By Kurt Ernst
Jan 3, 2013
If you have a thing for early 1940s Lincolns, or if you’re a huge fan of The Godfather (the second-greatest film in American cinema, according to the American Film Institute), you’ll want register to bid at the upcoming Bonhams Scottsdale auction.
Crossing the block will be a pair of 1941 Lincoln automobiles, including the 1941 Lincoln Custom Limousine chosen by Francis Ford Coppola as the ride of choice for the enemies of the Corleone family.
The 1941 Lincoln Limousine also starred in the movie’s wedding scene, as it would have been a typical wedding car for the wealthy in the early 1940s. Only 295 Lincoln Custom Limousines were built in 1941, giving an idea of exactly how exclusive the cars were.
In addition to its movie star status, this example boasts a, L-head V-12 engine, a three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, and a well-documented ownership history. The car was restored prior to the filming of The Godfather, but has been kept by its current owner in climate-controlled storage.
Also up for grabs at Bonham’s Scottsdale auction is a 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe, as driven by Sonny Corleone (played by James Caan) in the film. In one of the movie’s more memorable scenes, Sonny Corleone is ambushed at a remote Long Island tollbooth while behind the wheel of the Lincoln Coupe.
While the car for sale was used in filming, it was not destroyed in the making of the tollbooth scene. Instead, two less-pristine examples (including one shot full of .45 caliber bullets and a second rigged with pyrotechnic charges to simulate gunfire) were substituted, preserving this Continental Coupe in near-mint condition.
Like the 1941 Lincoln Custom Limousine, the 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe was powered by a V-12 engine mated to a three-speed manual transmission. Meant to make a statement about its owner, the Continental Coupe was distinguished by its long and low body, compare to the Lincoln Zephyr. Its rear-mounted spare tire, encased in metal, gave rise to the term “Continental Kit.”
Both cars are being offered without reserve, and no pre-auction estimate has been published. Given that movie cars with this degree of fame don’t come along very often, we’d say the sky’s the limit in terms of action prices for the pair.