40 Years Barn Bound: 1947 Lincoln Continental

If I had to vote for the scariest car going, it would be a Lincoln Continental like this 1947 Cabriolet. It’s just seductively creepy looking, like something out of a Stephen King novel. It could be the association with film noir “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”, or maybe it just projects the heebie-jeebies in its own right but these always get my undivided attention. I feel like I should look away but I can’t. But please, don’t you look away, check this hulk out. It is located in Dallas, Texas and is available, here on eBay for a BIN price of $9,995.

The previous owner of this Continental purchased it in 1959 and it was a Santa Monica, California barn resident for about 40 years before the current owner got his hands on it. The seller claims, “THE BODY HAS NO RUST HOLES OR PATCH PANELS. THIS IS A SOLID CALIFORNIA CAR“.  He further adds, “IS IT COMPLETE? NO, PROBABLY 95 PERCENT. WHAT’S IT MISSING? LOOK AT ALL THE PHOTOS. I AM FINDING ADDITIONAL PARTS AND THEY WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE SALE”. It’s that 5% that is always worrisome, especially if it’s a big-ticket item. But if a Continental aficionado is an interested party, they may know, by observation, what’s here and what’s not. There is an attempt being made to secure a Ford build history report which should detail how this Lincoln was originally equipped and finished. Obviously, some of the trim, half of the grille, and the convertible top fabric (though the frame is present) are missing but the body looks to be sound and without significant damage or corrosion.

The interior wins today’s “What in the Sam Hill happened in here?” award. I suppose some of this is what occurs when a car sits for years with its top in the down position. I’d suggest serious rodent residency is probably the cause and I imagine the wiring hasn’t fared any better – but being 70+ years old, the wiring probably has had its own age-related hi-jinx to contend with. The one-time, beautifully crafted instrument panel has certainly seen better days and the original radio is, not surprisingly, missing. There is one up-close image of the floors included and it shows them to be solid.

Unfortunately, the 125 HP, 292 CI V-12 engine is seized but the seller has another V12 block that is included in the sale. That’s fine, but it may not necessarily be a “block” issue that has the engine locked. And even if it is is, or a contributing factor, the internals like the crank, rods, etc. will probably need machining or replacement. This aspect of renewal could prove to be a large and expensive obstacle. All Continentals of this era had three-speed manual transmissions, though overdrive was an option.

It is suggested that “THIS WOULD MAKE A GOOD RESTORATION OR STREET ROD PROJECT OR ????” A street rod would seem like an abomination to such a memorable and significant (if scary) automobile. Yes, it’s easy for me to sit here, write this and make that statement, but I feel for what this car was in its glory days and the exalted place that it occupied in the post-war American automotive hierarchy – it’s a statement on wheels at the very least. There are more images at WWW.PETESCLASSICCARS.COM. Anyway, I’m hoping for a complete restoration, how about you?


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  1. Will Fox

    Sorry. There isn’t $9,995. worth of anything here. All you’d be buying is someone else’s problems, obviously. Missing more than it has, and nothing but headaches to restore. If a person wants one of these bad enough, spend more money & get the very best you can afford. Fewer headaches and a better car to start with.

    Like 21
  2. That Guy

    The seller actually has two for sale. The other seems to be in slightly worse condition and has a Cadillac V8 in it. Both are big projects. These aren’t big-bucks cars even in excellent condition, so a street rod approach may be the most practical way to go. They certainly do have presence.

    Like 7
    • Will Fox

      The Lincoln V-12 was junk from the start; many of these 42-48 Continentals got Caddy 331 OHV V8 transplants.

      Like 9
      • Lance

        Or Mercury V8’s .

        Like 6
      • Johnny

        The Ford Triton motor is not any better. With the bad aluminium heads. Expensive to get one replaced or work done one one.

  3. PaulG

    The first picture is what a Barn Find truly looks like!

    Like 10
  4. MIKE


    Like 8
  5. Al

    If I won the lottery, I would buy it and ship it off to Gene Winfield or Mike Bello. I can only imagine what either of those guys could do with this vehicle….

    Like 4
    • Gary

      Exactly, or Oz. Get rid of the bustle between the rear of the top, taper it to the fender line. Ditch the continental kit or lay the tire down, do something with that hideous grille and put a 428-460/auto in it. Black with red interior.

      Like 1
  6. Chris Webster

    I’m not a fan of the original Continental, but this ‘facelifted’ version make them look good.

    Like 2
    • Gary

      I’m the opposite, hate this grille.

      Like 1
  7. Bob Mck Member

    I have always wanted one of these, but this is an aggressive project. I can probably find a fine example for lots less money in the long run. Just glad they were saved and didn’t get crushed.

    Like 5
  8. Richard Haner

    I can envision the 12 cylinder and the 3 spd in a 3 or 5 window coupe…;-)

    Like 2
    • Jetfire88

      “I was drivin’ that Model A.
      It’s got a Lincoln motor
      And it’s really souped up.
      And that model A body makes it look like a pup”

      Like 9
  9. Troy

    There are some tricks to trying to get that engine unlocked, not that it would last without a rebuild but I think it would be fun to try just to hear it run before it went to the scrap yard with the rest of the car

    Like 2
  10. Paul in Ma

    My father bought a Lincoln Zephyr when he came home from the Marines after late WWII then duty in China. He loved the Continentals and always said they would be $100K cars. We were able to get him a 47 coupe in 1993 for $10K and a good convertible around 2000 for $22K. He had the two of these in his garage and I doubt they ever drove more than 500 miles before he died. The prices on these cars have been dropping since because the people who liked them were like my dad and they are almost all gone now. There is a 41 convertible in better shape than this that they have been trying to get 19K for for a long time. The 40s and 41s are more valuable too. The car here is a $4500 car that will probably never be restored.

    Like 9
  11. david R

    I would love to see this car restored to Pebble Beach concourse standards but yeah, I would have to win the lottery too to do that.

    Like 3
  12. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    There is a beautiful white Continental convertible in the movie ” Mommy Dearest” which Joan Crawford supposidly owned back then.
    When I worked for a Ford dealership in the late 90s, one of the salesman had a restorod ’47 or ’48 convertible .
    I’ve alway loved these majestic old Lincolns especially in cabriolet model. Always thought I get one some day. Well, days are running out and the best I’ve done so far is a 1962 Lincoln Continental convertible.

    Like 6
  13. HC

    Betty Davis would be just horrified to see this car in this condition! I don’t see anything about the car that’s 95% complete. You would have to have alot of foolish passion and money to tackle this monster.

    Like 3
  14. Paul in Ma

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