Lincoln Design Exercises at the Ford Motor Company

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This set of photos was taken in the Ford Styling Department that was directed at the time by Eugene T. “Bob” Gregorie. They are obviously design studies for future Lincoln Continental or Zephyr models. The photo above is dated July 17, 1939, and the lower photo is dated November 27, 1939. The sedan below was a scale model and another similar photo exists of this very same design, but with the drivers compartment featuring an open top, as was used in earlier Town Car designs.

As many of our readers know much more about the designs of this period than your Editor who knows early cars, I have decided for a change of pace to let our readers tell us the story. What exactly was the design studio showing us here, and did any of the detail design elements on either study, such as seen with the spare tire concept above ever see the light of day? Photos courtesy of The Henry Ford Museum.

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5 Responses to Lincoln Design Exercises at the Ford Motor Company

  1. Donald Ellis says:

    What a relief they didn’t produce the sedan! It always seemed to me that Detroit spent most of its imagination by about 1939 as if anticipating the war. Perhaps this is simply a reflection on the age of the eye of the beholder.

  2. Robert Swartz says:

    Actually, they did! That looks like the prototype of the “Brunn” Lincoln Town Cars, a couple of which were built in ’40 and ’41, mainly for members of the Ford family. Eleanor Clay Ford, Edsel’s widow, had hers re-bodied on a 1952 Lincoln chassis, and used it until her death in 1976! I saw it at Gauwkler Pointe, their house in Grosse Pointe Shores, which is now a museum.
    The other model looks like a straight study for the production Continental convertible, btw.

  3. Tony Costa says:

    Didn’t I see a similar car to the ugly sedan at Pebble Beach last year?
    It was represented as a special, built for a female member of Henry
    Ford’s immediate Family. H Ford’s Grandson was giving the history
    of the car to Jay Leno while a crew was filming away.

  4. Robert Swartz says:

    Tony, that’s the car I was talking about in my note. It may have been a total new creation, but it sure looked like they adapted the 1940 body to fit – especially when you consider the odd vertical edge below the side windows and across the back. It looks exactly as if the older body was slid inside of the ’52 belt line – same for the odd trunk hump in the rear. I think if you were starting from scratch there’d be much more harmony in the body development.

  5. David Schultz says:

    The big model K Lincoln was discontinued after 1939 and was essentially replaced by the Lincoln-Zephyr. The company decided to offer the Brunn town car on the Lincoln-Zephyr chassis–in addition to the Lincoln Continentals, which were basically hand-built. The big Lincolns sold for thousands of dollars more than the Lincoln-Zephyrs. By the late 1930s the luxury automobile market, which included custom coach builders, had all but disappeared. Herman Brunn, in fact, went to work for Ford Motor Company.

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