1939 Lincoln Zephyr Custom – “Scrape”

“Scrape” began in January of 1993 when Terry Cook found a nearly complete 1939 Zephyr coupe in a barn in Farmington, Maine. It had been there for twenty-two years and was covered with pigeon droppings. Cook bought the car and delivered it to Rams Rod Shop where it spent 4½ years and 4,500 hours, cloaked in total secrecy, before emerging as this stunning custom car.

The frame and running gear are from a 1978 Chevy station wagon with a small block 350 Chevrolet V8 for power. The coupe body was removed from the Zephyr frame and channeled over the Chevy frame rails. Both were placed flat on the ground and welded together. The car was then built from the floor up with hydraulics controlling the ride height.

Terry Cook has a passion for elegant automotive styling. His idols are the 1930’s Italian coachbuilders Giuseppi Figoni (the designer) and Ovidio Falaschi (the financial backer) of the Paris-based Carrosserrie Automobile. His influences also include Jacques Saoutchik as well as American Gordon Buehrig and his unheralded clay modeler, Vince Gardner. Several early customizers from the Sacramento area in the 1940s also had a strong impact on Cook’s future designs.

All of the above had a strong influence on Cook’s decisions regarding final design of “Scrape.” In addition, the three who originally designed the Briggs-bodied Zephyr—John Tjaarda, Bob Gregorie and yes, Edsel Ford—deserve credit for providing a platform that lent itself to his design.

Cook’s design for the car started with a Zephyr ad from a 1939 Life Magazine. Up front, a ’40-41 Zephyr nose section was grafted between the 1939 front fenders and the fenders were widened 2.5” per side. 1939 Ford headlights were frenched into the fenders and the pan was rolled under the grille. The long sweeping architecture of the rear roof is one of the vehicle’s most attractive design elements. The rear window area was filled with sheet metal and Cook then drew the exact opening he envisioned, one-third the size of the original.

The result is that “Scrape” has become a phenomenon in its own right, having appeared in numerous major auto shows, featured on the cover of five magazines, and has been displayed at the Louis Vuitton Concours in New York City.