1 Of 295 Built: 1941 Lincoln Custom V12 Limousine

Looking rather like a ’40 Ford that swallowed a hippopotamus, this 1941 Lincoln Custom Limousine would have been quite a ride in the last days before Pearl Harbor changed everything. Production of this two-year model ended early in 1942. This South Carolina streamliner can be yours for the right bid here on eBay.

The 138 inch wheelbase (about the same as a modern van) accommodated 8 passengers, presumably three in front, three in rear, and two jump seats. Sounds almost practical, doesn’t it?

Not known for its reliability, the 305 cubic inch V12 made 130 horsepower and looks like one-and-a-half of Ford’s famous flat-head V8s. Despite the copious use of louvers, these motors were known to overheat. The seller has not attempted to start the car, and it’s been sitting since (yikes!) 1958. Surely at least one reader is thinking “yoke out that boat anchor and drop in a small-block!”

The standard three speed transmission with Borg-Warner overdrive allowed quiet cruising at speed. Can you believe this pre-war high-roller had power windows, power locks, and a power divider? The latter feature let you raise a window behind the driver for when activities in the rear seat demanded privacy. Think twice about restoring this 1-of-295 limo unless you’re accustomed to being chauffeured in a limousine. What do you see as the destiny of this once-proud princess 60 years after being parked?

Fast Finds


  1. Ralph

    I’m gonna assume the windows, locks and divider were hydraulic powered?

    • Fred w

      Yes, and chances are every inch of that hydraulic hose needs replacing

  2. Sam

    Very cool car. At least put a Ford crate motor in place of the v12.

    How about a side debate on the merits/reliability of rebuilding the Lincoln v12 versus rebuild of a “typical” Jaguar v12?

  3. Van

    I like it, this would be a fascinating car. Installing a Chevy crate engine would be more practical, but if you’re practical don’t buy this car. Sure it would make a nice restomod, but your probably not going to drive it enough to make it worthwhile. A V12 from Detroit would have to be real cool. I would probably install air conditioning and a good sound system, well hidden of course, it’s hot in the south.

    • Ralph Terhune

      The last thing anyone should do is drop a small block chebby engine in a car like this. The value would drop to nothing in no time flat! Build and improve the original V12 and you can’t go wrong.


      Chevy engines belong in a GM vehicle, not in anything that is a Ford, Lincoln or Mercury product.

      • Big Mike

        I have a friend named Bubba Nations (yes that really is his name) he has a 67 Ford F100 Pickup and we put a 350 Chevy and tranny in it, and the tail gates says Ford but powered by Chevy!!!!

  4. Paul

    Blows my mind that it takes a V12 to get 130 HP. Probably should replace that engine for no other reason than to not pour money into the gas tank.

    • Eric H

      The V-12 was not built for power, it was built to be smooth. I don’t recall what the V-8’s were making, but these didn’t make much more power (if any). If you think about it having an engine and a half meant more reciprocating mass that also acted like a flywheel.

      And if you could afford a Lincoln limousine you could afford to put a little extra gas in the tank.

      Like 1
  5. Paul B

    My father bought a car just like this when he got home from the Marines in 1948 when he was 20. He joined at 16 in 1944, fought in the Pacific then post war duty in China. He bout a car just like this two days after he got home. I wish he was alive to see this.

  6. Mr. Robert Gallagher

    You guys are nuts!
    This car is seriously under valued, and installing another off brand engine or other modifications would destroy its value.
    Besides its far too heavy to be a hot rod of any kind.

    This is the type of vehicle that a general would have used during and after WWII. It has real class, no doubt that is why it was saved. If I had this car I would require a contract for “Restoration Only and No Resale Allowed or I would refuse to sell it.

    Like 1
  7. Sam

    How’s this for repurposing…

  8. chad

    Mr.RG’s gotit in my mind – a 12 in it’s orig vehicle (v or straight, either) !

  9. Mr. Robert Gallagher

    The vehicle is stunningly beautiful when restored correctly. Once a vehicle like this is modified it will never hold its value.
    This vehicle has all the right options.
    People would actually pay you to drive them around in it.
    Hollywood would rent you and this car for movie shots.
    Selling this vehicle to someone who is going to modify it would be like throwing pearls before swine.

    Like 1
  10. Mr. Robert Gallagher

    People would actually pay you to drive this restored vehicle for them in movie shots and wedding receptions.

    This vehicle is far too rare to be wasted by the hands of some uninformed and uneducated mechanic, who desires to modify it. Selling this vehicle to an individual who does not appreciate its value would be like throwing pearls before swine.
    This is an exceptionally stunningly beautiful vehicle when properly restored !
    The value of which is not to be understated !

  11. Bill McCoskey

    Power windows and divider windows were available starting in 1941 for Packard Cadillac and Lincoln, and also available late in the model run on the big Buick Limited cars too. These used hydraulic cylinders to lift the window into the closed position, and springs to pull the windows open. When you pushed the switch up, it opened an electric solenoid/valve at the base of the cylinder and at the same time started a pump on the firewall that pumped brake fluid thru a hydraulic line to the cylinder, lifting it up. To open the window, pressing the switch simply opened the solenoid valve at the cylinder, and the fluid drained back thru the same line to a reservoir at the pump.

    There were 2 serious problems with this system:
    1. If there was any leak in the system, the window self-opened.
    2. A leaking cylinder, valve, or line would let brake fluid drip down thru the doors, and wherever it touched paint, the paint fell off the body panels.

    But not power door locks back then. My research says the first American car to offer power door locks was the 1956 Packard, but only on the 4-door sedans. There were 2 chrome electrical buttons at the base of the dashboard on each side. Pushing one of the buttons sent electrical power to all 4 solenoids, locking the doors. But it didn’t unlock the doors.

  12. Bill McCoskey

    Real story:
    In 1996 I was at the big Essen, Germany antique car show. I had the chance to check out a Russian ZIS 115 limousine, the car that looked like a 1942 Packard 180 limousine. At the time I owned a similar Packard limousine, and I was comparing the 2 vehicles. The model 115 was armored, and had 3″ thick glass. the rear door windows, being rather large already, were probably close to 200 kilos, and the regular hydraulic window lifting cylinders were not up to the challenge.

    What they installed were a pair of small hydraulic bottle jacks in the rear doors, 1 per door. Sticking thru the door panel of each door were 2 chromed jack pieces: a short pump rod, and a turn valve. To open the window you simply turned the valve like any regular bottle jack, and the window dropped of it’s own weight. To raise the window you closed the valve, and moved the chrome rod up and down, with each up/down stroke of the rod raising the window about 1/8″.

    So as I sat there in the back seat of this regal Soviet copy of the Packard limo I owned [Truth be told, I had a 1940 Packard 180 limo, not a 42, but they were basically the same], I had this very funny thought:

    I envisioned a Russian senior military officer sitting in the back seat, with the window down a few inches for ventilation, when all of a sudden a madman comes charging at the car with his AK-47 raised to shoot at the car, and this officer is furiously pumping that little chrome handle up & down as the window oh-so-slowly raises up an 1/8th of an inch per stroke!

  13. Mountainwoodie

    Damn shame this Lincoln was allowed to deteriorate so. I hope someone saves it and spends the hundred grand to restore it. Its a window into a different world and deserves to be saved.

    • Dovi65

      I agree; hopefully someone with a big bankroll, and a love for originality will take this lady home and bring her back to glory.

      Like 1
  14. Kevin

    I think it looks dope. but it needs a lot of work

  15. Mark

    Drop a ford v-10 in it. It will move. !

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