I was not expecting this car.
This past week, my brother and I made the trek from Rock Island to Chicago for the 2012 Auto Show for the first time since 2005. Going on a weekday was definitely a plus, as it was not very busy and I was able to get pictures without someone’s arm or leg in the frame. One interesting display had several vintage cars, including this decidedly different 1941 Lincoln Continental. It turns out that this car was restyled and apparently owned by Raymond Loewy.
After doing a bit of research, I learned that this car was built by Derham to Loewy’s specifications and unveiled in 1946. Aside from the obvious front and rear modifications, it was turned into a landau of sorts, with a removable plexiglass section over the front seat. The rear window was filled in and replaced with a porthole not unlike that of the ’56-’57 Ford Thunderbird and the opera windows of the later Continental Mark IV, V and VI. The front grille has a hint of Studebaker in it, although it also reminds me of a ’40 Dodge and ’47 Kaiser. It appears that this was built for Loewy’s personal use, as there are RL monograms in a chrome circle on each side. Personally, I would rather have a stock ’41 Continental with its waterfall grille and namesake spare, but this is still a very neat car. It was cool to see something like this amongst all the 2012 models.
I seem to remember a car like this, maybe red or maroon, which was done for Frank Lloyd Wright. It had the same portholes and was shown with no cover over the front seat. I couldn’t see the trunk area, and I don’t remember what the grille looked like.
Speaking of the grille – Loewy had his nerve, screwing around with perfection.
I think this is hideous! To trade the original waterfall grille for this boredom? Then that AWFUL bustled backside? And he didn’t even stop there. In my eyes, the actual 1940-41 Continental is one of the most gorgeous cars ever built. This, in comparison, is a shame. Please put it away where it was found and let’s be done with it. Loewy did some really wonderful stuff, but we all have our off days, and this was one of his. Why not hide this and remember him for the good stuff.
On another note, I know Wright had a Continental, painted his favorite “Cherokee Red”, but I never knew it was this version. I’m fairly sure he had the real thing.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1940 Cherokee Red Continental had no rear window. Mr. Wright said he didn’t need a rear window as he was always looking forward. Wright was a real automobile lover and had everything from a Cord L29 to a 300SL Gullwing. He designed an automobile showroom for the Max Hoffman Mercedes dealership on Park Avenue in NY.
Back again. Wright had two Continentals, I believe. The second had a modified top not quite like this one, though ghastly. The rest of the car was as it’s creators intended.
Well… at least its like no other.
I kinda like the front but from the A pillars back it just gets worse the bustle back looks ridiculous and the silly opera windows look as daft on this as they do on a lincoln from the 70s not one of Loewys better ideas.
OK, it’s not nearly as nice as the waterfall grille, but that front end wouldn’t have looked bad if he hadn’t done square corners on the grille. You take a car like that, with all those beautiful curves, and then you put a square grille on it? Yeah, what was he thinking. That porthole sucks, too. Another detail in opposition to the lines of the car.
Syke, a friend of mine has an original 1941 Continental coupe in this same color, hunter green, with dark green leather and Bedford cord interior. It has not been restored and has one of the smoothest rides I’ve experienced. The original Continentals are beautiful. Most folks would go for the convertible, but I love the coupes.
Loewy altered enough of this car to ruin it; arrogance in action.
Wright altered enough of his to ruin it too; arrogance in action again. Wright didn’t put a round opera window in the rear quarter but a demi-lunette (half moon) with the flat side down, and of course he chose a hideous red color for it.
Most interesting of all perhaps is that Loewy and Wright were designers and car guys, but they couldn’t improve on this gorgeous original design that was a collaboration between Edsel Ford, who was a car guy obviously but not a designer, and the design staff at Lincoln. The ’40-’41 is one of a tiny handful of great American automotive designs, so great, in my opinion, that I can’t even think of a second place candidate – unless it’s the 1947 model.
A correction to my previous remarks: Of course the 1913 Mercer Raceabout, the Stutz DV-32 Bearcat and a couple of others could fit in between the ’40-’41 Continental and the ’47 version, but not many. And among post-1939 American production cars it really has no competition. The early 1950’s Cunninghams designed by Giovanni Michelotti, a scaled up version of Ferrari s/n 097, built by Vignale belong in a separate category.
Building a custom hot rod 40 Lincoln that is slated to be like Mr. Wrights car onlt with Loewy’s clear top over the driver. If you think that shouldnt happen… BUY IT FROM ME