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1940 Zephyr Convertible - New Owner Questions

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So my father picked up a 1940 Lincoln Zephyr Continental Convertible recently and I've got a few questions. Hopefully they're easy ones for you veterans.

1. What type of engine oil is everyone using?

2. Does anyone have a picture of the dash identifying all of the buttons/switches? We've identified the headlights and convertible top open/close, but that's it.

3. Is there an overdrive on this transmission? The car seems to be working fairly hard at ~50 mph.

4. Is eBay the only place for an owners manual? This route seems fairly expensive. A reproduction would be fine.

Thanks in advance for any help!

-Brian

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So my father picked up a 1940 Lincoln Zephyr Continental Convertible recently and I've got a few questions. Hopefully they're easy ones for you veterans.

1. What type of engine oil is everyone using?

I don't know what everyone else is using. Lately there's been a lot of discussion regarding missing additives in today's oils. I've been using 50w Valvoline Racing oil in my 1941 Continental. It's an original car with 84,000 original miles and the poor old V12 is really TIRED!

2. Does anyone have a picture of the dash identifying all of the buttons/switches? We've identified the headlights and convertible top open/close, but that's it.

The 1940 Lincoln Zephyr "Reference Book" will have a description of the dashboard controls as well as a lot of other important inrformation.

3. Is there an overdrive on this transmission? The car seems to be working fairly hard at ~50 mph.

Transmission overdrives were not available on Lincolns until 1941. Earlier Lincolns used a Columbia 2-speed rear axle for overdrive. A pretty rare and expensive accessory these days.

4. Is eBay the only place for an owners manual? This route seems fairly expensive. A reproduction would be fine.

May I suggest that you join the Lincoln Zephyr Owners Club. There's an on-line application on the web site at www.lzoc.org. There are quite a few vendors in the club who are very helpful.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Why don't you try posting some photos of your Zephyr on this forum. We are mostly "visual" folks and we like to look at pictures!

-Brian

There is also an "Authenticity Manual" available

Recently, I was fortunate enough to get a "Barn Find" 1940 Lincoln Columbia Overdrive. It needs a lot of work, but they're still out there! Check out my Webshots photo album at:

Barn Find Columbia Overdrive pictures from classic cars photos on webshots

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Edited by Phil Knapp (see edit history)

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Phil,

Thanks for the quick response! I'll make sure to get some pics posted soon. Has anyone scanned the "reference book"?

The pics you posted of the dash look quite a bit different than our '40 dash. I'll get some pics up later tonight and hopefully someone can shed some light on the various buttons/switches.

-Brian

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Brian, Welcome, rare and nice model car!

Be patient on E-bay; some months the '40 owners manuals are $29 and some months they are $135. You will find one reasonable.

Most all will agree, you will get so much good info out of the LZOC that it will easily pay itself back. And go to one annual show and you will meet so many people and learn so much eating meals with others, you will be impressed with the club helpful members. Vendors like Earle O. Brown Jr. may also have a manual and a very knowledgable, helpful expert. With your model car, you really have to talk with David Cole, the editor of the Zephyr club magazine, who keeps an awsome running history of owners and production of almost every car made of those models! An encyclopedia of details such as which had the x bracing frame and which VIN #'s didn't, the insulation on the extended hood, the two different heights of the window cranks on the same model year; you will be amazed at what you learn. There is a Dr. in the club from I think PA who has restored some 40's coupes (including a light green coupe), etc and is also very knowledgeable.

If you are serious about the 2 speed rear axle, you can probably get one from Merv Adkins: west coast, Boos-Herrel: central, or Alan Wheliham and George Trickett (Lincoln Motor Car Supply Parts-retired and then partial re-started again) on east coast, or others. Also watch classified in the lzoc.org web page or in the bi-monthly Zephyr Club magazine. More than just installing a new back axle though. Need speedo cable converter, linkage/switch on pedal, knob on dash, vac line to back vac shift can, etc. Is a job, but do-able if you get all the parts. But if you are rev'ing hard at 50, most standard axle guys don't complain at the low of MPH. Is it possible you already have a 2 speed rear axle, and have it stuck in low? You sound like my car before I got it shifting out of low. There was just a thread recently and many photos were posted that you could refer to of some of the components. Best of luck! Paul

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I believe you confused Phil. He pictured Zephyr O6H-76 not a Zephyr Continental O6H-56..Continental has tire on back, and 2 dial speedo set..

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Ooops! I only saw "1940 Lincoln Zephyr" in the title of your post and didn't notice the word "Continental" in the text. The Lincoln Continental wasn't referenced as a separate model until 1941.

None of the Lincoln Reference Books that I have seen contain any descriptions of a Continental, since they are mechanically identical to Zephyrs.

Here's a photo of a 1940 Continental dashboard, The controls are basically in the same place. The instrument clusters are the only difference.

Regarding the Columbia 2-speed axle, here is a link to my Webshots photo album of the installation of a Columbia axle in my 1939 Zephyr:

http://community.webshots.com/album/535592120cTKtFX

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Edited by Phil Knapp (see edit history)

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I couldn't find a diagram of a '40 Continental, however here is a '41 continental.

The layout of the dash and knob function should be the same. You can not see it in this diagram, but the plastic knobs are different in shape and size, but remain red translucent.

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On 40 LC dash- Only one red light to right of radio bezel. No turn indicator lights on 40. Clock and dash ashtray rectangular in shape. No hood "lock" under lower left of dashboard as hood ornament turns to open and close hood. Lower right of steering column are three positions=light, heater (pull-push) control knob and defroster (pull-push) knob. Under steering column is pull-push (round red knob) ignition switch and key lock) To right of steering coulmn is the cigar lighter, choke (pull-push control knob and throttle (pull-push) control knob. Knobs are maroonish ruby red translucent in color. If you have a columbia rear axle installed in the car there will be a large ruby read knob under lower left area of dashboard- its a pull-push control .

Just keep asking questions. Great bunch of guys here will chime in to help you anytime. Just ask. JM

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If you contact Dave Cole with the VIN of your '40 Continental, he can probably tell you the history of the car. Dave has owned a 1940 Continental since 1954 and has done extensive research on 1940 Continentals.

The VIN will be located on the left front frame crossmember, near the motor mount.

The plate on the firewall is NOT the VIN, it's the model and sequential production numbers.

Dave's address is: 1119 South Sped Street, Santa Maria, California 93454

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1940 and 1941 Continentals are very similar in appearance but VERY different mechanically.

1941 Lincolns have 16x5 inch wheels. Previous years are 16x4 inches. Later years are 15x5 inches. This makes 1941 Lincoln wheels unique, desirable, and VERY expensive.

1941 Lincolns have a 2 1/2 inch wider tread and heavier suspension components. In effect, a sturdier post-war chassis while retaining the classic pre-war styling - the best of both worlds!

1941 Lincolns have stouter front and rear bumpers than 1940.

1941 Lincoln front brakes have no offset. Earlier and later Lincolns have a deep offset.

1941 Lincolns offered TWO types of overdrive. 1941 was the LAST year for the Columbia 2-speed axle and the FIRST year for the Borg-Warner transmission overdrive. 1941 Lincolns could be (and were) ordered with BOTH overdrives. The car must have been a REAL slug in compound overdrive!

1941 Lincolns are the first Lincolns to have turn signals. The introduction of turn signals caused a SINGLE brake light to be located in the center of the spare tire. Kind of dangerous in today's traffic. Too bad Lincoln hadn't figured out how to integrate turn signals and brake lights into the tail lights yet.

1941 Lincoln convertibles use electric top operation. 1940 Lincolns use vacuum operated tops. Later Lincolns use hydarulic tops - a better choice.

1941 Lincolns are the first Lincolns to have push-button doors.

1941 Lincoln Continental front seat backs tilt inward to provide easier access to the rear seat. 1940 Lincoln front seat backs tilt straight forward.

The1941 Lincolns operate the hood latch from a cable INSIDE the car. A nice theft deterrent. 1940 Lincolns use the "ball & spear" hood ornament as the hood latch.

Some, but not all, 1941 Lincolns use a different type of shock absorber adjustments from earlier and later cars. (attachments).

1941 Lincolns have a horn ring. Earlier models use a horn button.

Since there were three Lincoln models in 1941 (Zephyr, Continental, and Custom) the hubcaps were changed to read "Lincoln 12" instead of "Lincoln Zephyr".

One change that didn't make it into the 1941 Continentals was the trunk lid supports. In 1941, they fold IN. This causes the trunk lid to bounce off your head if you happen to touch the supports. Post-war Continentals have the trunk lid supports folding OUT, thus saving a lot of bumped heads!

I'm sure there are more differences between 1940 and 1941 Lincolns, but this is a start.

If you want a scale model of a 1940 Lincoln Continental, get a Franklin mint "1941" Lincoln Continental. The only 1941 parts on this model are the turn signals, grille, and the "Lincoln Continental" script on the hood sides! Everything else on this model is 1940, including the seat pattern. It even has a Columbia axle.

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Edited by Phil Knapp (see edit history)

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Hi Brian,

How are you doing on those photos of your father's 1940 Zephyr Continental?

If you can include the VIN of the car, we can probably trace it to a previous owner. The VIN will be stamped on the left front crossmember, next to the motor mount and should be somewhere in the range between H91069 and H107729. The plate on the firewall contains the model number (06H-56) and the sequential production number and it's NOT the VIN!

Phil

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Good to hear you got a nice car. Well most of the parts and manuals are just to be found through ebay. I mean, since most of the cars are really unique, its pretty hard scavenging around. Actually, I found my replacement for my Mustang's front shock absorber through ebay. you just have to be patient, though. :)

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