The Corpus Christi Old Car Museum Auction

Lot 185
1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe

Selling on Saturday

1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe


• An unqualified stylistic tour de force; striking throughout
• Well-presented and preserved CCCA Full Classic®
• Inspired by Edsel Ford, design by E.T. “Bob” Gregorie
• 1 of just 800 Coupes built and an estimated 200 survivors
• Interior replete with gold accents

292 cid L-head V-12 engine, 120 HP, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and ¾-floating rear axle, transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 125"

Returning from his European travels in 1938, Edsel Ford was captivated by his concept for a “special convertible coupe that was long, low, and rakish,” incorporating many of the design cues of the most glamorous and advanced European cars. Ford designer E.T. “Bob” Gregorie quickly sketched the outline of the new car’s two-door, four-seat body, based heavily on the basic design of the Lincoln-Zephyr that revitalized Lincoln’s fortunes upon introduction in 1935. The distinctive Continental design featured a lowered hood line and cowl with extended front fenders, while lengthened and skirted rear fenders matched the bustle-style trunk, and the folding top featured formal Victoria-style blind rear quarters.

Edsel’s approval was enthusiastic and swift. Work began to complete the car in time for his winter vacation in Florida. Since there was insufficient room for a trunk-mounted spare tire, the car received its signature feature, a rear-mounted “Continental” spare-tire. The prototype was completed in less than six months and was the hit of the winter season among Edsel’s friends in Florida. Initially called the Lincoln-Zephyr Continental, the car entered production as a 1940 model, with 404 produced. This initial success spurred continued production for 1941, with 1,250 built – 850 Coupes and 400 Cabriolets. Film and business icons clamored for a Continental of their own and some of the era’s most renowned designers, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Raymond Loewy, bought Continentals themselves, providing perhaps the ultimate form of admiration.

The arts community wholeheartedly agreed with the Continental’s design significance, well after the car was released, when New York’s Museum of Modern Art held the landmark “8 Automobiles” exhibit in 1951. The cars exhibited were examples of Mercedes, Cisitalia, Bentley, Talbot-Lago, Willys-Jeep, Cord, MG, and of course, the Lincoln-Continental. As the exhibit program stated, “The eight automobiles in this exhibition were chosen primarily for their excellence as works of art, although no automobile was considered for inclusion unless its mechanical performance met the highest technological standards. A second consideration was their relevance to contemporary problems of passenger car design.”

Very rare today as one of an estimated 200 survivors from the 850 Lincoln-Continental Coupes produced for 1941, this excellent car remains a great example of a 20th Century automotive design benchmark. Avidly sought after by society’s elite when new, the Continental firmly re-established Lincoln’s exclusivity and remains an automotive design icon today. Very well-maintained, this CCCA Full Classic® remains simply a wonderful example of the inspired genius of the Edsel Ford/"Bob" Gregorie design collaboration.

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