The Design and Success of the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr V12

 p f




Discover the captivating history of the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr V12, a car that stands as a testament to the visionary minds and skilled craftsmanship behind its creation. At the forefront of its design was Eugene T. “Bob” Gregorie, the esteemed chief designer of the Lincoln Motor Company. With an impeccable eye for aesthetics, Gregorie left an indelible mark on the Zephyr V12’s sleek and streamlined appearance.

Inspired by European designs, Gregorie infused the Zephyr’s body with aerodynamic elements that imparted a distinct and elegant allure, distinguishing it from other American automobiles of its time. From the fluid lines to the seamlessly integrated headlights and exquisite chrome accents, each styling choice made by Gregorie captivated the imagination of car enthusiasts and solidified the Zephyr’s position as an emblem of luxury.

However, Gregorie’s vision would not have become a reality without the dedicated efforts of a talented team of engineers, technicians, and craftsmen. With unwavering precision and meticulous attention to detail, they meticulously transformed Gregorie’s design concepts into tangible prototypes and, eventually, production models. Every aspect, from the body panels to the interior appointments, was crafted to uphold the highest standards of quality.

 p f

In terms of engineering, the development of the V12 engine that powered the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr was overseen by the accomplished engineer, John Tjaarda. A Dutch-American with a wealth of automotive knowledge, Tjaarda played a crucial role in designing the advanced engine. The V12 powerplant featured an overhead valve configuration, which contributed to its smooth operation, refined performance, and impressive power output. Tjaarda’s expertise and innovative approach to engine design greatly enhanced the Zephyr’s driving experience and solidified its reputation as a high-performance luxury car. The 1940 Lincoln Zephyr V12 was renowned for its impressive performance and advanced engineering. At the heart of this luxury car was its powerful 4.4-liter (267 cubic inches) 75-degree L-head V12 engine. With a compression ratio of 6.8:1 and a two-barrel Stromberg carburetor, this V12 powerplant generated a respectable 110 horsepower at 3,800 RPM and 180 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 RPM. The engine featured a full-pressure lubrication system with a gear-driven pump, ensuring optimal lubrication for smooth operation. Equipped with a distributor and coil ignition system, the V12 engine delivered reliable performance and efficient fuel consumption. These specifications highlighted the Zephyr’s commitment to power, refinement, and smoothness. Combined with its sleek design and luxurious amenities, the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr V12 stood as a symbol of automotive excellence, captivating drivers with its remarkable performance and elegant presence on the road.  p f

Behind the scenes, Edsel Ford, the president of Ford Motor Company and the driving force behind the Lincoln Motor Company, played a pivotal role in the Zephyr’s success. Edsel Ford recognized the potential of the Zephyr as a mid-priced luxury vehicle that could appeal to a broader market segment. Under his leadership, the Lincoln Motor Company was given the creative freedom to pursue bold and distinctive designs. Edsel Ford’s passion for automotive aesthetics and his commitment to innovation helped shape the direction of the Zephyr line, ensuring its place as a symbol of luxury and elegance.

The 1940 Lincoln Zephyr V12 quickly garnered attention and acclaim both within the automotive industry and among the general public. Automotive journalists praised its striking design, refined performance, and luxurious features. The Zephyr’s presence at prestigious auto shows and exhibitions further solidified its reputation as a symbol of American automotive excellence.

Throughout its production, the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr V12 captured the imagination of car enthusiasts, offering a blend of style, power, and luxury. Its popularity extended beyond the United States, with international markets recognizing its exceptional design and craftsmanship. The Zephyr became a symbol of automotive innovation and sophistication, embodying the spirit of the era.

In summary, the history of the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr V12 is a testament to the collaboration and creativity of numerous individuals. Eugene T. “Bob” Gregorie’s visionary design, John Tjaarda’s engineering prowess, and Edsel Ford’s leadership all played integral roles in shaping the Zephyr’s distinctive character. Their combined efforts, along with the contributions of the dedicated team of professionals who brought the car to life, resulted in a timeless classic that continues to captivate automotive enthusiasts to this day.

Click here to see our other Lincoln Inventory

The 1940 Lincoln Zephyr V12 boasted not only powerful performance but also several notable features that enhanced its driving experience. One such feature was the standard vacuum-assisted brakes, a crucial addition for a car of its size. These brakes provided excellent stopping power, ensuring the safety and confidence of the driver and passengers.

The Zephyr was equipped with a 3-speed gearbox, which was coupled with a Columbia two-speed rear axle. This combination allowed for smooth and efficient gear changes, contributing to a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience. The gearbox and rear axle setup provided versatility in terms of speed and performance, allowing the driver to adapt to different road conditions and driving preferences.

Originally introduced in 1936, the Zephyr underwent structural revisions in 1940, which further enhanced its overall design and functionality. However, in 1942, the Zephyr received a significant facelift that, unfortunately, was not well received by enthusiasts. Nevertheless, the Zephyr made a triumphant return after the war, although without the Zephyr name.

One of the most iconic variations of the Zephyr was the Continental, which shared its platform with the Zephyr but featured distinctive styling cues. The Continental, with its elegant design and limited production numbers, gained significant recognition and appreciation from both the art and automotive worlds. Noteworthy owners of the Continental included prominent figures such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Rita Hayworth. This stylish model would go on to shape the Lincoln image for decades to come.

The Continental lineage continued over the years, with intermittent periods of non-production. Throughout its ten generations, spanning a remarkable 55 years, the Continental remained a symbol of luxury and sophistication. Its legacy finally came to an end in 2020, marking the conclusion of a remarkable chapter in Lincoln’s history.

 p f

Our 1940 Lincoln Zephyr V12: 

“This particular 1940 Lincoln Zephyr V12 is a stunning example that has undergone a meticulous and comprehensive restoration, leaving no detail overlooked. The restoration was carried out with an unwavering commitment to quality, sparing no expense. The result is a car that radiates elegance and refinement.

The exterior of the car is finished in a striking ‘Ivory’ color, which beautifully complements the white wall tires and Zephyr wheels. The attention to detail continues inside, where the ‘Tan’ leather interior has been faithfully reupholstered, showcasing impeccable craftsmanship. The wool carpets add a luxurious touch, and the correct factory canvas power Tan top is in exceptional condition.

Every aspect of the car’s restoration has been carefully executed, both cosmetically and mechanically. The body panels, including the floors, rockers, and trunk, are original and rust-free, a testament to the car’s well-preserved condition. The unibody design, with the body welded to the frame, remains solid and intact. The chrome elements, including the top bows and seat hardware, have been replated to their original luster. The gold tone gauge cluster and woodgrain accents have been meticulously restored to their former glory.

Under the hood, the original V12 292 cubic inch engine is a powerhouse, delivering exceptional strength and performance. This car drives magnificently, exuding a sense of power and precision on the road. It tracks straight, without any wobbles, shakes, or rattles, making it a remarkable daily driver that can hold its own against modern vehicles.

The overall condition of this Lincoln Zephyr V12 is a testament to its cherished history. With no signs of accidents and always garaged, the car has retained its razor-straight body and exhibits no rust. In the trunk, you’ll find the original spare wheel, tire, and factory tools, all in their rightful storage place.

This beautifully restored 1940 Lincoln Zephyr V12 is a remarkable example of automotive craftsmanship and a true collector’s dream. It combines timeless elegance, powerful performance, and meticulous attention to detail, making it a standout in any collection.”


Looking to simply value or sell, trade or consign your classic 1940 LINCOLN ZEPHYR? We can help. 310-399-3990 or