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Lot 820

1940 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet

  • Chassis no. H-98517
  • Body no. 06H-56-150

Sold for $93,500

MODEL 06H-76. 120 bhp, 292 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 hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 125"

The famed Lincoln Continental had its origins in a “special Lincoln-Zephyr” built for Edsel Ford in 1939. Based on the Zephyr, it had a 12-inch longer nose and bustle-shaped hindquarters with an exposed spare tire. The car was delivered to Mr. Ford in Florida, on March 1, 1939, and drew so much attention and acclaim that work was immediately started on a production version, which was launched that autumn as a 1940 model.

This 1940 Lincoln Continental, in the unlikely combination of powder blue over matching blue leather, has an interesting history. The factory record shows it to have been completed on March 4, 1940. In the more recent past, it has been owned by Dillard Harwell and Bruce Eib, the latter in the mid-1960s. Eib sold it to John Quirk, a former Navy pilot, prolific writer, owner-publisher of Horses magazine, and minority owner of the San Diego Chargers football team.

Quirk owned the car for a number of years but eventually came to the conclusion that he would never restore it. In 1995, he sold it to Pennsylvania collector Gene Epstein. Epstein was able to locate an interior from a Continental, body #291, which had been stored in pieces. Surprisingly, the interior was blue, a color not regularly available on Continentals until 1941. Research on body #291 showed it to have been, according to the assembly record, “a duplicate of motor H-100125, Paul Whiteman’s Continental,” although the record for H-100125, body #175, does not actually mention Whiteman. In any case, Epstein was enamored with the blue color and restored body #150 in the image of #291, which was itself patterned on #175. Paul Whiteman, of course, was the noted American bandleader and orchestral director who was often known as the “King of Jazz.”

Aptly and affectionately referred to as “Rhapsody in Blue,” the car is very handsome in its light blue hue. The top is dark blue canvas with grey piping, and the seats have the matching light blue that led Epstein to recreate the masterpiece. The restoration is older now and shows some aging, but the combination is still terrific. The instrument panel is finished in the same light blue, and the carpet just a shade darker. The odometer reads 440 miles, presumably the mileage accumulated since restoration.

The brightwork is quite presentable with minor blemishes visible, and the engine compartment is nicely detailed as well; the aluminum cylinder heads and intake manifold are polished, as on all early Continentals. The car has a fresh-air heater and a dashboard-mounted radio and clock. The trunk is lined with tan fabric and contains a boot cover, jack, and tool kit.

The word “tribute” is much over-used in the automotive world, but it aptly describes this car, an accurate recreation of a car known but lost to history. Irrespective of its stunning color combination, it is of course a Lincoln Continental through and through—an American luxury car with no equal.

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

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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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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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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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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