Every Car Has A Story: 1947 Lincoln Continental

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As the seller says in the eBay listing, “every car has a story.” This one is no different, although the story is more interesting than most. The Continental is being sold in Castle Hayne, North Carolina, and bidding is currently at $4,300 with no reserve.

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The story goes like this. 30 years ago, a doctor in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina either restored this car himself or had it restored. The last plate on the car dates from 1988. Sometime after the restoration, the passenger side window would not work, so Dr. Lange took the Lincoln to a local mechanic that worked out of his home in North Wilkesboro.

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The mechanic got the window down, and stored the Lincoln waiting for Dr. Lange to pick it up. Unfortunately, Dr. Lange became ill and never picked the car up. The family thought it had been sold, and only realized in February of this year when they got a call from the wife of the mechanic that the car was still there waiting!

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So about that car: the seller states that the family has decided to sell the car on after realizing it has some pretty substantial needs. It does have some rust, but it seems to not be rust through at this point. Spending almost 30 years with the window open hasn’t helped the interior, and the mud dauber wasp nest in the headliner was interesting to look at, although it probably hasn’t caused any permanent damage.

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The interior will certainly need some work, though. I’m wondering why the driver’s side door card is off rather than the passenger side one if it was the passenger side window that wouldn’t work, but that’s a minor detail. Obviously the seats will need reupholstering and the carpet looks like toast as well.

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Under the hood we find the original V12 engine. We have no idea of it’s condition, but it at least looks like everything is intact. I really think there’s a good project here, especially if bidding stays close to where it is now. I’ll save you the trouble; any online value guide I found places the value at about 3 times what bidding is at now. That being said, I hope this is a labor of love for someone instead, and that you get Dr. Lange’s car back on the road in style!

 

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Yeah, that’s a nice story, except, I don’t believe this car was ever restored. Always adds a little zing to the car if a “human interest” story is thrown in there. Man, what an odd looking car. Yet, must have been quite a ride when most people had 4 door Plymouths. Bet at one time, this car really rode nice. I’d think a restoration of this caliber could be out of reach for most of us.

    • geomechs

      Hi Howard. I agree with you; I think this car might’ve underwent a cosmetic resto but I can’t see much else. It’s kind of odd-looking but then, that style was in vogue after the war. If it was mine I’d restore it but to driver status. I’d also get rid of the skirts–hang them up on the wall right next to the ones that came off my ’49…

    • BC

      I remember as a kid in high school,my father did a semi restore to a 1946 continental convertible,it was kid of neat in the early seventies.I remember my father saying it had a V12 but someone replaced it it with a Cadillac V8 and it had a 3 speed stick on the wheel,it was dark navy blue with red leather and a white top.It was a nice looking car with chrome that few could afford to redo,my father is still going strong at 87,but the Lincoln owner has passed.I have no idea what ever happened to that car

  2. Dairymen

    Always find it odd that Lincoln was the only 1 offering a V12 post war. I’m not to fond of this body style but that’s just personal. A few year back a fellow locally bought Babe Ruth’s last car; exactly the same as this one.

    • Ed P

      Ol’ Henry had to be dragged into every change made to his cars to make them more modern. He held onto mechanical brakes until everyone else had them. This Continental still has obsolete transverse leaf spring suspension, front and back, similar to a model T. Postwar Ford Motor Co was reeling from a lack of in house talent to do research and development. The aging v12 is just an example of Ol’ Henry’s stubbornness.

    • z1rider

      Not that odd. Lincoln’s last V-8 was offered in 1932. They only made V-12’s (the KA and Zephyr) at the outset of WWII, when production for all was suspended for the war effort.

      Like everyone else, the resumption of production at the end of the war was carryover. If you are comparing Lincoln to Cadillac, Cadillac of course had v-8’s, 12’s and a 16, but the 12 went out of production in 1937 when Cadillac made the change to the 135 degree, wide angle v-16 for 1938. They sold so few of the V-16’s it is not surprising it did not survive the war. Cadillac however did not have to suspend production of their L-head V-8 since it (two of them) powered the Stuart tank. So Cadillac just kept producing that engine after the war ended, again as a largely carryover design.

      Bottom line; a V-12 was all Lincoln had to offer. At the end of WWII all manufacturers were in a rush to develop modern OHV engines that would take advantage of the many advancements discovered in the development of high performance aircraft engines during WWII.

      Oh and I won’t dispute Henry’s stubborness, but by the time WWII came Henry was showing signs of senility and when Edsel died Henry the Deuce had to be discharged from the Navy to come and take over the running of Ford Motor Company. Henry would have had little interest or say in what Lincoln had to offer at the end of WWII.

  3. AMC STEVE

    That car was never restored and if it was it was a lousy job. The story teller contradicts himself saying it was restored then later saying its a “non-restored classic”. Something’s amiss here.

  4. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Anyone know if the back hatch is for a rumble seat? Or is it trunk space only? I agree with Howard on the story. It seems unusual to me the local mechanic would have this thing sitting around for so long. Apparently having the phone number all that time.

    • Davnkatz

      Some 40+ years ago I had a 1947 Lincoln Continental – two tone white on bottom with Maroon top. Paint flaking and needing complete re-do. Someone had replaced the original motor with a Chrysler product. standard tranny. Sold it for $850 just a week or so before going to Vietnam. Sure wish I had kept it. The hatch on the back is strictly a trunk. If you look at the pic of the rear, you can see exterior hinges near the rear window. On either side of the spare tire – w cover – you can see two latches that secure the hatch in the closed position. If I remember correctly, those latches could be locked with a key.

      I’ve seen frame-off restos of this car go for $42K to $63K at auction. Of course, they looked like new show-room cars and only about half of them had the original 12 cyl engine.

      While any vehicle is worth only what someone is willing to pay, I think this one – due to condition – has reached the max amount it is worth. Unless someone can do the work personally or in a self-owned shop, I fear the cost of getting it to auction condition will be more than it can ever bring. Sure would like to have it, though.

  5. JW454

    I don’t find the dirt dobbers nests as charming as this seller seems to. Just another mess that will make the restoration more costly. I also have trouble believing the story. Maybe the ole’ doc. fixed the car up a bit but if it was restored it didn’t weather the years very well.

    • Ed P

      The dirt dobbers nest will make getting the bugs out of this one more difficult. I would expect they went under the headliner also.

  6. Eric Dashman

    A number of years ago, while driving on I-40 to Greensboro, there was a house on the south side of the road at an exit with a black Lincoln just like the car in question above. After seeing it several different times, I pulled off the road to talk to the guy. The car was beautiful and he started it up for me to listen to those 12 cylinders. It purred like a kitten. If you’ve never heard one running, it’s a beautiful sound….so balanced and powerful. I don’t believe that they’ve received much respect in the broader collector car community. Even the convertible versions seem to go for less than you might expect for such a classy vehicle.

  7. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Wow, you guys are cynical on a Monday morning!

    I can easily see it as having been cosmetically “restored” previously —

    1) Usually original chrome doesn’t peel the way this one’s chrome is; this is the mark of a less-than quality re-plating job in my experience.

    2) Paint peeling at seams, difficult to sand places, etc. but primer staying in place is another thing you don’t see on cars that haven’t been repainted.

    I do think it’s been “restored” at some point, probably to semi-decent driver status, just not a show quality restoration.

    • cyclemikey

      I think you’re absolutely right, Jamie. The problem here is the use of the word “restored” . I’m sure the good doctor thought that his cosmetic fluff was a restoration. And Castle Haynes is only a couple miles from the Atlantic. It’s amazing what sitting outside on the East Coast will do to a car over the years, restored or not. (ask me how I know this. I’m glad for my rolling stock that I live on the left coast.).

      It’s probably a decent candidate for restoration, or even just fix-up, if the price stays reasonable. Beware, though – the late doctor will come back from the grave and perform an orchiectomy on you if you hot-rod it!

  8. Woodie Man

    +1

  9. MG's

    Looks like some modifications at the bottom of the dash. Along with all the above

  10. geomechs

    Yeah, Sonny must have made some unflattering comments about the car in front of him. Talk about Road Rage…

  11. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    This is the movie that started my interest, more because the car shown was a coupe.

    This car was ousted after by many but numbers were few. Reading old automobile mags from the early 50’s bought at auto flea markets were highly entertaining and educational.

    The readers would write in, usually young rodders with questions about joining a past era engine that was hot for its time to a particular transmission and/or rear end.

    One of the engines they loved to propose for their creation was the Lincoln V12.
    The purpose was to reach some never before reached high speed. V12’s and the occasional V16 were always foundational in their imagined designs.

    Oddly enough, the build quality could be a little spotty as they were being coach built by a dwindling workforce that no longer specilized in that type of bodywork.

    The engine was somewhat underwhelming in performance coupled with a prone for overheating.

    The engine, being a V12 was coveted by many and misunderstood by the many of those that worked on them.

    The good news, the Lincoln V12 Owners Group has a very comprehensive list of things that with current machining practices and aftermarket parts suppliers make the engine quite practical.

    This V12 was pretty advanced for its time and the styling was different and distinctive for the time.

    This price is a STEAL.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Well, I’m glad someone agrees with me on price!

  12. charlie Member

    A magnificent car in its day, and the best exhaust sound of any car I have ever heard, 1957, and in Jr. High, and there was one in town, driven a lot, I wanted one so bad. But was never to be, I think they are not going to go up in value now, compared to other newer cars, since the guys (and girls) who longed for them are passing on to the great beyond. And, I may be wrong, but did not one series of Corvettes use a transverse leaf spring in the rear? Henry used it for a very long time, front and rear though, and the V 12 was problematic, which lead to swaps with more reliable and powerful engines. If you see one in person, like seeing Bill Clinton in person in a regular room, you are taken with how BIG a car it is.

    • Ed P

      The Stingray of 1963 used an independent rear suspension. It did have a transverse leaf spring. It was a much more complex setup than Ford’s rigid axel design.

  13. John H. in CT

    The irony of his lack of investment in motor modernization is that ole Henry and family were making gobs of cash manufacturing virtually all the B24 Liberators during the war at the rate of one per hour, not to speak of all the GPW Jeeps the cranked out. So it wasn’t for lack of cash that they didn’t modernize faster.

    • Ed P

      After Edsel Ford died, May 1943, Henry resumed running the company. After Ol’ Henry’s return the company began loosing $10 million per month. The situation was so bad that President Roosevelt considered a federal takeover of Ford to preserve its manufacturing capacity so desperately needed for the war effort. Henry Ford II was mustered out of the Navy in 1943 out of concern for Ford Motor Co. Fomoco was proof that, no matter how much you make, if costs are out of hand, no money will be made.

  14. John H

    Ed,

    Good info. I stand corrected. I had no idea they had so mismanaged the business.

  15. Metalted

    Agreed , that v12 sounds fantastic,
    I have seen a few 30’s roadsters, hot rods . With a Lincoln v12.
    The look and sound is worth all the issue, with that motor.
    👍

  16. rustylink

    my uncle actually had a 47 coupe in Hawaii when he was in the service in the mid 50’s. These were actually fairly cheap back in the day and the one he bought blew the motor after a few months and apparently he swapped in an old Y block, but it was never the same car without the V12.

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