St. John's | Lot 170

1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet



$126,500 USD | Sold

United States | Plymouth, Michigan

27 July 2013

Chassis No.
  • One of 136 built
  • The rarest of all pre-war Continentals
  • Well-kept restoration

130 bhp, 292 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring, live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring and torque tube, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 125 in.

Addendum: Please note prior to the auction the consignor felt the dual carburation setup was not preforming to his expectations so he removed the second carburetor. The consignor is willing to pass on the proper intake and additional carburetor to the new owner along with instructions on how to convert it back to the dual setup.

If E.T. “Bob” Gregorie gave life to the Lincoln Continental, surely Edsel Ford was its godfather. The Zephyr, which had its roots in John Tjaarda’s “Sterkenberg” studies of the late 1920s, became the savior of Lincoln at its 1935 introduction, at a time when the big Model Ks were selling barely 2,000 cars a year. A semi-unitary sedan or coupe, the Zephyr used a small V-12. At 267-cubic inches, it was hardly half the size of the K’s engine, and, more importantly, it sold for a third its price. Lincoln sales promptly rose by a factor of six.

Returning from Europe in 1938, Edsel sketched for Gregorie a concept that he wished to build on a Ford chassis. Gregorie did detailed drawings based on a Zephyr Convertible instead, and the result was the Continental. The hood and fenders were extended about a foot, and the car sectioned horizontally by four inches. The bustle back and outside “Continental” tire were the finishing touches. The car was built, and Edsel took it to Florida that winter. Legend says that his friends were so taken with the car that 200 of them placed orders.

The Continental went into production in December 1939, and a coupe version soon followed. Production was modest, just 404 in 1940 and 1,250 the following year, but it had the intended effect: a trend. Jackie Cooper had one, and Frank Lloyd Wright and Raymond Loewy each bought one to customize for themselves.

By 1941, the Model K Lincoln was gone; the Zephyr was the Lincoln. For 1942, the modernist style dictated a more massive front end, which was applied to all Lincolns, the Continental included, albeit with a delicate horizontal bar grille.

With only 136 built, the 1942 Continental Cabriolet is the rarest of all pre-war Continentals. The example shown here was fully restored by the shop of its present owner, a renowned enthusiast of Classic Era Lincolns, and it presents in beautiful overall condition. Benefiting from climate-controlled museum storage, it is an ideal opportunity to acquire one of the scarcest models of its era.

Suggested lots