V12-Powered: 1948 Lincoln Continental Club Coupe

If you prefer your classics with a touch of luxury and exclusivity, then this 1948 Lincoln Continental Club Coupe is a car that is worth more than a passing glance. It needs some restoration work, but this all appears to be cosmetic. Barn Finder angliagt spotted the Lincoln for us, so I have to say thank you for that. The Continental is located in Lexington, Virginia, and has been listed for sale here on craigslist. You can live life in the lap of luxury by handing the owner $15,600.

Production of civilian passenger vehicles ceased in the US in 1942, as the country became involved in World War II. When hostilities ended, Lincoln found itself in a similar boat to other manufacturers. They all commenced the production of what was essentially their 1942 offerings, but with minor cosmetic updates. In the case of the Continental, this mainly involved some trim changes and the fitting of an updated grille. The Lincoln is finished in Regal Blue, and I believe that it has undergone a repaint at some point. Apart from that, the owner states that the car has been left as original as possible. The panels look to be straight, and there is no visible rust in this classic. The owner makes no mention of issues with the floors or frame, and the general lack of external corrosion gives us cause to be quietly optimistic. All of the trim and chrome looks to be present, although some pieces will require restoration. The glass has no significant flaws, while the whitewall tires add that perfect finishing touch to this cool classic.

In its prime, the interior of the Continental would have felt restrained, but luxurious. The dash features the usual Art Deco touches, which were a hallmark of Lincolns of this era. It also comes equipped with power windows. The seats were trimmed in a combination of blue leather and cream mohair, while the door trims continued the mohair theme. This interior is looking tired and is going to need some work. Unlike classics like the Mustang, you can’t go out and slap down the cash for a trim kit. That means that the replacement trim is going to need to be handmade. A good upholsterer should be able to use the existing trim as a template to produce new seat covers, door trims, a headliner, and other soft items. The dash is basically complete, although the original radio is missing. I did a bit of quick searching and located a radio in need of cosmetic restoration for less than $150. I’m sure that a more thorough search will result in a good one being found.

Apart from a different air cleaner, this Lincoln is mechanically original. Not only is it original, but it is also road-legal. That means that the buyer has the option of getting out on the road and enjoying this survivor immediately. The drivetrain configuration of the Continental was carried over from the pre-war model. That meant that a 292ci V12 flathead engine was standard fare, which was backed by a 3-speed manual transmission. That is what we find here, while the vehicle also features power steering and power brakes. This engine should be producing around 125hp and could propel the Continental to a top speed of 86mph. It also marked the end of an era for American manufacturers. The Continental was the last American production car to feature a locally-developed V12 engine. Manufacturers had turned their attention to developing the large-displacement V8 and did so with great success. The V8 was more compact than the V12 and was lighter. Cadillac experimented with a V12 in the early 1960s, intending to slot that engine into the Eldorado. However, it offered no performance advantage over a V8 and was harder to shoe-horn into an engine bay.

Some classic cars only sell in limited numbers, which was true of the 1948 Lincoln Continental Club Coupe. The asking price of $4,660 meant that it cost buyers more than 2½ times the price of a top of the range Ford Coupe. It also placed it out of the reach of your average motorist. It was for this reason that build figures were so low. This was the final year of production of the 1st Generation Continental, and the company sold 847 examples of the Club Coupe. They aren’t as rare as the Convertible (452), but they are a rare sight nonetheless. If that sort of exclusivity appeals to you, maybe this is a car that bears closer examination.


  1. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    These were masterpiece cars. They do look great in a convertible, if you can find one. Back in the 1990s when I was working at a Ford dealer, one of the salesmen had a ’48 Lincoln convertible. Unfortunately, it was painted fire engine red. And it was a resto mod with an updated engine and trans. But still, a nice looking car.
    I love the push button door “handles”.
    Supposidly, Joan Crawford had a white convertible.

    Like 6
  2. Leland

    Can you imagine coming back from the war and buying this? How amazing would have that been? Of course, the intended buyer for this would have been old enough for the Great War, not the most recent one at that time. In my little town, we didn’t see cars like this, but we knew all about them. Would love to hear that engine run.

    Like 9
  3. Dual Jetfire

    54 Nash Ambassador Country Clubs are rarer than a convertible 48 Lincoln Continental.

    Note that The conti was the top model; Lincoln had a lower line, too.

    Like 0
    • karl

      and your point is ? Rarer doesn’t always add up to desirable

      Like 2
  4. Dusty Rider

    There was one of these in my town running till the late ’60s, but it had a newer engine in it. My dad said that the engines in these had some sort of a problem with them and many were replaced with V8s.

    Like 4
    • Turbo

      They tended to overheat. I don’t remember the name, but there was a company that did conversions to later OHV engines (Bill Frick?). But purists shouldn’t worry. This car is owned by a friend of mine and its a just a fiberglass body on a Volkswagen chassis.

      Like 2
    • Clay Bryant

      The right rear cylinder wall was cast a little thin and if heated, done in. A flathead 8 would bolt right in. This was before the days of sleeving so the cheaper route won out.

      Like 0
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Fun stuff Turbo.

    Like 2
  6. Bob Mck Member

    I want a convertible like this one day.

    Like 1
  7. Pete Phillips

    Where does the seller get the idea that this Lincoln has power steering and power brakes? Those were never offered on a Lincoln from the 1940s, and I don’t see any evidence of them being added in the engine photo.

    Like 1
  8. Geoff

    Why in the world would someone choose to advertise this sort of iconic car on Craig’s list?. This deserves a full restoration by someone with the means to do it justice. On the other hand..shut up Geoff and just go buy the thing..

    Like 3
  9. Larry siegel

    I have a 1948 continental convertible in showroom condition as far as the body is concerned
    The engine and running gear are all restomod
    It has a 502 ram air crate motor and even a USB port
    Stops traffic wherever it goes , problem is I destroyed grill by rolling into a trailer hitch.
    Cost of repairs over $40,000
    Don’t attempt any restoration unless you’re ready to spend big bucks

    Like 1
  10. ChingaTrailer

    I had to read it twice, but it’s there – power steering and brakes it says. Yes, Armstrong Power Steering and beefy muscle power brakes.

    Like 0
  11. DavidL Member

    Wasn’t one of these shot up in Godfather?? Killed me to see it treated so disrespectfully!! Oh yeah, and Sonny getting ‘shot on the causeway’ was too bad too. But the car … never did anything to deserve to be shot up like that.

    Like 2
  12. Beignet at the Beach

    It was a 1940/41 that was “shot”. Two of our cars were also rented for “The Godfather”. The car that was used for the bullets had rotted out floors, barely ran at the time. The bullets were a combination pyrotechnics and ball bearings fired at the car, very cool at the “shoot/filming”. The car you see Sonny driving was a beautiful car that, I believe , is still in the possession of one of the Lincoln Continental Owners Club members. Chuck Hanna was the guy that secured the rentals for the film, and the owner of the gun-car. He had a restoration shop in New Jersey, with some intersting cars and characters !

    Like 3
  13. DavidL Member

    In the movie did you see that after the shooting the windshield is shot to hell and then in a second scene shot it’s 2/3ds intact.
    Maybe I’ve watched it too much. Could be.

    Like 1
  14. Jeremy A Cox

    Wasn’t it a 41 Lincoln Zepher in the godfather movie?

    Like 0

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