A Lincoln any car enthusiast would love to own.

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The Lincoln Continental has had an interesting and somewhat choppy history. It originally started out as a custom one-off for Edsel Ford himself, but Ford realized that he could sell such a model, and the prototype quickly became a production model. That was 1939, at which point every Continental that was built was done so by hand. Eventually, Lincoln got around to making machine dies in 1941, but the car was only produced for another year before WWII brought production to a halt. Which brings us to this car – a 1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet.

This car will be going under the hammer at Mecum’s auction during the 2016 Monterey Car Week, and is just 1 of 136 models that were produced before the war forced Lincoln to stop production. Even more important is the fact that only 27 of the original 136 models are believed to be in existence, making this one rare vehicle. It has been through Concours restoration and has even be refreshed in the correct Darian Blue from 1942. And, as you can see from the picture above, this is one fine example of history – one that I could go without writing about when I saw it listed for auction.

With that said, let’s take a good look at the car and talk a little more about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lincoln Continental Cabriolet.


1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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As you can see, this model is pretty much in perfect condition and does appear to have the correct exterior finish. I could go on for days about this car, but I’ll try to keep things short and sweet here. Compared to modern vehicles, there is so much soul and emotion in the design of the body that the car almost looks to be alive from every angle. That long hood is accented by a multi-level radiator grille and air dam. The fenders bubble out from the center of the vehicle with almost flat tops. The circular, sealed-beam headlights are surrounded by chrome housings that match the chrome lines of the grille and the front bumper. Both grilles up front and connected by a chrome louver that runs vertically in the center of the front end.

Compared to modern vehicles, there is so much soul and emotion in the design of the body that the car almost looks to be alive from every angle.

Moving over to the sides, the inner body is excessively smooth, featuring small mirror units and push button door handles. The door windows are framed in chrome as is the very bottom edge of the vehicle. The rear wheel wells flare out just as much as the fronts, giving the car a much wider appearance. This particular model also has the skirts in the rear, giving it more sports appeal. The wheel well flares in the rear are accented by foldover taillights that have chrome surrounds.

In the rear, we can see a very small rear panel to provide visibility when reversing. The trunk lid follows similar styling as the front and is staggered, gaining a little length toward the bottom. The spare tire is, in true Lincoln-style, mounted to the rear and is covered with a panel that is finished in the same color as the body. The rear bumper is all chrome, which was a pretty common thing back then, and features a small chrome tower on either side, reinforcing the car’s uniqueness and beauty.


1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet High Resolution Interior
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1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet High Resolution Interior
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1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet High Resolution Interior
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The interior is just as gorgeous as the exterior, featuring blue leather upholstery, blue carpeting, and a metal dash that is finished in the same color as the exterior. A two-spoke steering wheel with an inner ring greets the driver upon entry. There are white Bakelite knobs scattered here and there on the dash, a simple speedometer and a horizontally arrange row of gauges behind the steering wheel. There is plenty of gold accenting too, primarily in the center of the dash, the steering wheel, gauge surrounds, window handles, and a strip on the door trim.

Back then, car interiors were widely simple, but this is one of the more elegant cabins that you’ll ever see from back then. Even the front bench seat features a simple, but specific design that rivals that of some of the more modern cars we have today. I would also like to note that Lincoln kept things even within the cabin. Since there was a large speedometer and a horizontal gauge pod in front of the driver, the brand had to do something with the passenger side of the dash. This is where there is a large, analog clock and a panel with the Lincoln name written inside, mirroring the basic design of the dash on the opposite side. Beautiful.


1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet High Resolution Drivetrain
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Under the hood of this elegant beast sits a 5.0-liter, 305 cubic-inch, Lincoln-Zephyr V-12 that is backed by a three-speed automatic transmission. This specific engine was only used for a month of 1942 production and used a 7.2-to-1 compression ratio and a twin-choke, two-barrel carburetor. Power output was rated at 130 horsepower. This engine was also used for a short period of time after the war but was dropped back down to 292 cubic-inches for most of 1946 through 1948. Power was routed to the rear wheels.

As you can see from the images, this engine has been well restored, and the engine bay is immaculate. It should be noted, however, that the engine was actually an “Edsel” of sorts. While it was fairly reliable, the larger bore of the cylinders of the 292 cubic-inch V-12 meant the cylinder walls were very thin. So thin, in fact, that a lot of the blocks were trashed during the casting process. The engines that did survive casting experienced extreme wear and, because the walls were so thin, could not be put through the re-boring process during engine overhaul.


1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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Accurate pricing for the first generation models – especially the handful made in 1942 – are seemingly impossible to come by. The second-generation models that debuted in 1956, however, were the most expensive cars in the world at the time, commanding nearly $10,000 or about $90,000 in today’s money. The specific model you see here is expected to go for anywhere between $130,000 and $150,000, but as rare as it is, it’s entirely possible that it could go for more. Stay tuned for updates after the auction comes to and end for final auction pricing.


Cadillac Series 62

1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet
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Image credit: Lars-Göran Lindgren Sweden (Own work) GFDL CC-BY-SA-3.0

Just like things are today, Lincoln found itself competing with the likes of Cadillac. Back then, Cadillacs weapon of choice was the Series 62, which was available in convertible form as well. While 1942 still represented the first generation for the Lincoln Continental, the Cadillac 62 Series had entered its second generation for 1942. With the second-gen model came a larger front grille with fewer louvers, rectangular fog lights integrated with the grille, and bullet-like shapes on top of the front bumper guard. Furthermore, the fenders were now flared out more and were longer, with the front fenders extended onto the front doors. For the most part, the Cadillac looked somewhat similar to the Continental – it just had some Cadillac touches to it that set it apart. I’ve been unable to source accurate sticker pricing for the second-gen Series 62, but several auction sites have them listed for anywhere between $50,000 and $90,000 for well-kept examples.


1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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The Lincoln Continental was an absolutely beautiful car throughout most of its history, but there is nothing like the first-gen models. Even more so, this model being one of the few made in 1942 gives it that extra flare that just stands out to me. I’m honestly shocked to see that the estimated auction cost is $150,000 at best. Given the car’s rarity, I thought it would be estimated to go for a lot more. Although it has been through a restoration, that restoration was obviously precise and well done, leading me to believe that this baby may pull a bit more than what Mecum expects. I’m estimating that it could go for upward of $230,000 if the right enthusiasts are in the crowd. Are you an antique car buff or collector? If so, let me know what you think of this car and what you would pay for it in the comments below. I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

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Source: Mecum

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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