the view through the windshield
1939 Lincoln Zephyr: Aero Auto

When the Lincoln Zephyr was first introduced in November 1935 as a 1936 model, it was hailed by automotive critics as the first good-looking aerodynamic production car. (The 1934 Chrysler Airflow was first with aerodynamics, but most people thought it was stone ugly.)

The Zephyr had a 267 cubic-inch V12 engine with 110 horsepower. Ads of the period claimed 14 to 18 miles per gallon fuel economy and 0 to 60 times of 16 seconds. Zephyrs weighed about 3,600 pounds and rode on 7:00 x 16 tires. The 1939 model pictured here is a 4 door sedan; this body style accounted for 80% of Zephyr production. Other styles offered in 1939 were a 3 window coupe, a four-passenger coupe/sedan, a convertible coupe, a 4 door convertible sedan and a town limousine.

Only 95 town limousines were built in '39. The 1939 sedan was 210 inches long and had a 125 inch wheelbase. The '39 Zephyrs featured a more upright nose and broader more modern waterfall grille than the original Zephyr. Base price of the sedan was $1360. 1939 was the last year for the four-door convertible; only 302 were sold that year. All '39 Zephyrs featured concealed running boards; the doors had extended flared bottoms which covered the running boards. This provided a more modern look for the Zephyr.

1939 was a good sales year too; over 21,000 Lincoln Zephyrs found buyers. The first Continental was derived from the Zephyr and shared many components.

Described by collectors as a 1939 model, this Dinky Lincoln Zephyr three-window coupe looks more like a '38 model to me, with its shorter split grille. This gray-colored pre-WWII model (this toy was produced between 1939 and 1950) is quite valuable today.

When people discuss fine old Lincolns of the prewar era, they always manage to talk about the handsome early Continentals but often fail to mention the Zephyr. That's a shame because Lincoln Zephyrs are classics in their own right and they still look good today. (6/29/15)

Remember When: 1939
auto blogIn 1939, Hitler called for extermination of European Jews and German mentally ill; membership in Hitler Youth became obligatory. The Spanish Civil War ended, Madrid fell to Francisco Franco. Italy invaded Albania. Germany occupied Czechoslovakia and later invaded Poland, leading to the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Canada joined Britain, declaring war on Germany. In the Pacific, the Japanese invasion army was driven out of Mongolia.

The New York World's Fair opens featuring the Trylon and Perisphere structures. Crowd pleasers include RCA's closed circuit television, GE's man-made lightning and General Motor's Futurama exhibit.

Moviemakers were prolific in '39, releasing future classics such as 'Gone With the Wind', 'The Philadelphia Story', 'Wizard of Oz', 'Key Largo', 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington', 'Goodbye, Mr. Chips', 'Wuthering Heights', 'Of Mice And Men', 'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame' and 'Babes In Arms'. Notable books included Steinbeck's 'Grapes of Wrath' and Joyce's 'Finnegan's Wake'.

In music, Guy Lombardo and Royal Canadians made their first recording 'Auld Lang Syne'. Top records - sold in the form of large, 10-inch diameter, mineral-filled shellac 78 rpm discs - included 'Three Little Fishies' by Kay Kyser, Benny Goodman recorded the instrumental hit 'Let's Dance', Kate Smith sang 'God Bless America', Judy Garland performed 'Over The Rainbow' and 'Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart.' Frank Sinatra made his recording debut in 1939.

Pan Am began commercial service from U.S. to England and Europe with its Clipper fleet. The first air-conditioned automobile, a Packard, was exhibited in Chicago. 1939 saw the commercial debut of nylon yarn by DuPont. And the first issue of Batman comics hit magazine racks.

Famous people born in 1939 include actors George Hamilton, Lee Majors and Harvey Keitel, comedienne Lily Tomlin, producer Francis Ford Coppola, Python John Cleese, singer Frankie Avalon, actor Paul 'Crocodile Dundee' Hogan, singer/composer Neil Sedaka, actor and gold-promotor William Devane and actress Brenda Vaccaro.

Deaths included Irish poet William Butler Yeats, Sigmund Freud, actor Douglas Fairbanks, James A. Naismith (coach and inventor of the basketball), western novelist Zane Grey, Pope Pius XI and American jazz drummer and big band leader Chick Webb.

In 1939, Lou Gehrig made his 'luckiest man' speech; a few months later he was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame. The New York Yankees won their fourth successive pennant, defeating the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.

More AutoSketch car drawings can be found here.
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copyright 2015 - Joseph M. Sherlock - All applicable rights reserved. Drawing copyright 1989, 2015


The facts presented in this blog are based on my best guesses and my substantially faulty geezer memory. The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Probably.

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If I have slandered any brands of automobiles, either expressly or inadvertently, they're most likely crap cars and deserve it. Automobile manufacturers should be aware that they always have the option of trying to change my mind by providing me with vehicles to test drive.

If I have slandered any people or corporations in this blog, either expressly or inadvertently, they should buy me strong drinks (and an expensive meal) and try to prove to me that they're not the jerks I've portrayed them to be. If you're buying, I'm willing to listen.

Don't be shy - try a bribe. It might help.