“I’ve always wanted a 1941 Lincoln Continental,” Don Pauly says, “which I have long thought to be the most beautiful car ever built.” Thirty years of active duty in the U.S. Navy, however, delayed any thought of acquiring his dream car.
Of the 1,250 Lincoln Continentals manufactured during the 1941 model year only 850 were coupes, the other 400 were convertibles.
The limited-production vehicles were rare in 1941 — and even more so 63 years later in 2004. That is when Don Pauly saw a restored Continental coupe advertised for sale in LaCrosse, Wis.
Pauly contacted the owner and received an incomplete history of the car, some portions of the car’s past were authenticated and some were not. He learned that four years earlier the Lincoln had undergone a high-quality, no-expense-spared restoration. No proof of past owners was offered, but the original owner was purported to be J.C. Penney.
After careful examination of detailed photographs of the Lincoln, Pauly was prepared to buy it sight-unseen. His wife, Marge, was more skeptical and somewhat less enthusiastic about the purchase.
Pauly convinced her that they could not go wrong when he explained that the seller promised to return their money if the car was misrepresented or if anything was missing.
On Sept. 4, 2004 a very large truck stopped in front of Pauly’s Leesburg, Va., house. Pauly and his wife anxiously waited and watched as the truck driver slowly backed the Lincoln Continental, painted in Zephyr Blue, out of the truck.
As the car emerged from the transport truck Pauly was shocked when his wife said, “Send it back, it’s missing its outside door handles.”
She calmed down when her husband explained that in lieu of traditional door handles the Lincoln had flush push buttons that released the doors.
With the 17-foot, 6-inch-long Lincoln in his garage, Pauly opened the long engine hood to admire the polished aluminum heads and intake manifold on the 292-cubic-inch flathead V-12 engine. The 12 cylinders produce 120 horsepower. Crowning the engine is a two-barrel Holley downdraft carburetor.
This particular Continental is unusual in that it is equipped with both a Borg-Warner overdrive transmission and a Columbia two-speed rear end, essentially giving the car a dual overdrive.
Pauly explains that both of these units were options in 1941 as the automaker changed over from the Columbia to the Borg-Warner — with this car receiving both systems. Other extras on the well-appointed Lincoln include AM radio, hot air heater, and white sidewall 7.00×16-inch tires.
The 3,890-pound Continental is built on a 125-inch wheelbase. Rear fender skirts visually lengthen the car.