Lincoln (named after Abraham Lincoln) was
founded in 1917 by Henry M. Leland after his
departure from Cadillac. Initially set up to
manufacture Liberty aircraft
engines for the war effort, after the war
Leland set about re-tooling the factories to
facilitate the manufacture of up-market vehicles.
The transition took a heavy financial toll
on the company, and in 1922 Ford was able to
take control. It is interesting to note that
Henry Ford had been forced out of his second
company (Cadillac) by a group of investors
led by Leland – so
it is probable that Ford himself felt some
satisfaction in the Lincoln takeover.
would quickly establish itself as a rival to
division, at first using a greyhound as their
emblem, but then replacing this with the now
familiar diamond. In 1936 Lincoln introduced
the Zephyr as an almost entirely new brand
name rather than model, then from 1939 Edsel
Ford would assist in the creation of the best
known Lincoln model, the Continental. Originally
intended as a one-off project car for Edsel
Ford to use when vacationing in Florida, the
Ford marketers quickly realized the fresh design
would prove successful in the showrooms.
Mark II revived the concept, and for a short
time between April 1955 and July 1956 there
was even a Continental division, but rationalization
would see the formation of the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln
division (Edsel only surviving until 1960).
The Continental proved extremely popular with
Presidents, and remained Lincoln’s flagship
until the release of the Town Car in 1981.
Lincoln's | Lincoln Heritage and History