1947 Lincoln Continental Coupe - $32,900
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This 1947 Lincoln Continental coupe is a proven CCCA tour car and has been in the same owner’s hands for more than a decade.

There aren’t many cars that can claim the influence on the industry like the Lincoln Continental. Penned by Bob Gregorie after Edsel Ford returned from Europe and wanted a “continental” looking car, it became a cultural phenomenon. First-generation Continentals were Lincoln’s top-of-the-line, offering high style and luxury in an era when such things were quickly vanishing from the market. Following the war, the Continental was the only 12-cylinder American luxury car and became an icon for its dramatic styling and superlative road manners. In the years that would follow, the ubiquitous “continental kit” would appear on everything from Chevys to Cadillacs, and it was a styling trademark for every Continental that would follow, right into the 21st century.

The post-war Continentals were not much changed from the 1942 model, which was an all-new design introduced just a few months before America joined the war effort. Nevertheless, the post-war cars received a revised grille with integrated fog lamps that many believe was an improvement over the 1942 design. The rest remained very much the same, including the fender skirts and, of course, the continental kit spare tire mounted out back, creating one of the most handsome cars of the period. And despite its tidy proportions, the Continental remains a VERY big car, although it’s cleverly masked from every angle (even from behind the wheel) by clever design and engineering.

This 1947 Lincoln Continental coupe is a proven CCCA tour car and has been in the same owner’s hands for more than a decade. He discovered it as a half-finished restoration project and pulled it home on a trailer. Over the next few years, the Continental was lovingly restored with the intention of making it a first-rate tour vehicle. Refinished in a color that’s fairly close to the original Lincoln Maroon, it has a handsome yet sporting look that remains immensely appealing. And for a paint job that is more than a few years old, it remains in remarkable condition with a bright shine that highlights the Continental’s graceful shape. Yes, there are signs of use and age, which are inevitable, but you’ll find few things to complain about whether showing or touring in this big Lincoln. Panel fit is quite good, including the spring-loaded doors (although they’re a little sticky due to brand new weather seals that should relax in time) and long hood that sits neatly atop the curving front fenders. I find the coupe variants to be far more attractive than the convertibles, particularly with the top up, and from a driver and rear seat passenger’s standpoint, the coupe is far more accommodating with those large rear windows that make the interior feel bright and airy. Fender skirts were part of the design from the beginning, and these fit rather well, but I have to admit that the Continental is equally handsome without them.

All the chrome trim was restored at the same time, so while it shows some very minor signs of age, it remains in excellent condition. Most notably, the grille is almost completely pit-free, which is astounding on these cars—the grilles rarely look this nice no matter how fresh the restoration. It wears all three taillights, as original, with the center light acting as the stop lamp and the outer two showing the turn signals. This is not a perfect car, but it remains extremely handsome in every way.

The wonderfully well restored interior is beautiful as well as comfortable. The tan cloth and leather seats look correct and the theme is echoed in the door panels. Plush tan carpets feel suitably luxurious and the body-colored dashboard provides some welcome contrast. The big steering wheel makes the massive luxury car easy to handle and you’ll note that the horn button is the only place on the entire car that the 12-cylinder engine is mentioned. Gauges are just beautiful, with ornate faces and gold numerals, and they all seem to be operational except the temperature gauge, which has obviously been superseded by the modern dials mounted under the center stack. Primary controls for the headlights, choke and throttle, and ignition are stacked on either side of the radio speaker, and since the heater/defroster unit was an accessory, those controls are under the dash to the left of the steering column. The clock has been converted to quartz operation and keeps good time, the power windows and power seat are fully operational, and only the radio seems to be inoperable. A toggle switch was installed under the dash for the auxiliary electric fuel pump, which the engine seems not to need under normal conditions just priming for starting after being parked for a while. The back seat is quite spacious and includes a drop-down armrest. The trunk is also surprisingly large, although with the opening up high, it’s a little tough to load and unload—such is the price of style, I suppose.

The 292 cubic inch V12 engine was the only powerplant Lincoln built following the war, but it was a good one. The stories you’ve heard about them being prone to overheating and other maladies are due to neglected and poorly maintained examples being the rule rather than the exception, but when done right, it’s a wonderful machine. Thanks to a comprehensive rebuild when the car was restored and 30 years of light driving and careful sorting, this one runs superbly. It starts easily with just a bit of choke and idles with a smooth V12 burble that’s difficult to quantify but immensely appealing. You should take heart in the fact that it was patterned aver the venerable Ford flathead V8, which means it’s durable, easy to service, and extremely smooth. There’s torque available all over the map, which makes the big Continental feel light on its feet, and it’s genuinely lovely to look at under the long, pointed hood. Ford Green engine enamel looks right on the block and heads, which flank an aluminum intake manifold with the generator on top, much like the V8 Fords. A large air cleaner helps make the Lincoln feel suitably silent and luxurious, and all the ancillary systems work properly—the generator generates, the cooling system doesn’t get flustered, even in traffic, and there’s an Optima battery that cranks it over with genuine vigor. The wiring harness is new and you’ll note a very unusual adjustable voltage regulator on the firewall, a device we’ve ever seen before.

The only transmission available was a 3-speed manual with synchromesh and a column-mounted shifter, and it makes the Continental easy to manage. In 1947, the options list included a Borg-Warner overdrive unit, such as the one found on this car, as well as a Columbia 2-speed rear end. You could order either or even both, although both might be considered overkill for the small-displacement V12. The overdrive combines with 4.44 gears in the rear end to make the Continental feel lively on city streets and confident on the highway. We’ve found that 2nd gear with overdrive is just about ideal for regular driving around town, minimizing shifting and letting the hardware do the work as intended. The suspension and the long wheelbase absorb bumps with ease although Ford continued to insist on a solid front axle with a transverse leaf spring—they made it work quite well. The undercarriage was not restored with the rest of the car, so it’s grungy and has a few rust spots, notably around the under-seat heater, which is not unusual for these cars. However, given the way we use our cars today, it seems unlikely that any of it will affect the car’s appearance or operation in the future. Brakes are confident and it rolls on 7.00-15 wide whitewall tires that make it look extremely impressive.

This car includes a full album of the restoration, some receipts, and a set of spare hubcaps should you wish to drive it without the skirts in place.

Ever since this car arrived, visitors have stopped to admire the big, red coupe more than almost any other car in our showroom. That speaks to the Continental’s beautiful shape as well as the gorgeous color that everyone seems to love. Add the spectacular interior and well-sorted driveline, and you have a car that’s ready for vintage touring and as a CCCA Full Classic (the first post-war car to be accepted, by the way), it’s eligible for all the big events. First class elegance at a coach price, this Continental represents a lot of car for the money. Call today!

Vehicle: 1947 Lincoln Continental Coupe
Price: $32,900
Stock Number: 115027
Mileage: 584
VIN: 7H157425
Engine: 292 cubic inch V12
Transmission: 3-speed manual with overdrive
Gear Ratio: 4.4400000000000004
Wheelbase: 125 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 7.00-15 Lester wide whitewall
Exterior Color: Burgundy
Interior Color: Tan cloth and leather
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