Lot 259

Hershey 2023

1940 Lincoln-Zephyr Continental Cabriolet


$46,200 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
US Title
  • First year for the legendary Continental; one of just 350 cabriolets produced for 1940
  • Benefits from a well-preserved older restoration
  • 292 cu.-in. V-12 engine rated at 120 hp; three-speed manual transmission
  • Finished in factory-correct black over red leather with a black top
  • CCCA Full Classic and National First Prize winner; featured in Ford marketing materials and the subject of several magazine articles

Commissioned by Lincoln boss Edsel Ford and styled by Ford designer Bob Gregorie on the V-12 Zephyr chassis, the Continental would go on to become a design legend in its own time after entering production in 1940, with only 350 convertibles and 54 coupes produced that first year.

The restored example offered here shipped on 1 April 1940, finished as it is today in the handsome color scheme of black with a red leather interior and a black convertible top. It came equipped with a radio, a cowl antenna, stone deflectors, and Firestone whitewall tires, according to a copy of its original build sheet.

Although the car’s early history is unknown, its fate from the 1960s forward is well documented, as the car has been the subject of various magazine articles over the years. Les Klinge of West Caldwell, New Jersey acquired the cabriolet in the early 1960s after discovering it languishing in a New Jersey farmyard. He would restore the neglected Lincoln over the ensuing years, finishing it in blue with a maroon interior. An article about the car in the fall 1967 issue of the Lincoln & Continental Owners Club’s magazine, Lincoln & Continental Comments, includes photos of the car in its unrestored state. Klinge would hold onto the cabriolet until 1974, storing it for a time in a garage in suburban New Jersey before Larry Colwell of Michigan would acquire it and retain it for the next 35 years. As Colwell himself recounted in a cover article he wrote for the March-April 1977 issue of Torque, the Michigan Region Classic Car Club of America’s magazine, he managed to track down the car’s original build sheet on file at the Benson Ford Research Center in Dearborn, Michigan and set about restoring the lovely Lincoln back to factory specification—save for the previously installed Columbia two-speed rear axle, added by a former owner.

With the restoration completed sometime around the late Seventies or early Eighties, Colwell showed the car extensively, winning a Classic Car Club of America National First Prize and reportedly securing best in class at the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance three times. Besides being featured in various publications, including the October 1992 issue of the British magazine The Automobile, the cabriolet was also photographed for artwork commissioned by Ford to commemorate the Continental’s 50th anniversary, as well as for the 1995 Continental’s product and marketing guide.

In 2008, Colwell sold the car to a Maryland-based collector, who then sold it to the consignor in 2018. The car has been fastidiously maintained under the current owner’s conscientious care, most recently receiving new carpeting in 2023.

A CCCA Full Classic to be enjoyed at any number of events and tours, this well-preserved and relatively rare Continental Cabriolet is an excellent find, the quintessential American cabriolet of its day, exuding gorgeous design with superb hand craftsmanship. Now offered with a history file containing copies of its build sheet and articles, it would be an ideal acquisition for marque enthusiasts and those seeking an accessible yet eminently rewarding entry to the pre-war era.