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Homepage. This page: One of Lincoln's more stylish offerings - the 1936/37 Zephyr sedan.

A 1930s Lincoln Zephyr.

Sadly this isn't the best photograph in the world(!), but because the subject is quite rare it seemed worth including here at oldclassiccar. The car shown is a Lincoln Zephyr four door sedan, dating to 1936 or 1937.
36/37 Lincoln Zephyr
The Zephyr range was introduced in 1936 and continued, in various forms, well into the forties, and the name was used on a car as recently as 2006, although it is the '30s and '40s Zephyrs that really catch the eye. This car is a '36 or '37 model year example. A coupe version was also available from 1936, and the following year saw the introduction of a convertible coupe.
The engine, a V12 no less, can trace its routes back to the '32 Ford V8 on which it was based. Reliability and longevity would not be the engine's strongpoints sadly, exacerbating problems already encountered with the 8 cylinder engine. Early cars had a 267cu in. engine, which was enlarged to 292cu in. in 1940. A 306cu in. version of the V12 was also used in the Lincoln Zephyr on a couple of occasions throughout the car's production run, but proved to be a stretch too far and compromised reliability yet further. This model range was an entry-level luxury car for Ford in many ways, a few rungs up the ladder from the Ford Deluxe, yet still playing second fiddle to the all-out plushness of the K-Series Fords.
The monocoque body design is highly distinctive, incorporating the then-latest ideas in aerodynamic streamlining, with wings (fenders) blended in and headlights faired into the front wings, rather than mounted in their own pods, either on top of the wings or hanging off the side of the grille, as was usual. The Zephyr proved to be a popular seller for the Lincoln agents.
Today there is a great deal of interest in these swoopy 1930s sedans, coupes and convertibles, with clubs such as the Lincoln Zephyr Owners Club assisting in the running and restoration of these fine automobiles. Many have also provided the basis for custom builds, primarily in the USA. Thankfully some are still being restored to as-new condition, this site in particular documenting one such rebuild, of a '37 coupe.
V12 Lincoln Zephyr
Graham dropped me a line after this page went live, with the following information: "Liked your story on the Lincoln Zephyr. The one shown is a 1936 as the 1937s had a mini chrome grill on the side louvres. Regarding the reliability of the V12, the main problem was that they pulled so well that people lugged them in top to quite low speeds and then would stomp on the accelerator just because they could!!!! It seems that modern lubricants have overcome the main problems. The main comment I wanted to raise is that they were not influenced by the Airflow. The Lincoln came from John Tjaarda."
"One story I read mentioned that one of the Airflow designers was a tech lecturer and Tjaarda was a student, in the 20s, or they were colleagues, anyway they differed on some of the equations regarding size and strength of the unit body structure. This resulted in the Airflow being significantly heavier than the Lincoln Zephyr. Tjaarda drew and modelled many designs before the Zephyr prototype. The 1936 Zephyr was based on the Tjaarda Prototype but with the front mounted V12 instead of the rear mounted V8. It is also known that Dr. Porsche was shown the vehicle in '33, and there are vague hints that the Tatra could have been influenced by the Strekenberg as well, as the first drawings were done in the late 20s. Interesting how these things are intertwined, hope you find this of interest." Thanks Graham!
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