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Lot 812

1938 Lincoln-Zephyr Coupe

  • Chassis no. H-46290

Sold for $330,000

MODEL 86H-720. 110 bhp, 267.3 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 125"

On November 2, 1935, the Lincoln Motor Company unveiled a new model, the Lincoln-Zephyr. For Lincoln, which had sold barely 1,400 cars for 1935, the Zephyr was a fresh breeze in the Depression-weary automobile doldrums.

The new car had been developed from designer John Tjaara’s innovative Sterkenburg concept studies of the late 1920s. Smooth and streamlined, the Sterkenburg had a low frontal aspect and was designed for a rear-mounted engine. Edsel Ford became interested in Tjaarda’s work, and Briggs, one of Ford’s body suppliers, built a mockup that appeared at the 1934 Century of Progress exhibition in Chicago, Illinois.

For the production version to be manufactured by Ford, the engine was moved to the front, but the advanced bridge-truss integral frame was retained. Since it was to carry the Lincoln name, a V-12 was called for, but instead of the big engine from the Model K, a twelve based on the Ford V-8 was developed. Initially sold as a four-door sedan or a two-door “coupe-sedan,” the Lincoln-Zephyr offered a “Zephyr-smooth ride with all the passengers cradled between the axles.” A division-window Town Limousine was added in April 1936, and for the model year, nearly 15,000 Zephyrs were sold, while deliveries of big Lincolns hovered around the 1,500 mark.

A particularly sleek and handsome three-window coupe debuted for 1937, and the following year, designer E.T. “Bob” Gregorie gave the car a new nose. The 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr was modestly restyled, with twin grilles placed in the forward end of the “catwalk” section of the fenders. Not merely a styling gimmick, this change markedly improved engine cooling. The vee-shaped nose was softened, and the headlamps were made flush with the fender contours. In addition to the sedan, coupe, and coupe-sedan, as Ford called the two-door, six-passenger model, two new open styles appeared: a convertible coupe and a convertible sedan.

The new open models notwithstanding, many people consider the sleek three-passenger coupe to be the most attractive Lincoln-Zephyr. The 1938 coupe is harder to find than the 1937 since production dropped by half to 2,600.

This 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr coupe was restored in 2007 by Kevin Westmoreland’s Performance Restoration for former owner Donald Peterson, of Wilkesboro, North Carolina, at a cost of approximately $150,000. Subsequently, it was judged at 1,000 points and received Best of Show honors at the Lincoln-Zephyr Owners Club nationals in Indiana. It also received LZOC’s Peter Gregory Award for Best in Class and has AACA Junior and Senior credentials.

Upon its acquisition by the Dingman Collection, the restoration was still fresh. Gorgeous in gloss black paint, it has beige cord cloth upholstery that looks factory fresh. Grey-brown carpet lines the floor, and there is a tan cloth headliner overhead. The dashboard of Lincoln-Zephyrs of this era is distinctive. A console rises pillar-like from the floor, with an instrument binnacle at the top containing all the gauges. From the left side protrudes a shift lever, leaving the center passenger untrammeled during operation.

Correctly detailed and beautifully presented, this Lincoln-Zephyr three-passenger coupe runs on 7.00x16 Firestone Deluxe Champion whitewall tires. Mileage showing is 21,840, believed to be original. As one of the more attractive and rarer body styles, this car represents exceptional value, particularly with its multiple-award-winning restoration.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

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Jake Auerbach

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

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Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more