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Issue Date: September 2009


Elegance Embodied


Seth Shapiro
It is said that when architect Frank Lloyd Wright first laid eyes upon the 1941 Lincoln Continental, he proclaimed it “the most beautiful car I’ve ever seen.”

But that classic vehicle’s sophistication was first born of a 1940 prototype custom-made for Edsel Ford, Henry Ford’s only son. That one-of-a-kind piece of automotive history is one of the rare and beautiful classic cars to be featured at the Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Autos, Sept. 18 through 20.

The show is an exhibition of 200 of the finest automobiles from throughout the country. Participation is by invitation only, and selections are made based on historical significance and innovative design.

“The reason we are what we are is because it’s more than a Saturday night cruise-in,” explains executive director David Schultz.

The three-day event at Canton’s Glenmoor Country Club will also feature a fine art exhibit, a celebration of Alice Ramsey’s 1909 transcontinental trip and a cooking demonstration from the Glenmoor chef. But the cars are the real reason you’ll make the trip. Here’s a look at a few featured this year.

1940 Lincoln-Zephyr Continental Cabriole

history | Modeled after the existing Lincoln Continental, this prototype was also custom-built for Edsel Ford. In addition to lengthening the hood of the car, Ford requested that it be turned into a cabriolet — a convertible — with a soft, tan top.

changing plans | While Ford did not intend to build any more, he changed his mind after driving the Continental to his home in Florida and discovered there may be a market for the modified design. “His friends saw the car and said, ‘Wow, that’s pretty impressive. If you ever decide to go into production on those, I’d love to buy one,’ ” says Schultz. The result was the 1941 Lincoln Continental.

1930 Duesenberg Model J Hibbard & Darrin Convertible Victoria

history | Two American ex-pats built this car at the behest of Mrs. Honore Palmer, a wealthy American living in Paris. The Parisian influence can be seen in the car’s French-style headlights. Schultz says the car cost Mrs. Palmer about $15,000 when it was commissioned in 1930. Custom automobiles such as this, he adds, “were either for the very, very wealthy or the very wealthy and very famous.”

changing hands | Mrs. Palmer brought the car back to Chicago in 1934, where she drove it until 1942 before selling it. The Duesenberg then went through multiple owners and renovations before Off Brothers Collection purchased it in 2003.

1934 Ford Speedster

history | With Ford Motor Co. designers at his disposal, it makes sense that Edsel Ford drove inimitable automobiles. E. T. Gregorie designed this slender car specifically for Edsel’s 5-foot-8-inch frame.

changing colors | While the car now sports a flashy red body, it was originally painted in Ford’s favorite color of gray — an indication, Schultz says, that Ford was a “master of understated elegance.”

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