1938 Lincoln Zephyr

A fresh face, minor mechanical revisions, and two additional body styles bolstered the 1938 Lincoln Zephyr's appeal. Expanding the Series 86H lineup were a convertible sedan and convertible coupe, the latter appearing in three versions during the year.

1938 Lincoln Zephyr
The 1938 lineup was bolstered with two open models,
a convertible sedan and a convertible coupe.
The latter is shown here, one of 600 built that year.

The first, either a prototype or very early production design, had relatively simple top irons and bows. The second had a different arrangement similar to the one used on all drop-top Zephyrs and Continentals through 1948.

The third, arriving in the spring, had a back seat, something the first two lacked, plus appropriate body changes to accommodate it. Only 600 convertible coupes of all types were built this year. The convertible sedan saw only 461 copies.

Common to all 1938 Zephyrs was revised sheet metal ahead of the A-pillars and a three-inch longer wheel-base, now 125 inches. Accompanying the smoother, more integrated front fenders and the reworked hood was a handsome low-profile split grille, with the more horizontal format that would sweep the industry the following year.

An increase in rear spring base improved ride, the longer wheelbase allowed the engine/transmission assembly to be pushed forward for more front seat room, the transmission housing was lowered, and the gearlever was relocated to the console.

The chromed front seat frames gave way to a soft-edged cushion, and front seatbacks gained sponge-rubber top sections with robe-cord assist straps just below on the back sides. As mentioned, the V-12 was switched to hydraulic valve lifters, and there was a new combustion chamber shape, though rated output was unchanged.

A deep recession this year blunted sales throughout the industry, and despite its extensive changes the Zephyr declined in model year production to 19,111 units. However, that was still some 5,500 more than LaSalle managed and, having fallen behind the previous year, Lincoln again moved ahead of the junior Cadillac in the volume race.

By this time, of course, Zephyr and total Lincoln sales were virtually one and the same, demand for the coach-built senior models having dwindled to near nothing.

1938 Lincoln Zephyr interior view
The dash was quite elaborate in 1938.

See details on the next year's model, 1939, on the next page.

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