Lincoln Continental Cabriolet

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, 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 hardly half the size of the K’s engine, and, more importantly, 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 with 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. True or not, 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 both bought them to customize for themselves.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California and in October of 2011 at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

120 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".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Hugh Hamilton

Gallery: Lincoln Continental Cabriolet