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1940 Cabriolet "Barn Find"


Ron K.

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Thank you for all of your help so far. I finally figured out how to load a picture, I hope, to the forum. This beauty was last registered in Arizona in 1958 and parked shortly after that in this parking spot in the owner's shop. Sadly, he put a early 50s Lincoln overhead valve V-8 under the hood and did a nice job without doing any cutting. It is bolted to the original three speed transmission. I found a mostly complete V-12 buried in the shop and another one that was completely dismantled. We think that the car was originally purchased in Southern California, this owner bought it in 1951 and he took it with him when he moved to Arizona in the mid-fifties. Absolutely no rust anywhere. As you can imagine, I am pretty excited.

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This is a good find. What many lincoln guys wont tell you is that the flathead v-12's were horrible and many people replaced them with early ford/merc/linc flatheads in the 1950's and they bolted them right onto the orig. trans. I knew a guy at Hemmings once who wanted to do an article on mine because of the interesting story on it, but, when I told him it had the flathead Merc. from 1952 he wanted nothing to do with it. I told him that the engine has been in the car since the early 1950's. He said to put an 'original' 12 back into it. I told him that any 12 I put in would not be close to an original as it was not the engine that came out of the car, nor had it been in there for years. My v-8 has been in the car most of it's life and I am not ashamed of it, in fact I am relieved given the parts available that I can get from places like NAPA, and the ease of rebuilding, etc. Also mine runs excellent, why would I get rid of a good engine?

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Good eye, actually it is an old player piano and I have not tried to negotiate for it yet. My partner, the guy that helped the owner paint and modify this car back in '52 and '53, and I plan to get it running with the current engine and then decide how to proceed. I am one of those guys that loves original, but may change my mind once we have it on the street. As a side light, the previous owner also installed a Bendix Power Brake Booster but is using the original brake system.

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A word of caution..you need to be careful with the transmission with this engine. The tranny is basically the same as that used in the Fords. The same goes for the Columbia if it is so equipped. Even if the engine is only a '52 it has a lot more hp and torque than the original 12.

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Thank you for the warning on the engine, we will be careful in the application of power. Bernie is a great guy that I met years ago (he is the father of a neighbor), in fact he got my then 14 year old son all worked up about a basket case, '43 GPW, Jeep, that I ended up restoring because my son changed his mind and confiscated my '66 parts mustang for his first car. Bernie turns 88 this month and gets almost teary eyed about his close friend and seeing his Cabriolet on the road again. Back in the early 50s, Bernie also owned a '40 Cabriolet but (is this a typical story or what) sold it when he got married and started a family.

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Awesome car Ron. Would love to see more pictures,interior etc. What is body number? It would be really great to put twelve back in it IMO

Real good find. I have a 42 Coupe Continental that has a 42 Mercury V 8 in it. I'm leaving it in so that we can use the Lincoln for trips. I have had severeal with both V 12 and v8 We bought and sold them in the 50 and 60's in Ohio. I f you run the V12 and have trouble you are on your own with a V 8 you can find all kind of parts and people who can fix it. We had a 1940 with a Chrysler hemi in it 1953. The transmission only gave us trouble when I was learning to drive and pulled it into low gear without comming to a halt.

I have the little end of your hood emblem V 12. It is a repo and you may have it if you send me your address. It is a good driver piece but not perfect. I got it years ago and the new hood emblem came in one piece. ( For the 1941)

Good luck and if I can be of any help let me know.

Lee Waldren

1657 North Drive

Fort Myers, Fl. 33907

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I appreciate the fruit of all of your experiences. The serial number is H98364. In the photo you will notice that the steering wheel appears to be a 1941, so at least the grill and steering wheel are a match (I do have the horn ring, but no center logo). Today I will put a picture of the engine on the forum to try to find out what engine that I have and try to find a rebuild kit for the four barrel carb. Earl Brown has been very helpful and I have a library coming my way from his catalog. Thank you for the offer of the emblem, among the boxes of stuff packed inside the car, I found a pristine V-12 emblem and have already attached it. I was looking at one of the three drive shafts that came with the car and one of them was completely destroyed (it appeared that C-4 had been detonated inside it), I assume the previous owner forgot about the weight of this vehicle, the power of his new engine and let the clutch out too fast. I have two good drive shafts but will be very careful in power application. Thanks again for your interest and advice.

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I haven't had a chance to lift the car and do a lot of inspecting yet so I do not know about the transmission but it does have an enclosed original looking drive shaft and rear end with a Columbia attached.

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what is your body number?H98362 body 140 was built the last of February 1940 was in Harvey,La Oct 1967 Your H98364 was not accounted for on this list from Dave Cole several years ago. Lee Waldren Ft,Myers,Fl.

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Yes Sir, H98362 is stamped on the frame. Is this list available on line and how do I register my car? It has an old LCOC badge on the grill but maybe he never registered the number.

H98362 body 140 in 1967 belonged to Gene Ruegge of Harvey,La. good condition rebuilt V 12 nylon top

You originally gave me H98364 whic is not a listed Lincoln

He was a member of the LCOC

I have the Way of the Zephyr and Old LCOC Continental Comments is where I am geting the information.

Lee Waldren

Fort Myers, Fl.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not sure why the "warning" as per the power and the transmission. Our '42 Continental had an Andy Granatelli-installed 1950s Cadillac V-8 with the original transmission and overdrive. We used it for years and never, ever had a problem utilizing that engine to its ability. The car is now restored with a V-12. While it's nice, it's not anywhere near as fun to drive.

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John Murphy enlightened me as to body number vs frame number and I cannot find the body number tag on the car. It must have been removed from it's home near the passenger side hood hinge but I can find no evidence of the rivet holes. I am trying to fill the cylinders with Marvel Mystery Oil but am having a heck of a time removing the spark plugs because of the custom made exhaust headers. One of them took me an hour to remove and I still have three to go, goodness knows how the builder planned to do a spark plug change. Reminds me of the the 429 in the Mustang.

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The "warning" about the transmission comes from years-ago experience when it was quite common to do these engine swaps. Admittedly folks drove a bit more "aggressively" but even Ford reconized that the transmissions would be marginal when they redid the Lincolns in '49 with the 150 HP V8's. The used a stronger T-85 type transmission along with a 4 planet, R-11 overdive unit. I used one of these transmissions with a Chrysler engine installed in a '51 Lincoln and it held up well. The spark plugs were real easy to get to on that Hemi but the oil filter was almost impossible...engine swaps can sometimes present real challenges.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest LINCOLNBIRDS

what is the body number dave cole has a listing of 40,s i would be interested to see if he knows about this car i also have a 40 conv body 151 good luck with it

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