The Auburn Auction

Lot 11
1939 Lincoln Zephyr Convertible Coupe

Selling on Saturday Evening

1939 Lincoln Zephyr Convertible Coupe


• 1 of just 640 Zephyr convertible coupes produced
• Fitted with several desirable period accessories
• Stunning style and design
• Runs and drives very well

267 cid L-head V-12 engine, 110 HP at 3,900 RPM, Stromberg two-barrel carburetor, three-speed manual transmission, solid beam front axle with transverse leaf springs, live rear axle also with transverse springs, hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 125”

Under the guidance of Edsel B. Ford, on November 2, 1935, the Lincoln Motor Car Company, a division of Ford Motor Company, took the spotlight with the unveiling of the all new Lincoln Zephyr line. Reaching outside the company for design inspiration, this new smaller Lincoln had been designed based on John Tjaara’s Strekenburg concept studies from the late 1920s. Originally designed for a rear-engine mounting with a bridge-truss integral frame, the front end of the car was smooth and sleek. Briggs Body Co. created a mock-up that was displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1934.

Edsel Ford knew there was a major marketing gap between his father’s Ford passenger cars and the luxurious Lincoln automobiles that he had overseen since the company had been acquired. Edsel Ford wanted to compete head-to-head with the likes of Chrysler Airflow, Buick Century and the soon-to-be released Packard 120. His solution was a car that offered superb styling and one feature none of the competition had, a multi-cylinder engine.

When unveiled, Edsel Ford’s stylist, E. T. “Bob” Gregorie’s handy work presented a masterpiece of streamline design and elegance in sheet metal. Zephyr’s featured a front-mounted V-12 engine that shared its basic design elements with the trustworthy Ford V-8 rather than the larger engines from Lincoln’s Model K series. Promoted as offering a “Zephyr-smooth ride with the passengers cradled between the axles”, this new “baby” Lincoln was soon wooing customers over from other brands of automobiles. Initially offered only as a four-door sedan and a two-door “coupe-sedan”, the line expanded for 1937 with a full town limousine and a six-passenger coupe. For 1938, both a convertible sedan and a handsome convertible coupe were added to the line-up. Improvements to the engine were also incorporated with the use of hydraulic lifters providing a silent ride.

For the 1939 model year, several more upgrades were released, the most important of these being the use of hydraulic brakes, as well as improvements to the electrical charging system. Styling saw the body updated with lower body skirting completely enclosing the running boards plus a mild facelift to the front grille and sheet metal. The hood line was raised a bit which allowed for larger front grille opening that let more cooling air to flow through the radiator. Zephyr was also gaining an international following which may be one reason why the dashboard was designed to be asymmetrical with gloveboxes on each end, and a centrally mounted combination speedometer/instrument cluster which included gauges for fuel, oil pressure, charging and coolant temperature.

One of just 640 Zephyr convertible coupes produced for the 1939 model year, this beautiful example has lived much of its life in the Grand Canyon state of Arizona. Treated to a full restoration a few years back, it is presented in a beautiful dark Zephyr Coach Maroon livery which is set off by the jewel-like finish of all exterior chrome surfaces including those highly sought-after teardrop taillights. The tan canvas top covers the chrome plated bows and fits just as it did when it was first produced and when folded in the down position is covered by a matching boot cover. Drivers and passengers are cradled in the lap of luxury with plush seats covered in fine red leather and the floor is covered with a custom fitted thick red loop-pile carpeting also in red.

This impressive convertible is fitted with several desirable period accessories including dual outside rearview mirrors and a driver’s side spotlight. The original wheels are riding on a set of gleaming wide whitewall tires and the rear fenders are fitted with color coordinated fender skirts. Below the speedometer is an original electric clock, and the banjo steering wheel features a flawless ivory plastic outer ring that matches the gear shift knob. Under the hood that Zephyr V-12 engine has been detailed to a show-quality appearance and we have been told it runs out quite well with the transmission slipping through the gears like a warm knife through butter. Easy on the eyes and a pleasure to drive, this Zephyr will not disappoint.

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