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The Lincolns that made Lincoln

By Kirk Bell of MSN Autos

Henry Ford bought Lincoln from Henry Leland, the founder of Cadillac, in 1922 to top the Ford Motor Company's product range. Over the next 20 years, Ford's son Edsel took an interest in Lincoln and helped design and oversee vehicle development, creating some of the most advanced and beautiful cars of the day. Throughout its storied history, Lincoln has been synonymous with distinctive American luxury vehicles, although the brand sometimes struggled for its own identity under its influential parent company. To that end, in late 2012 the division became the Lincoln Motor Company to further differentiate itself from Ford. Let's look at the most influential cars that have made the Lincoln Motor Company what it is today.


1) 1921 Lincoln Model L
Lincoln founder Henry Leland created the company after World War I. Leland was known as a master of precision, and his first model, the 1921 Model L, proved to be a well-built luxury car. Its 385-cubic-inch 90-horsepower V8 engine made the car capable of speeds up to 90 mph, capturing the attention of gangsters and police alike. Unfortunately, the car wasn't very stylish and sales were slow, forcing Leland to sell to Henry Ford in 1922. The Model L sold better under Ford and it continued through 1930.

2) 1932 Lincoln Series KB
The first car developed under Ford ownership was the Series K of 1931. It was powered by a 385-cubic-inch 120-horsepower V8 engine and was offered in more than 20 body styles. The KB followed the next year, using used the same basic design as the K but with a 448-cubic-inch V12 that churned out 150 horses. Large, well-built and luxurious, the KB was one of the finest cars of the era, but with prices ranging from $4,000 to $7,200 during the Great Depression, sales were limited.

3) 1936 Lincoln Zephyr
Luxury automakers struggled during the Great Depression, spurring many to build more affordable cars. Such was the case with the 1936 Lincoln Zephyr. Offered as a 2- or 4-door sedan, the Zephyr was priced around $1,300, while big Lincolns cost as much as $7,000. The Zephyr was advanced for its day, employing one of the industry's first unibody designs. Lincoln developed a small 267-cubic-inch V12 engine that produced 110 horsepower — 40 less than the big cars. The Zephyr was an instant hit, selling almost 15,000 units, which accounted for more than 80 percent of Lincoln sales.

4) 1940 Lincoln Zephyr Continental convertible
Edsel Ford turned his artistic eye toward the Zephyr and worked with stylist E.T. Gregorie to develop the Continental. Based on the Zephyr, this partially hand-built model lacked the Zephyr's running boards and featured a chopped and channeled body that gave the car a long, low, sleek look. Offered in convertible and club coupe body styles, the Continental used the same 292-cubic-inch 120-horsepower V12 engine as other Zephyrs. It became its own model line the next year, and went on to become one of Lincoln's longest-lasting nameplates

5) 1956 Continental Mark II
In 1956, Continental actually became its own subdivision of Lincoln, but after three years the Continental range rejoined the Lincoln lineup. The Mark II, a 2-door hardtop coupe, featured a "cow belly" chassis that draped the body over the frame, enhancing car's stunning lines and highlighting its extraordinary length. A 368-cubic-inch V8 engine produced 285 willing horses. The car sold for an astounding $10,000, but Ford lost money on every one, due to a large amount of hand assembly and plenty of luxury amenities.

6) Lincoln Futura concept
In the 1950s U.S. automakers incorporated airplane and rocket motifs into their car designs, leading to fins on production cars and bubbletops on concepts. One such concept was the Lincoln Futura of 1955. The car was built by the Italian firm Ghia and had complete running gear, including a 368-cubic-inch V8 engine. The Futura was seen in the 1959 movie "It Started with a Kiss," but it is best known as the Batmobile from the mid-1960s TV series "Batman." Customizer George Barris modified it for the TV show, making it one of the most famous concept cars of all time.

7) 1961 Lincoln Continental
Lincoln downsized the Continental for 1961, introducing an elegantly simple slab-sided look that would go down in history as one of America's best-looking car designs. It was offered as a 4-door sedan or as a 4-door convertible — a body style that no other car has used since. A 430-cubic-inch V8 engine produced 300 hearty horses. Beautiful, well-built and luxurious, the new Continental caught on with American buyers, effectively doubling sales from the prior year.

8) 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III
The Continental Mark III shared its 117.2-inch wheelbase with the Ford Thunderbird and featured the long hood — over six feet — and short deck proportions that had been used on the original and the Mark II Continentals. A massive new 460-cubic-inch V8 engine, which produced 365 horsepower, would be Lincoln's engine of choice for the next decade. The Mark III struck a chord with buyers, competing strongly against Cadillac's more advanced personal luxury coupe, the front-drive Eldorado.

9) 1988 Lincoln Continental Mark VII LSC
By the 1980s Lincoln had a well-earned reputation for producing luxo-cruisers, but broke that mold with the 1985 Continental Mark VII LSC coupe. The Mark VII was new that year, and the LSC featured a sport-tuned suspension with wide tires and alloy wheels. It shared its platform with the Ford Thunderbird, and the 165-horsepower engine came from the Mustang GT. Port injection increased horsepower to 200 in 1986, and by 1988 output was up to 225 horses. The LSC was expected to sell in limited numbers but it actually outsold the base trims, and it continued through 1992.

10) 1993 Lincoln Continental Mark VIII
After the success of the Mark VII, Lincoln responded with its most advanced car ever, the 1993 Mark VIII. Longer and wider yet lighter than the Mark VII, the Mark VIII featured a more aerodynamic, modern design. An air suspension aided handling and lowered the car at highway speeds to improve fuel economy. It was equipped with Ford's 4.6-liter DOHC V8 engine that developed an impressive 280 horsepower and launched the car from zero to 60 mph in less than seven seconds. The Mark VIII proved to be viable competition for Cadillac and also the import brands.

11) 1998 Lincoln Navigator
As buyers shifted from cars to SUVs in the 1990s, Lincoln capitalized on the market trend by dressing up a Ford Expedition and offering it as the Navigator. The new SUV was more luxurious than its Ford sibling, and it employed a 5.4-liter 230-horsepower V8 engine. Priced at over $42,000, some $10,000 more than an Expedition, the Navigator immediately became Lincoln's second-best-selling vehicle with nearly 44,000 units sold that first year. It prompted copycats from Cadillac and GMC, and the full-size luxury SUV remains a profitable market niche to this day.

12) 2000 Lincoln LS
The Marks VII and VIII added some sportiness to the Lincoln brand, but the company had never truly responded to the luxury sport sedan competition from the Europeans. Enter the 2000 Lincoln LS. Ford had purchased Jaguar in 1989 and the LS shared a rear-wheel-drive platform with the new Jaguar S-TYPE. Engine choices consisted of a 3.0-liter V6 or a 4.0-liter V8, both making modest power. Unfortunately, the LS didn't offer enough power, luxury or sportiness to make a dent in the luxury competition, and Lincoln discontinued the concept after the 2006 model year.

13) 2003 Lincoln Town Car
America's last body-on-frame car employed a chassis design developed for the 1981 model year. After a makeover in 1998 that resulted in a more rounded Town Car, a 2003 restyling cleaned up some lingering design elements. The frame was also strengthened, the steering changed from recirculating ball to rack and pinion, and horsepower of the 4.6-liter V8 engine was increased from 225 to 239. The Town Car was a favorite of livery companies for its smooth ride, big back seat and cavernous trunk. Lincoln sold the Town Car until 2011, ending the era of this stalwart model that had paid for its tooling many times over.

14) 2013 Lincoln MKZ
The most interesting model of the current Lincoln lineup is the MKZ, a midsize sedan based on the Ford Fusion. It features bold, distinctive styling and offers 300-horsepower V6, 45-mpg 4-cylinder hybrid or 4-cylinder EcoBoost powertrains — but it doesn't match Cadillac or its European and Japanese rivals for pure luxury, sportiness or power. While Cadillac has found success in recent years by offering cars on exclusive rear-wheel-drive platforms, Lincoln continues to offer vehicles on front-drive Ford platforms. Committed to growing market share, the company looks to China for a new customer base.

http://editorial.autos.msn.com/the-lincolns-that-made-lincoln?icid=autos_5424
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Lincoln has a great history, hopefully some of it's new model will have a similar impact. I was surprised to see the MKZ on the list, it's amazing on how it looks like a modern version of the Mark VIII.
 

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Why did they not mention the MKS? The mentioned the LS and MKZ, and beat them up for not enough luxury and power, but the MKS does not lack either?

ugh
Is it really worth mentioning? It's a decent car, but I don't see anything noteworthy about it.
 

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If the topic is “Lincoln’s best luxurious models” then yes it is worth mentioning, at least above the MKZ. MKS is a far better luxury car with far more luxury and power. Heck, it even has far more luxury and power than LS which when price adjusted, cost more than MKS.
 

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I'd argue the MKZ takes it a step farther than the MKS, at least in uniqueness which is significant to luxury car shoppers. It also sells a lot more and is just a much newer vehicle in general.

The MKS has a nicer interior of course, but it's also a lot more expensive. I'd argue the MKZ drives better and is just an overall better vehicle.

I think of the current MKS as just a luxurious Taurus while the MKZ is a bit more than just a luxurious Fusion. I'm sure the next MKS will correct this of course.
 

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I'm really looking forward to eventually seeing the 'editorial'/pix (won't load at home)
:thumb: iculookn!
but
just-imho
they're listing the tipping-points/peaks of historic stages and...
-- like tho the '61 Conti may typify best, it's Not my fave sixties' version AT ALL
&
-- think the MKS is kinda a between-phases/directions car for Lincoln, where the CD3>>CD4 Zs define the "corner" (disclaimer: historic perspective is not yet possible for either)
 

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They should have stopped at 12. The Town Car was a nice car for geriatrics but not a great car by any means and the MKZ is good in that it points in the direction Lincoln is going but is relative to it's peers not an all time great. When you look at the first 7 cars listed they weren't simply great Lincoln's, they were cars that made Lincoln's competitors reevaluate themselves! The first 7 were literally some of the absolute best you could buy in their day, nothing afterward took Lincoln to that altitude.
 

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I'd argue the MKZ takes it a step farther than the MKS, at least in uniqueness which is significant to luxury car shoppers. It also sells a lot more and is just a much newer vehicle in general.

The MKS has a nicer interior of course, but it's also a lot more expensive. I'd argue the MKZ drives better and is just an overall better vehicle.

I think of the current MKS as just a luxurious Taurus while the MKZ is a bit more than just a luxurious Fusion. I'm sure the next MKS will correct this of course.
The MKS is the more premium, and substantial vehicle over the MKZ. That really can't be argued.
 

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They should have stopped at 12. The Town Car was a nice car for geriatrics but not a great car by any means and the MKZ is good in that it points in the direction Lincoln is going but is relative to it's peers not an all time great. When you look at the first 7 cars listed they weren't simply great Lincoln's, they were cars that made Lincoln's competitors reevaluate themselves! The first 7 were literally some of the absolute best you could buy in their day, nothing afterward took Lincoln to that altitude.
I agree. The Mark VII & VIII were okay, but the Mark VIII was weak in terms of quality. Our 97 Mustang Cobra from that era had the crappiest interior materials I've ever experienced in a Ford. It really described how things were at the company in a nutshell.
 

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The problem with the MKS is its styling. It's bland, and it sits up too high. There's nothing sexy about it. However, the interior is nice and much higher quality when compared to a Town Car.
 

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The problem with the MKS is its styling. It's bland, and it sits up too high. There's nothing sexy about it. However, the interior is nice and much higher quality when compared to a Town Car.
I believe my point was that it belongs on the list, certainly more than many, because no other Lincoln in many years has offered as much luxury, power and performance.

Which again, is of course the whole point of this thread.
 

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The MKS is the more premium, and substantial vehicle over the MKZ. That really can't be argued.
While this may be true it has to be looked at in light of how well in stacks up to the best in it's segment and there's no question that it's not a competitive premium full size sedan. When looking at the impact the top seven had on the high end market and then looking at the rest the drop off is immense.
 

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Contrary to many opinions (which are mostly from those that have not driven the latest), the MKS is an excellent product with handsome styling in every angle but the front, imo.



It belongs on that list, dammit, :banghead:
I think I will write the author.:thumb:
 

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I really (still) like the Mark VII
To me the Mark VII is the best modern Lincoln, I owned one and loved everything about that car! That car had visual presence like no Lincoln since though I think in person the MKZ certainly has great presence too. The Mark VIII was a more modern car with DOHC engines and IRS but the car didn't grab your attention like the Mark VII did, not even close!

I've always thought about picking up one for a nice project car!!
 

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While this may be true it has to be looked at in light of how well in stacks up to the best in it's segment and there's no question that it's not a competitive premium full size sedan. When looking at the impact the top seven had on the high end market and then looking at the rest the drop off is immense.
ugh.

Does anyone even bother to read anymore?
what is the title of this thread?
Now, gently, what have I stated up til now....IN THIS THREAD?
Thank you
 

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Contrary to many opinions (which are mostly from those that have not driven the latest), the MKS is an excellent product with handsome styling in every angle but the front, imo.



It belongs on that list, dammit, :banghead:
I think I will write the author.:thumb:
If they could have taken three or four inches out of the body below the window line that would have been one of the sexiest vehicles on the road. As it is it's a sharp looking car though awkwardly tall.
 

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ugh.

Does anyone even bother to read anymore?
what is the title of this thread?
Now, gently, what have I stated up til now....IN THIS THREAD?
Thank you
You could list the best, most luxurious Kia's too if you ignore their place in the larger market. I refuse to look at any vehicle or brand in a vacuum.
 
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