Lot 815

The Milhous Collection

1938 Lincoln-Zephyr Convertible Coupe


$330,000 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Boca Raton, Florida



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110 bhp, 267.3 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 125"

• Renowned John Tjaarda and E.T. Gregorie styling

• Popular companion to Model K Lincoln

• Rare body style

The Lincoln Motor Company made a dramatic announcement on November 2, 1935. A new model, called Lincoln-Zephyr, was unveiled, to sell from $1,275 to $1,320. For Lincoln, which had sold barely 1,400 cars for 1935, the Zephyr was a fresh breeze in the Depression-weary automobile doldrums.

The new car had been developed from designer John Tjaarda’s innovative Sterkenburg concept studies of the late 1920s. Smooth and streamlined, the Sterkenburg had a low frontal aspect and was designed for a rear-mounted engine. Edsel Ford became interested in Tjaarda’s work, and Briggs, one of Ford’s body suppliers, built a mockup that appeared at the 1934 Century of Progress exhibition in Chicago.

For the production version to be manufactured by Ford, the engine was moved to the front, but the advanced bridge-truss integral frame was retained. Since it was to carry the Lincoln name, a V-12 was called for, but instead of the big engine from the Model K, one based on the Ford V-8 was developed. Initially sold as a four-door sedan or a two-door “Coupe-Sedan,” the Lincoln-Zephyr offered a “Zephyr-smooth ride with all the passengers cradled between the axles.”

A particularly sleek and handsome three-window coupe debuted for 1937, and the following year designer E.T. “Bob” Gregorie gave the car a new nose. The 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr was modestly restyled, with twin grilles placed in the forward end of the “catwalk” section of the fenders. Not merely a styling gimmick, this change markedly improved engine cooling. Total production of the two convertible coupe styles offered was 600 cars. This was certainly an exclusive motor car.

This 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr three-passenger convertible coupe is stunning in medium red. The paint exhibits a deep shine, demonstrating conclusively the superb quality of the body contours. The brightwork and glass are all excellent, and the tan canvas top is mint. The car is fitted with correct accessory door-hinge mirrors and upholstery is brown leather with large buttons, showing no visible flaws. A grey dashboard has the characteristic Lincoln-Zephyr console, which conceals the operation of the floor-mounted shift lever, and the instruments are all superbly restored.

The engine compartment is clean and nicely detailed without being overdone, and the undercarriage and underbody are painted black, all clean and well detailed. Firestone Deluxe Champion wide whitewalls are fitted and remain in good condition.

One of the most attractive cars of its era, in all of its body styles, the Lincoln-Zephyr has a staunch following today. As one of the more attractive and rarer styles, this car represents exceptional value.