1941 Lincoln Continental Coupé
Chassis no. 16H57278
Engine no. H114613
Body no. 16H57278
292ci, L-head V-12
3-speed manual transmission
The car featured in the famous tollbooth scene in The Godfather
From the collection of Estate of Eugene Beardslee
Few automobiles in America have made such a positive, long-lasting impression as the Lincoln Continental.
Conceived as a personal car based on the Lincoln Zephyr for Edsel Ford's use at his winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida, the Continental's clean, simple, elegant design was greeted with instant acclaim. It was quickly put into production and the design proved so successful and timelessly dignified that it continued largely unchanged well into the postwar years.
The Continental was instantly identifiable as a Lincoln but its seven inch longer hood and body sectioned to be 3 inches lower than its Zephyr counterparts left no confusion about its refinement and subtle good taste. The fenders, both front and rear, were lengthened proportionally with the body. Positioning the spare wheel and tire inside a metal cover at the rear created a new design element, the continental kit, that would be a recurring element of American design for the next two decades.
Initially built for Edsel Ford and put into production as a 4-seat cabriolet, Lincoln soon added a coupé to the Continental line. Its grace, comfort, five-window style and security soon made the coupé more popular than the cabriolet.
A Classic Car Club of America Full Classic, the Lincoln Continental has never lost its appeal to drivers who appreciate its performance, quality, exclusivity and style.
That alone would have made this 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupé an appropriate choice for Sonny Corleone, the hot-headed oldest son and heir of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather. In a production over-represented with Lincolns from the Mid America Region of the Lincoln Owners Club and generously populated with Packards, Buicks and Cadillacs, Sonny's Continental Coupé is perfect as the distinctive, but not flashy, choice of the heir-apparent to the Godfather's organization.
Chuck Hannah contracted to provide historically accurate automobiles to The Godfather's production company and approached the Lincoln Owners for appropriate and representative models from the movie's period. Eugene Beardslee, the owner of this Continental, volunteered the Continental and Hannah, the producers and director Francis Ford Coppola chose it as Santino "Sonny" Corleone's car, destined to figure into one of the most famous scenes in cinema history.
Repainted black, this is the car in which the impetuous Sonny peels out of the Corleone compound on his way to New York City. Played by James Caan, Sonny charges off into a carefully planned rendezvous with assassins on the deserted parkway across the marshes of Long Island's South Shore. In a scene that no one who has seen The Godfather can forget, Sonny pulls up to an old style toll booth on a causeway behind a big Buick.
After returning Sonny's change the toll taker quickly closes the booth's window and ducks out of sight. The Buick in front discharges several Tommy gun toting soldiers. Another platoon of Tommy gunners stand up in the adjacent toll booth and all riddle Sonny with magazines of bullets while he stands in front of his Lincoln Continental.
Fortunately for Eugene Beardslee's Continental, it was supplanted after its arrival at the toll booth by two more Continental coupés for the fusillade scenes. One was generously drilled with .45 slugs by The Godfather's special effects crew. The other was equally as generously outfitted with electrically activated charges to simulate the bullets' impact.
Sonny Corleone didn't survive, but Eugene Beardslee's Continental did. It is intact with its Godfather black paint and the blue leather and cloth interior it had before being dressed for the film. Along with the 1941 Lincoln Custom Limousine also used in The Godfather, it has been preserved in climate controlled storage and displayed by Eugene Beardslee and his family since it played its role in The Godfather. It is accompanied by an extensive binder of articles, clips and photos on the film and the Continental Coupé's participation.
Some automobiles are famous for what they are, others for what they have done. This 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupé is famous for both, a limited production automobile of rare distinction and quality that was featured in one of the most chilling and memorable scenes ever filmed.
Automobiles of similar cinema fame are surpassingly rare the James Bond Astons, the Rebel Without a Cause '49 Mercury, Gone in 60 Seconds' Mustang Mach 1, Bullitt's Highland Green '68 Mustang GT but few have the style, dignity and quality of this 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupé that played so well beside James Caan in The Godfather.
Refer to department
- Please note that this vehicle is title under its body number 16H57278,and its chassis number is 114613.