Story of the Week

Posted: 04.23.2012
1941 Lincoln Zephyr's Streamlined Design
By: Robert Tate

The 1941 Lincoln Zephyr offered a streamlined design inside and out offering a lower and wider appearance. The buying public was quite pleased with the design which resulted in many Lincoln Zephyr purchases that year. The Zephyr's biggest production leader was the four door ’73 Sedan model which had a total production of 14,469 models. The vehicle weighed approximately 3,710lbs costing $1,493.

The Lincoln Zephyr's second most popular style was the five passenger ’77 Club Coupe model which had a total production of 3,750 models. The total weight of the vehicle was approximately 3,640lbs costing $1,493. The Zephyr convertible model had a small production run of only 725 models that year. The total weight of the vehicle was approximately 3,840lbs and averaged at $1,801, which made this model the heaviest and most expensive model. 

The Club Coupe and the three passenger coupe could be ordered with custom or luxury interiors. For 1941, there were two choices of upholster types, cord or broad-cloth. The Convertible Coupe offered various shades of interiors ranging from green, blue, black, red, tan leathers, and/or a sparkling combination of leather and whipcord.

The 1941 Lincoln-Zephyr was a different kind of automobile with a different design and construction. The body construction provided an overall structural strength both in length and width while also giving it an excellent rollover protection with the use of heavy roof rail beams. Although a great design, a serious problem was discovered as these vehicles aged. It was revealed that there were various pockets within the construction of the vehicle where water could collect and eventually rust out the sheet metal.

The Zephyr streamlined designed was developed from a pool of talent including Mr. John Tjaarda, Edsel Ford, and Mr. Bob Gregorie whom was under Ford's directed FoMoCo designs from 1935 through World War II. In 1940, the Continental name plate was introduced to the buying public and was a huge success. The start of World War II, which had been haunting America for over two years, became a reality with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

By 1941, the big Lincolns were gone and three models became available including the Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln Continental and the Lincoln Custom. On January 28, 1942, engine production at Lincoln-Mercury plants ceased and by February, the Lincoln Mercury plant shifted to total war production. The 1941 Lincolns will always be remembered as one of the most beautifully designed streamlined models.

A special thanks to Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher, for donating the story to the MotorCities Story of the Week program. Photographs courtesy of Bob Tate’s Personal Collection. Please do not use any photographs without the permission of MotorCities National Heritage Area. For further information contact Robert Tate at

If you have a story that you would like to donate to be featured as a MotorCities Story of the Week, email Lisa Ambriez at

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