From upper crust to utter rust. Early Lincoln Continental surfaces from deep slumber in DuPont family ownership.
MONTH IN CARS Barn Finds
This early Lincoln Continental hasn’t been on the road in 50 years. It is a 1940 model that had been in the hands of longterm owners, the DuPont family, since 1949 when Jacques DuPont bought it for $1250 from a dealer in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
You had to be someone of note to own one of the first Lincoln Continentals. The DuPont family was a motor manufacturer in its own right, but like many luxury carmakers ceased production after the Depression kicked in, instead using their fortune to save the Indian motorcycle company. It served as regular transport – and as a wedding vehicle – for Jacques DuPont, son of the firm’s founder, but was laid up around 1960. He was a keen motorcycle racer and seems to have had the Lincoln tuned – it sports uprated cylinder heads and twin carburettors on an Edelbrock inlet manifold.
With a three-speed transmission and a chassis based on the Zephyr sedan, the Continental was no sports car, but its head-turning image kicked of a nameplate for Lincoln that still exists today. The car has certainly suffered in storage, and while not a wreck, will probably need a full restoration, even if the careful removal of its thick layer of garage dust and grime reveals little more than surface rust. Lincoln’s 4.4-litre V12 side-valve engine was known for its propensity to overheat, even if its smooth and silent power delivery made the suffering worthwhile. The ex-DuPont Lincoln Continental was offered by Bonhams at its Simeone Foundation sale in Philadelphia on October 8, where it sold for a modest but comfortably within estimate $6720.
Sidevalve V12 will need some coaxing back into working life DuPont. DuPont heirs honeymooned here. Continental was used as a wedding car by its DuPont family owner before he laid it up.