Continental Mark II Cruiser

Continental Mark II Cruiser

By Jim Farrell

Originally published in the Sept/Oct 2996 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 199)

Over the years Continental Comments has, from time to time, featured articles about Mark IIs customized in one way or another. In Comments issue #134 there was a centerfold picture of a Mark II radically modified after Alex Dryer owned it. The customized Alex Dryer Mark II was first pictured in Comments #65 and resurfaced in Comments #190. Other Mark IIs have been customized over the years, but generally to lesser degrees than the Dryer car.

Most Lincoln and Continental enthusiasts rightly assume that it’s impossible to improve on the looks of the Mark II as built. That plus the rarity of the car and the high cost of acquisition have also acted to discourage too many “hot rod” Mark IIs. It should come as no surprise to us, however, that some hobbyists see things a little differently than we do. One of those people is Gary Meadors of Alamo, California. Gary has recently completed the ultimate “American Graffiti” car. You can tell from the picture it’s a Mark II, but a Mark II that has had all the modern tricks done to it that make it into the ultimate cruiser or street rod.

Before explaining what makes this Mark II so much different than the pristine, perfect restorations we usually see at our national meets and in the pages of this magazine, it helps to know a little about Gary Meadors. Gary grew up in a small farming community in central California in the 1950s. As a farm boy, he got his driver’s license at age 14. The movie, American Graffiti is about the California car culture Gary grew up in. The closest bigger cities when Gary was growing up were Visalia and Fresno, where “cruising the gut” was the ultimate participation and spectator sport every night of the week and especially on weekends. Gary’s “thing” is cruising and he believes that practice makes perfect. Over the years Gary has graduated from his first cruising vehicle, a ‘48 Plymouth, to a Tee bucket roadster, then to a “deuce sedan” (‘32 Ford) and now to a 1956 Continental Mark II.

The ultimate luxury car of the ‘50s to many became the ultimate street rod to the guy behind the Good Guys street and hot rod car shows.

In the ‘50s and ‘60s, cruising became an art form in California, and by the ‘70s, Gary, his wife Marilyn and their two sons were cruising from one end of the state to the other. By the ‘80s the Meadors family was cruising not only in California, but thousands of miles a year to Tulsa, St. Paul, Indianapolis, New York and every place in between. Pleasure soon transformed itself into a successful business and now Gary is the guy behind all of the very successful Goodguys street and hot rod car shows you see advertised in newspapers and street rod magazines all across the country.

Since Gary’s hobby has turned into a successful business career, he has now indulged himself in what he sees as the ultimate cruiser—a custom Mark II. Gary says that when it came time to replace the deuce sedan, which was first built in 1972, he was looking for something really unique and different from what other street rodders were building. The Mark II cost $8,000 to begin with, and from listening to everything that has been done to make Gary’s ultimate street rod and who did the work, we’re not sure even Gary wants to know what the final bill was. At the very least, it’s not polite to ask, but making a statement in today’s street rod culture is certainly not cheap!

The bottom six inches of the body were found to be almost rotted away when the car was disassembled and stripped. That was repaired, but then Gary took a path different than the one taken by most of us who restore old cars. A new frame was fabricated using the same cow belly principles employed when the original Mark II frame was designed. This one, however was made to accommodate a 460 cid. engine, a beefed up C-6 transmission, and the front and rear ends from a ‘77 Ford LTD station wagon. Disc brakes all around were used. The only non Ford, component taken from another manufacturer was a late Chevrolet tilt steering column.

The original dash was totally redone and BMW late model adjustable seats were installed. A new air-conditioning system
was installed and a modern stereo system was built in.

The inside doesn’t look much like the original, but Gary says that real efforts were made to preserve the timeless exterior
styling of the Mark II. Windwings were removed, as were the rocker panel moldings and the door handles. Other body
modifications include 17 inch custom made wheels, ‘52 Ford filled headlight rims, custom outside mirrors and a custom
grill. The bottom parts of both bumpers were also painted body color. The spare tire hump on the trunk was reworked and lowered slightly. The car was painted a deep blue and upholstered in medium gray. The car has no pin stripes, flames or other ornamentation on it. Gary says it rides and drives great, except that it wants to stop at every gas station.

This club is one that prides itself on the accurate restoration and preservation of all Lincolns and Continentals, but it also
makes room for and recognizes modified custom Lincolns and Continentals. It’s probably too much to hope that those who pride themselves on the authentic and accurate restoration and preservation of classic Lincolns can ever truly appreciate street rods and customized Lincolns no matter how well done they are. Maybe the converse is also true. There is a moral to this story, however, and in a strange way it reinforces the beliefs most of our members have.

Usually the cars that have been made into the most successful street rods are the ones that have been the most radically
modified. They have been chopped, channeled, sectioned and just about everything else to become expressions of their creator’s concept of what the car ought to look like. The emphasis with most street rods has been to change the original looks of the car as much as is consistent with modern practice and individual taste. Not so with the Meador’s Mark II. The emphasis was on keeping as much of the classic Mark II look as possible, even while creating a unique street rod. That’s about as high a compliment as can be made to the original designers of the Mark II and it reemphasizes what all of us have taken for granted for the last 40 years—the Mark II is one of the most beautiful car designs ever created and it looks as fresh today as it did 40 years ago. Purists and street rodders can at least agree on one thing—if cars looked as distinctive today as the Mark II still does, the American Automobile industry would be in overdrive.

More Early Days of the Western Region

More Early Days of the Western Region

By Bob Lawton, San Gabriel, California

Published in 3rd Quarter 1994 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 199)

    Recently a fellow member, knowing that I had joined LCOC back in 1955, asked me if the Club was as enjoyable and  interesting when the only eligible cars were 1940 through 1948 Lincoln Continentals. We were interrupted before I could  answer him, but I got to thinking about his question later. I guess I would say, “Yes, but in a more informal way and on a much smaller scale.”

LCOC was, from the beginning, a unique kind of animal. It was made up of a very small number of people who, like myself, were not restorers of classic automobiles, but just ordinary people who happened to have fallen in love with one particular model of one make of car simply because it was so beautiful. Many other people who felt the same way never became  members for the simple reason that there were so few Lincoln Continentals to be had. Remember, we’re talking about a car whose annual production was, for the most part, less than a thousand units per body style.

We had to have our own club. No one else would have us! The only other clubs around at the time were the Lincoln Owners Club and the Classic Car Club. The former were the ones who collected and restored Lincoln K, KA & KB cars, and who believed that Edsel Ford had made a pact with the devil by bringing out the Lincoln-Zephyr and its upscale relative, the  Lincoln Continental, both of which had that HV-12 engine. The Classic Car Club was populated by guys in alpaca sweaters and wearing Rolex watches who had garages full of Duesenbergs, Pierce-Arrows, Packards, etc. Our Lincoln Continentals were technically accepted as Classics by the CCCA, but I can attest from personal experience that if you attended one of their functions someone would probably ask if you were one of the caterers. Our only real support came from the Ford Motor Company, God Bless ‘em.

LCOC members in those days tended, as I recall, to be more blue-collar than whitecollar. Most of us were in no great shape financially. I believe that when I bought my 1948 Lincoln Continental Coupe I had just gotten a raise to the magnificent sum of $350 a month! Rarely did anyone own more than one Lincoln Continental. One was hard enough to find and support. For the most part we did our own mechanical work, or found a good independent mechanic with the knowledge and  willingness to work on the car. (Lincoln mechanics would run and hide if you took your V-12 to your local Lincoln dealer for service.)

National Meets were pretty much like what we have today, although smaller in scale. During the rest of the year we took
drives to places like Apple Valley for lunch, or maybe just a picnic in a local park where everyone brought their own food and beer and we just sat around and talked about our beloved Lincoln Continentals.

A lot of us drove our Lincoln Continentals regularly. For a number of years mine was the only car I owned. (Two-car families
in the Fifties mostly lived in Beverly Hills or Brentwood, and they didn’t drive old Lincolns to work).

It may come as a surprise to many of today’s members, but engine conversions were quite common back then. We even
gave trophies for the best engine conversions, and I know personally of one Lincoln Continental that won a Ford Trophy with a flathead Ford V-8 under its hood!

If you were one of thee ones who drove his Lincoln Continental a lot an engine conversion was a real blessing. When I
bought my 1948 Coupe from a Lincoln dealer in early 1955 the engine had just been converted to a 1954 Lincoln V-8, that 205 horsepower beauty that was running away with everything at the Mexican Road Races. After blowing low gear a couple of times I had a Cadillac Dual-Range Hydramatic installed. We retained the original shift lever and did not install a quadrant. So inside the cabin there was no indication that any changes had been made. The car looked absolutely original from outside but drove like a new Lincoln. When a joint National Meet was held in Colorado Springs for all Regions, my car just sailed up those steep curving roads in the rarified atmosphere of the Rockies, while a lot of twelves were gasping for lack of air (and torque.)

Of course, we never foresaw an LCOC the size and scope that we have today. For a number of years we wouldn’t even allow a Mark II to join us. (Of course, when a $10,000 Mark II was new, its owner had no interest in membership in a club like ours. His club was more likely to be the Bel-Air Country Club.)

It’s been 35 years or more since those days, and now the LCOC is mature, dignified and has about 4,000 members who own
everything from Leland Lincolns to new Town Cars. The Lawtons now have a 1977 Continental Mark V and a 1987 Town Car. But we still get the same thrill when we see perfectly restored Lincolns of any vintage! Long live the LCOC.

Tom McCahill Tests The 1953 Lincoln

Tom McCahill Tests The 1953 Lincoln

From Mechanix Illustrated – March 1953

Republished in 3rd Quarter 1994 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 199)
     Well, they finally whacked the whiskers off Lincoln. For lo! these many years, ever since Benson Ford supervised the burying of the glamorous Lincoln Continental, Lincoln has been turning out some pretty mediocre high-priced cars. In 1952 they introduced a car that almost had everything but instead fell flat as yesterday’s souflee—in performance. You regular readers may recall that I lambasted the Dearborn kids for this at the time, for which I got a lot of hard criticism, especially from the company boys.

     But how about the ‘53 jobs that cleaned up the stock sedan division of the 1,900-mile Mexican road race by finishing 1-2-3-4? For my devaluated dollar this car, that looks much the same as the all-new ‘52, can now be crowned the Grand Champion of them all. For many years, I have rated the Cadillac as America’s number one car for several reasons. First, for the amazing way it held its resale value; second, because aside from spongy roadability it was a better automobile all around than any other car made on these shores, especially in its reliable and hot engine. Today I rate the Lincoln head and shoulders over Cadillac in every department except resale value and even this margin should shrink as soon as these new Lincolns get to be better known.

     Let’s list all the 1953 Lincoln features first and work from there. The Lincoln is far ahead of any immediate American competitor in roadability and cornering. This is one of the reasons why it made such an outstanding record in Mexico. More important, its top handling properties make it by far the safest car in its price class. Until now we have rated the Hudson Hornet as the finest and safest handling American car, but the Hudson must share honors with Lincoln. In the performance department, the Lincoln is outstanding.

     The AAA officially timed this wagon out in Utah at 115.8 mph. for a two-way average and at 114.2 mph. for 100 miles. As I wasn’t at these trials, I have no way of knowing whether the car ran with air cleaners, or or an altered vacuum spark advance, or whether it was retimed to compensate for the late time of a vacuum advance unit at open throttle. In such a case, the timing would not be as specified by the manufacturer for the showroom stock Lincoln. I do feel, however, that the 1953 Lincoln as delivered at Sea Level will not go 115 mph. 110 to 112 seems to be about par for the course, but this still makes it America’s fastest car at this writing. As we go to press, I have not tested the new 210 hp. 1953 Caddie, but I will make book the Lincoln will take it. Back to the Salt Lake test for a moment. The great Utah salt flats, where many automobile records have been hung up, do not always give a true picture of an automobile’s real potential. In fact, all cars will run faster on the salt flats. Most professional speed merchants have been aware for some time that altitude plays a major part in high-speed records. The salt flats are approximately 4,800 feet above sea level and in this hangs a tale.

     As you probably know, for every thousand feet your car operates above sea level there is a definite drop in engine power because while at sea level the air pressure is rated at 14.7 pounds per square inch, this pressure decreases as we climb. A 100-horsepower engine at sea level will only develop approximately 70 horsepower at 10,000 feet due to the lower density of air. Here’s the gimmick. At the salt flats, 4,800 feet, an MG, Lincoln or any other car will develop less than 90% of its sea level power. But, by the very same important token, the air resistance against the car at high speeds will be much less. American cars, having tremendous speed-retarding frontal areas, will actually gain quite a bit more by this decreased air resistance than they lose through horsepower drop. The less streamlined the car, the more it will gain over its normal sea level performance. At any speed above 100 mph. in a typical Detroit balloon, the air resistance factor becomes fabulous.

     As a very rough calculation, it is fairly safe to state that any American car which can do a solid 100 mph. on the salt flats will be lucky to pass 95 at sea level. This in a way accounts for some of the strange records we have questioned in the past regarding high altitude speed runs. For example, Bill France drove a Nash Ambassador in the 1950 Mexican road race for many miles at a faster average speed than the car could go for one mile in New York. He privately attributed this to the fact that the car was running at around 5,000 feet of altitude much of the time.

    Of course, in this sort of calculation, you reach a point where altitude works against speed, in a very rare atmosphere such as you find at, say, 10,000 feet, your carburetor mixture is thrown way out of kilter and the engine runs much too rich due to the decreased amount of oxygen. Oxygen is the only part of air that burns in an engine and a gallon of air contains only 21% oxygen. Naturally, as the oxygen thins out due to less density of the air, it reaches a point where it doesn’t contain enough moxie to rev up an unloaded engine to peak rpms. so that, despite reduced air resistance, speed falls off. Most qualified engine men agree that for top speed in an automobile 3,500 to 5,200 feet altitude will produce greater speed. Beyond 5,200 feet, speed falls off very fast, unless you use higher compression heads and make carburetor adjustments. So much for salt flat records. Now back to the 1953 Lincoln as you buy it.

All Lincolns are now equipped with the four-speed Hydramatic transmission. This unit is far superior to the original sludge pots in every way although, being a diehard, I still think I can shift much better and I know I can get more out of a car with a manually-operated transmission. Actually, there is little if anything to be gained with these automatic transmissions by starting in Low and Shifting to Drive in acceleration runs. Zero to 60 averaged out 12.61 seconds on a corrected speedometer and Zero to 30 averaged 4.42 seconds on several trials with several cars.

    Lincoln also has a brand new four barrel carburetor that’s a beaut, thanks to their able, long-time ignition and carburetor chief, George Nastas. This job, unlike some of their competitors’, is a single-float gismo that shows no sign of loading and starving, all at the same time, on hard turns. The engine has been boosted from last year’s 160 horsepower to 205 and the torque has been upped to 305 foot pounds from 284. The exhaust system has been improved. Part of the real boost on the same 317-cubic inch ‘52 block can be attributed to the increase of the valve size and valve lift and the jump in compression ratio. The valve area in ‘52 was 1.74inches per valve, in ‘53 it is 1.98 inches. The valve lift in ‘52 was .3375 inches and this year it is .3545. This naturally assures much better and deeper breathing. The compression ratio has been hopped to 8 to 1 from 7.5 to 1.

    I tested several Lincolns with regular steering and found them outstandingly responsive. Then I whirled one around with power steering. You can keep power steering. I don’t want any part of it. I got a bad impression of Lincoln’s power steering when an eager beaver engineering assistant wheeled one out for a test. He came up to us like a ball of fire, cut the wheel hard and, so help me, I thought he was going to roll the automobile. This really able road car, under the pressure of his exaggerated cut, mushed like a balloon in a down draft—and I was very unimpressed. Later, when I buzzed this rig into a hard turn on the proving ground at speeds close to 90, the power steering felt very feathery compared to the solid feel I got with the other Lincolns.

    The power brakes on these cars are swell and there was little trace of fade on the hardest stops. In the looks department this year’s Lincoln is very similar to last year’s offering with a few chrome rearrangements. If you happen to be in the market for a Lincoln, try and see one without the ten buck hood ornament first. I think it looks a thousand dollars better without the gee-gaw and you save a sawbuck to boot. At this writing you can order them either way. As for comfort— here  again the Lincoln shines. From the driver’s seat you get a slight ski-slide look, similar to the Mark VII Jag, that is great for visibility. The seats are chair high, similar to Chrysler’s, but without the high roof line. The body is five inches narrower than the 1952 Cadillac which is a real feature, especially in view of the fact that the Lincoln has only two inches less seat width. This makes the Lincoln feel much handier in traffic, which it is. All the interior lines, including the instrument panel, are clean and have that good looking functional quality. The back seat is also comfortable, as it should be in this luxury item. This year there are five models, all on a wheelbase of 123 inches: the Capri four-door sedan, hardtop and convertible and the Cosmopolitan four door sedan and sport coupe.

    Some of my more ancient readers may remember when Henry I advertised that you “can buy a Ford in any color, so long as it’s black.” This year, the 50th Anniversary of the Ford Motor Company, you can get your new Lincoln in any one of 13 basic colors and 30 (count ’em 30) two-tone color combinations, along with a fairly dazzling selection of upholstery fabrics which include leather, nylon, broadcloth, tweed and something called frieze. The doors also have a new two position check mechanism featuring a halfway stop to hold them open when you dismount into one of those skinny 1953-type garages.

    In summing up, the Lincoln is a high priced car giving high-priced performance. As of now I haven’t tested the 1953 Cadillac or 1953 big Chrysler. On what I have seen to date I can honestly state that the 1953 Lincoln is America’s finest automobile.


0 to 30 mph., 4.42 second
0 to 50 mph., 9.7 seconds
0 to 60 mph., 12.61 seconds
0 to 70 mph., 17.6 second
Top speed, 110-112 mph.

Exiting in Style: The 1979 Collector’s Series

Exiting in Style: The 1979 Collector’s Series

by Jim Raymond, Fort Worth, Texas

     Wisely and with great execution, Lincoln had adhered since its inception in 1921 to the automotive maxim, Length times Width times Weight equals luxury.  But by 1980 this formula would instead equal violation of federal standards.  Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements and emissions regulations were to become ever tighter during the new decade and Lincoln could no longer make a vehicle of the traditional luxury size.

     But there was still 1979.  The last of the big ones.  And so they created the Collector’s Series, … “to epitomize and commemorate this elegant, era of the traditional Lincoln”, stated the 1979 brochure.  Available as an option package on both the Lincoln Continental and Continental Mark V, this car would include as standard equipment, a far greater number of features than any other 1979 Lincoln, and even some not even available on any other Lincoln. They would truly achieve their goal.

    Establishing a “drawing room” feel for the interior, Lincoln covered the seats with unique “Khasmin II luxury cloth”, an automotive fabric of the highest quality for the time. Leather was also available. But Khasmin II was not limited to the seats, as Lincoln also used it to wrap the interior garnish moldings and sunvisors. And rather than vinyl for the headliner, Lincoln chose Harvard cloth, another fine fabric. Cushioning the occupant’s feet was 36 ounce Tiffany-cut pile carpeting. This was twice the weight of the floor carpet in the standard Lincoln Continental. Meeting the eyes directly, the padded portion of the dash in the Mark V was covered in real leather, and both the Lincoln Continental and Mark V had a steering wheel with a wood grain insert. To protect the owner’s luggage, the trunk was lined with 18 ounce carpet, the same weight as that used in the interior of the standard Lincoln Continental. Further complimenting the trunk ensemble was a leather-bound tool kit. Protecting the owner’s manual was a handsome leather covering, and protecting the owner himself was a navy blue collapsible umbrella. All of these features were unique to the Collector’s Series cars, as they were not even available on any other Lincoln.

    Visible to the general public, the exterior was decorated with triple pinstripes (as opposed to double on other Lincolns), a gold-tone grille, coach lamps, and turbinestyle cast aluminum wheels. Two colors were primarily offered for the Collector’s Series, navy blue, and white. However a handful were painted silver metallic (color code 1Y) and a handful, diamond blue metallic (code 38). All Collector’s Series have “Collect” stamped on the cowl tag and include the color code.

    To be a true luxury car, it must be replete with a host of servants available to one’s beck and call. Thus, in addition to the features on a Continental, standard equipment on a Collector’s Series included the following:

  • Automatic headlamps
  • Automatic high beam dimmer
  • AM-FM stereo 8-track
  • Power antenna
  • Rear window defroster with heated outside mirrors
  • Lighted vanity mirrors, left and right
  • Tilt steering wheel
  • Cruise control
  • Illuminated entry system
  • Remote control garage door opener
  • Overhead dual beam map/dome lamp
  • Power door locks
  • Power mini-vent windows
  • Delay wipers
  • Remote trunk release
  • Right-hand remote-control mirror
  • Coach roof
  • Wide band white sidewall tires

    Available as options were traction-lok differential, four-wheel disc brakes with Sure-Track (anti-lock on the rear), engine block heater, heavy duty battery, illuminated outside thermometer, fixed glass moonroof or power moonroof, CB radio, trailer towing package, and leather upholstery. With so much standard there was little left to add.

    And so in all respects, Lincoln created a car that epitomized “what a luxury car should be” and which commemorated the era of the traditional-sized luxury vehicle. It truly was conveyance in the grand manner.

1942 Lincolns.  Cars So Rare from a Turbulent Year

1942 Lincolns. Cars So Rare from a Turbulent Year

Edited by Tim Howley from information supplied by William E. Kortsch, 1942 Lincoln historian.

    1942 Lincolns arrived in showrooms on September 30, 1941 and were continued in production through February 1, 1942. In keeping with the industry’s trend to a bolder, more massive front end look and extreme art deco styling, Lincoln introduced an extremely horizontal front end theme for 1942 and an instrument panel not unlike that of the 1942 Cadillac. The broad shouldered frontal treatment, huskier fenders and stronger trim all around gave the 1942 Lincoln-Zephyr, Custom and Lincoln Continental a heftier look than the two previous years while retaining the basic 1940-41 unitized body /frame. The car was also slightly lower, wider and longer than 1940-41.

    Overall width was increased approximately 4.5 inches due to wider tread and wider fenders. The overall length was increased approximately seven inches because of the step-out for the lower grille assembly and projected design of the rear. The car was one inch lower made possible by the use of longer and lower springs and lower camber. 15-inch wheels further contributed to the lower profile. The new radiator grille had a catwalk lower section and stainless steel horizontal strips in both the upper and lower sections. This was the first time that the Lincoln-Zephyr had a horizontal bar grille theme since 1938. The left and right sides of the grille were separated by a narrow three row vertical bar with the numeral “12” recessed at the top. The bottom of this recess was highlighted with red paint. On the exterior ends of the lower grille there were three narrow “cat’s whiskers” as accent pieces.

    The name “Lincoln-Zephyr” appears nowhere on the car, and this was the last year that the Lincoln-Zephyr was designated as such.

    Larger new front and rear bumpers and bumper guards with large built-in gravel deflectors were used, replacing the very fine line bumpers of previous years. The hood ornament was a distinctive departure from 1941. Also, the  Lincoln coat of arms emblem was used for the first time. The word “Lincoln” was mounted on the front of the hood directly below the coat of arms. The word “Lincoln” was recessed in block letters into a rectangular chromed bar. The recessed letters were filled with red paint. The Lincoln-Zephyr hood sides carried two long, wide chromed, pot metal strips with a “12” sandwiched between them. The Lincoln Continental carried only the words “Lincoln Continental” in red trimmed script towards the back of the hood sides. Headlight rims were restyled with built-in parking lights and turn signal indicators. The license plate was now recessed in the center of the front bumper. Nearly all body panels were new except the doors on the Lincoln Continental. Rocker panels were incorporated underneath the doors to insure perfect sealing of the bottoms of the doors on the Lincoln-Zephyr and Custom, but not the Lincoln Continental. There was new design stainless steel belt molding on the body sides of the Lincoln-Zephyr and Custom with an attractive flair at the rear of the body. There was new treatment of stainless steel moldings running along the bottom of the body below the doors from the front to the rear fenders. New stainless steel trim moldings were placed above the window reveals extending from the front to the rear. Push buttons were now standard on all body types, replacing pull type door handles. Outside door handles were now available as special equipment only.

    New hub caps, larger in size, covered the entire wheel hub and carried the name “Lincoln” recessed in block letters painted red into a rectangular bar mounted on the hubcaps. New rear fender skirts where much easier to remove and reinstall than on previous models.

    There were six new body colors furnished in rich baked on enamel. They were Chetwin Beige, Andover Green, Victoria Maroon, Suwanee Green, Bristol Blue, Black, and Darian Blue and Sheldon Gray which were metallic colors.

    The instrument panel was completely redesigned so that the speedometer and clock were large round pods of equal size flanking the radio grille. The gauges were placed to the left of the speedometer and the name “Lincoln” was placed to the right of the clock on the glove box lid. The glove box door was illuminated at night to balance the lighted gauges. This light also illuminated the inside of the glove box. On Lincolns equipped with Liquamatic the glove box emblem read “Liquamatic” instead of Lincoln. The Lincoln- Zephyr and Lincoln Custom one -piece instrument panel had a raised section in the middle to give it depth. The instrument panel was finished in a mahogany burl grain as were the window garnish moldings. Burled walnut grain was repeated on the back of the front seat. Most other trim pieces were finished in mahogany metallic. Lincoln- Zephyr instrument controls were finished in chrome with ivory plastic knobs.

    The steering wheel was finished in ivory plastic to harmonize with the control knobs. The horn ring was now a full circle instead of a half circle. The horn button was a new design for 1942.

    The Lincoln Continental carried the general instrument panel design of the Lincoln-Zephyr, but the panel was flat and painted the body color instead of being dimensional and finished in a burled walnut grain. The Lincoln-Zephyr convertible instrument panel was painted body color. Interior accents in the Lincoln Continental and Custom were gold plated or finished with a gold macoid lacquer, not chrome plated like in the Lincoln-Zephyr. Automatic choke, vacuum window lifts, and folding arm rest in the rear of the coupe all were standard equipment on the Lincoln Continental and Custom. Lincoln-Zephyr convertibles also had hydraulic window lifts.

    The Lincoln-Zephyr standard interior on closed cars was Heather Blue Broadcloth or choice of two cords— Novelty weave tan cord or Blue and taupe mixed cord. There was also a custom interior with four shadow stripe broadcloth upholstery combinations in blue, tan, maroon or green. This was for seats, seat backs and sidewalls up to the belt line. Headlining, upper doors and package shelf were in contrasting colors of broadcloth, except tan, which was tan throughout. The Lincoln-Zephyr convertible interior was available in all leather seats in green, tan, blue or black or leather bolsters with cord inserts, all in the same four colors. Optional was any cord with black leather. The Lincoln Custom interiors were blue, green or tan point stripe broadcloth, or mixed red cord, or could be custom ordered. The Lincoln Continental Cabriolet interior was available in green, black, blue, red or tan leather or any of these leather colors in combination with blue cord with blue leather, green cord with green leather, or tan cord with tan leather or red leather. 1942 was the first year that whip cord was used on the headlining of the Continental Coupe in lieu of broadcloth when the vehicle was ordered without a full leather interior. Top material for both the Continental and Zephyr convertible was canvas in black or tan.

    For 1942 the engine was bored out .062” to the 2.937” maximum resulting in a displacement increase from 292 cid to 305 cid. This was done to achieve competitive performance and to compensate for the increased weight of the vehicle. Many makes went to cast iron pistons for 1942. Lincoln continued to use cast alloy steel pistons. (The car on this page is Bob and Jean DiCarlo’s 1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet which won a Ford Motor Co. Trophy at t h e 1 9 9 9 E a s t e r n National Meet at the Nevele Grande Resort & Country Club in El l e n v i l l e , New York. In the background of the top and bottom photo is the resort’s ski lift. Bob bought the car fully restored. He does not know the car’s history or its condition before restoration.)

Horsepower went up from 120 to 130, but compression ratio went down from 7.2:1 to 7.01. The reason for the reduction in  the compression ratio was the return from aluminum heads to cast iron which resulted in higher operating temperatures. To further improve cooling the radiator core was made two inches wider. The cylinder block bore increase resulted in a high rate of block rejections, so early in the 1946 model run Lincoln returned to the 292 bore. Other engine changes were an increased rod bearing diameter, a new flexible flywheel (except in Liquamatic equipped cars) which smoothed out engine vibration, increase in carburetor jet size, redesigned intake manifolding and a large side-mounted oil bath air cleaner for better breathing. The vacuum brake for the distributor was now taken off at the carburetor base instead of the intake header which tended to reduce engine roughness on deceleration.

    As mentioned earlier, the wheels were reduced in diameter from 16 inches to 15 inches. This resulted in a one-inch reduction in the car’s height. Front tread went from 56.5” to 59”. The length of the front spring went from 44 1/2” to 45 1/4”. The sway and torsion bar was made heavier and longer to accommodate the increased tread and spring length. The axle ratio went down from 4.44:1 to 4.22:1 except on cars equipped with Liquamatic drive. The overall length of the 125” Lincoln-Zephyr was 217”—an increase of 7.8”. The overall width went from 73.38” to 77.82”.


    According to Mike Gemer’s records 273 1942 Lincolns were equipped with Liquamatic Drive, a combination of liquid fly wheel, a special semi-automatic transmission and automatic overdrive eliminating 75% of ordinary driving motion. Liquamatic drive was a $ 189 option developed in a crash program to compete with GM Hydra-Matic and Chrysler’s Fluid Drive. Supposedly 744 Mercurys were Liquamatic equipped. The Liquamatics were so troublesome that virtually all were replaced at no cost to the owner with standard transmissions. To the best of our knowledge only one Liquamatic unit survives, and that one is not in a car.

    Standard equipment included rear fender skirts, turn indicators front and rear, and electric clock. On Lincoln Continental Cabriolets a beveled edge, glare resistant outside mirror was also standard equipment.  Options were Liquamatic Drive or Automatic Overdrive, new Adjust-OMatic Radio with foot control and touch bar tuning, automatic dash mounted pushbutton vacuum actuated radio antenna, hot air or hot water/heater defroster, custom made seat covers, new spot light, road lamp, outside rear view mirrors, visor vanity mirror, electric windshield wipers, license plate frames, stainless steel wheel bands, rear bumper center guards and gas tank locking cap. Automatic choke was standard on Lincoln Continentals and Lincoln Customs, optional on Lincoln-Zephyrs. Vacuum actuated window lifts were standard on L i n c o l n Continentals and Customs, optional on Lincoln-Zephyrs.

It is unknown how many 1942 Lincolns survive. The 2000 Lincoln & Continental Owners Club Directory lists 21 Lincoln Continental Cabriolets and 39 Lincoln Continental Coupes, three Lincoln-Zephyr coupes and four Lincoln- Zephyr sedans. The only 1942 Lincoln-Zephyr convertible listed belongs to Mike Gerner in Minnesota. Gerner probably has the world’s largest collection of 1942 Lincolns, five. While no Lincoln Customs are listed in the LCOC Directory, two are listed in the Lincoln-Zephyr Owners Club Directory. This directory also lists one Brunn Town Car, 13 three-window coupes including two in LCOC, five club coupes including the one in LCOC, 13 sedans including the three in LCOC and five convertible coupes including Mike Gerner’s. An educated guess is that less than half the 1942 Lincoln Continentals extant are in LCOC and only a fraction of the Lincoln-Zephyr s extant are in LCOC. An obvious question is why is the survival rate of the 1942 Lincoln Continentals so much higher than the Lincoln-Zephyrs when so many more Lincoln-Zephyrs were built? The probable answer is that Lincoln-Zephyrs, 1940-1948 were sacrificed to restore the Lincoln Continentals and still are being sacrificed to restore them. The Lincoln-Zephyr was not a car that was saved until the Lincoln-Zephyr Owners Club was founded in the ‘60s.)

    Only 6,545 Lincolns were produced for the 1942 model year, making it the lowest production of all the low production 1942 makes except the Crosley.

Events of the Year 1942

1942 was not exactly a happy year. On January 2 the Japanese landed in Manila eventually forcing the surrender of the American-Filipino forces at Batan Corregidor. Meanwhile Jimmy Doolittle and his airman raided Japanese coastal cities. U.S. Army and Navy forces attacked Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands in August and later in the year won a decisive battle at Midway. Halfway around the world allied forces invaded North Africa and began bombing Italy.

Everything from food, clothing and raw industrial materials to candy bars and chewing gum was rationed. If you had a new 1941 or 1942 car you couldn’t drive it very far because gasoline was rationed. Air raid blackout drills were practiced everywhere, and on the west coast there was almost a panic that the Japanese would launch another surprise attack. The French luxury liner “Normandie” burned February 9 at her pier in New York. 491 people were killed in Boston’s Cocoanut Grove fire on November 28. Nevada’s six-weeks-residence divorce decree was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on December 21.

Bing Crosby’s White Christmas became the most popular song of the year and the decade when it was introduced in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn. Other popular songs of the year were Lamplighter’s Serenade, Paper Doll, That Old Black Magic and You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To. Motion pictures of 1942 included Mrs. Miniver with Greer Garson and Walter Pigeon, The Pride of the Yankees with Gary Cooper and Yankee Doodle Dandy with James Cagney. On January 16 Carole Lombard was killed in an airplane crash while returning home from a bond drive. Husband Clark Gable was devastated, but eventually went back on the set to complete Somewhere I’ll Find You with Lana Turner, a movie with sad overtones of Gable’s misfortune.

Rare 1969 Lincoln Continental Luggage Option

Rare 1969 Lincoln Continental Luggage Option

By Chris Dunn, Continental Comments magazine, March/April 2020

     The photo above of the 1969 Lincoln optional “Marvelon luggage set created by Guild Masters exclusively for the Lincoln Continental.” I recently acquired this luggage but it took 19 years of waiting.

     In September, 1980, when I purchased a 1969 Lincoln Continental sedan from the original owner, Robert Buttmi in Treasure Island, Florida, he told me the story of how he ordered the car from Carlisle Lincoln-Mercury in Clearwater, Florida with every available option including “new Town Car ultra-luxury interior option” and the matched set of luggage.Optional Luggage in the trunk of Chris Dunn's 1968 Lincoln Continental Coupe

     However, my purchase of the car in September, 1980 would not include the luggage as he wanted to keep this for their 1970 Mark III he bought new for his wife. Mr. and Mrs. Buttmi were so nice they said I could use the luggage set whenever I wanted to take it in the trunk to car shows, so I did take advantage of their offer once when I took the car to the Florida-Georgia Lincoln Car Show in St. Augustine, Florida in April, 1981.

     We stayed in contact over the years and they knew I was interested in purchasing the luggage set. Mrs. Buttmi stopped driving the Mark III 10 years ago but son Doug kept it in running condition for short local trips in the neighborhood only. He called in August, 1999 to tell me that his dad had passed away in 1997 and his mom was ready to sell the Mark III and the luggage set along with it. I was able to purchase the set but passed on the Mark III for now. It was worth the 19 year wait as now I have this rare luggage set to display in the trunk of my mom and dad’s 1968 Lincoln Continental two door coupe. The 1969 Lincoln Continental brochure shows the 12-piece luggage set displayed on the ground in back of the trunk.