Following up on the success of the Lincoln Zephyr, Ford Motor Company president Edsel Ford and his chief stylist E.T. “Bob” Gregorie worked together to create an upmarket personal luxury car to slot above the Zephyr and below the custom bodied full-sized Lincolns. Using the Zephyr chassis as a base, a new body was penned by Gregorie, one that was graceful and elegant with minimal adornment. Aptly named Continental; it sat low on the chassis with fully enveloped running boards and a long hood covering the proven Lincoln V-12 engine. After the initial prototype proved to be a hit with Edsel’s wealthy friends, the Continental was put into production largely unchanged from the prototype. It was made available as either a handsome closed coupe or a convertible. Bob Gregorie’s work on the car was so well-regarded in its day that the great designer Frank Lloyd Wright declared it the most beautiful car in the world. It was unmistakable and very usual in its day, with very little chrome, a sweeping v-shaped grille, and fenders that emphasized the long, low shape; it remains to this day one of the most elegant American production cars of all time.
The fine 1941 Continental Convertible recently comes from a large private collection of late pre-war and early post-war Fords and Lincolns. The restoration has been done to show-driver standards, and it has seen regular use since the restoration was completed. It has been elegantly finished in deep maroon paint over a beige leather interior and a tan canvas cloth top. The paint quality is very good, with nice panel fit and finish. Of course the signature of the Continental design is its purity, so exterior additions are limited to fender skirts, wide whitewall tires, and a rear mounted “continental kit” spare wheel. The interior, trimmed in beige leather, has been correctly restored to a fine standard of quality. Since the restoration, it has taken on a pleasing and inviting patina. Being a very prestigious car in its day, it is well-equipped with a radio, heater, power operated convertible top, clock, and full instrumentation. The dash is restored with proper wood-grain finish, and the instruments and steering wheel are in very good condition.
The flathead V12 engine looks impressive and is very well detailed in the engine bay. This engine was never intended to make big power, but rather, it was highly regarded for its smoothness in operation. Quiet, silky and with a broad, flat torque curve, it provides effortless operation whether tooling around town or touring long distances on main roads. A three speed manual transmission feeds power to a standard Columbia 2-speed overdrive rear axle. And therein lays the beauty of this fine quality example; it has been restored to a fine cosmetic standard suitable for showing, yet it is pleasingly broken in and ready for touring.
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