By Vern Parker
"I've always wanted a 1941 Lincoln
Continental,” Don Pauly says, "which I have long thought to be the most
beautiful car ever built.”
However, 30 years of active duty in the U.S.
Navy 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
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 car 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 Zephyr Blue Lincoln Continental
out of the truck.
As the car emerged from the truck Pauly was
shocked when his wife said, "Send it back, it's missing its outside door
She relented 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 L-O-N-G 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
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 Lincoln changed from the Columbia to the Borg-Warner system
with this car receiving both of them. Records indicate the car was assembled
Dec. 23, 1940.
Other extras on the well-appointed Lincoln
* AM radio.
* Hot air heater.
* White sidewall 7.00x16-inch tires.
The 3,890-pound Continental is built on a
125-inch wheelbase. Pauly has learned that when new the base price of his
Lincoln was $2,727. Rear fender skirts visually lengthen the car.
Gold trim is plentiful from the hood ornament on
back into and throughout the cabin. The dashboard is etched in a wood grain
pattern which provides a dark backdrop for all of the gold trim. The two-spoke
steering wheel supports a gold trimmed horn ring.
The broadcloth and maroon leather upholstery
match the original. Even the sills on the side windows are covered with padded
Rear seat passengers can pull a center armrest
from the middle of the back of the seat. An ashtray and an electric lighter is
nestled in each of the outboard arm rests for the rear seat passengers. The
front seat occupants must make do with only a single ashtray and one lighter.
The entire cabin floor is covered in tan
The handsome car never fails to attract
attention and, Pauly reports receiving a number of warning tips from concerned
motorists. Other drivers often tell him that only his center brake light is
working. Pauly explains that the two taillights in the fenders are not intended
to be brake lights.
Starting the Lincoln is easy – if you know the
trick. After inserting the ignition key it must be turned and then pulled back
out about a quarter of an inch and only then can the starter button be pressed.
"I've had it up to about 65,” Pauly says. "It's
an extremely reliable car.”