1938 Lincoln Series 86H Zephyr

Henry Leland and his son Wilfred founded the Lincoln Motor Company in August of 1917. Leland was among the founder of Cadillac who had sold the company to General Motors in 1909, and stayed on as an executive. He left the company in 1917 following a dispute with GM President William Durant concerning war production. Cadillac had been asked to produce Liberty aircraft engines to support the war effort but Durant was a pacifist. Leland founded Lincoln and accepted the $10,000,000 contract to build the V12 Liberty engines.

In 1922, the young Lincoln Motor Company was acquired by the Ford Motor Company for a mere $8 million. Leland and his son Wilfred continued to run the company after the acquisition, but this proved to be temporary. Relations between the Leland and the Henry Ford workers continued to deteriorate. On June 10th of 1922, both Henry and Wilfred resigned.

Edsel Ford began taking a larger role in the management of Lincoln, working to extinguish the conservative and outdated reputation of the Model L. Edsel Ford was attracted to European automobile styling, and he began working with designer E.T. Gregorie, Jr. to bring his design ideas into fruition. In 1923, Edsel introduced the Model L in custom-bodied form directly from Lincoln, resulting in a 45-percent increase in sales over the prior year, and a return to profitability. In 1924, a Lincoln Model L became the first state limousine used by a U.S. President on an official basis. Within a few years, Lincoln had become a direct competitor to the most elite automobile builders in the industry, including Marmon, Packard, Peerless, Pierce-Arrow and Cadillac. During the early 1930s, at the height of the Great Depression and the cylinder wars, Lincoln introduced the V12-engined Model K, soon retiring the V8 model and becoming the first manufacturer in the world to produce vehicles exclusively with V12 engines. This made the Lincoln automobiles even more exclusive during an time when the pool of buyers were dwindling due to the economical conditions.

The Lincoln Zephyr
In an effort to increase sales and bridge the gap between the Ford V8 DeLuxe and the Lincoln Model K, the Lincoln marque received a second model line, marking the first time it offered two models at the same time during its existence. The Lincoln-Zephyr was introduced on November 2nd of 1935, as a 1936 model. It was based on a design by John Tjaarda who, as Joop Tjaarda van Starkenburg in his native Holland, had penned this concept study in the 1920s. He emigrated to the United States in 19233 and began working at Ford. Edsel Ford was impressed by his drawings and commissioned a full size example to be built. The resulting Briggs-built Zephyr concept was smooth, streamlined, and had a low front and rear-mounted engine. It was displayed for the first time at the 1934 Century of Progress exhibition in Chicago, Illinois and a year later put into production, albeit with a front-mounted V12.

The styling was fine-tuned by Eugene T. 'Bob' Gregorie with input from Edsel and was assembled at the Lincoln Motor Company Plant in Detroit, Michigan. The aerodynamic design had a low raked windscreen, integrated fenders, a futuristic interior and powered by an L-head engine mounted at a 75-degree angle and delivering 110 horsepower. Closed body styles were offered for 1936 and 1937 with new open styles added to the line in 1938.

The Zephyr succeeded in reigniting Lincoln sales and accounted for 80-percent of vehicles sold in its first year. Prices ranged from $1,275 to $1,320 and during its first year of production, a total of 18,994 Lincoln models were sold with 17,715 of those being Zephyrs.

Production of the Zephyr and all American cars was halted by the Government in 1942 as the country entered World War II. The last Lincoln Zephyr was produced on February 10th. When peace time resumed, the Zephyr name was no longer used and the cars were simply called Lincolns.


by Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2020

Related Reading : Lincoln Zephyr History

In 1936 Lincoln introduced the Zephyr, named and styled after the streamlined Burlington Zephyr express train. The train was an aerodynamic diesel powered streamliner that brought an end to the steam-engined trains and set many new speed-records. The Zephyr stayed in production until 1942 when it was discontinued to make way for the new Mercury line which was in a similar market segment. Since the....
Continue Reading >>

1938 Vehicle Profiles

1938 Lincoln Series 86H Zephyr vehicle information

Convertible Sedan

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 producti....[continue reading]

1938 Lincoln Series 86H Zephyr vehicle information

Convertible Sedan

The Lincoln Zephyr was introduced in 1936 and it was an immediate sensation. It was priced to accommodate the moderately affluent buyer. Successful purchasers received a streamlined, all-steel vehicle with a futuristic interior and powered by a V-12 ....[continue reading]

1938 Lincoln Series 86H Zephyr vehicle information

Convertible Coupe

The Lincoln Motor Company made a dramatic announcement on November 2nd of 1935, unveiling the new Lincoln-Zephyr, to sell from $1,275 to $1,320. For Lincoln, which had sold barely 1,400 cars in the Depression-weary doldrums of 1935, the Zephyr was li....[continue reading]

1938 Lincoln Series 86H Zephyr vehicle information

Coupe Sedan

The first Lincoln-Zephyr was based on a design by John Tjaarda who, as Joop Tjaarda van Starkenburg in his native Holland, had penned this concept study in the 1920s. After emigrating to the United States in 1923, Tjaarda went to work at Ford. His ea....[continue reading]

1938 Lincoln Series 86H Zephyr vehicle information

Convertible Coupe

Chassis Num: H-64271

Lincoln introduced its Zephyr model in November of 1935. It wore a modern and streamlined teardrop design credited to designer John Tjaarda, of the Briggs Body Company, with the help from a young Ford designer named Eugene T. 'Bob' Gregorie and input....[continue reading]

1938 Lincoln Series 86H Zephyr vehicle information

Convertible Sedan

The Lincoln-Zephyr was restyled in 1938, receiving twin grilles positioned in the forward end of the 'catwalk' section of the fenders, updating the styling and improving engine cooling. The headlamps were made flush with the fender contours, and the ....[continue reading]

Convertible Sedan
 
Convertible Sedan
 
Convertible Coupe
 
Coupe Sedan
 
Convertible Coupe
Chassis #: H-64271 
Convertible Sedan
 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1938 Series 86H Zephyr
$1,795-$9,500
1938 Lincoln Series 86H Zephyr Price Range: $1,300 - $1,795

$2,200 - $7,000

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Lincoln
1942Chevrolet (254,885)Ford (160,432)Plymouth (152,427)6,547
1941Chevrolet (1,008,976)Ford (691,455)Plymouth (522,080)17,756
1940Chevrolet (764,616)Ford (541,896)Plymouth (430,208)
1939Chevrolet (577,278)Ford (487,031)Plymouth (423,850)22,711
1938Chevrolet (465,158)Ford (410,263)Plymouth (285,704)204,603
1937Ford (942,005)Chevrolet (815,375)Plymouth (566,128)
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)
1934Ford (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)Plymouth (321,171)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)

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