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Classic Used Oil Generators: 1941 Lincoln Continental
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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 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 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 handles.”

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 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 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 include:

* 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 maroon leather.

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 carpeting.

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.”

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