1940 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet / Photos, Specs, Styling Details

Featured is a great looking original 1940 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet. This is a very rare classic automobile with only 350 Cabriolets built in 1940 and it’s history was significant for the Ford Motor Company.

1940 lincoln continental
1940 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet










Henry Ford acquired the Lincoln brand in 1932 from Henry Leland who founded the company in 1917. By 1932, and the onset of the Great depression, Leland was on the brink of bankruptcy and Ford reportedly paid $8 million for the company.

The First Lincoln Continental

Upon his return Edsel Ford commissioned a one-off design of the new Lincoln Continental which he was going to use personally. This one off automobile was built in February 1939 but it is commonly referred to as a 1940 model. When this first model was built and given to Edsel Ford they immediately began building a prototype which would be used to launch full production of the model.

The 1940 Lincoln Continental is classified as a full size luxury automobile and from the time it first appeared it was a head turner.

The first series of Lincoln Continental’s built between 1939 and 1948 are regarded as one of the most beautiful automobiles ever produced from Detroit. The car’s exterior had European continental styling including the spare tire mounted on the rear. Today, when an automobile has a rear mounted spare tire it’s typically referred to as a continental style regardless of the nameplate. You can see these rear spare tires mounted on Thunderbird’s, Nash’s, Chevy’s and several others.

The first Lincoln Continental had basically the same body design during the prewar years from 1939 through 1941. For the 1941 model year the Continental had new push button door releases replacing the previous lever type handles.

1940 lincoln continental cabriolet









The Design

The basis for the design was taken from the Lincoln Zephyr blueprints with some changes. Ford designer Bob Gregorie chose to use the Zephyr chassis for Edsel’s “special convertible” and it took less than one hour to draw the outline of the two door, four seat body over an outline drawing of a Zephyr.

The 1940 Lincoln Continental ( sometimes referred to as the Lincoln Zephyr Continental) was three inches shorter with a lower hood seven inches longer than other Lincoln models and without the floorboards that the Zephyr had. Bright trim was very minimal. The prototype Continental shares as many parts as possible with the Zephyr, including the floor, wheel housings and most of the body panels. Design credit for this iconic automobile went to Bob Gregorie, head stylist at the Ford Motor Company.

The 1941 model was little changed. Of significance is that for 1941 the Continental was totally separated from the Zephyr line.

The Continental was produced by Ford for fifty-five years over ten generations.

1940 Lincoln Continental Specifications

The 1940 Lincoln Continental essentially used the Lincoln Zephyr mechanics. Engine was a 292 cubic inch V-12 producing 120 HP. The V-12 engine had been updated for 1940 which increased both it’s displacement and horsepower.

Transmission is a three speed manual

Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drums.

Dimensions included a 125.0 inch wheelbase, 209.5 inch overall length, 63.0 inch height, 74.0 inch width. Curb weight is 3,735 lbs.

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Total 1940 Lincoln Continental production was 404 vehicles. Cabriolets were 350 vehicles and Coupes were 54. Production increased significantly for 1941 with 1,250 total units built and 400 of these were Cabriolets.

The 1940 Lincoln Cintinental was priced at about $2,840 (about $63,000 today) the Lincoln Continental Cabriolet was one of the highest priced cars available for 1940 aside from a few Cadillac and Packard models.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are on the links below..

1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe

1948 Lincoln Continental Convertible

1956 Continental Mark II

Reference material for this article includes..Lincoln and Continental Classic Motorcars The Early Years by author Marvin Arnold…The Lincoln Continental Story From Zephyr to Mark II by Tim Howley…Complete Book of Collectible Cars by the Editors of Consumer Guide.

The 1940 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet Collector Automobile

The rare and historically significant 1940 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet is a prized collector automobile. The automobile showcased continental styling which was a first for the Ford Motor Company. The idea for this new model was spearheaded by Edsel Ford upon his return from a European trip.

lincoln continental









With only an estimated 350 Cabriolet models being built for 1940, a restored and original model like the example featured here is special indeed. Lincoln Continentals are designated as Full Classics by the Classic Car Club of America. There are also car clubs for Lincoln Continental enthusiasts including the Lincoln & Continental Owners Club.

Perfect, restored and original examples of the 1940 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet have sold at auction generally in a range from about $80,000 to $200,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)