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V12 Flathead Project: 1940 Lincoln Zephyr

It’s a bit difficult to tell what this dusty old barn find is in this dimly lit barn, but it once was a luxurious cruiser. After a good detailing and some mechanical work, this Lincoln Zephyr could be a sweet driver once again. The seller was able to get it rolling again and has already given it a basic cleaning to make it easier to evaluate. It has some issues, but could be a sweet project! Find it here on eBay in Great Barrington, Massachusetts with a current bid of $2,859.

The seller’s photos are quite small in their ad, so I messaged them and asked for larger photos. A few hours later, I had higher resolution photos in my inbox! Being a Barn Finds’ Reader has it’s perks, especially if you are in the market for a Zephyr.

Powering this grand old car is Lincoln’s flathead V12, which was quite the powerhouse back in 1940! It’s rated at 110 horsepower, which doesn’t seem like much but it was impressive in it’s day. What’s truly impressive is this engine’s ability to create torque, with a nearly flat torque curve from 400 rpm up to 3,500. It won’t blow the doors off, but it’s more than enough to be a comfortable cruiser.

This Lincoln definitely has it’s flaws, but the seller seems to be upfront about all the issues. Giving it a proper restoration will likely get very expensive, but if that’s the route you decide to go with it, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful V12 powered car. Think how cool you’ll feel telling everyone your car has a V12 in it! And if you decide to go a more customized route, that option could be fun and wouldn’t cost nearly as much. So, which would it be for you?


  1. JimmyinTEXAS

    If the original V-12 is not worth fixing there are several choices for swapping. That much room under the hood, just about anything would fit under there… Anything you could afford to buy.

    • Trickie Dickie Member

      I really agree 100%. Its very hard finding an older Lincoln of any model that has its original engine. A few of the purists keep the original V-12 just for originality sake but are seldom happy with that choice. One major problem is constant overheating. Also, that flathead is very much underpowered.

      • Poppapork

        I dont know whats wrong with you guys, the engine is the most appealing part of this car! Flathead and a v12? Come on! Oveheating? Maybe with tap water and an 90yo radiato, im sure there is a way to correct this….

  2. Kelly hagen

    There is a Lincoln Zephyr Club of America third grade helpful of information and resource I was lucky enough to be head of the restoration of a 42 Lincoln

  3. Houndawg

    Wish it was a coupe.

  4. Fred W.

    They did have some overheating issues, but plenty of people went plenty of miles in them back in the day. Just requires some research and judicious updating to get it dependable again. The flathead V-8 was so smooth you could balance a quarter on edge when it was idling, I’ll bet the V-12 was even smoother.

  5. Arthur Brown

    Was there a water pump? I do not see the connections for one. Thermosyphon cooling could be corrected with an inline pump (And probably more reliable than an automotive type pump).

    • JohnD

      Yes, actually 2 pumps. With some modern updates overheating is not a concern.

  6. charlie Member

    AND they had the sweetest exhaust sound of any car I have ever heard. Silent, vibration free when at idle, and just a smooth purr on takeoff.
    I would baby the V 12, add a water pump if it does not have one, substitute a dual master cylinder, substitute an electric fuel pump, and drive it.

  7. DavidL Member

    This brings back so many memories … not all of them good. My Dad bought one just like this one except for being dark blue. I remember riding in the back seat w/ my big brother and him regaling us about where all the cars that went over the side of the highway over the Siskiyou Mtns in Oregon/California. I also remember that the youngest son forgot to close the left rear door just as the father drove the car into the garage. Not a good afternoon. The kid was forgiven though (I think.). Still, I really wish I could get this but a little late now and I already have too many. My dad used to say the car could pass anything but a gas station. With 12 cylinders mileage was not so good.

  8. c180bill

    Has two water pumps like the V8.
    One each side of the distributer. One drive belt.

    Vacuum wipers were the worst.

  9. James

    My uncle’s

    Like 1
  10. Wayne

    There are 2 water pumps just like a V8. (one on each side lower) I think I remember hearing the fix was to get additional water to circulate out of the rear of the engine. Like water outlets from rear freeze plugs and to restrict the front return by about 30%.
    This is from a very over loaded brain. So don’t take this for gospel. When I heard this, it was a very familiar to me as this a similar modification that we used on the early “Rabbit Style” water pumper VW engines to keep them from blowing head gaskets. (It is bad form to blow a head gasket during a race!) It worked wonders. Later on, VW moved the water outlet to between the 3rd and 4th cylinders to correct the problem.

  11. Otto Nobedder

    Looks like someone got a great deal if it sold for High Bid listed

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