Monday, June 11, 2012
Car Of The Day: June 11, 2012
Today's car is the 1941 Lincoln Continental by Racing Champions.
The Lincoln Continental is an automobile that was produced by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company from 1939 to 1948 and again from 1956 to 2002. Despite often sharing underpinnings with less-expensive Fords in more recent years, the Lincoln Continental had usually been a distinctively platformed and styled, highly equipped luxury car in the course of its long history.
The flagship Lincoln model during most of its run, the Continental name conveyed special cachet in the product line. During the 1980s, the Continental was downsized from a full-size to a mid-size Ford Taurus platform; this introduced the Continental to a wider range of competition from Europe and Japan. After the Continental was discontinued in 2002, it was largely replaced by the Lincoln LS and eventually the Lincoln MKS.
The first Lincoln Continental was developed as Edsel Ford's one-off personal vehicle, though it is believed he planned all along to put the model into production if successful. In 1938, he commissioned a custom design from the chief stylist, Eugene T. "Bob" Gregorie, ready for Edsel's March 1939 vacation. The design, allegedly sketched out in an hour by Gregorie working from the Lincoln-Zephyr blueprints and making changes, was an elegant convertible with a long hood covering the Lincoln V12 and long front fenders, and a short trunk with what became the Continental series' trademark, the externally mounted, covered spare tire.
The result could be considered a channeled and sectioned Zephyr, with all traces of the running-boards removed. The decrease in height meant that the hood was much closer to fender-level, and the trim was minimal. When compared to other American cars of the period, it seemed long and low, with sleek "clean" lines. The first model Continental is often rated as one of the most beautiful automobile designs from the pre-world war II era.
The customized one-off prototype was duly produced, on time, and Edsel had the vehicle delivered to Florida for his spring vacation. Interest from well-off friends was high, and Edsel sent a telegram back that he could sell a thousand of them. Lincoln craftsmen immediately began production on the Continental "Cabriolet" convertible, and even a rare few hardtop models. They were extensively hand-built; the two dozen 1939 models and 400 1940-built examples even had hand-hammered body panels, since dies for machine-pressing were not constructed until 1941. The limited number of 1939 models produced are commonly referred to as '1940 Continentals'.
The 1939, 1940, and 1941 models were essentially the same design, with only slight modifications from year to year. For the 1942 model year, which was cut short by the beginning of direct American involvement in World War II, all Lincoln models were given squared up fenders, and a revised grill. The result was a boxier, somewhat heavier look; in keeping with then-current design trends, but perhaps less graceful in retrospect.
A lovely model from the Mint line produced by RC. The white top contrasts nicely with the black paint.