1942 was a tough year to introduce a new model, as the advent of WWII led to the cessation of all passenger automobile production. When Lincoln resumed production in 1946, what had been a bold restyling of the Zephyr model in 1942 was already starting to look dated. The front end retained the massive appearance it had established before the war, with the headlights still flanked by the parking and turn-signal lights.
Pent-up consumer demand for new cars did not require immediate styling changes post-war. However, the previously-used 305-c.i. version of the V12 had proved to have cylinder walls that were often too thin, so early in 1946 the bore was reduced, returning the displacement to 292-c.i. and horsepower to 120, 125 in 1947.
In 1948, Lincoln stylists were furiously working to bring out a new line of post-war models, so their offerings that year were merely warmed-over versions of the 1946-47 cars. The more contemporary-styled Cosmopolitan, with modern independent suspension and a V8 engine, appeared in 1949.
The name Zephyr had disappeared forever with the advent of WWII; the Continental name disappeared in 1949 and would be revived in the mid-1950s with the introduction of the Mark II. The elegant car pictured here, called, simply, a Lincoln convertible coupe, was the last V12 model produced by the manufacturer.
So “classic” was the styling of the ’40s Continentals that by 1954 an organization was founded to promote their survival. Few if any other cars can claim such a following so soon after going out of production.