Lincoln Zephyr, one of the loveliest cars of the late 1930s, started off as a concept instigated by Edsel Ford for a lower-priced model to bridge the gap between Fords and the luxurious top-drawer Lincolns.
But with masterfully streamlined styling by Bob Gregorie – who started his career as a yacht designer before joining Ford – the Zephyr took on a life of its own, considered by many to be a standout of the Art Deco era. The “baby” Lincolns truly became remarkable when Lincoln offered them with smoothly powerful V12 engines.
Three lovely 12-cylinder Zephyr coupes from a single collection, one each from 1939, 1940 and 1942, will be auctioned without reserve during Bonhams’ sale March 8 on Amelia Island in Florida.
Each of the curvaceous coupes is described by Bonhams as being totally restored in period-correct concours condition, ready to drive and show.
“The iconic streamlined Art Deco masterpiece that is the Zephyr has become increasingly sought after with time as its forward-thinking styling and superior build quality grow ever more apparent,” according to a Bonhams news release. “Long the focus of hot rodders and customizers due to its gorgeous looks, slippery profile and powerful motor, a stock Zephyr Coupe in stellar condition is an uncommon sight.
“As such, these three single-collection examples – each one a true standout – offer a unique opportunity for enthusiasts of vintage American automobiles. Better still, all are to be offered without reserve.”
The handsome black 1939 coupe was formerly part of the vast classic car collection of Reno, Nevada, casino mogul William F. Harrah. Styling highlights include the split-oval back window on its long, steeply canted rear, waterfall grille and glass-covered teardrop headlights.
The ruby-red 1940 model was the subject of a $100,000 restoration, according to Bonhams, and shows some of the stylistic revisions of the new model year. Confirming its sporty stance are performance-enhancing upgrades to the 5.0-liter V12 engine, such as triple carburetion.
One of the last cars built by Ford before World War II halted civilian-car production, the 1942 Zephyr shows the changes in body styling that would continue in other Lincoln models after 1945. Believed to be just one of five surviving examples, the ’42 coupe also has the correctly restored revised interior and uprated engine.
Bonhams’ annual Florida auction takes place at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club adjacent to the municipal airport. For more information, visit the auction website.