Lincoln was founded in 1917 by Henry Leland, former founder of Cadillac, who wanted to surpass his previous automotive achievements. He succeeded: the new company and its stylish automobiles immediately made an impact among luxury car enthusiasts. When Lincoln became a Ford subsidiary in 1922, its reputation for classy cars and industry innovations skyrocketed. During the decades that followed, its accomplishments included:
- The Flyers were used by police departments across the country, all of which came equipped with armored windows, weapon racks, and two-wheel disc brakes.
- The Zephyr was released in 1936 and set the stage for the release of the Continental. More than 5,000 units sold before production stopped in 1948.
- The Mark II cost an astounding $10,000 in 1955 (as much as a Rolls-Royce).
By 1998, thanks to sleek and technologically advanced models such as the Navigator and Town Car, Lincoln was the country's best-selling luxury car brand. After a brief period of ownership by the Premier Automotive Group (1998-2002), the company returned to its Ford roots and can be found there today.
Below is a list of some of the most iconic Lincoln luxury car models ever produced.
1929 Lincoln L Dietrich Convertible Coupe
The style-packed 1929 Lincoln L Dietrich Convertible Coupe offered two features considered advanced (and even extravagant) for that era: safety glass and dual windshield wipers. The three-speed manual transmission and V8 engine, which produced 90 hp, delivered a smooth and easily controlled ride. Its original price was close to $7,000, but anyone lucky enough to find one today is looking at a price tag of at least $95,000.
1932 Lincoln KB LeBaron Convertible Roadster
1932 KB LeBaron Convertible Roadster was powered by an L-head V12 engine capable of producing 150 hp, a speed level only really rivaled by Cadillac in 1932. Its long hood and wheelbase contributed to a majestic appearance, and the wind-up windows were rarely offered on roadster models of that era. Wealthier customers could order completely customized coachwork if they wanted more than the standard luxurious features. Thanks to its beauty and scarcity (only 125 units were produced), collectors wanting to acquire one today will pay more than $250,000.
1939 Lincoln Continental
The Lincoln Continental, an offshoot of the Lincoln Zephyr which was destined to become an automotive icon, appeared in 1939. It had a sophisticated exterior, with two-door styling and a silhouette that that exuded luxury and class, as well as an interior with top-of-the-line trim. For added convenience, the standard door handles were replaced by push buttons.
This 1939 model, whose nameplate has been in use for close to 80 years, will set buyer back more than $40,000 if they locate one in decent condition.
1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan
The 1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan brought automotive luxury into the modern era with a V8 engine that produced 152 hp and Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. It also had a specially designed hood ornament that was said to make the vehicle more aerodynamic. It even came standard with power seats and power windows. The distinctive style, which reflected the Frenching auto trend, made the 1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan one of the hallmark luxury cars of the 1950s.
1984 Lincoln Mark VII
The 1984 Lincoln Mark VII was the ultimate symbol of the glitzy and decadent 1980s. It featured several trims, including the luxurious Versace and Bill Blass Editions. In addition to a four-speed automatic transmission and fuel-efficient V8 Engine, the Mark VII offered lavish and technologically advanced features that included:
- Four-wheel air suspension
- Power seats and windows
- Keyless entry
- Integral trip computer and message center
In a nod to the Lincoln brand's illustrious past, the Mark VII also had the distinction of being the first American vehicle since 1940 with composite headlights.
2017 Lincoln MKZ
The buzz over the 2017 Lincoln MKZ has yet to subside. The 2017 edition of this popular four-door sedan received a major facelift, with new headlights, grille, and a 3.0-liter twin turbo V6 engine capable of achieving 400 hp. An available retractable glass roof will roll back to create the biggest opening offered by a sedan. One of its most popular features is the upgradable power seating, which can be adjusted 22 different ways.
In its 100 years of existence, Lincoln has produced a series of exceptional models that are groundbreaking in design, technologically advanced, and a pleasure to drive. The cars featured here are examples of where the company has been and a promise of where it is heading in the future.
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