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1936-1948 Lincoln Zephyr

1946, 1947, 1948 Lincoln Zephyr

The Zephyr name wouldn't survive World War II, but the car would. Along with the Continental coupe and cabriolet, the 1942 Zephyr returned for 1946, 1947 and 1948 pending the arrival of all-new models for 1949. Simply called Lincoln, it bore few changes.

Most were retrograde: no long-wheelbase offerings, fewer body styles, a gaudy die-cast grille with Cadillac-style egg-crate, a return to the 1941 engine bore, five fewer horsepower. There was nothing novel or even odd about the no-name Zephyrs, but they fared tolerably well in the burgeoning postwar seller's market.

1947 Lincoln Zephyr front view
The Zephyr returned after World War II but without
the Zephyr name. Shown is a 1947 four-door sedan.

Sandwiched as it is between the magnificent coachbuilt Lincolns that preceded it and the breathtaking Continental it sired, the Zephyr was once all but ignored by enthusiasts and branded an also-ran by critics.

Yet apart from sales in some years and that trouble-prone engine, this car can only be judged a success. As we've seen, it saved Lincoln from the ravages of the Depression while making streamlined design truly acceptable to the great mass of American buyers. It also has distinction as the only V-12 car in the medium-price field and as a design that stood the test of time remarkably well.

As for performance, a properly restored Zephyr can still surprise even the most skeptical with its utter silence, silky smoothness, and relaxed cruising ability.

It may be gone with the wind, but the Zephyr will never be forgotten. Breakthroughs are like that, you know.

Learn how the Zephyr fares on the collectible car scene on the next page.

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