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Garage Find: 1948 Lincoln Continental Coupe


The Lincoln Continental was born of Edsel Ford’s vision for a personal luxury vehicle; in his case, quite personal indeed, since the prototype was ordered as a one-off for Edsel’s use in 1939. Yet this ground-breaking idea came at doubly the wrong time: not only was America still reeling from the Great Depression, but in just a few short years all car production would halt for the duration of the war. At the end of that great conflict, Europe itself was in ruins, and it seemed that the time of the European-style grand touring car was also past. Not so in the case of this car, however. This well-preserved 1948 Lincoln Continental Coupe, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, is a bona fide garage find, advertised here on Facebook Marketplace for $19,000.

Although the original Continental was designed by Bob Gregorie, the car we see here sports the updated design that Raymond Loewy drafted for the 1946 model year. The 4.8L V12 engine– the last V12 from any major American firm– made 125 hp, giving the car a top speed just shy of 90 mph and allowing this two-ton beast to accelerate to sixty in only 18 seconds. By comparison, the 1948 Cadillac Series 62 boasted a 5.7L V8 making 150 hp; although weight and performance were broadly similar. The boxy, squared fenders and boiler-grate grille were definitely on the way out at the birth of the Jet Age, though, and this would be the last year for the Continental before the launch of the Mark II in 1956.

This particular car seems to be, from the pictures, as perfect as you’re likely to get outside of a museum or curated collection. The interior was reupholstered in red leather in the late 70’s, and the material has held up well. One hopes that the surface rust on the chrome will polish out, given the cost of replating. Under the dust, the paint may prove serviceable: it certainly pairs well with the interior. The seller states that this example has not been driven since 1986, so one should expect that some work would need done to get it back on the road. There is, unfortunately, no mention of whether the engine is seized: that it might be running seems too much to ask. The whitewalls look like they hold air, though, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get it out of the garage and onto a trailer.

Very few cars present quite like a Lincoln Continental, and the new owner can look forward to the distinction of driving one of the youngest cars to be recognized as a Full Classic by the Classic Car Club of America. Given the car’s storage in a heated garage, it’s possible that a full restoration can be avoided. When brought back to its former glory, this coupe will be an excellent example of postwar American automotive engineering. Just make sure to keep the V12 wedded to the original car, lest your hot-rodding ways drive someone to drinkin’.


  1. Chunk

    The greasy pervert in me wants to swap in the auto transmission and 3.0 liter diesel from a brand new Silverado and have the weirdest engine swap around…

    Like 2
  2. Bob K

    Sorry but there’s a fairly obvious mistake in the article. The front end of the Lincoln Continental was new for 1942, not 1946, and was improved in the post-war models. Other 1948 Lincolns shared the same front clip.

    Like 3
  3. John

    “The pictures due not do this car justice”.
    Uh, no. The seller does the pictures no justice.
    Being that the seller wouldn’t take it out of the garage for pictures, will the buyer have to dig it out of the garage too?

    Like 8
    • Steve Bush Member

      John, I totally agree with you on the pics. I had to goggle the car to refresh my memory of what one of these looks like. They are beautiful classic cars yet the nitwit seller provides 20 pics and not one showing the whole car or even a decent portion of it for his $19k asking.

      Like 1
  4. JagManBill

    If you can’t afford to get the engine running, then an older Ford 300-6 and a C6 are a drop in if I remember. Paint it green and find an old air cleaner and your set. Find a ragged out mid 60’s Galaxie and swap in the rear axle and front uprights and boom…daily driver…

    Like 4
  5. Richard Kirschenbaum

    Never knew that Lowey had a hand in the postwar Continentals. He modified a ’40 coupe, replacing among other things the classic prewar grill with something he’d done for Studebaker. You can google it I’m sure. This is one case that the great designer (and he was great) should have left well enough alone. Frank Lloyd Wright also had his ’40 Continental coupe customized after it had been rolled. The result resembled something between an outhouse and the Good Humor truck. Both the Lowey and Wright Continentals are doubtless more valuable not so much for having their design molested, but for by whom. It’s like having a literary masterpiece edited by someone that could never have created it in the first place

    Like 1
  6. charlie Member

    I had a red rubber toy car of this in the late 40’s, as a little kid. The “chrome” parts were painted with aluminum paint. My first word, after Ma Ma (my father was away in WWII) was “car”. So I was hooked on cars from age 1. In the late 40’s I knew that this car was really special, I had a blue Buick Super fastback, in irredesenct blue, a Studebaker Starlight coupe, also blue, a yellow Hudson taxi which for some reason has survived 70 years, kids, and grandkids, a few generic cars, and this.
    I finally saw the 4 door Lincoln when I was in 4th grade, and finally saw a couple in 7th grade, I can still see it going by and my excitement, that that car really existed. It had the most wonderful exhaust note of any car I had ever heard. This looks like a good one. By ’48 the bugs in the V 12 had been worked out, so this is the one to have, and it looks like a correct color as well.

    Like 4
  7. Terrry

    The tires still hold air, well gee, the Titanic’s swimming pool still holds water too.

    Like 1
  8. madlad

    Everyone is talking V12, why do I only see five spark plugs?

    Like 0
    • Ed P

      There are 6 spark plug wires. The last plug is blocked by an air tube.

      Like 0
  9. charlie Member

    And only 5 wires. But the engine is the right color, as I remember them, and the 6th plug on this side is back by the firewall, the other 6 on the other side. But, good catch, the 6th plug would be hidden from this view, but the wire should be there. Maybe that cylinder gave up the ghost, there was an issue with those rear cylinders back when the engine was a new design, which supposedly was remedied by 1946, but maybe this has the problem and it ran just fine on 11, or 10, and so a disconnected spark plug. This is an enormous car by contemporary car standards, but not compared to a Suburban or Expedition.

    Like 0
  10. Chip Caruana

    Loewy had a Lincoln but did not design the Lincoln.

    Like 1
    • Richard Kirschenbaum

      Yes and he restyled a ’40 coupe. Vast downgrade in the lines if you ask me. Google it and you decide.

      Like 0
  11. Robert Hagedorn Member

    Yes, it’s a heavy car. But a V12 that yields less than 90 mph and 0-60 in 18 seconds? This should get someone, somewhere excited enough to do some tinkering that would dramatically improve these numbers.

    Like 0
    • Andy Parrish Andy Parrish Member

      One carb (I think a 2 barrel, but I could be wrong) and a much lower displacement than Cadillac’s V8. Doubtless there are many, many options that have been explored over the years to make the V12 more competitive. Looking through all the ways folks modified this engine in the 50s and 60s could be a lot of fun!

      Like 0
  12. charlie Member

    Many were fitted with later V8’s given the flaws of the V 12, the Y block Ford (which had its own issues), the Caddy V8 and Olds V8, back in the 50’s. Note the Ford Model T transverse leaf springs (inherited from the horse drawn buggy), were still used on this car. (Also on some Corvettes, so with really strong shocks they are still a practical suspension device.)

    Like 0
  13. paul willson

    19k. are you kidding me. I just sold a totally restored one for that the guy I got it from had 75k in it same color. totally done this is worth. about 8,ooo. on a good day.

    Like 0
  14. Pete

    Odd thing I actually had a steering wheel for one of these in my hand yesterday.

    Like 0
  15. Fred w

    Got one in the garage, black ’48 cabriolet. Driving it 200 miles tomorrow to the AACA show in Red Boiling Springs , TN. It has a later drivetrain and interior.

    Like 0
  16. Bob K

    Those the article on a couple of the comments are wrong about that heavy looking chrome front end. The original front end was too light looking for an expensive prestige car, Although it might have been prettier. The heavy chrome was perfect for 1948 although the rest of the car was getting a little old.

    Like 0

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