Barn Find: 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe

Automobile design was evolving rapidly in the mid-1930’s. Streamlining was coming into vogue, both for function and for the styling aspect. The Chrysler airflow models debuted in 1934, two years before the first Lincoln Zephyr, but they were met with resistance from the car-buying public. The design was a little too unconventional for the time. The Lincoln Zephyr is credited with being one of the first successful streamlined cars. Located in Dumfries, VA, this 1939 Lincoln Zephyr is up for auction here on eBay. As of this writing, the bid is $7,099. There is no reserve, but of course the seller could end the auction if he doesn’t like the way it’s going.

The aerodynamic design was the influence for the name Zephyr. It was derived from the Greek word Zephyrus, the god of the west wind. The ad says this car was stored inside and is rust free. The taillight lenses, a headlight lens, and the two teardrop-shaped Zephyr emblems are missing from the car. The seller says he has them and all other parts and they’ll be included in the sale. 

In this view, we get a glimpse of the iconic dashboard. The large dial in the center is the speedometer. Below the speedometer is the clock. Then below the clock is the famous “waterfall” that extends from the dash down to the floor. I’m a bit of a purist. I like these cars restored to original, but I’ll admit these Zephyr coupes look great customized. Being a straight, solid, complete car, this one would be a good starting place for either a restoration or customization project.

The small V-12 engine was derived from the Ford flathead V-8. It was rated at 110 h.p. The engine is not currently in running condition but it does turn over. Remnants of the original paint can be seen on the firewall. The color is called Royal Maroon. Paul Teutul Jr. of American Chopper fame had a 1939 Zephyr coupe. He sold it last year at RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction. Including the buyers premium, the selling price was $192,500. To me, this car looks like a good deal for someone looking for a Zephyr to rod or restore. What do you all think?



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  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    If it has the all to Perseus numbers matching original drive line than I say restore it. But if it does not than a modern upgrade might make more sense. I’ve read that these V 12’s were problematic and prone to overheating. I guess it all depends on what your plans are for the car. I would want to be driving all the time so a modern engine might be the way to go, but even if I were to do that I’d never get rid of the original engine and related parts because you never know if you might some day want to go back to original. I’d even rebuild the motor and mount it on a running stand in a small trailer so that it could be taken to shows. I would still restore the rest of the car no matter which way I went.

    • Shawn Fox Firth

      how about one of those LS12 motors out of Australia ? that would make it a great driver .

  2. Classic Steel

    It’s a beauty but the terms are to rigid for me to move on car. At least he stated them up front but fifty percent down then can look is cray cray for me.
    I wonder does one need to wear maybe a special color clothing and only after 12 noon to see the car if the moon is in a lunar eclipse. Kidding !

    Good luck on sale !

  3. Lroy

    The terms are a bit strange, keeps the tire kickers at bay. This cars is to important not to sell, looks unmolested except for the ravages of time. I bet it sells for $20,000 ish.

  4. Bill

    The comments on the terms being odd or too difficult seem to be made by someone who has never sold a car in an online auction. So many scammers out there. In any event for a car like this a serious prospective buyer calls the seller, buys a ticket, gets on a plane and goes to look. For the kind of money this will go for anything less is foolish. If you can afford the car you can afford a ticket to go look before you part with your money.

    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations Dave at OldSchool Member

      @Bill, having bought over 350 cars , most of which I did not see until they were delivered ( and had been paid for in part or in full before shipping), I have to disagree, regarding online purchases.
      . Further, most of my cars are sold the same way, and are delivered around the US , Europe, Asia, and Down Under.

      … But I do agree regarding this car, because the seller has ZERO feedback, trouble with his Paypal, AND questionable terms……….

      … Not only would I want to see it, I’d want to TAKE it when money changed hands…

      • JamestownMike

        I ABSOLUTELY AGREE! I’d drive the 5 hours (280 miles one way) to pay him CASH IN PERSON and bring the car home with me immediately! Sorry but you can’t trust a ZERO feedback seller with PayPal problems! Too many SCAMS out there!………with his terms, this sounds like one of them!

    • Chris

      Scam Scammy scammer. Read the description again people very broken English on simple words. No doubt the car exists somewhere but I guarandamntee. He doesn’t own it

  5. Houndawh

    0 feedback and rigid terms of wire transfer blah, blah, blah. Sounds like a scam to me. It’s close enough for me that I’d take the two hour drive to look at, but that doesn’t sound like an option.

  6. ken TILLY

    A friend of mine in South Africa has a RHD model which is supposedly is only one of 7 RHD models known to exist. At least that’s what the previous owner told me when I took it in to stock as a consignment vehicle. Don’t know how true that is. He also has another eight Lincoln Zephyr’s awaiting restoration. His last resto took him ten years so if he lives to be 300 he might get most of his 40 odd collection back on the road!

    • Simon

      I am London based collector is the RHD Lincoln Zephyr still for sale?
      If so where can I get details

      • ken TILLY

        Hi Simon. No, the car isn’t for sale at any price. He is a “Collector/Hoarder” and sells very little. I tried to buy an Auto Union/DKW motorcycle ex Rommel, the Desert Fox, complete with all the badges and Swastika’s etc. We settled on a price but when I went to collect the bike he put the price up another 10000. I eventually agreed to the new price so he raised it again by another 10000 ! His late wife used to say that the day he died would be the day the auctioneers will move in. Unfortunately she went first.

    • Allan Kempster

      A member of the Barossa Valley Ford Club here in South Australia has a rhd 39 Lincoln Zephyr coupe in beautiful original condition (not for sale), I have a pic somewhere from our show and shine two years ago.

  7. ken TILLY

    Aerial view of some of the Lincolns and others.

    • Alexander

      When I see a shop photo like this, all I can say to the owner is….”get some help!” As in, don’t wait to do everything yourself. Maybe pay someone to get the rudimentary stuff done before you and the cars fall into disrepair and the cars never get finished.

  8. JamestownMike

    VERY COOL car!…….BUT the ebay seller seems SUPER SKETCHY, possible SCAM seller! ZERO feedbacks and problems with your PayPal account?? Kiss your money GOOD BYE!

  9. Uncle Bob

    Can’t disagree with the above statements about suspicion toward the seller. When the weasel word portion exceeds the hardware description it’s a flag, especially with the other indicators.

    I don’t think enough people appreciate how much of an impact Edsel Ford had on the car market through the Great Depression and into the early ’40s. Whether it was the bread and butter Ford, the slightly upscale Mercury (late ’30s), or the Lincolns. With very few exceptions there wasn’t a dog design, style wise, in the lot. Might explain a large part of why Fords of this era are the most desired bodies. We hear a lot about Harley Earl for GM styling, but Edsel drove styling at Ford.

    These Zephyrs, particularly the coupes, are loaded with beauty to my eye. The sweeping grille, the bumpers with the mixture of beam and bar, that gorgeous waterfall that goes from the center of the dash down to the floor pan, and then the flow of the body lines from front to back…………….makes it look like it’s moving even when parked. Too bad Edsel died so young, the company might have been even more successful had he more control of the reins.

  10. Will Fox

    IMHO, the `38-`41 Lincoln Zephyr 3-pass coupes have the most graceful lines of any American car of the 30s. It just screams art deco. Even at $20K, this would be a steal. Restored correctly, you have (easily) a $175K car. They are timeless, and in demand with collectors.

  11. Fred W

    I’d go original, despite the V-12 overheating issues. Surely someone has come up with a remedy to those over the last 80 years!

    • Uncle Bob

      The best procedure differs from “regular” engines like later model Ford and Chev, etc. Those you can normally give a bake and/or caustic wash to clean the coolant core area. With these it requires a significant amount of mechanical chipping/scraping/cleaning of the core area, usually with a collection of purpose made rods and some shock (basically dropping the block on a plywood sheet, to loosen up the chunks) to get out the core sand that Ford didn’t always have success getting out on top of the rust scale that has formed over years. Then the caustic bath, then pressure test. Those extra efforts are not known to non-flathead builders and often don’t get done properly

  12. Houndawg

    Rolling art at its best.

  13. Jack

    Any time payment is to be made by wire is a RED FLAG! Beware! There are many indications of a scam in that ad. I would only peruse this car on an “in person” scenario… but what a beauty if It’s legit!!!

  14. Ikey Heyman

    Seller says: “The only way you can inspect the car is only once you transferred at least 50% of the full amount.” So, there is no pre-bid inspection possible (because seller “is not there right now”) and “even if you cannot see all the parts in photos, the parts exists and will be delivered with the car”!!
    Trusting souls, those 10 people (so far) who are bidding.

    • ken TILLY

      Yeah, good luck with that one.

  15. RiffRaff2

    This has all of the earmarks of a scam. Poor grammer in the description, very few pictures, zero feedback, sketchy rules, no looking before you pay. Run away unless you know this seller!

    • Shawn Fox Firth

      I’v seen this same car several times in the past always same photos .

  16. Maestro1 Member

    This is absurd. Either the Seller get real about the context we’re all in or don’t waste our time. He/she agrees to meet you at the plane you bought a ticket for, you put your hands on the car, never mind deposits, get it up on a lift and if it’s what you think it is buy it right then and take it with you.

  17. Bob S

    I would pass on any car where the seller required that I put 50% down just to have a look.
    When I was a kid in the early 50s, my friend’s dad had a Zephyr 4 door. The car was purchased because the original V12 engine was overheating. It was given a back yard V8 transplant, and he drove the car that way for many years. It is the only Zephyr I have ever seen live. My one regret, is that I heard it run with the V12 but can’t remember what it sounded like.

  18. Jeff

    This is a HUGE SCAM, PERIOD


    • dgrass

      I can’t imagine it being difficult to reopen an account through Paypal, that is unless the account was flagged for previous issue(s). The “seller” freely admits to issues, and states they cannot reopen it. Should send up red flags for any potential buyers.

      If any of you are interested in this purchase, perhaps consider a donation to the site instead. I am sure the money would be put to good use, rather than just being flushed down the crapper.

      BTW, common tell something might just be a scam. Lack of any identifiers in pictures of the item for sale. Or, if there are identifiers, the seller is nowhere near the item being sold. In this case, both.

  19. Karguy James

    I think this car could bump $30k

  20. Kenneth Carney

    Ahhh, hot damn! Boy does this one take me back! First time I ever got
    my hands dirty working on an engine. A friend of Dad’s owned a ’37
    4-door sedan and we were helping him overhaul the car’s orignal V-12
    engine. It was right then and there that I was bitten by the old car bug.
    They gave me the job of removing the heads and cleaning parts. Then,
    I got to help put it back togeher again. That experience was pretty much
    all I taiked about for the next 2 weeks. After that, I took Auto Shop
    in junior high and high school passing these classes handily while
    hanging out with some of Dad’s friends in order to learn things that
    the instructors didn’t teach me. And though I never drove any of the
    cars I built, (I’ve been legally blind since birth) other people did and
    said that my repair work was always tops. Even the kids that made
    fun of me in school brought their cars to me for tuneups and oil
    changes. It’s a shame that kids today will never know the joy of
    taking an old derilict car and breathing life into it with their own
    2 hands. That’s what makes our hobby great.

    • Alexander

      More kids today have the old car bug than you might imagine. Mine (on the way in March) will get all of the encouragement he/she possibly can in this department. I think most vintage enthusiast kids today don’t get the coverage that the tuner/drifting/Fast & Furious crowd does. My dad was a gearhead in the 1930’s, with V8 Fords all the way up to 1967. The nostalgia boom (maybe starting in the 1980s?) screwed it up for the average guy to buy something really old and fix it up. I see plenty of adolescents at the AACA sanctioned events here in middle Tennessee. These swap meets bring out people of all ages.

  21. chrlsful

    classic cars R 2 me mid/late ’30s – very early ’50s.
    I love this one (the vert, not so much).
    Any1 who buys it can do as they will. I’d
    like to have a law against customizing thisun tho!
    (Cords, Auburns, even someada reg man’s cars – WoW!).

  22. George Soffa

    Everybody keeps bringing up the overheating problem with the Lincoln V-12 and it did happen on occasion! I had a 1947 Lincoln Continental V-12 coupe in the early 70s, while I was studying at Colorado State University and one of my favorite getaways were the 2 lane backroads going up to Estes Park, Colorado. The elevation gain was about 4,000 feet so many newer cars overheated ! My Lincoln did a couple of times , but a guy stopped to talk to me and said it was probably vapor locking! He said to get a dozen old spring clothes pins and clip them on the fuel line! I found some at a store in Estes Park and did as he said and never had trouble again. Because the fuel wasn’t evaporating, I was able to keep a faster speed and air through the radiator and the engine didn’t get hot! Old School but it worked !!

  23. Steven

    Ok I’m here to tell it straight that this Lincoln I’ve seen before posted on other pages and its a Big Scam

    • Bruce

      You have seen it before. If you do a search on (Daves 39 Lincoln Zephyr) you will find pictures of the car totally restored. Along with pictures of the same car before restoration. Some of the before pictures show the same car as in the EBay ad.

  24. Bruce

    It is a scam! I found the same car before it was restored, along with the same pictures that are in the in the EBay ad.
    Here is the link for anyone interested.

  25. sluggo

    I dont agree with it, however some time ago FeeBay changed its policies and on VEHICLE sales only, Bids are non binding. So, I found this out the hard way when I bought a motorcycle, It didnt go as high as the seller expected and he refused to complete the transaction.
    I complained to ebay, and while welshing on a deal for a part will earn you a strike and a possible suspension (You also fall out of best seller and best match searches) Welshing out on a vehicle sale is no big deal.
    IMHO this undermines the viability & credibility of ebay as a sales medium, but thems the rules.
    The takeaway? Bid or dont bid, but you cant be compelled to do anything, no harm no foul.
    Shame as its a lovely car! Super sexy and amazing.

    • Karguy James

      That’s why I NEVER use Ebay. By the time they get done “feeing” you to death, then they force you to use Paypal and THEY Fee you to death. Then they don’t hold ANY buyers responsible for ANYTHING.

  26. JamestownMike

    I gave the seller my name and phone number (by spelling out one of the numbers) and asked for their name and phone number. The seller stated they weren’t by the car (which we already knew) and ignored my name and phone number request. SCAM!!!!!!!!!

    Hopefully no one falls for their BS!……’s already bid to $14,589!

  27. Tony F

    This guy is full of crap and a SCAMMER! I was the 2nd bidder at auction end and sent him a note telling him I was still interested if winner bidder did not come through. Low and behold I received a 2nd chance offer by that night. He has to give the winning bidder 48 hours to default. He asked me if I would send him my number (which I did) and next thing I knew I received a text asking when I would be ready to send the money. My reply was “what is your name”. I received nothing in return. An hour later I called him and he answered with very broken English. I asked him if he had the title and he said he did. I asked if it were in his name and he said it was. I asked him to take a picture and text it to me and he said he would within the hour. I never received it. I asked how long he owned the car and he said it had been in his name for about 6-7 years. He said it was his Grandfathers car and he died and left it to his Father and then he died and left it to him. With this guy’s broken English I highly doubt the Father or Grandfather ever lived in this country let alone owned an American made car that does not run. If you look at one of the pictures it sure looks like a west coast area that the car is in as it is dry and brown weeds growing in the background. I’ve never been to Virginia but have been to most states surrounding it and they are all very green. Don’t bother with him.

    • Bruce

      Look for Dave’s 39 Lincoln Zepher under Hot Rods by Dean. Look for before restoration pictures of the car. They are the same ones used in the EBay ad. The car has been beautifully restored already.

  28. sluggo

    I will second that its a fake & scammer. I was surprised it ran the whole auction as it was clearly a fake yet eBay let it run. I reported it to eBay as a clear fake as well using my acct.
    Being that there was ZERO likely hood of a real deal I threw a bid on right after featured here. The next day, with a clear head I wondered if I had been dumb to do so. My tension was relieved however as I was out bid significantly fair soon.

    (I wondered if others were just having fun as I did? OR… Shill bidding to lead a buyer on?) Even though it ended as 2/3rds higher than I bid I too got a SECOND CHANCE offer.
    I promptly ignored it.

    Again, this was so transparent of a scam, shame on the eBay police, as I had auctions cancelled because I used “Dead beat bidders” and apprently that is offensive to dead beat bidders.
    And Ironic I know, because I bid on it, But no way was that a real auction.
    Follow your guts people,trust your instincts

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