Topic: buy a 1948 Continental

cdeac47    -- 04-03-2021 @ 8:02 AM

Recently I have run across a 48 Continental for sale. Seller says the car has been restored a few years back and by the pictures that probably is true. The seller indicates the V12 engine has dual carburetors installed and I have read that is a pretty sound and decent performing aftermarket upgrade!

My old car experience is with Buicks and Pontiacs so I don't have a lot of experience with Fords and really no experience with Lincolns However I do have a 1947 Super Deluxe with the flat head V8 which I have tinkered with and replaced rear axle seals and all the brakes. But this is a Lincoln with a V12 and a different (better) brake setup.

With all that said can you guys give me some basic do's and don'ts as well as what to look for on these cars......


trjford8    -- 04-04-2021 @ 7:47 AM
  I'm no Lincoln expert, but the first thing to do is look at the body for signs of rust or patch panels. I'm not positive, but I think the Lincoln was a unibody. Hopefully a Lincoln expert will chime in here. When purchasing a car like this you want to do as much homework as you can and study the prices (selling prices not asking prices) on these cars.

TomO    -- 04-04-2021 @ 9:24 AM
  Drive the car and make sure that everything works, power windows, power top, overdrive (make sure you try reverse with the OD knob pushed in). The car should be at least as peppy as your Ford. The OD should work flawlessly and you should be able to backup with the OD knob pushed in. (there seems to be a myth that the OD should not disengage when the car is in reverse).

Listen carefully for any noises from the transmission or rear end at slow speeds, especially when in reverse. If you hear squeaking from the rear end while backing up, the rear axle housings are severely worn and sleeves will have to be fitted. The car should handle and steer as well as your Ford, but the ride will be somewhat softer.

Dual carburetors can be a performance improver, but require more attention than the stock set up and the usually have an adverse impact on gas mileage. By 1948 the Ford/Holley carburetor was a good choice for these cars and when properly rebuilt gave good performance along with acceptable gas mileage. I would ask for the original Intake if it is available. Determine how to check the oil, the stock manifold had a pointer that was attached to a bobber in the oil pan.

The Continentals rust in all of the common places, but are not more prone to rust than any other car its age. The body is welded to the frame so you need to crawl under the car and examine as much as you can.

Get as much information about the restoration as you can, what was done and who did it. It will make your job of maintaining the car easier.

Parts for these cars are scarce and expensive, so it is important that everything is present and works well. There are not very many people who know how to work on these cars.

If you are careful and check everything out, you won't have much to fix after you get the car and will have an enjoyable ride.

The AACA has a Lincoln Forum on its website and it is quite active with replies coming from some vary knowledgeable people. You should also post this question there.


cdeac47    -- 04-04-2021 @ 2:02 PM
  Hi Tom,

Thanks for your reply. It's funny you mention the AACA message boards because that is I found this car listed. A major stumbling block is that the car is in Delaware and I am in southern California and from your viewpoint a road test is paramount in making a good assessment of the vehicle. I am a GM guy and the '47 Super Deluxe was my first foray in old Fords; learn quite a bit! Sounds like either I am going to fly to Delaware or I am not going to but it.

Thanks again,


TomO    -- 04-05-2021 @ 7:33 AM
  There are appraisal services that will inspect the car for you, unfortunately they are a hit or miss proposition. They usually run close to the airfare from CA to Delaware (around $400).

I used one to check out a 53 Lincoln convertible and the report was very detailed and backed up by photos showing the problems. The car was priced as a #1 car and it was a #3 with dents in the trim, windows that did not work and paint issues. It was hard starting and the transmission shifted harder than normal.

I used another to check out my unrestored 53 Lincoln Coupe and the appraiser fell in love with the car and did not list the defects that the owner described to me. I had to fly in to take a look myself. The face to face negotiations payed for my airfare. After bringing the car back home and driving it, I found a few more problems that were not discovered by the drive, but over all it has been a very reliable car that is a pleasure to drive.


cdeac47    -- 04-06-2021 @ 8:26 PM
  Again, funny you should mention appraisal services - I am one of those guys that does that for a living. I have looked at various cars and I try like the devil to give a good assessment of what a buyer is looking for. But if the prospective buyer doesn't notate on the field notes what he's looking for from the inspection, it's hit or miss. I have own old cars and worked on them too so I know what I would be looking for. The last inspection I had done for me was on a '37 Buick Century and I was pretty happy inspection. I had done the homework with the buyer about engine number (s), frame number(s) paint and trim codes so I knew what I was looking at. The inspector validated and added information to what I had already gathered. I ultimately did not buy that Buick! On the '47 Super Deluxe I used a different company which wasn't as detailed and he missed a few things! There is much more to an old car inspection than a modern car inspection and some inspectors will treat both inspections the same way; if in any way you sense that could happen run and run fast!

This message was edited by cdeac47 on 4-6-21 @ 8:32 PM

TomO    -- 04-07-2021 @ 9:46 AM
  I have not found a good way to confirm the ability of the appraiser. The first appraiser spend most of his time appraising cars that are to bought at auctions. The second appraiser was an AACA senior judge and had a long list of recommendations. In both cases, I described what I was looking for in the appraisal. I probably should have sent the appraisal form that I used when I would inspect items for sale for a buyer. I was mainly a real estate appraiser, but did some auction work on the side.


therunwaybehind    -- 04-14-2021 @ 4:10 AM
  The most remarkable thing about the 1948 Continental that I knew was the paint. It was metallic medium blue and quite bright. I was a teenager and thought the paint was custom. I have found out in my later life that it was an original color.

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