The first Continental was a customized Lincoln Zephyr built in 1939, at the request of Ford Motor Company President Edsel Ford. The car was built to be for his use at his vacation home in Palm Beach Florida. As the story goes, upon returning from a trip to Europe, Edsel went to the Ford Company’s head designer, Bob Gregorie and asked him to build a “strictly continental” car for his personal use.
Within weeks of receiving the car, Edsel wired Gregorie explaining that
he could have"filled his pockets with pre-orders" from his wealthy
friends who saw the car.
first series-produced Continentals began construction in December
1939. The design changed in 1942 at which time a larger 306cid V12
engine with 130hp (which is 10hp more than earlier models) was installed
and the grille and front trim were re-designed for a sleeker
appearance. The first few cars rushed into production were equipped with
Ford’s new “Liquamatic” automatic transmission which proved initially
problematic, and all were recalled and outfitted with manual three-speed
Due to America’s entry into World War II, only
136 Cabriolets and 200 club Coupes were produced in 1942 before civilian
automobile production ended.
The 1939-1948 Continental is recognized as a "Full Classic" by the Classic Car Club of America
, one of the last-built cars to be so recognized.
Bristol Blue1942 Lincoln Continental Coupe was recently donated to
America’s Car Museum by Mr. Richard Culp of Bainbridge Island,