Parked In The ’50s: 1942 Lincoln Zephyr

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With the advent of World War II, US new car manufacturing ended as the automotive industry threw its weight behind the war effort. Lincoln was no exception to this rule, and production of the Zephyr ended on 10th February 1942. When production resumed after the war, the Zephyr name was not revived. That means that this particular car would be one of the last to wear the badge, a model name that had only been in production for seven short years. This one will need a full restoration, but it seems to essentially be complete. It is located in Fairview, Oregon, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN price of $4,850 for the Zephyr, although the option is available to make an offer. Thanks go to Ikey H for sharing the tip!

Apparently, the second owner of the Zephyr had been using it on a fairly regular basis during the 1950s when it developed some form of a minor mechanical fault. He can’t remember what this was, but he parked it in a barn with the intention of rectifying the problem, and that’s where it has sat until very recently. There are a few minor rust issues, the worst of these being around the lower edge of the trunk lid, and a few minor spots in the driver’s side floor. The rest of the car is clean, and it looks to be complete.

There’s no getting around it, but the interior of the Lincoln is going to require complete restoration. Apart from a missing headliner and a couple of broken handles, everything is present. The original radio is no longer fitted to the dash, but it does come with the car. The owner does raise the possibility of the car becoming the foundation for a rat rod or street rod project. While this would seem to be a shame, at least with the interior in its current condition, it would leave the new owner with the option of modifying the interior trim to suit their personal tastes.

The mechanical malady that caused the Lincoln to find its way to the barn is now unknown, but the first piece of good news is that the amazing 267ci flat-head V12 engine does turn freely. The owner says that the 3-speed manual transmission also selects gears okay and that the car rolls and steers freely. The radiator has been removed for some reason, but that is included with the car. Some people find the idea of tackling any work on an engine such as this V12 to be daunting, but in truth, these engines are no more complicated than the flat-head V8 that powered Ford vehicles in the same era. Parts for any form of rebuild are also fairly easy to source, so hopefully, it might not take much to get this bird to sing again.

The Zephyr was Lincoln’s volume selling model during the era in which this car rolled off the line. The quality of the build and attention to detail was of the highest standard. As the volume seller, there were 4,418 Zephyrs built before production ended in February of 1942. Many have shared the fate of this car as technological advances and a booming post-war economy overtook them. This car represents a chance for someone to grab a classic and to return it to its former glory. I suspect that someone will, and I’d really love to see this car once the restoration is complete.

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  1. Ken

    Don’t wait for the restoration. Someone will probably drop a small block Chevy under the hood of this absolutely irreplaceable ‘42 Zephyr V-12 and call it a “restoration.” Makes me sick to my stomach to contemplate it, but that’s what’s happening to all classic cars these days. Pretty soon there won’t be any originals left.

    Like 22
    • Big_FunMember

      Hmmm… is it too weird to suggest an electric motor? I’m resistant, myself, and it could be an option. This, avoiding a small block of any brand. What other innovative ideas do you have?

      Like 1
  2. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    This things gotta be as rare as plutonium extract. And it would probably take the cost of that stuff to rebuild this fine old relic. Sure hope someone that has the means gets this, it definitely deserves to be made like new.
    God bless America

    Like 4
  3. JerryDeeWrench

    Don’t condem that V 12 if you can’t save it find someone who can. This car needs to be saved and showed in is stock form What a beauty.

    Like 15
  4. Jeff

    I believe the 1942 Zephyr had either the 292 or the very rare one month production 306 cubic inch engine, earlier years had the 267.

    Like 4
  5. Bob S

    In 1951, my best friend’s dad had a Zephyr, but the V12 was removed shortly after he bought the car because of a persistent overheating problem. Living in the hot summer climate of the BC interior with this problem, made the car virtually useless, so the V12 was pulled in favour of a V8. After the swap, the car traveled all over the Western US and Canada, and the only requirement was, to carry two burlap water bags for extra insurance. This was a very common solution back then.
    At the time, in post was Canada, the car interior was more luxurious than most living rooms. Us kids loved riding in that monster.
    I was going to make a joke about buying it just for the transmission, but in reality, I hope it gets a full restoration. I have not seen one in a very long time.

    Like 11
  6. Kenneth Carney

    It’s not weird at all. I’d try to get the V-12
    running again before going this route.
    However, you do have enough room in the
    vehicle for all the trappings that come
    with an EV, but the motor needed to power this car electrically would need to be enormous. If you’re serious about
    doing it, lithium ion batteries are the best
    choice by far. They’re small, powerful, and take up less space in the car. And
    if you connect them in series, their power
    is substantially amplified. Couple the
    batts with a state of the art current
    controller and charging system, and you’ll
    have one hell of a ride. Just saw a VW
    conversion that used 29 packs of these
    batteries to power the car. With that said,
    I’ll say that it would take 50 to 75 of these
    battery packs to move this behemouth at
    a usable pace. Yeah, it’s a tall order, but
    you could do it if you want it bad enough.
    Your idea to do this is a sound one. Many
    companies in Europe and the U.S. are now taking classic cars and converting them to electric power to keep them on
    the road. Would be very interesting to see such a car powered this way.

    Like 2
    • Derek

      It requires much less energy to convert an existing car than to build a new one from scratch. I think it’ll be a very popular route in not too long.

      Like 1
    • canadainmarkseh

      Not a fan of electric cars and I don’t see them as a viable alternative. Lithium mining is a dirty business that ruins a lot of water to extract a little amount of pure lithium. And if we put all our cars on electric power there is currently a 30 year known supply of lithium. The fad toward electric cars is just that it is not sustainable. I wish people would wake up to the fact that carbon is not nearly as bad as we are being led to beleave. And with a revival of oil and gas in the US will keep the electric car in its place which is a fringe idea that is dirtier than we are being led to believe. Carbon is an element on the periodic table not a pollutant. And is the life blood of all plants and animal life on earth. If you think we should reduce carbon in the atmosphere stop cutting down trees and start planting them instead. Do your homework guys and don’t befooled by the so called green movement, there is plenty of evidence out there that supports the fact that carbon could be much high without harming us. In fact we would benefit from better crop production, look in any green house and you will find carbon generators to inhanced plant growth. As for this car it would be a crying shame to not just restore it.

      Like 5
    • JBP


      Like 0
      • canadainmarkseh


        Like 1
  7. Fred H

    That car is one ugly and very rare car . )

    Like 3
  8. Jack M.

    If the V-12 is toast perhaps a Cummins turbo diesel could power this Lincoln back on down the road.

    Like 4
  9. Kenneth Carney

    Saw one with a deisel in a video about old
    American cars in Cuba. You might have
    something there Jack.

    Like 2
  10. dave brennan

    I had to go pic hunting to see what this car could look like . so much nicer! However,,, I don’t understand how any designer could do something as downright ugly when compared to the Zephyr Coupe

    Like 3
  11. KEEB

    Back in the 70’s I worked on a 42 Continental that had the same V12 flattie.It overheated badly .The problem…steel water distribution tubes CAST in the block when manufactured had rotted away.I never was able to get it cooled down. How would you fix that ??

    Like 4
  12. Bdabs

    Oh, my…this is absolutely beautiful. If I had the bucks, I’d restore it mechanically- totally stock- leave the gorgeous body exactly as is, color and everything, and do the interior. How cool is this…to modify it would be a crime.

    Like 7
  13. bobhess bobhessMember

    There are shops in this country that can fix the block problem. Never rode in one of these but got to stand by one at a big car show while the engine was running. Almost no sound coming out that big brute.

    Like 5
  14. Fred W

    V-12’s are rare today as it was common knowledge that they overheated and many got replaced with Caddy engines early in the 50’s. Best I can determine, my ’48 Continental got a 307 in the 70’s and in the 90’s, a 350, TH350 trans, Mustang II front end, etc. Sat in a barn for 25 years until I resurrected it a few months ago, just in time for car show season.

    Like 9
    • Little_Cars Little Cars

      Fred W — a similar car to yours has been for sale on Craigslist in middle Tennessee for a number of months, maybe a year. Are you selling or did you buy from that CL ad?

      Like 0
  15. DON

    I would really want to go over this one ; you can see from the flat tire in the trunk and the ones on the car that the wheels were sunk halfway into the ground , so the frame was lying on the dirt – Either the barn had dirt floors and a leaky (or missing) roof , or this was outside for a long time . There’s a lot of fading , wear and rust for a car that’s been sitting for 60 years in a barn ; looking at the severe wear to the steering wheel and rust on the dash , I’d suspect it really was outside

    Like 2
  16. Pete Phillips

    Way over-priced, in my opinion, given everything this rare sedan needs.

    Like 0
  17. pwtiger

    I’m sure that it is rare but is it desirable? What would it be worth after spending 50K to restore it? When looking at the long body I thought that it would look better about a foot shorter, get rid of the back doors using them to lengthen the front doors about 6″ and the 1/4’s about 10″…

    Like 1
    • Radio Rick

      Plenty of room back there good limousine maybe even put a roller rink in the back

      Like 1
  18. JagManBill

    Viper V10, restore the interior and leave the “patina”‘d exterior alone. Want just a simple driver? Ford 300 six cyl. That torque’y beast could move Mt Everest

    Like 1
  19. Joe M

    I couldn’t remember either, why I parked something 60 years ago

    Like 2
  20. Rodney - GSM

    Is it just me, or does the front end of this car look like Jay Leno?

    Like 0
  21. Turboomni

    The BIN price could mean a tax return and no brains. I fear a rat rod.

    Like 0
  22. Ron.Beardon

    The Zephyr Name was used in the UK by ford in the 60s

    Like 0
    • Fred Alexander

      Consul, Anglia and Zephyr ???

      Like 0
  23. JagManBill

    Sold for $4,850 (BIN). Somebody on here snag it?

    Like 0
  24. Burn 'Em Up

    Where is Jay Leno? If I had his ‘deep pockets’, I would “be all over” this car!

    Like 0
  25. Fred Alexander

    I had a 1942 Mercury 4 Dr with 35K+ miles on it back in time (1963) bought it for $300 which was a lot of $$$$ back then. That old girl would start in -25F in winter with some growling and working the choke and foot feed with precision,
    One night during a snow storm I slid into a crosswalk at a red lite – – -proceeded to back up into – – – you guessed it – – – a cop car which just about slid into me as it stopped. He didn’t give me a rough time – – no damage just a bump and had all kinds of questions about the car.
    Sold it to get married – – – it went out to a farm closre to town and I lost track of it.
    There were only 2 in Saskatoon back then – – mine was bone stock maroon, Gordon’s was repaint blue . lowered and custom upholstery.
    Have no idea where either car is now even though I tried for about 3 years with ads in the Western Producer with no luck.
    Value guides don’t play these 42 Mercs. where I think they should be as it was the last year of production because of the war effort.
    I had quite an argument with a know it all type at a large car show in Picture Bute Alberta who insisted there was no such car. Told him he’d better do some research before opening his trap. to him to gpo on line and research 1942 Mercury – – – so if he happens to be reading this he’s probably still got a mouth full of crow – – – BTW – – -they were American produced Mercurys.

    Like 0
  26. Mark Evans

    Canadian Mercury Zephyr anyone ,in 70s/80s. ?

    Like 0
  27. Mark Evans

    Stuck in traffic today behind a Mid 2000’s Lincoln Zephyr ( Ford Fusion) made butt ugly. My Eyes My Eyes I can’t unsee it.

    Like 0

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