1942 Lincoln Continental

In the mid-1930s, Lincoln was at a crossroads. While undoubtedly an excellent car, the large Model K was rapidly falling out of fashion as buyers turned away from the extravagant coachbuilt machines of the recent past. In 1935, just 2,000 customers opted for the Model K, and the company indeed would have folded were it not for the arrival of the Lincoln-Zephyr that year. The Zephyr was an entirely new, smaller Lincoln. It still featured a V12 engine, but at 267 cubic inches, it was half the size of the mighty Model K. With stunning body styling by great John Tjaarda, the Zephyr quite literally saved Lincoln, immediately outselling the Model K by a factor of six. Lincoln’s president, Edsel Ford, was well known for his impeccable sense of style and appreciation of design. He often commissioned unique cars to show off to his wealthy friends, with the surreptitious intent of gauging public interest.

Upon returning from a trip to Europe in 1938, Edsel sketched an idea for a new luxury car based on a Ford chassis and shared it with his friend and chief designer, Eugene T “Bob” Gregorie. Bob translated that sketch into a series of detailed drawings, though using the Zephyr as the basis. Gregorie heavily reworked the body by extending the hood and fenders, sectioning four inches horizontally, and integrating a “bustle back” trunk with a rear-mounted spare wheel. Edsel took the completed car to his vacation home in Florida that winter, and legend says he received 200 orders. Even if that stretches the truth, there’s no disputing the car was well received. Continental production began in December 1939, initially as a cabriolet only, with the coupe following soon after. Sales were understandably modest, with just 404 built the first year and 1,250 the next. Regardless of sales figures, the new Continental was a trend-setter. Celebrities like Jackie Cooper counted among Continental owners, as did Raymond Loewy and Frank Lloyd Wright. The Continental was updated for the 1942 model year with a new front-end design highlighted by a wider, horizontal grille. As with the rest of the industry, the US involvement in World War II halted car production, and just 136 Continental Cabriolets and 200 Coupes were completed in the ’42 model year, making them the rarest of all pre-war Continentals.

In its elegant dark blue livery, this 1942 Continental Cabriolet is one of the finest examples of its kind we’ve encountered. It was treated to a comprehensive nut-and-bolt restoration completed around 2010, and it remains in outstanding condition today. It came into the most recent owner’s care in 2013 and has been meticulously maintained as part of a private collection of exceptional motorcars. It looks particularly handsome in this shade of dark blue, and the high-quality paintwork is laid down on straight, precisely aligned panels. The exterior brightwork is correct for a ’42 model and has been well restored overall, with a few items displaying light patina. Details like the intricately detailed grille, gold-accented art-deco mascot, and pushbutton door handles are all faithfully presented.

The Continental’s cabin blends sophisticated European style with American opulence. Art-deco influence is apparent in the beautifully styled dash with gold-plated trim, central ventilation controls, and instrument bezels. Gold plated top latches, sun visor hardware, and other minor fixtures continue the theme, while luxury extras include a factory AM radio and power-operated windows. The seats and door cards are trimmed in a striking brick-red leather, which is beautifully supple and displays a light character from occasional use, while carpets are like-new. The overall finish quality of the cabin is outstanding, and it remains in excellent condition since its restoration, with only some minor cracking in the steering wheel being noted. Capping it off (literally) is a beige canvas soft top with a matching canvas boot, both in fine order.

The Continental is powered by a silky smooth 306 cubic-inch L-head V12, factory rated at 130 horsepower, and backed by a 3-speed manual gearbox with column shift, ensuring effortless progress along your favorite country lanes. This car features the correct single downdraught carburetor with remote oil-bath air cleaner and is well-detailed with authentic labels and decals. It runs beautifully, with all the power and refinement expected from a Lincoln V12. Collectors prize early Lincoln Continentals as they deliver prestige, rarity, and exceptional road manners in one uniquely stylish package. They are also an approved Classic Car Club of America Full Classic® and are a popular choice for CARavan tours. This superb example would be at home in Lincoln & Continental Owners Club and AACA events. Benefitting from a high-quality restoration and years of care in world-class collections, this desirably ’42 Cabriolet represents an ideal opportunity to acquire one of the rarest Lincolns of the period.

Offers welcome and trades considered



Stock number 7066

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