HomeCar CultureCommentaryLush Lincoln Zephyrs to highlight Bonhams’ Amelia Island auction

Lush Lincoln Zephyrs to highlight Bonhams’ Amelia Island auction


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.

Lush Lincoln Zephyrs to highlight Bonhams’ Amelia Island auction
The 1940 coupe has been performance enhanced

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.

Lush Lincoln Zephyrs to highlight Bonhams’ Amelia Island auction
The ’39 Zephyr sports a split-oval rear window

“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.

Lush Lincoln Zephyrs to highlight Bonhams’ Amelia Island auction
The 1942 coupe was one of the last pre-war Lincolns

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.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. I was out on a ride with my club a few years ago…we were stopped at the roadside for a breather…we got passed by a group from the minicar club (including an Isetta, a Messerchmitt and a King Midget)…then by a contingent of the Bull Club (Lamborghinis, including a Miura SV and a Diablo SV)..and then by a ’39 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe. It was the best looking of them all.

  2. When I was very young there was a garage near my house that was rent by an out of town well dressed elderly lady. When a visit to my village was planned she would call the local Ford dealer, have them pick the car up, service it and return it to the garage. It was a 38 or 39 Lincoln Zephyr coupe, silver in color. The owner would arrive by bus, get the Zephyr out, use it for a couple of weeks and "disappear". 65 or so years later I know that she had purchased the car from our local Ford-Lincoln Zephyr dealer and that the garage in question was part of a "rooming house" property.
    MY friends and I would peak into the garage through side windows and check out the Zephyr. One day we looked and it was gone and gone for ever. I wish that I had asked questions back then. This affected me as in 1966 I purchased a 1938 Lincoln Zephyr 4 door and kept it until a house purchase required the need for cash.
    So there is my Lincoln Zephyr story.
    I have a 1939 photo of the Ford dealer, wish I could post it here.


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