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1940 Lincoln Zephyr Continental Cabriolet

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Hello wizards of the past. I just picked up H104313 0H656. 1940 Lincoln Zephyr Continental Cabriolet. V-12.  Original colors cigarette cream and beetle green.  Twenty-five Year old restoration but still in good shape. I safety checked her and I’ve put about 400 miles on her in the last week. Feel a little guilty but what the hell. It’s like a time machine and it feels good. I took her to a car show and, with limited knowledge, I tried to represent. First car show. Lots of good info at a car show. Lots of bad info at a car show. 

So I’ve got a hundred questions but i won’t even try to get there. Here’s the few I came up with so as not to put you guys into sensory overload:

Someone put an aluminum gas tank on her. I’d like to lose that. Am I being realistic? If so, where can I find an original, new old stock or aftermarket copy?

Seems it has an overdrive but everything I’ve read says that wasn’t available in 1940. There is a 2” knob on the right side of the wheel under the cigar lighter. It is cable operated and leads back to the transmission. Pulled out you have an engaged transmission in every gear. After a few miles of driving the knob will slide back in, or if you accelerate up to speed it does it as well. I believe that’s a mechanical defect that I will have to adjust. Pushed in it operates in an odd fashion, each gear runs up to speed and then carries the car in neutral until you accelerate and then it carries back up. There is no engine braking with the cable pushed in but normal engine braking with it pulled out or overdrive disengaged. The overdrive engaged doesn’t seem much different from disengaged except that it coasts when I’m not accelerating. The ratio doesn’t seem to change much at all whether engaged or disengaged.

The tranny doesn’t go all the way into reverse and second gear pops out when decelerating with overdrive disengaged. They painted over the Zerk fitting for the linkage and I’m having trouble removing the failed press fitted Zerk.

Thought I had a valve train problem but got out the trusty stethoscope and the engine sounds smooth as butter, I did find a clattering in the generator. Is that normal?

Where can I find a boot for the top or and adequate upholsterer that would have a pattern?

The radio cover is gold trim and seems to be about .25” off to the horizon. Should I attempt to take this out and adjust it or am I asking for trouble? Radio only sends static. Someone put wiring in it for a cd changer. Should I try to find a replacement or leave it alone and make it work?

Looks like original interior and except for a random letter I found on the internet the  records state that it is. Any opinions on that?

I’m about to raise her up and put her on jack stands to adjust the brakes. It’s a hard push to get her down from speed. I’m hoping I’m correct in putting the jack stands on the axles. I’ll let you know how that works out.

She seems to be most comfortable at about 50 to 55 MPH. Is that right or am I running her too slow. 

Well, that’s it for now. Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge and opinions. This is my first Vintage Automobile and I’m looking forward to a meaningful relationship with her. 




Edited by Rob de la Cruz
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So I’ve got her up on stands and I’ve adjusted the front brakes. The manual says to tighten the star and then back it off 14 notches. I remember the rule of thumb was to get it tight and loosen it to freewheel status. Going to try that and see if it doesn’t solve the stiff brake problem. She’s been well maintained. Fresh grease in the fittings. Anyone care to opine on my theory of loosening only to freewheel?


Got her up on stands. Used the frame rails. This car is built. Tough thick frame. Brake adjustment went well. Easier stop and eliminated pull to the right. 

Edited by Rob de la Cruz
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Nice car.

Tank: I don't think that there is anyone making an exact replacement for your car. You may be able to find a good used tank,  but the search will be difficult.


Overdrive: The Borg-Warner overdrive was available on 1941 Lincolns.  Someone may have installed a 41-48 unit in your car. Pushing the dash button in allows the over drive to be active. When you are in overdrive,  at speeds above 28mph, lifting  your foot from the accelerator pedal you should hear a clunk as the solenoid pulls in and engages the overdrive. When you are in overdrive mode, free wheeling is active and you will not have engine braking. Here is a link to a more detailed explanation and service info:    http://www.boos-herrel.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/scan_doc0024.pdf


Zerk fitting: just use some acetone to remove the paint.


Shifting:  check to make sure that the linkage is adjusted so that the gears are engaged. Put the gearshift in neutral and remove the linkage from the trans. Make sure both levers are in neutral and adjust the linkage so that it fits on the trans arms without moving either the shift lever or the arms. Popping out of 2cd could be due to worn synchros.

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I would try Merv Adkins for a used tank. He's at the top of the list under Sources & Tech Info. As for the rag top, I would join LZOC, request the membership directory, and scan for members with 06H56 cars. Most of those listed have phone numbers or email addresses and might know where to point you.

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Thanks Gents,


I’ve submitted to LZOC and am awaiting access. Tank, I think I can get the Zerk out with vice grips. It’s press fitted. Been working a lot and haven’t had time to try it. The grease keeper bearing is gone in the fitting so it needs to be replaced. 

As for what I think is the overdrive there is no clunk present. The “button” is a cable. There may be an electronic solenoid somewhere but electrical is not my strong suit and there is only one button I haven’t figured out. It’s on the left side of the wheel right side of the light switch. I don’t think I get more range from the transmission when I push the cable in but it does shift the car somehow as it freewheels after I push it in. 

The pics are sketchy but she’s on the ground and hard to get under. 1 39A22474-2DF7-442D-B7D0-0B52B808A6AD.jpeg.a4e54f95e89c3747c20380961bf56d57.jpeg

I’ll take her out again today and try the button I haven’t figured out. Just might be the ticket. I appreciate the responses. Rob30B70B1C-1AD3-4D5A-97DA-C2ECA194FBA3.jpeg.12a4a9f35fcc8db77727d3307fce210c.jpegThis is a small electrical electrical device attached to the undercarriage.75E97D5F-D4F4-4AA9-9234-2F46BF383597.thumb.jpeg.b2d1ac64e6fb2213548359abc5661144.jpeguntested  buttonE8479785-5335-45DD-9377-F082161AFD89.thumb.jpeg.ddde3ca8795e54bc249ebfb9ad0c034b.jpegCable out73B87D9A-C171-46E7-95FF-69EA510289BD.jpeg.da3e1b4fbb9ca13acc37b03374b6632b.jpegBack end of tranny./

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Use the link that I provided to understand how your overdrive transmission should work and how to trouble shoot it. Make sure that all of the components are installed. Kick down switch and relay are very important parts.


The grease fitting should be an 1/8" pipe thread. Try turning it out. By 1940 drive type fittings were obsolete as far as passenger vehicles were concerned.

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Thanks for the response. I looked over the link and didn't get it until you mentioned the Kick Down. I haven't depressed the accelerator all the way to the floor as its counter to my intuition to do that. I will take it out today and try that.


I will take the grease fitting advice to heed but there no edges on the fitting to attach a spanner to so I assume it was press fitted. Will also revisit that when I get moment.


I certainly do appreciate the input you've given. It helps. Thank you.


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The kick down switch is used to go from overdrive back to direct drive in a passing situation. This is to give you the extra power needed to pass. It needs to be present in order for the overdrive to work.


On page 4 of the document, there is a trouble shooting procedure for IF OVERDRIVE DOES NOT ENGAGE WHEN DRIVEN OVER 25MPH.


The overdrive relay should be mounted on the engine side of the firewall.

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