Rita Hayworth’s Vintage 1941 Lincoln Continental goes up for auction

Topline

A rare 1941 Lincoln Continental Coup that belonged to Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth, known for her roles as a femme fatale in films like Gilda, The lady from Shanghai and cover girl in the 1940s – goes up for auction on Saturday.

Highlights

The mint green classic car was a gift from director Orson Welles for Hayworth’s 24th birthday in 1941 ± the same year he released his first film, Citizen Kane—and two years before the couple’s wedding.

Hayworth ended up keeping the car long after divorcing Welles – she owned the car for 30 years, according to Worldwide Auctioneers, and her marriage to Welles ended in 1947.

She later gave the car to her longtime secretary, Frita Wolfe, and from there the Lincoln passed through several private owners, including the collection of entrepreneur Art Astor, where it was restored.

The car is auctioned with no reserve, meaning it will be sold to the highest bidder regardless of price, with no minimum bid set.

Celebrity ownership history can help vehicles sell for more at auction: Earlier this month, a 2002 Aston Martin Vanquish owned by British actor Hugh Grant sold for around $75,364.

Large number

$110,000. This is the price of the most expensive Lincoln Continentals when they come out. The 2019 Continental Coach Door Edition cars, launched to celebrate the model’s 80th anniversary, sold out in 48 hours despite the six-figure price tag. Only 80 were made.

Tangent

Another of Hayworth’s cars, a 1953 Cadillac Ghia, is in the collection of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. According to the museum, it was a gift from Prince Aly Khan, a wealthy diplomat and notorious playboy who was Hayworth’s third husband.

Key Context

The first Lincoln Continental was commissioned in 1938 as a personal vehicle for Henry Ford’s son, Edsel, inspired by a trip to Europe where he saw sports cars with long hoods and short trunks. American architect Frank Lloyd Wright called the 1940 Continental “the most beautiful car ever designed” and owned two of them. Other celebrities known to drive the cars include Elizabeth Taylor, James Brown, Jack Benny (not the Maxwell rattle driven by his miserly radio and television counterpart), Clark Gable and Mickey Rooney.

Further reading

Luxury Lineage: A Brief History of the Lincoln Continental (Forbes)

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