February 06, 2023

Classic Wheels Spotlight: Lincoln Continental Cabriolet

1947 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet is a luxurious piece of history

Photos by Steve Rubens - 1947 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet Front

Ford bought Lincoln in 1922 and Henry’s son Edsel was charged with taking over the luxury line as his personal baby. He hired custom coachbuilders to dazzle the general public with status and glitz as the roaring twenties raged on.

So large were these cars that Ford designed a larger V8 in 1927 to move these massive mountains of metal down American roads that were still very primitive. Much of America was still being moved by horsepower – and not from under a hood.

In 1932 the prestigious Lincoln received a 12-cylinder engine. Why not? The high-end playing field was still level and there was no reason a Lincoln couldn’t keep in step with the likes of Dusenberg, Cadillac, or even Rolls Royce! Styling, luxury, and performance continued with no regard or conception of the foreboding Great Depression.

Photos by Steve Rubens - 1947 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet Rear

The Continental series was born in 1938. But auto manufacturers slowed research and development leading into the war. After the war, car companies were playing catch-up trying to put the misery of the past five years in the rearview mirror. But this took time. Like most makers, Lincoln offered warmed-over versions of pre-war cars. The Continental however was reborn in the years 1946-48. These cars would turn out to be the last American V-12s produced. And in many circles largely considered the last American classics.

Paul Albrecht of Orland Park owns this gorgeous 1947 Continental Cabriolet. Cabriolet originally meant a two-wheeled horse carriage with a folding leather top but became another way of saying convertible. Most of the mechanicals have been upgraded on Paul’s car, but the overall essence of this luxurious piece of history remains. Paul has a somewhat different story about his acquisition of this classic. Paul fell ill, so ill in fact he decided to sell his collection of cars and parts. Thankfully Paul got better. Much better. The search was on for another collectible car, and he found this well-preserved Lincoln.

At first Paul’s wife, Dorothy, didn’t think another project in the garage was a good idea. However, Paul came home from work one day, and Dorothy had second thoughts about a new project. She said, “Let’s go get that car!” A car guy’s dream wife!

The “Linco” was found in an old Chicago neighborhood in a single-car garage under covers and behind chain gates, padlocks, and bars. Incredibly, Paul and the owner got the car to run after it had endured a long hibernation.

Photos by Steve Rubens - 1947 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet Side

That long siesta is second only to the 10-year restoration that was to follow. The antiquated hydraulic system that powered the top, brakes, and steering was ditched for modern equipment, as was the six-volt electrical system. A wise decision in an era of 12-Volt automobiles. The brakes were converted to modern Lincoln components; crazy that manufacturers allow you to retrofit components 75 years old! The rear axle assembly and suspension were also upgraded.

Although the car needed a full restoration, all the heavy steel body panels were in very good condition. Real steel is the real deal for this vintage car, weighing in at more than two tons.