1941 LINCOLN V12 CONTINENTAL TWO-DOOR COUPE
COACHWORK BY LINCOLN
Chassis No. H117632
Registration No. BMM 140
Lincoln Green with brown leather interior
Engine: V12 sidevalve, 120bhp at 3,500rpm, clutch, single plate; Gearbox: manual 3-speed with syncromesh and overdrive; Suspenesion: single transverse leaf spring each to beam front and live rear axle; Brakes: hydraulic drum all round. Left hand drive.
When Henry Ford purchased the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, his son Edsel Ford reputedly said, Father makes the most popular car in the world. I would like to make the best car in the world. Lincoln became Ford's luxury car division and went on to produce a sequence of fine V12 powered machines with coachwork by America's greatest coachbuilders. In 1936 came the new, lower priced Lincoln Zephyr four-door sedan, still V12 powered but with a sweeping all-steel streamlined body built by Briggs. Returning from a trip to Europe two years later, Edsel Ford, always fascinated by design and styling and with particular leaning towards European taste in these matters, set to work with company stylist Eugene Turrenne Bob Gregorie to create a new variety of very personal automobiles. Their first move was to build a four-seater, two door convertible, intended at this point only to be for Edsel Ford's own use. Their starting point was the 1939 Zephyr's basic chassis. Using some panels from the sedan, they lowered and lengthened the hood, adding 12 inches, a similar amount to the front fenders and a few inches to the rear ones.
Gregorie worked to Edsel's ideas, taking out all moldings and decoration, relying entirely on subtle panel contours and perfect proportions to create the Continental, a taut masterpiece of automotive design. Edsel and Gregorie allowed themselves only one flourish, the exposed vertical rear mounted spare wheel. An enduring symbol, it would remain for the life of the car and in time reappear on other Ford personal cars. This first hand-crafted convertible was delivered to Ford at his 1938/39 winter retreat in Palm Beach, Florida. It created something of a stir in his circle; he returned, it is said, with orders for 200 more. And so the Continental became a catalogued model. For the the 1941 season it became a seperate line, offered either as a coupe or cabriolet (convertible). The production model was little altered. Screen pillars were strengthened, door handles gave way to neat push button catches, the engine was given polished aluminum cylinder heads. In its chaste simplicity the 1941 Continental was unique amongst American cars. At $2,727 for the coupe it was also expensive, when a Ford V8 Super-de-Lux sedan cost $818. That year they sold 850 coupes, 400 hundred of the cabriolets. In 1951 the Museum of Modern Art in New York displayed the Contintental as one of eight specially selected examples of automotive art and declared, The Continental satisfies the requirements of connoisseurs while capturing the imagination of a public less preoccupied with the refinements of automobile design.
This Continental, believed to be the 400th built in 1941, was purchased by the vendor from a Ford dealer in Oakland, California in about 1954. It is correctly finished in Lincoln Green, the full leather interior is described by the owner as being in superb condition, the overdrive and radio both function. Around 27 years ago the original engine was replaced by William Schmidt, a Lincoln Zephyr and Continental specialist in Los Gatos. The brakes have recently been attended to. The vendor states that he uses it on weekends regularly on short local journeys when the weather is fine. This modestly priced Continental, which represents a generally sound older restoration, with excellent provenance will provide the successful bidder with a unique opportunity to own and drive a modern work of art that has been approved by one of the world's major art museums.