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38 Zephyr History (the one with no Head-lights)


Royal Kustoms
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Trying to find some history on my 38 Zephyr. This is the one that has no headlights installed on the front wings. After reading an article on Pre-war car https://www.prewarcar.com/the-esders-rolls-royce-phantom-ii-a-car-with-elegance-and-a-story-to-tell could this be one of his. Here's my thoughts below.

 

Following on from the Story about Dr Esders Phantom and Royale. I recently brought from Auction in the South of France a 1938 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe which was last registered in Paris.  Now the strange thing with this particular Zephyr Coupe is it had no front headlghts installed in the front wings to the point where the holes in the front wings to fit them had what looked like they not been cut out in the first place.   On closer inspection the holes had been filled with a panel and welded up, extremely well as you could hardly see any of the joins. And with no form of lead or filler work on this difficult panel was surely done by a craftsman of the highest order.

  At a later date it had some agricultural front brackets made to come of the front bumper irons and a pair of Marchal headlights installed with the wires pushed through the grilles. I say at a later date as to go to the expense of getting the holes welded up in the first place to such a high standard and then to crudely fit some Marchal lights surely must of been done later down the line. Now we know American headlights were not allowed to be used on the roads in France but most American cars just added extra Marchal headlights to use instead and i have nether seen any to go to the expense of completely removing the original lights.

   So to my point, i am trying to find out the history on the Zephyr and after reading the Article on Dr Esders could this be one of his later cars.  No headlights fitted the same as the Phantom and Royale, Brought new in Paris in 1938 which i believe is when he sold the Phantom and Royale so maybe this was the replacement for these, he studied in the USA so might have been partial to a bit of American iron and after he died in 1940 some else who acquired the car fit the Marcel lights.

    This is all conjecture, but just trying to join the dots and trying to find the history on this unusual Lincoln Zephyr.

 

Any-one with any info please let me know as i would love to know it's history. Cheers Jim

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21 minutes ago, West Peterson said:

Looks like you saved it just in time. Good find!!

Thanks, have been looking for one in my price range for about 30 years and still can't believe i finally managed to get one. It was in far better condition than i thought it would be. Especially as i brought it  blind at an auction in France as we could travel to see it due to Covid and travel restrictions. the first picture is one of 3 that we had to go by and the pictures below where taken once we got it home after a good clean and emptying 10 large bags worth of leaves and about 30 empty bottles of wine dating back to the 70's.

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The Lincoln-Zephyr man in Europe is my long time great friend Colin Spong of England. He and his late father Fred as well as his brother Adrian were/are top level restorers of American cars of the pre war era. Colin was the one who posted most of the photos of L-Z in Europe with RHD on the Images of the era thread I started . Some of the sales literature issued/printed in Europe in the pre war era on L-Z showed the cars fitted with auxiliary lamps mounted up off the front bumper braces. I have some of those brochures but currently am deep into a project and do not have the time it would take to get it out, scan, crop, resize etc etc  to post here. Ford in Europe ( this includes Lincoln ) issued their own sales catalogs that were different then those produced in the USA .Ford also issued a spiral bound magazine called La Revue Ford that it gave/sent to customers.

Why do I remember all this stuff and can't recall what pills I have to take every day? 🙄

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1 minute ago, Walt G said:

The Lincoln-Zephyr man in Europe is my long time great friend Colin Spong of England. He and his late father Fred as well as his brother Adrian were/are top level restorers of American cars of the pre war era. Colin was the one who posted most of the photos of L-Z in Europe with RHD on the Images of the era thread I started . Some of the sales literature issued/printed in Europe in the pre war era on L-Z showed the cars fitted with auxiliary lamps mounted up off the front bumper braces. I have some of those brochures but currently am deep into a project and do not have the time it would take to get it out, scan, crop, resize etc etc  to post here. Ford in Europe ( this includes Lincoln ) issued their own sales catalogs that were different then those produced in the USA .Ford also issued a spiral bound magazine called La Revue Ford that it gave/sent to customers.

Why do I remember all this stuff and can't recall what pills I have to take every day? 🙄

 Thanks Walt, I know Colin well. h He has been a massive help with Parts and Info. He is the one who found the link on the Esders cars and suggested i should put something on this Board to see if we could find any more info.

 

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Thanks for the additional photos, every other area looks like any 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr so only the headlight changed.  The tall bars mounted on the bumper brackets and wiring hanging out the grille suggest a set of European spec'd headlight replaced the factory-supplied units.  Those small holes may have been for mounting the parking lights required in some countries.

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What was different about French headlights? I have only heard of 2 differences, from the fifties. They dip to the right like American cars which means travellers from England had headlights that dipped the wrong way. And they had yellow bulbs. I don't know if that was all cars or only travellers from England.

38 Zephyr still had bulb headlights so the bulbs could have been changed for French bulbs if necessary. There would have been no need to weld up the fenders and install different headlights. That would have been the owner's fancy, like the way the rear wheel wells were cut out. Whether that was done at the same time as the headlights who knows. From your description the headlights were filled when the car was new or close to it, and done by a good body shop. If the rear fenders show the same attention to detail with the edges rolled like a new car, it would suggest both mods were done at the same time especially if there was only one repaint done in the car's life.

Here is what it looked like with the original headlights.

Image result for 1938 lincoln zephyr

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I used to live near LeHavre, where the ferry from England arrived.  On the road from the docks there were signs, in English, saying "Keep right."  Other continental European countries also drove on the right and had white headlights, the yellow lights ("frog lights") were only in France (maybe Monaco).  If you were driving at night and saw white headlights that looked mis-aimed, you went on alert for the driver's instincts being to drift into traffic.

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Here's a photo and description of a typical American cars with French light conversion. Kindly sent to me by Mr Colin Spong.

 

Photo shows 1938 Convertible Coupe. “La Fete des Artistes du Tremblay . (just outside Paris) Mlle.Mistinquelt, dans concours au concours d’elegance automobile , 16 June 1938”

Mistinquelt was the highest paid performer in the world at that time and the one time lover of Maurice Chevalier.  Note the Bosch headlamp lens and the

big Marchal lamps fitted to all French 1938’s as far as I know.

1938 LZ Paris 001 (2) (002).jpg

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Just now, Royal Kustoms said:

Apparently he said that he nor his wife would never driver at night and that they ruined the look of the cars. 

 

Interesting.  I guess I could go along with his view.  Maybe, on some of the cars.  

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2 minutes ago, Royal Kustoms said:

Apparently he said that he nor his wife would never driver at night and that they ruined the look of the cars. 

Totally opposite of the mindset of the President of Champion Spark Plug.

 

He thought a car would look 'naked' without freestanding headlights, and had ACD specially build a Cord with them.

 

Craig

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34 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

Totally opposite of the mindset of the President of Champion Spark Plug.

 

He thought a car would look 'naked' without freestanding headlights, and had ACD specially build a Cord with them.

 

Craig

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Horses for Courses as they say :) . The Cord is an absolute stunner. 

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5 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

The Zephyr could have had yellow headlights simply by changing the bulbs. There must have been some other reason for welding up the fenders.

My thoughts exactly, and the only person i can come up with that fits in with the time-line and the reason is Dr Esders.  Over the weekend i also managed to find that all Dr Esders art and antiques where sold at 3 different auctions in Paris 1941 and the auction house is still going. So my next job is to get in contact with them to see if they have any records showing what happened to his car/plane collection (just need to learn some French). It's unlikely as by this time the Nazis had invaded so most records have probable been destroyed but you never know. 

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