trunk period. I drove my classic's a lot so the kits were always a pain for me but they sure looked sweet. They looked far sweeter with fender skirts on and it made it the whole package with the skirts. Cheers.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jan 9, 2024 said:

Hi George, I like the Connie (Continental) Kits that are short and wrap around the spare as well. The Tri Five Chevy's are the best with these kits.

The long extended Continental Kits seem to weigh the car down and there's always the danger of scrapping it on entrance and exits in driveways, parking lots, etc. But they look great at Car shows.

Part 2 coming out shortly. Cheers, Mario

[Reply to this comment]


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