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1937 Lincoln Zephyr


peter_smith
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Hello, I am a new user in the UK, having just joined this forum and still finding my way around it, If I do somehting I should'nt, just point me in the right direction.

I have just purchased a 1937 R/H/Drive lincoln zephyr V12,Body Number HBF 730 730 now a little history, My brother bought a 1939 one of these in 1960 for $8, yes $8, I was 11 at the time and went with him to pick the car up, It had stood for a long time, but with a good battery on, and a drop of petrol down the carb, it fired up no problem, we drove it home, and I will never forget how smooth and quiet this car was, accelerated up to 70 with no fuss at all.

Anyway my brother was very keen on stock car racing at the time, and that is where the lincoln ended its days, I never forgave him for that, and have reminded him of the error of his ways many times since.

I never thought I would own one of these, and was very surprised when one came up for sale on Ebay in the UK.

It had been reasonably restored in the mid eighties, but lately has been left to go to wreck and ruin, standing out in all weathers for a couple of years, when the owner lost his storage.

When I got the engine running, it was only on about 7 cylinders, on checking for spark, some were weak and watery yellow, some nice and blue, I thought condenser straight away, but this was not on one bank or the other, it was a mix of both, I had to drop the plug gap down to about 0.010" on the 5 weak cylinders, to get it to run on 12, but it did sound nice, no rattles or bangs.

I have stripped the interior out, to dry it out, and I am at present doing the brakes, ( are king pins still available anywhere ?).

With regard to the ignition, the wiring diagram shows a resistor in the feed to the coils, any particular reason why fords did this?, I intend to take the distributor off and go through it on the bench, are there any pitfalls with this, and anything in particular I should look for, It looks a totaly alien device to me.

The car needs a total rewire as well, so I have got plenty of work to keep me going over the winter, any advice, greatly appreciated, Regards Peter Smith

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Guest imported_V12Bill

Peter, Congratulations on being the new owner of a LZ. The resisters in the coil circuit are to reduce the voltage to the points and let the points last longer. The distributor must be timed exactly, because the ignition fires each bank of cylinders separately. Points can be hard to come by, but I have seen them on E bay. Jake Fleming is the man to see about rebuilding and timing the distributor and also rebuilding the coil. You can contact him through the sources section on this site.

Bill

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Hello Peter -

There is a real Lincoln-Zephyr expert in the UK named Colin Spong. He is a long-time member of LZOC, and restored a '37 sedan, coupe, and a '38 coupe convertible, among other cars. Private message me, and I will give you the contact information.

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Peter, while you are at it you should probably replace all those old spark plug wires. Those old wires tend to get brittle and short out intermittently in side the conduits. Restring those wires is a challenge but not that bad. Clean and inspect those terminal caps also. Good luck on your "new" '37.

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Thanks for your reply bill, I don't have the distributor off yet, but I might make up a rig for bench testing it, much easier than on the car, are any adjustments required to the timing, when using unleaded petrol, i had to retard the timing on my 1960 Ford pickup by 4deg to stop it pinking, and naturaly the performance has suffered, (Oh for some real petrol) Regards, Peter Smith

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Hello peecher

The plug leads are the plastic covered copper type, which I assume would have been replaced in 1985 when the car was restored, but I suppose they are subject to a lot of heat, stuck in those steel conduits on the top of the engine, I will replace them anyway, I think if the ignition system is 100% you are much more than half way to getting a sweet running motor.

Has anyone ever tried doing away with the resistor, and running on two normal 6v coils, and using only the original points and condensers??? for the amount of miles that these old motors do, I don't think damage to the points would be a problem, as most present owners keep on top of maintenance better than they did in years gone by.

Regards, Peter smith

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Hi Peter,

Congratulations on your purchase. I have a Jensen, but with the Zephyr engine, and I'm in the UK. I'm no expert though and agree that Colin Spong is your man. I note the V12 engined Atalanta sold at Christies in the UK recently, and that the spare and stripped engine with it didn't sell, so is preumably still for sale. Useful spares ...!

Feel free to e-mail me offlist and I'll have Colin's details if you don't now have them. mikewilliams4 at btinternet.com

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Peter,

My paint dates back about 35 years, best that I can tell. It looks pretty good from about twenty feet. I am going to have to compound it again, because over the past year of driving it twice a week has caused another layer of paint to die. She does run well though. I was going to get it painted this next year, but just made a deal on a 36 Cord 810, so I will have to put off painting for a while, as well has having to sell my 17 Model T and 57 Ranchero to pay for the Cord. I drove my LZ earlier this week, but today I had my 34 Auburn out and did my Christmas shopping runs in it. As you tell I just love the classic art deco look of the cars in the mid to late 30s.

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Peter, concerning your distributor: The points in the distributor do need to be synchronized and set for initial advance; while this can be done manually you really should have it done on a machine such as Jake Fleming uses for an acurate setting. The points are protected by ignition resistors which only allow about 3 volts thru them when closed. You shouldn't by pass this in anyway as the points will not last at higher voltage. Don't worry about retarding the timing. These distributors are a full centrifical design and are are equipped with a vacuum brake for retarding when under a load. This set up was designed for the use of 70 octane gas and you should not experience any pre-ignition problems with the gas available today.

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Hello Peter

I hawe

one good 1937 Zephyr in pieses. Man has put it pieses somewere 1950 and it has been dry store hole time.Parts are abcsolut rust free.

I like to sell or trade all sedan parts away. I hawe 1937 coupe and I hawe allmost all parts now.

Timo kankkunen Finland

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