The Manitoba Kid

Once in a long while, you run across a car that has one feature so unique, you begin to forget about the rest of the car.  The vehicle, in its entirety, may be an amazing work of art, a marvel of engineering, or just freakin’ awesome.  But for some reason, you just can’t get past that one thing.

1947 Lincoln Zephyr V12 engine in a 1939 Ford Deluxe


Enter “The Manitoba Kid,” the pride and joy of Dave Tiechrow of Brandon, Manitoba.  It’s a 1947 Lincoln Zephyr V12, hooked to the original 3-speed+overdrive standard transmission.  Oh, and it’s attached to a ’39 Ford Deluxe coupe.  Or something.

The motor itself sat unused for 28 years, and practically untouched for much longer.  Despite the fact that similar Lincoln engines had to be rebuilt every 30,000 miles, this one has yet to feel the cold metal of a wrench on the inside.  Considering the fact that this motor is about to celebrate its 62nd birthday, that’s not bad.

1947 Lincoln Zephyr V12 engine in a '39 Ford Deluxe

The development of this engine was ordered by Henry Ford himself for the entry-level 1940 Lincoln Zephyr.  It actually replaced two previous V12 engines, the first one being released in 1932.  The main reason for this redesign was size;  the new Lincoln Zephyr was meant to be a smaller, more reasonable car to bridge the gap between the Ford Deluxe and the full-size Lincoln K-series.  It is credited by some for single-handedly increasing Lincoln’s sales in the late 30’s, when market conditions didn’t exactly favour luxury cars.

1947 Lincoln Zephyr V12 in a '39 Ford Deluxe

Zephyrs sold briskly until 1942, when all passenger car production was halted because the Nazis picked a fight known as WW2, essentially ending the auto industry’s golden era.  F***ing Nazis.  There’s only one thing that gearheads should hate more than Nazis:  Illinois Nazis.

Illinois Nazis.  I hate Illinois Nazis.

Of course, not all of these unique marvels were as sturdy as this one.  Lincoln first conceived their V12 engines in 1932, before the auto industry had a chance to make mistakes and/or learn from them.  Mistakes like cylinders banked at a 75-degree angle to each other, allowing less space for heat dissipation between the two rows.  Gasses would somehow build up between the two rows, making it harder to ventilate the crankcase and easier for sludge to form.

1947 Lincoln Zephyr V12 engine in a 1939 Ford Deluxe

However, once our forefathers finished sending the Nazis back to hell (which was still too good for them) passenger car production resumed and a new & improved V12 hit the scene.  This one had improvements like a bigger oil pump and better ventilation for the crankcase.  Small things, but still enough to redeem certain lucky specimens such as the one behind the radiator in The Manitoba Kid.

1947 Lincoln Zephyr V12 engine in a 1939 Ford Deluxe

The rest of the car is equally awesome, although easy to overlook with that conversation piece up front.  The front cowl, grill and headlights are from a ’37 Chevy 1-ton truck, while the rest of the car is pure ’39 Ford–except for the beer can radiator hoses (look closely).  

Dave and his helpful friends wanted something cool, but simple.  In other words, they wanted to do just enough to make it pass the safety inspection, and no more-like a true rat rod.  And even if the car was covered in fancy paint and shiny rims, that would just take away from the true star-the big, bad V12 motor.


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