The Lincoln Mark Sequence Vehicles, Feeling Continental (Half I)

The Lincoln Mark Sequence Vehicles, Feeling Continental (Half I)


Uncommon Rides Icons concluded its 22-part sequence on the Imperial not too long ago, because the long-running luxurious model-brand-model train by Chrysler got here to its well timed finish in 1993. At the moment we embark on a brand new luxurious automobile sequence. It’s one you’ve requested for, and it’s additionally about luxurious vehicles and can be an intensive sequence. Come alongside, as we take into account the life and occasions of Lincoln’s Mark sequence vehicles.

To get to the primary Mark sequence automobile and certainly the launch of the Continental as a model, we journey first to the late Thirties. Lincoln’s lineup consisted of two traces of automobiles, each of them giant. Of normal full-size automobile designation was the fairly fashionable Lincoln-Zephyr line, which went into manufacturing for 1936. The Zephyrs had been a competitor to the likes of the brand new Chrysler Airflow and regular-sized Packards.

The opposite automobile Lincoln bought was the Okay-Sequence. In manufacturing since 1931, the aged Okay was way more luxurious than the Zephyr. V12 engines, varied wheelbase lengths, and coachbuilt our bodies had been all part of Okay. It competed with 12-cylinder Cadillacs, the Pierce-Arrow Mannequin 63, and V12 Packards. The Okay-Sequence was headed to the top of its life on the finish of the Thirties and was canceled in 1939. Its substitute in 1941, the Customized, was supplied solely in limo and sedan format and was not supplied as a chassis to coachbuilders just like the Okay was prior.

These full-size and formal limousines had been unsuitable for one particular concept that firm president Edsel Ford had: A extra private luxurious automobile within the European custom, appropriate for vacation-type driving. Ford took a trip to Europe along with his spouse in 1938. Whereas there, he was most happy with the class and class of European luxurious vehicles and introduced some new concepts when he flew again residence to Detroit.

In 1938 neither a Continental-style American automobile nor a home private luxurious automobile existed. Edsel met with Lincoln’s lead designer Eugene T. Gregorie after the holiday. A problem was issued to create an all-new sort of Lincoln within the European picture. Gregorie pulled out some sketches of the present Lincoln-Zephyr (the one commonplace manufacturing automobile Lincoln supplied).

From that foundation, Gregorie labored up a private model of the Zephyr with a convertible physique. It was extra fashionable than the Zephyr and featured extra European-type styling influences. Edsel appreciated the thought and wished the prototype completed for his trip in March 1939. It’s reported that Gregorie completed the design sketch in about an hour, after which the workers at Lincoln set to work. The venture was often called the Lincoln-Zephyr Continental.

The prototype was a lot decrease to the bottom than the Zephyr, a full seven inches. It eliminated the anticipated working boards for a streamlined look and had its hood nearly stage with the fenders. The bizarre seems to be had been highlighted of their paintwork, not chrome: The shiny materials was minimized and used principally across the grille.

This new coupe set a few styling precedents that American vehicles adopted for a while. The decrease hood line and journey top was a brand new look, in comparison with most luxurious automobiles of the time with their towering hoods and grilles. Moreover, the passenger compartment was nearer to the rear of the automobile than coupes as much as that time, which gave the lengthy hood, quick rear deck look which is immediately thought of compensatory in an car. There was a full foot of sheet metallic added to the hood of the Continental over the usual Zephyr.

Due to the quick rear deck, there was not a number of room for the spare tire within the trunk. Gregorie wished to discover a place to retailer it in there, however Edsel insisted it go on the surface like a European automobile. Thus it was coated and mounted on the rear of the automobile. We’d later name that the Continental package.

The finished prototype was delivered to Edsel Ford in Florida, in time for its requested trip utilization. Whereas down there, the rich who buzzed in the identical circles as Edsel discovered the Continental fairly putting. Edsel despatched a telegram and promised Ford HQ that he may promote a thousand Zephyr Continentals, and already had orders for 200. The Continental identify caught given the convertible’s European design affect.

All first-generation Continentals used the identical 292 cubic-inch (4.8-liter) V12 engine because the Lincoln-Zephyr line. The V12 was particular to the Zephyr and was produced from 1936 with the Zephyr’s introduction. Its creation was pressured, because the L-head V12 engines Ford already produced wouldn’t match into the streamlined, slimmer form of the brand new Zephyr. The engine’s design began with Ford’s latest Flathead V8 as its foundation and was then enlarged.

The V12’s design ended up thought of extra a 12-cylinder Ford engine by these within the know than a purpose-specific Lincoln V12. With aluminum alloy heads, two water pumps, and metal pistons, the engine was not a easy one. It used a distributor that was distinctive to the engine and had two coil assemblies – one for every financial institution of cylinders. The engine supplied 110 horsepower, which was greater than Ford deliberate to get out of it throughout improvement.

Zephyr’s engine was rapidly notorious for its sludge, poor oil move, and overheating points. Teething issues had been principally resolved by Ford engineers after the primary mannequin 12 months, however the V12 had its status set by that point. It was additional massaged in 1938 previous to its Continental utilization when Ford added hydraulic lifters and carried out forged iron heads instead of the unique alloy ones.

Value an apart, the Zephyr V12 was interesting to low-volume British luxurious producers, who discovered engine reliability to be a lesser concern. Allard (1934-1939; 1945-1949) used them of their modified Ford automobiles, whereas the short-lived Atalanta (1937-1939) used the V12 in each their fashions made in Middlesex. Lastly, Brough Superior (1919-1940) used the engine within the vehicles they produced, although the corporate was higher recognized for its bikes and sidecars.

Manufacturing of the Continental started nearly instantly after Edsel’s telegram. Early Continentals had been largely hand-built and numbered two dozen for the quick 1939 manufacturing 12 months. Most constructed of that small group had been of the cabriolet selection. All first-generation Continentals had been constructed on the Lincoln Motor Firm Plant (1917) which was ultimately changed by Wixom Meeting in 1957.

Continental’s manufacturing prolonged to 400 in 1940, they usually had been nonetheless handmade. Manufacturing dies weren’t prepared for the Continental till 1941, at which level World Battle II had a factor or two to say about American automobile manufacturing.

The Continental picked up the place it left off in 1946, at which level the Zephyr in its identify was eliminated. There was some new inside trim initially to maintain the purchasers coming, and wooden trim arrived in 1947 to spruce up the inside. However the Continental of the primary two mannequin years differed fairly a bit from the later variations.

Although all rode on the identical 125-inch wheelbase, the general size of the hand-built Continentals of 1940 and 1941 was 209.8 inches. From 1942 onward, Continental grew to a size of 218.1 inches. In the identical manner, the two-door’s preliminary width was 75 inches, however that expanded to 77.8 inches in 1942. Peak grew from its preliminary 62 glossy inches to 63.1 in 1942.

Measurement variations had been all the way down to a normal refresh that included fenders that had been extra sq., and a grille that was extra rectangular and lacked the V-shaped break up in the course of the early fashions. Because it aged, the Continental bought chunkier and heavier wanting, as was the style of the time. However that wasn’t the one factor that modified throughout the first Continental’s run.

The automobile’s champion and creator, Edsel Ford, handed away in 1943. That brought on a restructuring of high-level Ford administration shortly thereafter. Issues bought much less pleasant, and Bob Gregorie left Ford in 1946 due to the restructure. The Continental was due for a refresh that 12 months given it was a post-Battle mannequin, and the design was handed to Raymond Loewy.

Loewy continued the “extra boxy” theme began in 1942, with modifications restricted principally to the entrance and rear fenders, in addition to a brand new search for the entrance fascia. In comparison with a 1942 Continental, the 1946 had way more chrome ornament and a a lot blunter nostril.

An extremely costly luxurious journey, the Continental was made unique partially attributable to its worth. With no choices, Continental requested $4,400 ($58,838 adj.) in 1947. For that ask, Continental was accessible in 12 totally different paint colours, and with three totally different inside colours. Although it was profitable and a extremely desirous luxurious automobile, Ford’s administration wished to go a distinct course.

Thus, the Continental bowed for the final time in 1948, as Lincoln sought to therapeutic massage a Mercury into their upgraded luxurious automobile. That automobile was the Mercury Eight, which in 1949 was reworked inside the Lincoln-Mercury division into the unnamed “senior Lincoln” (EL sequence) and the Cosmopolitan.

Private luxurious was out of the query in 1949, and so was a V12 engine. The 1948 Continental earned the designation of the final US manufacturing automobile with a V12 engine. The Continental identify then slumbered for almost a decade, till Ford determined to mud it off in an enormous manner: An all-new luxurious model. In Half II we’ll speak in regards to the Continental Mark II.

[Images: Ford]

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September 2022