If there is one thing more American than classic cars, it has to be baseball, and those two things are invariably topics of conversation when classic car fans get together. Now you may say wait a minute, what about apple pie? Well as you might expect, none of us is much for the kitchen, plus you have to figure that people must have made apple pies somewhere in the world prior to 1776, so I’m not sure about that pie thing anyway.
But I digress. The other day a few of us were gathered at the local watering hole, and…now before I go on, did you ever have a friend who was a total know-it-all? You toss out the most obscure subject and here’s this guy with all the facts…like Cliff Clavin from Cheers. Well we have one of those characters in our crew, and the guy is annoying (and he knows it). So we’re sitting there after knocking back a few cold ones, and I had this idea. I said I wonder what kind of car Babe Ruth used to drive…? I didn’t expect an answer of course, because who knows something like that? I must have forgotten for a minute that I was with everybody’s favorite Boston mailman. But now I know. Babe Ruth drove a 1940 Lincoln Zephyr.
Of course I’m sure that’s not the only car the Bambino ever drove, but my buddy is not aware of any others, and I can’t find any on the Internet, so we’ll stick with the Zephyr. It was first introduced for the 1936 model year and lasted through 1942, which was the last one before car production in the United States was suspended for WW II. The 1940 Lincoln Zephyr was powered by a 292 cubic inch V12 that was rated at 120 horsepower. There were 21,765 specimens of the 1940 Zephyr manufactured, which makes it somewhat rare, but the Babe’s was a two-door convertible, and just 700 of them were produced.
Baseball/motorhead lore has it that the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr that the Babe owned was given to him by Joe McCarthy, the legendary Yankee manager who was at the helm from 1931 to 1946. The Yankees won seven World Series under his guidance.
It’s interesting to note that the Babe Ruth 1940 Lincoln Zephyr was sold at the Mecum Auction in Monterrey California, in August of 2009 for $170,660. It had been sold at RM’s Kensington Auction in 2006 for $407,000. And I’ll have you know that unlike my know-it-all friend, I have to look this stuff up.
Contributed by Fossil Cars Staff Writer