A 1941 Lincoln Continental coupe owned by Hollywood legend Rita Hayworth is headed to auction via a Worldwide Auctioneers sale scheduled for April 23.
Hayworth was one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the prewar period, appearing in movies like "The Lady from Shanghai" and "My Gal Sal." The Continental was a 24th birthday gift from Orson Welles, who delivered the car to Hayworth on a movie set in Georgia, according to the auction listing. The two were married soon after.
The Continental must have made for an impressive gift. Launched in 1940 as the first Lincoln to bear that name, it was described by architect Frank Lloyd Wright as "the most beautiful car in the world." It was a pet project of Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford, who sought to bring some European influence to American luxury cars.
1941 Lincoln Continental owned by Rita Hayworth (photo via Worldwide Auctioneers)
This 1941 model is powered by a 292-cubic-inch flathead V-12 making 120 hp, which drives the rear wheels through a 3-speed manual transmission. It has a solid front axle, floating rear axle, transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Not the most sophisticated setup, but remember this is 1941 we're talking about.
Hayworth kept the Continental for about 30 years, although she donated the original bumpers to a World War II scrap drive. The actress eventually gifted the car to her secretary Frita Wolfe, who later sold it to Aspen Pittman for $2,000. The car was then sold to the Art Astor Collection, which treated it to a full restoration.
The original Continental spawned multiple generations, the last of which bowed out after 2020. With Lincoln now focused on SUVs, it's unlikely that the Continental nameplate will return anytime soon.