Karl from Make It Kustom takes a trip to Vancouver Island to pick up a 1939 Lincoln Zephyr 4-Door Sedan. He plans on building his dream car by converting it into a chopped 3-window coupe on hydraulic suspension.
This 1939 Lincoln Zephyr is an Incredible Find
Lincoln Zephyrs are not just popping up on Craigslist, and those that own one, generally keep them. So, when this opportunity presented itself, Karl knew he had to act. To make this purchase happen, he had to make the hard decision to sell off his 1955 Chevy Gasser 2-Door conversion project to pay for the super rare Zephyr.
Karl has always wanted to build a Zephyr but thought it would never be possible because they are so rare. There were roughly 16,000 4-door sedans built for 1939, and even fewer coupes, only about 2,500 were built — which drives the motivation to chop this sedan into a 3-window (technically a 4-window, due to the split rear glass).
The car is in excellent condition, is virtually rust-free, and is nearly 100% complete with just some minor parts missing. Mechanically, the car is sound and fully restored — Its V12 Flathead runs beautifully and is blueprinted and the transmission has been gone through. The previous owner has nearly $27,000 in receipts for the car, so Karl feels like he really got a deal for the purchase price of $15,000.
Bringing Home the Super Rare 1939 Lincoln Zephyr
The Build: Part 1
Here are a couple of shots of the car as it has been sitting in Karl’s shop for months…
Chopping a Lincoln Zephyr 4-Door Sedan into a 2-Door, 3-Window Coupe
In this opening episode of the build, Karl starts by prepping the car for the chop — The doors (mostly) and running boards are removed and the body is braced with 3/4″ angle iron in preparation for a 3 1/2″ chop and restyling. The bracing is particularly important in this project as the Zephyr is essentially a unibody vehicle. Also, the wheelbase will not be altered, as the sedan and coupe were produced in like size.
Karl walks you through the project including layout and planning, then all of the cuts are measured and marked on the Zephyr and the cutting commences…
The Results of the Initial Efforts
Making Coupe Doors from Sedan Doors
In this episode, Karl shows you the process and execution of making a coupe door from the 4 door sedan doors on his 1939 Lincoln Zephyr 3 Window Conversion.
Planishing & Finishing Doors for the 1939 Zephyr Chopped Coupe Conversion
Karl continues work on the 1939 Lincoln Zephyr doors. He starts by making a profile gauge, then moves on to the driver-side door surgery. Once both doors are tacked, he begins the process of welding and finishing the skins.
How To Tig Weld Thin Sheet Metal
MIG Spot Welding, Metal Forming, Dimple Die B-Pillar Fabrication
Karl works to make the C-pillar into the B-pillar of the coupe conversion project using 16 gauge steel to fabricate the lower pillars and reinforce…
Making Low Crown Panels ~ English Wheel Techniques
In this episode, Karl is making low crown panels to fill the quarter where the rear door once was…
Editor’s Note: This is a build we’ll be following over time, as Karl won’t be diving into this chop full time as he has other projects on his plate. He’ll be working this chop periodically, and we’ll post updates as soon as they are available.