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Colorized Mario's Tribute to the Continental Wheel Pt 2

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

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 2.

The Continental Wheel Kit was often associated with high end automobiles and custom-built cars. The Continental Wheel accentuated the car’s length and elegance.

Because of its dramatic appearance, the Continental Wheel has become a much sought after accessory and to this day typifies the spirit of the fifties.

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

This is my Tribute to the Continental Wheel Kit Part 2. Enjoy, Mario.

51 1957 Chevrolet 4 Door Hardtop. This 57 Chevy is perfect with sunvisor, skirts and shortened Continental Kit.

52 1957 Chevrolet 4 Door Sedan. A nice sedan with a Continental Wheel.

53 1957 Chevrolet Convertible. Dual chrome pipes look great with the extended Continental Kit.

54 1957 Lincoln. Rear mounted spares became an impressive add on for American luxury cars.

55 1957 Mercury. The Turnpike Cruiser was the top-of-the-line model and included a Dream Car Spare Tire Carrier among its many standard features.

56 1957 Oldsmobile Convertible. Lots of chrome on this beauty.

57 1957 Oldsmobile Hardtop. Double split rear window enhances the extended Continental Kit.

58 1957 Plymouth 2 door hardtop. Nice fins and taillights outline an extended Continental Wheel.

59 1957 Pontiac 2 Door Hardtop. Beautiful long and low Pontiac with a chrome extended Continental Wheel.

60 1957 Pontiac 4 Door Hardtop. Very elegant 2 tone paint, fender skirts and extended Continental Kit.

61 1957 Thunderbird. The T-bird's trunk was stretched 5 inches to allow the spare tire to migrate back inside, and the continental kit was optional.

62 1958 Buick 2 door Hardtop. Lots of chrome and massive extended Continental Wheel.

63 1958 Cadillac 4 door hardtop with massive extended Continental Wheel.

64 1958 Chevrolet Impala Convertible. A smaller centrally mounted bumper extension made a less massive rear end treatment.

65 1958 Chevrolet Impala Hardtop with smaller centrally located Continental Kit. Very popular with Impalas.

66 1958 Edsel. Rare first year Edsel with Continental Kit.

67 1958 Ford 4 Door Sedan. Another 4-door sedan with a Continental Kit.

68 1958 Mercury 2 door hardtop with large extended Continental Kit and long fender skirts.

69 1958 Oldsmobile 4 Door Hardtop with extended Continental Kit.

70 1958 Oldsmobile Convertible with fender skirts, mud flaps and extended Continental Kit.

71 1958 Pontiac Hardtop with spotlights, fender skirts, dual exhausts and extended Continental Kit.

72 1959 Buick Hardtop with extended Continental Kit and dual exhausts.

73 1959 Cadillac Convertible. Very long convertible with Continental Kit.

74 1959 Cadillac Hardtop. Custom painted massive extended Continental Kit.

75 1959 Chevrolet 4 Door Sedan. Rare 4 door sedan with Continental Kit, side pipes and dual exhausts.

76 1959 Chevrolet Impala convertible. Very simple but elegant with center Continental Kit.

77 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 convertible with chrome fender skirts and rear bumper guards.

78 1959 Imperial. Continental Wheel also describes a non-functional tire bulge stamped into the trunk lid or a cosmetic accessory at the rear of the car.

79 1959 Mercury convertible with full fender skirts and lots of chrome in the rear end.

80 1959 Pontiac Catalina. My first car was a 1959 Pontiac Catalina convertible in white but mine didn’t have a Continental Wheel.

81 1959 Thunderbird. Manufacturers included continental tire kits for their perceived distinctiveness as well as to increase luggage space in the trunk.

82 1960 Chevrolet Impala convertible. Nice full length fender skirts with faux exhausts.

83 1960 Ford. After market continental kits are available for customization of 200 different automobile models.

84 1960 Lincoln Continental. The car the Continental Wheel was named after.

85 1960 Plymouth. Continental Wheel also describes a nonfunctional tire bulge stamped into the trunk lid or a cosmetic accessory at the rear of the car.

86 1961 Chevrolet Impala. California low rider with Continental Wheel, fender skirts, spotlights, and dual rear antennas.

87 1961 Ford. Contemporary examples of continental kits are sometimes found on old and newer customized automobiles.

88 1961 Nash Metropolitan. On the Nash Metropolitan the continental tire was a standard feature to add room to its trunk.

89 1961 Thunderbird. A smaller centrally mounted bumper extension made a less massive rear end treatment.

90 1962 Chevrolet Convertible. Continental Wheels are also known as 'fifth wheels' or Connie Wheels.

91 1962 Chevrolet Hardtop. Continental kit accessory and spare tire trim were also made popular by the garish era of the late 60's and 1970s.

92 1963 Chevrolet Extended Kit. It has become an accessory that typifies the spirit of the 1950s and early 60's.

93 1963 Chevrolet Impala. Its unique design and cultural impact have made it a lasting symbol of a golden age of car customization and luxury.

94 1964 Cadillac. A bygone era of elegance and sophistication.

95 1964 Chevrolet Impala Convertible. Although the heyday of the Continental Kit has passed, it has left an indelible mark on the history of automotive design.

96 1964 Thunderbird Convertible. Classic cars featuring this accessory continue to capture our imagination.

97 1971 Continental Mark III included a tire bump in its rear deck lid to vaguely substitute the original Continental spare tire design.

98 1972 Lincoln Continental Station Wagon. Many car manufacturers were moving away from the extravagant designs of the previous decades.

99 1985 Chrysler LeBaron. As automotive design trends evolved and safety regulations tightened, the popularity of the Continental Kit began to wane.

100 2000 Ford Ranger Pickup. Unusual custom Continental Kit on a pickup.

101 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II with trunk closed and Continental Wheel as part of the trunk.

102 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II with trunk open showing spare tire inside the trunk lid.


Video and audio clips

Continental Kits


CARS WITH CONTINENTAL KITS



Related

More Cars of the 1950s
More Chevy Coverage

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Comments

Mario on Jan 10, 2024 said:

Here it is my Part 2 Tribute to the Continental Wheel Kit.

The Continental Wheel Kit was often associated with high end automobiles and custom-built cars. The Continental Wheel accentuated the car’s length and elegance.

Enjoy, Mario.

[Reply to this comment]

Anonymous on Jan 10, 2024 said:

Mario, I NEVER EVER EVER EVER knew there were so many Continental Kits in the world. i did see the Nash kind of cheated but it still looks cute with the spare outside the trunk. Wow, I am totally amazed at the varied looks and styles with the "look" of the Continental Kit by adding the look on the trunk. The Ranger Pickup Truck was a bit uhmmmm. The Chrysler Baron just doesn't work with the woodgrain or plasticgrain.

I know by the laws of physics, that a real parade of cars with Continental Kits would take a whole lot longer to view than a parade of cars without.

I can't even imagine having the garage space to house one of these long low riders.

Excellent work Mario on BOTH your tributes.

You are a true marksman for you always hit the target dead center. I thereby call you:

DEADEYE MARIO...........or WILLIAM TELL MARIO???

Rob

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jan 10, 2024 said:

Thank you Rob for all your kind words and comments. This project was all your idea and I thank you for that.

It was a pleasure doing all the research and putting these two projects together. There are so many Continental Wheel Kit cars out there and all enhance the beauty of the cars and the era when they were built.

I am now looking at a 3rd version of the Continental Wheels Tribute so be on the look out. Coming soon to a theater near you!

Take care my friend, got to get to work. Cheers, Mario.

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Jan 11, 2024 said:

Mario, like I mentioned in Part One. Connie kits can be real sweet looking or not so sweet looking depending on the application. Some cars it does everything for and others I just want to up chunk. Of course it is all in the eye of the beholder and it will forever be a very personal thing. One thing I have noticed in maybe 45 years or more is that you either love them or really hate them. It is like fender skirts, spot lights, bumper guards and stuff of that nature that folks either really love like me or really hate. For folks that have never had a car with a Connie kit, it is impossible to know the reality of what it is like to live with one. I had two, a 56 and 57 Chev and as much as I loved the look of them I would never own another car with one. They are a real pain in the you know what to access anything in the trunk of any relevance that you might need in your travels. If your car is a twice a year car or worse then it does not matter. But to put 4,000 miles a summer on a Connie kit car is a chore. As far as ride goes forgot having a Connie kit if you have bias ply tires. My 56 Chev had bias ply wide whites and the car would sway slightly side to side while driving. Inside the car you did not notice it but some one driving behind will notice it. I will not rain on the Connie kit parade any more and just say that they were very stylish and slick for the most part. Cheers.

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Jan 11, 2024 said:

I forgot to mention that using the Connie kit spare as a spare would be total disaster. The damage you would cause to the paint taking it off the mount and putting it back in would be nuts. I kept a spare in the trunk in the usual manner to use in case of blow out. The Connie kit wheel was strictly for looks. No doubt about it. Cheers.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jan 11, 2024 said:

I guess I'm one of those who Love them George. I know there's always a downside to anything but the beauty of the Continental Wheel Kits has always drawn my eye.

They are rare today not many at car shows and they have an elegance of their own.

They are a part of an era that is gone forever and their beauty is a work of art that we need to cherish for future generations.

We need to hold on to our past no matter how difficult for all the young people to see in real life, not just in pictures.

I salute all the car owners who maintain their Continental Wheels despite all the heartaches so that we can enjoy their beauty.

Cheers to you my friend, Mario

[Reply to this comment]

Anonymous on Jan 12, 2024 said:

Thanks for your input George as a Connie Kit owner.

I believe what you stated is just as true as an owner with Chrome Wheels on his ride has to deal with. He needs to polish them to keep the look.

I think all cars are bare pallets to be modified in any way the owner wishes. I have gone to low rider shows and i am amazed at the amount of care and upkeep those rides require.

Maybe it's the level of love one has for a car, that one lavishes all the options and work to maintain it and the satisfaction derived is personal.

Your input George shines a light on the required time and patience a continental kit requires. I figured extra polishing sure. And the flat tire requiring the removal of fender skirts, I can see that.

I see the Continental Kit as an owners chance to really make their ride stand out and the reason I asked Mario was I felt the Continental Kit seemed to inspire or come from the inspiration of the automobile designers.

There's an old saying, just because one can modify a car, that doesn't mean you should.

Compared to the volumes of threads by Mario on designer cars, I think Continental Kits are one of the successes handed to John Q Public and allowed the owner to take one step closer to a feeling of personalization and pride.

Your insight into the less shiny side of owning one is enlightening having been there and done that.

Every time I see a car with a Continental Kit on it, it SCREAMS the 50's, just as the colors of aqua, pink, black, white, pastels in my grandmother's kitchen and that brings back so many great great memories of a time when life was not only good, but great for me.

Slowly but surely I am watching a slow death to our hobby as the greatest generation and us baby boomers are passing on and less and less Street Rods and Hot Rods and Model T's and A's are appearing at shows. The sale prices of well built coupes, and convertibles are dropping each year.

My conclusion is, could I ever see a Gen x'er, or a Snowflake, or Millennial owning a ride of our generation WITH a Continental Kit?

I salute all the owners who had the love, care and patience to own and drive a car with the Continental Kit. Hats off to you George for your input to those of us, who never have nor ever will own a Connie Kit?

Rob

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Jan 15, 2024 said:

Rob you said it well and I agree our love for our cars makes the work worthwhile to keep it looking good.

I had reverse chrome rims on my 69 Camaro SS and talk about having to polish them everyday! But they looked great all the time.

The pastels and the Continental Wheels will forever be a trademark of the fifties and you're right all this will end with us Baby Boomers. The generations after us are not interested.

So we just need to keep doing what we're doing for our own enjoyment. Thank you for all your insights very much appreciated. Cheers, Mario

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Feb 27, 2024 said:

Mario, that 57 Pontiac in photo number 60 is a local car from my part of the woods. Where did you get a picture of it. Cheers.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Feb 27, 2024 said:

I got the picture off the internet. Here is the link: https://continentalkit.com/gallery/1957-pontiac-4-door-hardtop/

[Reply to this comment]


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