Lincoln Continental was a car that got more style than anything that came out of the USA. This coupe was the epitome of American automotive design, made for the rich and famous. No wonder it was owned by such remarkable celebrities as Rita Hayworth, Jackie Cooper, Mickey Rooney, John Wayne, Clark Gable, and many more.
Source: Premier Auction Group
Everyone knows Henry Ford – a person who put America on wheels. But how many times have you heard about Edsel Ford without somebody saying, “Edsel was a total failure”? Yeah, the Edsel car was a failure. Still, Edsel Ford, the person, was an incredible manager who had more foresight and more understanding of what people want in a new age, particularly in post-war reality, than his father ever thought of. Edsel was the one who created the Ford design center, and it was the second car company in America to have such a studio. The idea of creating such a place came to him during his extended European vacation. Inspired by the stylish European automobiles, he returned and started a new page for his father’s company. The Lincoln Continental was a result of his brilliant vision.
The ancestor of the Continental series – the flagship Lincoln- appeared in 1939. During his Еuropean vacation, Edsel Ford was excited by the beauty and grace of European automobiles. Upon his return, he instructed the company’s chief designer Eugene Gregory to make an exclusive European-style convertible for his personal needs. Gregory sketched out a design in just an hour, taking the serial Zephyr as a basis, and soon Edsel was driving the new convertible around Palm Beach. The car was so beautiful that it made a splash on the roads. It was a sign: Edsel called Dearborn and informed Gregory that his vehicle had attracted so much attention that he could sell 1,000 of these convertibles the same day! Thus, it was decided to put this prototype into mass production. A year later, the Lincoln Zephyr Continental appeared. On the Zephyr platform, Gregory created an elegant 5.3-meter long-hood convertible with sleek body lines. The interior was decorated with leather and expensive wood. The engine was a 4.8-liter V12 with 120 hp.
Interestingly, at the plant, they did not even have time to prepare stamps, so the first automobiles of 1940 were assembled by hand. This was a relatively expensive vehicle, costing around $1,500, much more than a regular Zephyr convertible. In its first year, the brand produced only 404 examples, 54 of which were coupes.
Source: CCC of America
From 1941, the Continental became an independent model, practically unchanged from previous releases. The only exception was the replacement of door handles with buttons. The model was based on the Zephyr platform with a 125″ (3175 mm) wheelbase with a monocoque body, dependent transverse spring front, and rear suspension, and hydraulic drum brakes. It was equipped with a 4.8-liter L-head V12 292 engine with an output of 120 hp and a 3-speed manual transmission. Compared to the Zephyr, the body was lower, longer, and broader, with elongated, streamlined fenders and a hood. However, the main difference between the model was a flat trunk protruding above the fender line, and a spare wheel mounted behind it in a metal case. In total 400 convertibles and 850 coupes were made in 1941. The 1941 edition is considered a particular value for collectors: for the perfect condition automobile, auctioneers ask about $200,000. The car is a recognized national treasure, which was honored to be presented at the New York Museum of Modern Art.
Rita Hayworth and her 1941 Lincoln Continental
Orson Welles, an actor, and film director bought a 1941 Lincoln Continental coupe for Hollywood starlet Rita Hayworth, famous for her femme fatale roles in the 1940s, which she owned for 30 years. Later she gave it to her secretary who sold the car for $2000.
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