This article is dedicated to some striking Lincoln cars which contributed to the development of the brand.
The Lincoln Motor Company or ‘Lincoln’ was founded in 1917 by Henry M. Leland, who had also created the Cadillac brand 15 years earlier. Since 1922, the Lincoln brand belongs to Ford Mo. Co. Both Cadillac and Lincoln are associated with American automotive luxury and do represent it in full,
First of all, Lincoln vehicles were built in America and for America, but today it is no longer a regional brand. Lincoln cars can be found worldwide. Apart from the USA and Canada, they are officially sold in the Middle East, China, and South Korea.
If you delve into the history of the company, you can find that for 100 years Lincoln has created a number of remarkable automobiles – from historic, landmark vehicles to simply good ones, and it’s not only about the Lincoln Continental models.
Lincoln Model L or L Series
This vehicle was made for a decade – from 1920 to 1930 until the Model K replaced it., and set a tone for Lincoln’s next century. The assembly of the L Series (also called the Model L) took place in Detroit, Michigan. The car was designed by Henry Leland’s son-in-law Angus Woodbridge, who was a ladies’ hatmaker by profession, by the way.
Lincoln launched the L Series as an alternative to top-level luxury cars, such as the Rolls-Royce Phantom I, Cadillac Type 61, Packard Twin Six, Mercedes-Benz 630, or the Renault Type MC.
The car’s design was considered old-fashioned for the time. Nevertheless, the model left a mark on the history of Lincoln as its first automobile. Furthermore, the L Series debuted hydraulic shock absorbers – a technological marvel of the time
It was available in a variety of body styles: convertible, coupe, sedan, town car, limousine phaeton, mostly with 4 doors. There were 2-door versions too (coupe, convertible).
In addition, the Lincoln Model L also had a cinematic ‘career: it was featured in several movies (the Untouchables, the Good Guys, the Money Pit).
The Lincoln-Zephyr lineup of luxury cars (2/4-door sedans, 2-door coupes, and their convertible modifications) was in production at the Detroit factory from 1936 to 1942.
The Zephyr was Lincoln’s second model line that brought the gap in size and price between the Ford V8 DeLuxe and the Lincoln Model K and competed against the Packard One-Twenty, LaSalle, and the Chrysler Airflow. The art-deco-sculptured vehicle with a comparatively powerful flathead V12 engine under the hood, in contrast to the rivals’ V8s and inline-8s, was revolutionary.
After 1940, Lincoln shifted its production exclusively to the Lincoln-Zephyr design. The significance of the Zephyr also lies in the fact that it became the basis for Lincoln’s most famous, longest-running model – the Continental.
This automobile began its life as a personal vehicle for Ford’s President Edsel Ford in 1939 and left in production till 2020 for over 55 years across 10 generations, several hiatuses, renaming to the Lincoln Town Car in the early 80s, and replacement by the Lincoln MKS in 2009.
A modern motorist, speaking of this model, imagines a full-size 4-door sedan, and it’s right. But the Continental was also offered in other body styles throughout its history: as 2-doors (coupe, convertible, hardtop), and 4-doors (Landau hardtop, pillared hardtop, limousine, convertible).
Along with the creation of the personal luxury car segment, the Lincoln Continental marked the zenith of a few designs in the history of the American auto industry. It is the last US vehicle line with a factory-produced V12 engine (1948) and a 4-door convertible (1967), and the final model line to undergo downsizing (for the 1980 model year).
For the 1st generation, the Continental’s engine was Lincoln-Zephyr’s 4.8L V12. In subsequent generations, the Lincoln Continental used different variants of V8 engines with displacements ranging from 4.6 to 7.6 liters. In later generations, V6 engines joined, including twin-turbo ones and an I6 turbodiesel.
The name “Continental” refers us to European “continental” styling elements the model had, including a rear-mounted spare tire. The first round of the Continentals laid the groundwork for modern Lincoln names.
The Continental is perhaps Lincoln’s most significant model, which spawned a number of nice versions in different periods (find their photos below).
The car represented a new styling language for the brand in the after-war period. It introduced Ford’s new overhead-valve V8 engine (Y-Block) with which Lincoln joined the horsepower wars of the 1950s, and a ball-joint suspension to improve car dynamics. Besides, the model was one of the first vehicles to offer an automatic headlight dimmer as an option.
The Capri was sold from 1952 until 1959. Three generations were released. The car started as a premium trim variant of the 2-door Lincoln Cosmopolitan and evolved into a stand-alone model then. The Lincoln Capri replaced the Cosmopolitan with the introduction of the Lincoln Premiere, and subsequently, in turn, the 1961 Continental replaced the Capri.
Lincoln Futura Concept
The awesome concept was a successful show car that helped Ford to gather favorable publicity. The Futura was liked by filmmakers, in particular, George Barris modified it into the Batmobile for the 1966 TV series Batman.
It also had several media appearances: in the 1959 movie ‘It Started with a Kiss’, in Ford’s 1961 promotional film ‘The Secret Door’; in the Vegas Pack DLC of Mafia II as the “Jefferson Futura”. A red replica of the 1955 Lincoln Futura named “Baxley” was featured in NBC’s 1994 Viper TV series.
The idea for the Futura came from designer Bill Schmidt when he dived and met a shark. Thus, the model showed off some styling decisions, like partially hidden headlights and the shark’s tail fins, and later, in 1956-57, those motifs appeared on production Lincolns – Premiere and Capri. The Futura Concept had Lincoln’s 6.0-liter engine under the hood and rode on a modified 1953 Lincoln chassis.
Lincoln Town Car
Before becoming a stand-alone model marketed from 1981 to 2011 through 3 generations, the ‘Town Car’ nameplate served as a flagship trim of the Lincoln Continental. As a version of the Continental, It was the most popular Lincoln vehicle of the 1970s, and the 1959-60 model even was one of the rarest vehicles ever produced by the Ford Mo. Co. Many Town Car examples were used for fleet and livery (limousine) service.
The automaker introduced the Town Car model for competition with luxury sedans from Crysler and Cadillac, and it had no direct replacements within the Lincoln model range.
Generally, the Town Car was not the best Lincoln. However, it left in history as Ford Motor Company’s longest global model, and the longest mass-production car (4-door sedan) on sale in North America from 1997 to 2011, before it was beaten by the Lincoln MKS and later by the Cadillac CT6.
The model combined a plush, soft, silent cabin and an old-fashioned style of motoring with modern engineering. It closed the generation gap appealing to luxury buyers irrespective of age.
The term ‘Town Car’ (or ‘Coupe de Ville’, or ‘Sedanca de Ville) came from the 1920s as a body design typically used for limousines. The description originated from the horse-drawn carriage featuring an open chauffeur’s compartment with a fixed roof for passengers.
The Navigator is the Ford Expedition’s counterpart, the heaviest production Lincoln ever with the greatest cargo capacity, and the first non-limousine Lincoln with seating for more than 6. The SUV has been on the market since the 1998 model year till now. It was produced at the plant in Wayne, Michigan till 2009, and since 2009, production has also been sourced from Ford’s facility in Louisville, Kentucky.
Power comes from Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost D35 Twin-Turbo V6 mated to a 10-speed 10R80 SelectShift automatic transmission in the current, 4th-generation model, while previously the Navigator came equipped with 5.4-liter V8s Triton and InTech engines.
Why the Lincoln Navigator is important for the brand? – It paved the way for premium family haulers in the USA and contributed to the expansion of luxury SUVs.
When the SUV first landed in mid-summer 1997, it set the tone in its segment, and Lincoln even could outsell Cadillac thanks to the Navigator for some time. The 1998 Navigator was a first-class ride with a true go-anywhere capability, and its 30-gallon fuel tank ensured non-stop travel to the destination.
The LS was a vehicle someone hardly expected from Lincoln: a rear-wheel-drive sports sedan with a 5-speed manual transmission as an option.
Lincoln offered it in a single 2000-2006 generation on the platform shared with the Jaguar S-Type and Ford Thunderbird, and with gasoline Jaguar AJ engines (3L V6 and 3.9L V8).
Compared to the contemporary elegant Lincoln Town Car, the LS’s styling was less attractive, but its interior was superb, as well as the driving experience around a racetrack. Well, this car deserves to be put on our list.
The midsize 3-row SUV is 1 of 4 Lincoln SUVs. It has two generations, 10 years of production, and slots between the Nautilus and Navigator.
The first-gen Aviator is powered by a 4.6-liter Modular V8 engine, and it is essentially the rebadged Mercury Mountaineer. Due to the adoption of styling cues from the Lincoln Navigator, it is called a “Baby Navigator”. The Aviator shares the platform with the Ford Explorer while having its own high-lux personality and costing closer to the Ford Expedition.
The second-gen Lincoln Aviator went on sale in 2019. We consider it one of the best Lincolns ever. The vehicle’s Grand Touring hybrid system with 494 hp and 630 lb-ft f torque from a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 makes the Aviator on par with the 456-hp BMW X5 xDrive 50i or the 455-hp Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid.
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