- Offered from the Dingman Collection
- One of only 136 examples produced
- Older, well-preserved authentic restoration
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Senior First Prize winner
By 1941, the big Model K Lincoln was gone; the Lincoln-Zephyr was the Lincoln. A Custom limousine was its flagship and the sylphlike Continental its siren. E.T. “Bob” Gregorie’s yacht-like lines evoked smooth sailing on the seas. But the times, they were a’changin’. General Motors’ new bodies that year were making the fashion statements, and Ford chose to answer.
For 1942, the modernist style dictated a more massive front end, more like Cadillac’s, so the fenders were bulked up and the nose was given a wide horizontal grille with sophisticated thin chrome bars. The nose and fenders aside, the Continental kept its original distinctive features, most importantly the exposed spare tire, to which the model would give its name as other automakers and aftermarket vendors offered accessory imitations.
This maroon Continental cabriolet comes from the brief 1942 model year, which was halted in February as the nation plunged into war. Just 136 cabriolets were built before the assembly lines stopped. Mr. Dingman purchased it in October 2016 from the estate of Rexford Ryan of San Diego, California. Prior owners included the well-known Colorado collectors Terry Johnson and Roger Willbanks, as well as David Clark of Nevada, and Michael Alagna of New York.
Production records at the Benson Ford Research Center show the car was assembled on 7 November 1941, and shipped on the 14th to Gengras Motors, the dealer in Somerville, Massachusetts. Originally painted Victoria Coach Maroon, with red leather upholstery and tan top, it has been restored in this motif. Other accessories included side mirrors, whitewall tires with trim rings and a hot-air heater. A radio and Borg-Warner overdrive were later added, perhaps by the dealer. At one stage in the car’s life, it was believed to have belonged to Edsel Ford, but research by the Benson Ford archivists failed to find any connection.
An older restoration, it earned a CCCA National Senior, medallion 513, for then-owner Mr. Alagna at Buck Hill Falls, Pennsylvania, in 1971. The paint remains very good, exhibiting a deep shine. The doors open and shut well. There is some minor separation in the vent window glass, and the top boot has some staining. Otherwise the car presents very well and has a tidy engine compartment. The underbody and undercarriage, however, although clean, have been undercoated. The tires are 7.00-15 Firestone Deluxe Champion polyester whitewalls. The side mirrors are works of art; the cataloguer onsite described the driver’s side mirror as “willow,” the passenger-side as “stork.”
Many consider the 1942 Continental as the prettiest of the second-generation cars. After the war, while the general lines were unchanged, the grille was given a bold egg-crate look that was fashionable across the industry at the time. This car is an excellent example of the elegant simplicity that engaged America in the earlier and simpler time.