Cadillac V8 Power! 1942 Lincoln Continental

For being such a limited production automobile, first-generation (1940-1948) Lincoln Continentals, such as this 1942 example, are frequent visitors here on Barn Finds. Today’s discovery is one of only 334 produced in the truncated war year of 1942 so let’s see how far Lincoln’s halo car had progressed after its first three years. This Continental is located in Dallas, Texas and is available, here on eBay for a BIN price of $9,995.

According to Ford’s website, approximately 5,300 Continentals were produced between 1940 and 1948, with three and a half years (1942.5-1945) absent production for the previously mentioned reason. The coupe version (fixed roof) slightly outsold the cabriolet such as our subject car.  As the seller states, this ’42 is one of only 136 cabriolets assembled in ’42 with the remaining 198 being coupes – this is a rare bird!

Claimed to be barn bound for 45 years, and as rare as it is, this cabriolet needs some work though the seller states, “THE BODY HAS NO RUST HOLES OR PATCH PANELS. THIS IS A SOLID CALIFORNIA CAR“. That said, it’s missing lots of obvious parts though some are available, and can be viewed, along with many other images, at Pete’s Classic Cars. The underside is revealing some notable scale but not anything that appears to be serious deconstruction. The folding top is listed as being power-assisted but the top frame is fabricless and the interior appears to have borne the brunt of being topless for so many years.

Speaking of the interior, the seller states, “IT HAS SOME OF THE ORIGINAL RED LEATHER“. That’s true, some of the what was probably beautiful red leather upholstery can still be spied but precious little of it remains. The interior is completely trashed, including missing door cards, a severely cracked steering wheel, and a corroded instrument panel with what looks like cloudy gauges. The original radio is gone but this Lincoln is equipped with power windows. Assume a total stem to stern inside redo will be necessary.

Under the hood is where the real surprise lurks. The original 130 HP, 305 CI V-12 engine has been deep-sixed in favor of a forties vintage Cadillac flathead V8. This seems like a peculiar swap – I have seen OHV Oldsmobile engines inserted into this vintage Lincoln, but never a flathead Caddy. Regardless, this one’s a non-runner. There is an automatic transmission in place which one would imagine is a GM Hydramatic but there are no details included in the listing. The seller also mentions that the original rear axle and springs have been replaced with something that is “slightly different“.

Lincolns of this vintage are truly impressive cars though I have not heard many sing the praises of Lincoln’s V12 engine. That’s obviously not the issue here but the replacement powerplant doesn’t sound like anything to write home about. I always want to see old Continentals saved, but this example is going to take a whole lot of time, treasure, talent, and $$$, wouldn’t you agree?


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  1. grant

    Full disclosure, it irritates me when people bastardize cars like this. It’s basically an ultra rare parts car at this point.

    Like 21
    • Joe Padavano

      Unfortunately it was always a parts car. The Continentals unfortunately don’t bring enough in the marketplace to justify the significant investment this car would require. Frankly, this car is either a parts car or street rod fodder. A V10 Ford Triton would be an interesting swap.

      Like 11
      • john

        The V-10 swap with all electronics, a/c, cruise, computer, trans, rear end assembly etc, would be a grand re-birth for this rare Lincoln.
        I am not a fan of hot rods or mods. But we do have to consider keeping our hobby alive for another 3 centuries or so.
        Looks like the interior would be the most costly >> might be nice if one of our long time specialty car companies offered an interior and top kit.

        Like 5
    • RNR

      With a swap like this it is useful to consider that before anything is old and valuable it is old and worthless, and if someone had a junkyard Caddy flathead on hand that is likely when the “atrocity” took place.

      My wife’s aunt and uncle drove their Chrysler Town and County convertible to the junkyard in the 60’s – it was junk at the time.

      Like 7
    • wizzy

      It was common in those years to replace the stock V-12, which was considered troublesome, with a V-8. I wouldn’t consider this car bastardized. Mine had an early 50’s Olds V-8 in it.

      Like 3
      • R. Lee Parks

        I’m curious what made Oldsmobile engines the engine of choice for a conversion. A fellow had a 48 Continental in my hometown in the 1960s and had already replaced the V12 with an Oldsmobile engine.

  2. Mike

    Same seller as the one from October. Looks like he picked up 3 of them.

    Like 4
  3. chrlsful

    in the past decade “same” – nuttin buta prts car as everything must B redone. This gen & the “Kennedy Limo” (4th gen) shine above all for me.

    Oh, for the want of a driveline~

    Like 1
  4. Larry D

    I love 1942 models of just about any kind of car. Mainly and mostly because they look different from any other year in a lot of ways which stands out since we see so few of them.

    Like 2
  5. GOM

    Longitudinal leaf springs and an open driveshaft along with all else!? Really?? Old Henry would roll over in his grave, and rightly so.

    Like 2
  6. charlie Member

    The first photo shows another behind it. A ’42 – ’48 by the headlight trim. These cars are huge, in person. And values, relative to inflation, and muscle cars of the ’60’s, are declining, so this will take more $ to restore than it will be worth – there are enough very nice ones for all the museums that want one.

  7. JagManBill

    While the V10 would be fun, a more practical (and less electrical mumbo-jumbo) would be the 300 6 cyl from the later tucks/vans and big sedans. C6 behind it and rumble along – paint it Lincoln green and folk would be hard pressed on first glance to tell it wasn’t supposed to be there.

  8. wizzy

    I found my ’48 in a body shop in Roswell, NM, about 10 years ago. Abandoned after the owner, who brought it in to be painted, passed away, with no family to claim the car. It sat in a corner of the shop for maybe 20 years. I paid $3300.00 for it and it was in much better condition needing reassembly and cleaning only.

    Like 1
  9. MGSteve

    Looking at this car and all the great comments, reminds me of one of my favorite car maxims: Most expensive car in the world? A free car

    Like 5
    • Bill McCoskey


      If I may refine that statement a bit further: Most expensive car in the world? A free Rolls-Royce. I ran a shop that specialized in older Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars.

      I can’t remember how many guys brought [towed] an older Rolls-Royce to my shop after they got sticker shock at the Rolls-Royce dealer, and the service manager [a friend of mine], would suggest the owner take it to my shop.

      If my price was still too high, they would often ask me to sell it for them, or simply “walk away” and let me have their car. The cars either became parts cars [a Rolls-Royce is worth a lot of money in parts if you have the shop and room to store it], or because I could repair the cars far cheaper, I would do some basic repairs & resell the car.

      As an example, one guy called my shop to find out how much it would cost to put his 1935 Rolls-Royce 20/25 James Young bodied limousine. I went to look at the car. it had been left outside for 25 years. The roof had caved in and all 4 doors fell off the car years ago.

      I told him the cost of the restoration would be in excess of $75,000, and when I was done he would have a beautiful $40,000 car. I bought it for $500.00. The engine and trans ended up in a nice 1935 20/25 convertible sedan that had a Chevrolet 6 and Powerglide installed back in the 1960s.

      Like 3
  10. My 1950

    I find it entertaining to read the comments from the purists who feel this car has been “basterdized” or is nothing but a “parts car”. LOL! Thank goodness there are street rodders who will gladly rebuild this into a rolling piece of art. But than again, they are the ones who truly have talent and skills.

    • Joe Padavano

      You are completely missing the point. This car is a “parts car” because of the financial aspect. You can buy a really nice, completely restored version for about half of what it would cost to restore this one to the same standard.

      Like 1
  11. Dave Peterson

    Do you guys remember the craze for the “Cad – LaSalle” transmission? All drag racers from ’55-65 with homebrew cars would scour the backwoods junk yards for that tranny. I believe it was the ’36-’41 iteration, but I cannot recall. I do know it was quite small as I looked at one with a three foot shifter sticking up for twenty years in my Fathers shop. What was the strength of this unit?

  12. JagManBill

    anyone know if the 130hp rating for the original V12 was a brake or net HP rating?

    • Joe Padavano

      Net HP ratings didn’t start until the 1971 model year.

  13. JagManBill

    OK – heres what I can figure out. Making the assumption that the dash is functional (meaning all gauges can work),
    “Painless” or similar wiring harness – $600
    All missing chrome (inc hubcaps – I checked eee bay) – $600
    Truck seat cover (cover front and back seat) – $200
    Ford 300 6 cyl, C6 and 9″ rear end (used – but running/serviceable) – $1,000
    Convert front uprights to 66 Galaxie/T-Bird units (disk) – $400
    aftermarket dual brake cyl / power master – $500
    Tires (Coker period stuff) – $1,000
    misc “stuff” – $500

    so for $4,600 this can be a driving “fun” car (keeping the top frame down). Want it ‘weathered in” add another $2,500 for the top. IF you can get the car for around $7,500, for not too far over $12-13k you can have something driving that not very many people will have. Yeah, you didn’t restore it. But not every car in the world has to be “restored” to be enjoyed.

    Like 2
    • Joe Padavano

      Then buy it.

      News flash. All of these “parts lists” miss about 3/4 of the actual costs. I resurrected a 1962 Olds for driving. No paint, no body work, but completely refurbished mechanically so it’s reliable to drive. I have well over $10K into the car, doing every bit of work myself and using swap-meet parts to cut costs. $10 says you can’t build that car for 3X your estimate.

  14. JagManBill

    ok – here we go. The only thing I’m not sure about is the wiring harness.
    I priced Craigs List and You pull and Pay for the engine/tranny – Gamble at You pull – $380 for everything. Off CL from a totaled running/driving (but totaled in the side) 93 Ford E150 – $700.
    As said priced off EBay for the chrome – all of it was just over $500, some included shipping. The brake conversion? I did it to my 58 wagon for $175 from a wrecking yard 68 Galaxie and that included the brake master/booster and proportioning valve ($75 for the ‘big parts’, $100 for the ball joints/etc). The tires – your kinda stuck on as you either change the rims to 15″ and run what ever 75 series tire you want or the Coker’s and look period (if I remember correctly from my Dad’s, its a standard 5 on 5 bolt pattern). And the misc ‘stuff’ – yeah I might be off there…but not by much.
    I’m using as a reference my 58 Ford wagon. I paid $500 for it 5 years ago. I have another roughly $1400 in putting it back on the road starting with $200 for a replacement 223 6 cyl with 5,000 miles on it (found on CL), $53 for the clutch disk (NAPA), the aforementioned brake conversion (fronts – I stayed with the stock rear), $100 in rebuilding said brakes (NAPA), $175 for misc switches, lenses and ‘stuff’, and admittedly $700 for the dang windshield and another $40 for the side window. I did splurge and replace the missing exterior trim on the left side for $90 off EBay – a full set of left and right so I will at some point put the right side stuff back on EBay to cycle it out. I still need to do the front seat upholstery but right now it has a truck seat cover from Wally World for $43 on it. The back seat is in nice condition.
    It can be done.

    Buy it? I have too many irons in the fire right now as it is. My Dad would love it, but its not my cup of tea…

    Like 1

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