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Lot 811

1938 Lincoln-Zephyr Convertible Sedan

  • Chassis no. H-53942

Sold for $132,000

MODEL 86H-740. 110 bhp, 267.3 cu. in. L-head V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 125"

The new face on the 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr overshadowed a number of improvements made under the skin. The wheelbase was lengthened by three inches, allowing the engine and transmission to move forward. This in turn increased legroom for the front seat, particularly for the center position, where the configured shift lever was finally removed from the occupant’s lap. Adoption of a hypoid rear axle contributed to lowering the floor by almost an inch and a half.

There were engine improvements as well. Hydraulic valve lifters were adopted, providing quieter operation. Combustion chambers were redesigned, and a Holley-built Chandler Groves carburetor became an alternative to the standard Stromberg unit. There were also internal changes to the transmission. Among numerous changes to the electrical system was the relocation of the battery to the engine compartment, as Ford had done the previous year.

Two new body styles were offered: the 760 three-passenger convertible coupe and the 740 five-passenger convertible sedan. The rigidity that was given up by removing the Zephyr’s roof was compensated for with a cruciform section added under the body. The convertible sedan was unusual in that it retained the four-door’s smooth tail contour, whereas most convertible sedans had a bustle at the rear. Both open models debuted on October 23, 1937 and featured manually-operated, spring-assisted convertible tops. A five-passenger convertible coupe, style 760B, was added later in the year. All Lincoln-Zephyrs shared an unusual spare tire arrangement, in which the tire was mounted on a tilt-out mount, easily swung out to bumper level.

The Dingman Collection acquired this 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr Convertible Sedan from Thomas Brunner, of Rio Verde, Arizona, in 2005. Restored some years ago, it has excellent black paint and a tan canvas top with matching piping. A matching boot cover is located in the trunk. The seats are upholstered in buttoned brown leather; only the driver’s position has signs of use. The floors are covered in brown carpet. A radio is installed in the instrument panel. The odometer reads only 79 miles, believed to be the mileage since restoration. Given its limited mileage, yet professional maintenance, the car remains in superb condition, the way it would have been sold off the showroom floor.

The engine compartment is clean and very nicely detailed. Liberal use of aluminum gives the engine an artistic quality, nicely contrasted with the green of the cylinder block and black of the ancillary components. The undercarriage is painted in matte black, correctly detailed and very nicely presented. B.F. Goodrich Silvertown tires in the 7.00x16 size are fitted to the wheels, which have full chrome caps and trim rings.

The year 1938 was a recession year, and the auto industry suffered. Lincoln-Zephyr sales, which had neared 30,000 in 1937, fell by a third. The convertible sedan, in its first year, managed only 461 units, besting only the town limousine, which was a four-door sedan with a division partition creating a separate chauffeur’s compartment. Viewed in context, however, this falloff in sales was less severe than that of the comparable Packard, but nevertheless, renders the convertible sedan extremely rare. It is an icon of thirties modernism, offered in expertly restored condition.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more