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1941 Lincoln Continental news, pictures, specifications, and information

Coupe
 
In 1922, Henry and Wilford Leland's Lincoln Motor Company was purchased by the Ford Motor Company. The LeLands had gone into business in 1917 building Liberty airplane engines. When the war ended they eventually switched to luxury automobile production but financial calamity forced the sale to Ford.

Edsel Ford took the helm with an eye towards upgrading Lincoln styling. To that end he enlisted the finest American coachbuilders to produce stylish new bodies for the company. Edsel had always been influenced by European automobile styling. He began working with the designer E.T. Gregorie, Jr. to bring his ideas into fruition. After building two prototypes the company set up a special assembly area where stock Lincoln Zephyrs were lengthened, lowered and modified to create a design that has become a timeless exercise in automobile styling.

Noted architect, Frank Lloyd Wright considered Gregorie's Continental 'the most beautiful car in the world.' Utilizing very little chrome trim and emphasizing the long low clean shape, the Continental was far ahead of its time and set a standard few cars could match. By 1941 small details were changed; the grille and door handles for example. Otherwise the design remained the clean pure design envisioned by Edsel and Gregorie.

This example is the oldest surviving 1941 Continental. The original owner was a professor at Virginia Military Institute. The second owner was a physician in Martinsville, Virginia. The current owner is the third owner.
Cabriolet
Chassis Num: H121025
 
Sold for $66,000 at 2006 RM Auctions.
When Ford Motor Company President Edsel Ford returned from a European vacation in September 1938, he asked designer E. T. 'Bob' Gregorie for a special car that would be 'strictly continental.' Clean uncluttered lines, elegant styling and a nod to art deco were the result.

First seen in the Palm Beach, Florida area in 1934, Edsel soon had orders for 200 'just like his.' Initially available only as a cabriolet, the coupe appeared in May 1940. Production in 1941 was 850 coupes and 400 cabriolets.

The stunning Spode Green Lincoln Continental Cabriolet with chassis number H121025 was sold at the 2006 RM Auction sale at Amelia Island. It has been awarded 97.33 points, earning it a second place finish in the Senior Class at the 2005 Lincoln & Continental Owners Club. This is just one of the many awards it has received.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2010
Cabriolet
 
Designed by E.T. 'Bob' Gregorie, the Cabriolet Convertible evolved from a prototype personally built in late 1938 for Edsel Ford.

The V12 engine powered Continental was offered through 1948 in both a Cabriolet Convertible and a comparable two-door four passenger Coupe. The Continental was the pride of the Ford family of automobiles. The Continental name appeared again in 1956 and continued in production through modern day.

This wonderful example is largely owner restored and was completed in 2006.
Cabriolet
 
The Continental was first developed as a one-off special for the Ford president, Edsel Ford. The public reaction was so enthusiastic that it was put into limited production. These cars were virtually hand built and incorporated a V-12 engine. The Continental was featured in The Museum of Modern Art's Famous 1951 exhibition '8 Automobiles.' It is now recognized as a true icon of American automotive design.
Derham Coupe
Coachwork: Derham
 
The Continental was considered a sub-series of the Zephyr and shared its 292 cubic-inch, 120 horsepower V-12 with aluminum heads. Standard bodies were built by Briggs for Lincoln and production, while interrupted by World War II, continued after the war and ceased following the 1948 model year. The Continental and Zephyr shared the same 125-inch wheelbase, though styling was similar yet distinct. Priced at $2,926 it cost twice that of a Zephyr. Frank Lloyd Wright said the Continental was 'the most beautiful car he had ever seen.' John Steinbeck said that no other car 'so satisfied my soul.' Time magazine would ultimately put the Continental on its list of 100 best-designed commercial products of all-time.

This car, which left the factory as a coupe, was purchased new in 1941 by industrial designer Raymond Loewy. Loewy hired Derham Body Company in Rosemont, Pennsylvania to build a custom version of the car as he designed it. During the transformation, it became a town car incorporating many unique styling touches, including shortened front fenders, redesigned grille and hood, custom bumpers, removable Plexiglass top, opera windows, gold-plate dashboard accents, and a fin below the trunk. The body was lowered six inches over the frame and the special top helps to create one of the most elegant Lincolns of the prewar era.
Cabriolet
 
Edsel Ford had the best seat in the house as the birth of the automobile unfolded before his eyes. The only son of Henry Ford, Edsel possessed a strong mechanical mind and, like many of his peers, was already tinkering with cars and even building his own automotive creations at an early age.

By 1919, when he was appointed president of Ford Motor Company at the age of 25, Edsel had already established his reputation as an industry leader and savvy executive. At the same time, his personal dream and easy-going nature had won him the affection and respect of Ford employees.

Edsel Ford's greatest contribution to the automotive industry was his ability to combine the artistry of custom design with the functional requirements of mass production. His passion involved the look and feel of the car, the position of instruments on the dashboard, the configuration of accessories, as well as the vehicle's style and shape. His ability to discern an ordinary line from a classic one made him one of the most talented (and under-appreciated) design directors of his time.

When Edsel returned from a trip to Europe he asked Ford designer E.T. 'Bob' Gregorie to create a one-off convertible that would be 'thoroughly continental.' Working directly under Edsel's guidance, Gregorie executed a custom design based on the Lincoln-Zephyr platform.

Edsel Ford took the custom cabriolet with him when he wintered in Palm Beach, Florida that year and it created a sensation everywhere he drove it. When a production version of the Lincoln Continental was introduced, it created an equally sensational response, becoming a favorite of Hollywood stars, design aficionados and celebrities. Today, Edsel Ford's Dream Car is on display as part of the 'Different by Design' exhibit at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores.

This 1941 Lincoln Continental cabriolet was built in the Lincoln factories on December 4, 1940 for Edsel Ford, painted in Mr. Ford's favorite color, a special order Pewter Grey. It was personally driven by Mr. Ford.

For the 1941 model year the car was now known as the Lincoln Continental instead of the Lincoln-Zephyr Continental. The Continentals were essentially custom-built on the Zephyr chassis and were powered by the 292 cubic-inch, 120 horsepower, Zephyr V-12 motor.

The car was in Edsel Ford's garage when he died on May 1943.
Cabriolet
Chassis Num: H108325
 
Sold for $63,800 at 2011 RM Auctions.
This 1941 Lincoln Continental Convertible is believed to have only 54,000 original miles from new, and benefits from a comprehensive body-off restoration completed in the late 1990s. After the work was completed, it easily earned AACA Junior and Senior awards at the National Level.

The car is finished in the original Lincoln color of Rockingham Tan with a tan cloth convertible top and a maroon leather interior. There is a maroon dashboard with the correct knobs, gold-rimmed instruments and radio speaker grille.

Under the bonnet is a 292 cubic-inch V-12 engine fitted with a 2-barrel downdraft Holley carburetor. The 120 horsepower produced is sent to the rear wheels via a three-speed manual transmission with Wizard control. Braking is by four-wheel hydraulically-actuated drum brakes. There is a front beam axle with transverse leaf springs and transverse leaf spring setup in the rear.

In 2010, this Lincoln Continental was offered for sale at Gooding & Company's auction held in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was expected to sell for $100,000 - $130,000. Bidding reached $75,000, but was not enough to satisfy the car's reserve. It would leave the auction unsold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2010
Cabriolet
Chassis Num: 16456301
 
Sold for $46,200 at 2011 RM Auctions.
Lincoln produced 750 Continental Convertibles; 350 in 1940 and 400 in 1942. For 1942, the Lincoln's were redesigned. This example was restored in the 1980s and has been repainted in its original black and retains its original red leather interior and cream top. It has its original AM radio and is powered by a 292 cubic-inch L-head V-12 engine.

In 2011, this vehicle was offered for sale at the Hershey Auction presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $50,000 - $70,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the vehicle had been sold for the sum of $46,200 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2011
Cabriolet
 
The Leland brothers went into business in 1917, building Liberty airplane engines. When the war ended, they switched to the production of luxury automobiles. This move started a financial landslide that ended with the 1922 sale of the company to Henry Ford.

Eventually, Edsel Ford took control and upgraded Lincoln's trademark conservative styling. Edsel enlisted America's finest coachbuilders as well as Ford's own genius, E.T. (Bob) Gregorie. After completing two prototypes, the company set up a special assembly area where stock Lincoln Zephyrs were lengthened, lowered and re-bodied into one of the timeless designs in automotive history. Frank Lloyd Wright bought one, because it just looked good, when photographed in front of the homes he designed.

The 1941 model was the first year for pushbutton door releases, turn signals and a Borg Warner overdrive transmission. It was powered by a 292 cubic-inch, 120 horsepower, 12-cylinder engine, weighed 5,800 pounds and cost $4000. This car is body 9 of 400 Cabriolets built in 1941.

This car made its post-restoration debut at the 2012 Amelia Island concours d'Elegance. It is number 9 of the 400 produced in 1941. Among the 'new for '41' features are turn signals and a Borg Warner overdrive.
Coupe
 
When Lincoln introduced the Zephyr with its Art Deco styling, they quickened the inevitable demise of the large Lincoln K series that was phased out after the 1939 model year. It was powered by a new V12 engine derived from the proven Ford flathead V8. The designer E.T. Gregorie Jr. is credited with the original design for the Continental, which was based on a lengthened Zephyr chassis. Noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright considered Gregorie's Continental 'the most beautiful car in the world.' Production in 1941 was 850 coupes and 400 cabriolets. A 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe was famously driven by Sonny Corleone, played by James Caan in the film The Godfather.
The name 'Continental' was inspired by the 1940's Lincoln Continental powered by a large 12-cylinder engine. Bentley had used the name Continental on their model line, adding to the ambiance and prestige. In 1956 the Ford Motor Company formed the Continental Division for the production of the Mark II. Its general manager was William Clay 'Bill' Ford, son of Edsel Ford and grandson of Henry Ford. Many people associated the Continental as a Lincoln because it featured the trademark Lincoln spare-tire hump in the trunk lid and it was sold and serviced at Lincoln dealerships. Many of the mechanical components were courtesy of Lincoln such as the drivetrain. The Continental Division lasted until 1957 when it was merged with Lincoln and the Continental Mark II was added as Lincoln's flagship model. The name 'Continental' would stay with the Mark line until the introduction of the Mark VII in 1984.

There never was a model designated as a Lincoln or Continental Mark I.

The Continental Mark II had an understated beauty; it was elegant without the need to be flamboyant. Unlike the flashy American style of the time, it was very tasteful in its design. It did not use chrome, two-tone paint, or sharp styling cues to accentuate its beauty. At the front was an egg-crate style grille and straight fenders. The hood was long and curvy, perfect for concealing the 6-liter engine. Mounted on the hood and in the back was the four-pointed star that later became Lincoln's emblem. The Lincoln 368 cubic-inch V8 was matted to a Lincoln three-speed automatic transmission. The back had the signature Lincoln spare-tire hidden in the trunk lid. Though sharing many similarities with the Thunderbird, these were completely different machines. The Continentals were mostly hand made; the paint was applied multiple times and then sanded, double-lacquered, and polished.

These rolling works of art were very costly. The $10,000 sticker price was equivalent to a Rolls-Royce. Top-of-the-line American luxury brands, such as Cadillac, were selling for around $5000. Even at these high prices, Ford still lost an estimated $1,000 per car. At the time Ford was a private company and was willing to incur these losses but when Ford became a public company, losses were not permitted. A stock Mark II was $10,000 in 1956. Derham and Hess & Eisenhardt both estimated a convertible conversion to cost $18,000 to custom build. That's why there were so few Mark II convertibles.

The Continental was sold to the rich and famous. Anyone who could afford the cost was welcome. Famous buyers included Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Louie Prima, Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Spike Jones, Nelson Rockefeller, Henry J. Kaiser, Howard Johnson, the Shah of Iran, and many other celebrities owned them.

The Continental Mark II was debuted to the public at the Paris Motor Show in 1955. During the close of 1955, around 1300 Mark II's were sold. For the entire 1956 model year, another 1300 were sold. In 1957, around 450 were produced for a total of just over 3000. Around 1500 still exist in modern time. Only three convertibles were created.

Mark III
The Lincoln Continental Mark III was produced from 1969 through 1971. Actually, in 1958 the Continental Division of Ford tried to produce the Continental Mark III but sales and production never really materialized. The onset of the 1958 recession accelerated the demise of the Continental Division.

The 1969 Mark III was introduced in 1968 as a 1969 Model year. It was positioned to compete with Cadillac's Eldorado. The Mark III was, in many ways, a luxury version of the Ford Thunderbird. The Mark III and Thunderbird shared many mechanical components; their styling was similar and both were built at Ford's Wixom, Michigan plant. The engine was a Ford 429 enlarged to 460 cubic-inches.

In the back was the signature spare-tire bulge, though no spare-tire was housed in this enclosure. The design was rectangular and smooth. It was taller, larger, 300 pounds heavier, more powerful and luxurious than the Thunderbird. Power brakes, steering, windows, headlamps and front seats were all standard. Vinyl with cloth inserts was standard with leather being optional. The door trim panels and instrument panels were either rosewood or oak, depending on the interior color chosen.

The vinyl roof was popular, even though it was optional. Other options included a variety of radios, 8-track tape players, and air conditioning. Both front seats were power adjustable, but for an additional cost additional power adjustments could be installed. An automatic headlamp dimmer could be ordered, meaning that it would dim automatically for oncoming cars. Anti-lock brakes, cruise control, and a limited slip differential were available for an additional cost.

In its introductory year, nearly 31,000 examples were produced. Though the Eldorado had better slightly stronger sales, this was still a very respectable start for a long and successful series.

In 1970, 21,432 examples were sold. The following year, 27,091 were sold. Even though the best year was in 1968, sales had begun in 1968. Meaning that the sales sold in 1968 and 1969 were counted together.

In 1970 the vinyl roof became standard and the windshield wipers were made recessed. The interior trim was now real wood. A locking steering column was introduced. Radial tires were standard equipment.

1971 was the final production year for the Mark III. Tinted glass, SureTrak anti-lock brakes, and automatic climate-controlled air-conditioning became standard.

Mark IV

In 1972, the Lincoln Continental Mark IV was introduced and would stay in production until 1976. It was similar to its predecessor but grew in both length and width. It still shared a platform with the Thunderbird and in many respects, were similar.

There were few differences of the Mark III and the Mark IV. The Mark IV was slightly rounder, the wheel openings were a little different, and optional opera windows were installed. The grille was longer and a new bumper adorned the front of the vehicle. The popular vinyl roof was now standard. In 1973, a new federally mandated 5 mph bumper was installed.

Under the hood was a 460 cubic-inch Ford 385 Series V8 capable of producing just over 210 SAE horsepower. Power was sent to the wheels courtesy of a C6 3-speed automatic transmission.

Sales were strong for the Mark IV with the lowest production year being in 1975 with 47,145 units sold. 1973 was the strongest year for sales with 69,437. With total sales amounting to 278,559 for the five years of production, the average total sales per year was 55719.

1976 had strong sales partly because of the newly introduced Designer Series. These were special edition Mark IV that were given color, trim and interior choices by famous designers. The designers' signature was placed on the opera windows and a 22 karat gold plated plaque could be found on the instrument panel. The gold plaque could be engraved with the original owners' name.

There were four designer editions offered: Bill Blass Edition, Cartier Edition, Givenchy Edition, and Pucci Edition. The Bill Blass Edition was dark blue with cream accents; the Cartier Edition was dove grey; The Givenchy Edition was aqua blue; and the Pucci Edition was in red and silver.

Mark V
In 1977, In Lincoln Continental Mark V replaced the Mark IV, and would stay in production for only three years, ending in 1979.

In comparison to its predecessor, it was rounder, longer and wider and no longer built on a Ford Thunderbird platform. The engine was downgraded to a Ford 400 cubic-inch small-block engine. The Ford 385 460 cubic-inch was available, except in California, as optional equipment until 1978.

The Continental Mark V was a big and heavy car. It averaged 7 mpg under normal driving conditions and 3.5 mpg under full acceleration. Ford was close to violating the Corporate Average Fuel Economy law so in 1980, a smaller Continental was introduced.

Mark VI
The Lincoln Mark VI was introduced in 1980 and stayed in production until 1983. It was smaller version of its predecessor with minor design revisions. The headlight covers and steering wheel were new. Under the hood was a 5-liter eight-cylinder engine. With the reduced weight and a smaller engine, fuel economy improved.

Mark VII
The Lincoln Continental Mark VII, later just called the Mark VII, was introduced in 1984 and produced until 1991. The Mark VII sat atop the Ford Fox platform, had originally been used for the Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr.

From 1984 through 1985, a special edition Versace Designer Edition could be ordered. A Bill Blass Designer Edition was produced from 1984 through 1992. The Luxury Sport Coupe was produced from 1984 through 1992 while the LSC SE was produced from 1990 through 1992.

The Mark VII continued the ambiance set-forth by its predecessors. Leather seating and all-power options were standard. This included a computer message center, digital instruments, keyless entry and more. The luxury sport coupe (LSC) version after 1986 was did not receive all these amenities.

The ride was smooth thanks in part to a full airbag suspension and electronic ride control system. Power was sent to the wheels courtesy of a four-speed automatic transmission. Under the hood was a 5-liter High Output SEFI or throttle body fuel injected V8 capable of producing nearly 230 horsepower. In 1998 the horsepower was further increased after the throttle body was enlarged and better flowing cylinder heads were adapted.

The Mark VII had electronic 4-channel antilock brakes and composite headlights; the first American vehicle to use these features.

Mark VIII
The Mark VIII was the next iteration in the long line of the Mark Series. It was produced from 1993 through 1998. The base 2-door coupe was powered by a 4.6 liter DOHC V8 producing 280 horsepower while the LSC models produced 290 horsepower. The LSC model versions, produced from 1995 to 1996 was the first American vehicle to be equipped with HID headlights. The 1997 through 1998 LSC models continued the HID headlights but with larger housings.

Slow sales resulted in the cancellation of this luxury car series. A Lincoln MK9 Concept was introduced in the early 2000's, but plans of production seem doubtful.

By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2008
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