Top 10 of the past 97 years
Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. On February 12, 1809, Lincoln was born in a single-room cabin in Hodgeville, Kentucky. Like the president, the Lincoln Motor Company would ascend from humble beginnings. The luxury division of Ford would go through many changes through the years, but for the better part of the 20th century, it was one of the preeminent car brands in the world. Here are ten of our favorite Lincolns from the past 97 years.
Lincoln was founded in 1917, but floundered and had to file for bankruptcy in 1922. That same year, it was purchased by Ford, and its products quickly became highly regarded automobiles. One early example is this Sport Touring model. It featured a 5.9-liter flathead V8 that made 90-horsepower.
1932 Lincoln KB Dietrich Coupe
The Lincoln KB was introduced in 1932, and it packed serious power for the day. The 7.3-liter L-head (flathead) V12 made 150 horsepower. This particular version of the KB had coachbuilt body work by Raymond Dietrich, who is also known for designing the epic Gibson Firebird guitar.
The Lincoln-Zephyr was unveiled in 1935, for a brand that needed a hit. The previous model year, it sold just 1,400 cars, and the new design was a breath of fresh air. The 1938 Coupe here is an ideal example of the Zephyr styling. 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe
This was one of two iconic Lincolns used in the first “Godfather” film. The V12 engine was fitted to a three-speed manual. Unlike the curvaceous Zephyr, the Continental has the outboard spare tire cowl and more upright, regal appearance. The original one from the Godfather sold at the 2013 Bonhams Scottsdale auctions for $69,000.
Lincoln was doing well following WWII. The brand made the clever move to highlight the first running of the Daytona 500 since a hiatus for WWII. A 292 cubic inch twelve cylinder engine is under the hood, making 130 horsepower. The big convertible has a ten-and-a-half foot wheelbase. We’re sure it was a handful on the track. 1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V Convertible
When you think of “Lincoln” and “Convertible,” the car that follows this one is the one everyone thinks of, but you can’t count out this big droptop. The 1958-60 Lincoln Continentals were the largest passenger cars built since WWII, and it had the gaudy styling to go with it. This was post-war swag at its best.
This iconic droptop was not originally a Lincoln, but was a Ford Thunderbird concept. Ford Chief stylist Colin Neagle said “I want a clean car- no garbage.” That’s what he got– the clean lines are now iconic, and have been used in shows like Entourage and a hardtop version was used in the Matrix.
In the 1990s, the Mark VIII was a total sleeper. Maybe not as an ultra-performance car, but it held its own in the “cool” factor. The questionably named “In-Tech” 4.6-liter V8 made a respectable 290 horsepower, but like the Lincolns of the past, it was the style that brough the Mark VIII home. I can remember the first time I rode shotgun in a Mk VIII, and the interior seemed like the coolest automotive cockpit ever devised. I know that’s not the case now, but the car still holds a special place in my heart– and don’t you dare says it’s just an upscale Thunderbird. I won’t stand for it.
Go ahead, hate on this truck all you want, but at the time, there was nothing like it. The Blackwood actually debuted at the 1999 Detroit Auto Show- the only thing close was the Escalade EXT. The Caddie would be a better execution of the idea, but the Blackwood was first. It may have seemed outlandish at the time, but when folks are spending $70,000 for GMC Sierra 2500 Denials, does it really seem that crazy for Lincoln to offer a luxury pickup?
The talking heads and Detroit apologists like to bloviate that Lincoln is finally in a design renaissance. Sure, the current design language looks good on the MKC, but back in ’04 the only Lincoln that looked the part was the sumptuous Mark X Concept. Equal parts modern T-bird and ’61 Continental, the Mark X was the concept that embodied all of that throwback nostalgia that people were losing their minds over back in the early 2000s.