After returning from Europe in 1938, Edsel Ford sketched for E.T. 'Bob' Gregorie, then chief of design for Ford Motor Co., a concept that he wished to build on a Ford chassis. Instead, Gregorie did detailed drawings based on a Zephyr convertible, and the result was a low-slung custom convertible. The car was sectioned horizontally by four inches, and the hood and fenders were extended about a foot. The finishing touches included a bustle back with an outside 'Continental' tire. After the car was completed, Edsel took it to Florida that winter where many of his friends, impressed by the car, immediately placed orders. The Continental was placed into production in December 1939, and a coupe version soon followed.
The early 1940s Lincoln Continental brought a new level of elegance of design to the American automobile and Lincoln marque. It shared its point prow and curvaceous fender shape with the streamlined contemporary Lincoln-Zephyr, on which they were based. In 1942, the Continental received new, more squared fenders and a redesigned frontal appearance found on all Lincolns of that year. After civilian production resumed following World War II, in 1946, the Continental and other Lincolns received mild updating that included new, bolder grillwork. The final first-generation Continentals were produced as 1948 models. The Lincolns built from 1946 through 1948 were the only American cars produced following the war to be powered by a V-12 engine.
The Museum of Modern Art, in 1951, selected a first-generation Continental as part of an eight-car exhibit honoring automotive design excellence.
The 292 cubic-inch L-head twelve-cylinder unit was essentially the same engine used in pre-World War II editions. It had a cast-iron block, four main bearings, a Chandler-Grove two-barrel carburetor, a 7.2:1 compression ratio, and delivered 130 horsepower at 3,600 RPM. It was backed by a three-speed manual transmission as standard equipment and overdrive were optional. Other optional equipment included whitewall tires, a radio, heater, and a custom interior on the sedan and coupe body styles.
The 1947 Lincoln Continental rested on a 125-inch wheelbase platform, the same size used since its introduction. Body styles included a sedan priced at $2,550, a club coupe at $2,530 and a convertible coupe listed at $3,142. The total Lincoln production reached 29,275 units, with Lincoln-Continental sales reaching a new with 1,569 examples built. Of those, 831 were coupes and 738 cabriolets.
The 1947 Continentals were very similar to the previous year, with the exception of slightly different wheel covers. Mid-year, changes were made to the hood ornament. The mechanical changes were also minimal, with updates being made to the starter drive and the generator.
The Ford Motor Company introduced its first all-new postwar products in mid-1948 for the 1949 model year. Lincolns were very similar to the Mercury line and the previous twelve-cylinder engine was replaced by an eight-cylinder unit with 336.7 cubic-inch displacements and delivering 152 horsepower, 22 more horsepower than the previous engine. A three-speed manual was again standard with a 'Touch-O-Matic' overdrive optional (a Hydra-Matic automatic transmission became optional later in the year). The Continental name disappeared, returning in 1956 and 1957 as its own short-lived Continental Division, with the Continental Mark II serving as the worldwide flagship of the Ford Motor Company.
by Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2020
1947 Lincoln Continental
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|1952||Chevrolet (818,142)||Ford (671,733)||Plymouth (396,000)||27,271|
|1951||Chevrolet (1,229,986)||Ford (1,013,381)||Plymouth (611,000)||32,574|
|1950||Chevrolet (1,498,590)||Ford (1,208,912)||Plymouth (610,954)||28,190|
|1949||Ford (1,118,308)||Chevrolet (1,010,013)||Plymouth (520,385)||73,507|
|1948||Chevrolet (696,449)||Ford (430,198)||Plymouth (412,540)||7,769|
|1947||Chevrolet (671,546)||Ford (429,674)||Plymouth (382,290)||21,460|
|1946||Ford (468,022)||Chevrolet (398,028)||Plymouth (264,660)||16,645|
|1942||Chevrolet (254,885)||Ford (160,432)||Plymouth (152,427)||6,547|