A division of the American vehicle giant Ford Motor Company, the Lincoln Continental has retained its status as a fan favourite among car lovers for decades.
The iconic vehicles of yesteryear don’t only appeal to car lovers, but also attract those passionate about engineering, design, art and yes, history. Before cars were built for efficiency and speed, it was about the experience, style, exclusivity and ultimately, craftsmanship – making them timeless, works of art.
Since renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright dubbed the original 1940 Lincoln Zephyr Continental Mecum “the most beautiful car in the world” – even in 2020, it’s no wonder that this make has somewhat of a cult following. So what makes them so special?
The Origins Of The Lincoln Continental
As the sole heir to the empire and following in the footsteps of his father, Edsel Bryant Ford held the position of President at Ford Motor Company from 1919 until his death in 1943. While groomed from a young age to eventually take the reins, Edsel was always eager to develop cars that were more in line with his own personal taste – such as the Lincoln Continental.
In 1922, Edsel Ford purchased a custom-built Lincoln L-Series town car as a personal vehicle for his father, Henry Ford – all to fit more luggage into the boot for their annual beach vacation. Styled by E.T. Gregorie, at the time the head of Ford’s styling department, its design was considered European, or Continental. Delivered to Edsel at the family compound in Hobe Sound, Florida, more than 200 of his friends placed orders for it with signed blank checks – long before it was ever slated for production.
Henry Ford purchased the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, in order to compete with such brands as Cadillac and Packard for the luxury segment of the automobile market. At the time, a “town car” was a body design typically used for limousines. The description originated from the horse-drawn carriage that featured an open chauffeur’s compartment with a fixed roof for the passengers. During that era, the fixed rear roof horse-drawn carriage became a limousine and the term “de Ville” in French meant “for town (use)”.
Although it’s been decades since the first Lincoln Continental was released in 1939, the popularity of the car was an immediate hit. While the earlier models such as the Mark III, Mark IV, Mark V and Town Car cemented as one of the best classic cars around the world, production of the Lincoln Continental was only discontinued in 2020.
As one of the few makes worthy to compare to an Imperial or Cadillac, Lincoln Continentals have remained popular through the years thanks to their status as a classic, high quality and luxurious vehicle. With previous owners including Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, the Lincoln Continental physically embodies all the best parts of a bygone era.