Lot #986 - 292/120hp L-head 12 cylinder engine, downdraft Stromberg carburetor, column-mounted 3-speed synchromesh transmission, solid front axle, live rear axle with a 2-speed Columbia rear end and 4-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase is 125". In 1938, Edsel Ford expressed an interest in a distinctive "special convertible coupe that was long, low and rakish." It was not intended as a production model but the request coincided with an almost total collapse in orders for the luxury Lincoln Model K. Lincoln had built only two models since its acquisition by Ford in 1922. The original Henry Leland designed Model L V8 until 1932 and the V12 Model KB/K from then on. By 1937, orders for the Model K had dropped under 1,000 while the smaller Continental V12 introduced in 1936 had been an immediate hit. Designer Bob Gregorie hit upon the idea of using the Zephyr chassis for Edsel's "special convertible" and in less than an hour sketched the outline of the 2 door, 4-seat body over an outline drawing of a Zephyr sedan. The hood line and cowl were lowered and pushed back with the front fenders extended to match. The rear fenders, with skirts over the tires, also were extended to match the bustle-style trunk. The folding top had blind quarters. There were almost no bright trim, a concession to Edsel's preference for simplicity as well as the lack of time to make one-off trim pieces. The design quickly gained Edsel's enthusiastic approval and work rushed ahead to complete the one-off in time for Edsel's winter vacation at his home in Hobe Sound, FL. Even for Ford, where cut-and-dry development had been the standard practice for years under Henry Ford, the process took every shortcut possible, with layout drawings prepared directly from a 1/10th scale model and sent right to Lincoln's model shop. Only as it neared completion did the designers realize there wasn't room for a spare in the trunk, leading to the decision to install the enclosed spare tire behind the trunk, an expedient which became the car's signature. Based on a 1939 Zephyr, the prototype was completed in less than six months and it was the hit of the season when it appeared in Florida. Edsel phoned Gregorie with the observation, "I've driven this car around Palm Beach and I could sell a thousand of them down here right away." Called the Lincoln Continental, it was rushed into production as a 1940 model. Only 404 were built that year, 350 cabriolets and 54 coupes, each to all intents and purposes hand built. Avidly sought by high society, businessmen, celebrities and sports figures, the Continental re-established the exclusive, luxury image of the Lincoln marque and is rightly regarded as one of the landmark automobile designs of the century.
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