Lincoln is manufacturer of luxury cars, trucks and SUVs for the United States domestic market, primarily known for its Mark- and Continental-series luxury coupes and sedans. Cadillac co-founder Henry Leland started the company in 1917 and named it after former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. After only two models and mounting financial trouble, Leland sold the company to Ford in 1922. The company has served as Ford's luxury-car arm since that time.
In 1936 Lincoln introduced the Zephyr, which shared its name with a high-speed express train. Edsel Ford helped influence the Zephyr's daring aerodynamic styling cues, and the car was a huge success. The Zephyr served as the foundation of the original Continental; the Continental was based on Edsel Ford's personally customized Zephyr. The Continental's most distinctive feature was its vertical, externally mounted rear tire; that styling cue would appear on other Continentals over the following decades.
- Founded : Dearborn, Michigan, U.S. August 1917
- Founder : Henry M. Leland, Wilfred Leland
- Headquarters : Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.
- Website : www.lincoln.com
The 1961 Lincoln Continental was different from prior models--and not just because the car dropped the Mark nomenclature. It was shorter and was famous for its suicide doors, where the rear doors were hung from the rear and opened in the front. It was also the first car in the U.S. to offer a two-year bumper-to-bumper manufacturer's warranty. This model was modified for presidential use and was the vehicle in which President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
Lincoln responded to changing market demands in the late 1970s with its mid-size Versailles, which was criticized for its similarity to its Ford Grenada sibling and its lack of Lincoln luxury distinctiveness. However, the Continental continued to evolve as a larger personal-luxury vehicle, and in 1981 the full-size Continental was renamed the Lincoln Town Car. The full-size Town Car ultimately became one of the best selling luxury cars in the U.S., known for luxury features like digital displays and the keypad entry system. The Continental name, meanwhile, returned on a smaller sedan in 1982.
The Continental name ultimately retired in 2002, but the Town Car continues as Lincoln's premium sedan. Lincoln also added its first SUV, the Navigator, in 1998 and its first luxury pickup truck, the Mark LT, in 2006. The current entry-level MKZ, an upgrade of the earlier Lincoln LS mid-size luxury sports sedan, arrived in 2007, as did the MKX crossover SUV. The new, contemporary MKS is Lincoln's newest full-size sedan.