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Since the early 1920’s, Lincoln has been an icon of the American power elite. The brand quickly became known for its unique comfort and luxury, and continued to provide "elegance and style at its finest" throughout its history. Today, Lincoln continues to capture the American spirit with its world-class luxury vehicles and remains a leader in the American luxury automobile market. However, like with all vehicles, things happen and parts need to be replaced. At 1A Auto, it is our mission to supply you with the parts you need to keep your Lincoln working in tip top shape. If you are in need of a replacement part for your Lincoln car, SUV, or luxury pickup truck, you've come to the right place. At 1A Auto, we get you the right Lincoln parts for your vehicle, at a great discount. You'll find a large selection of new, high quality aftermarket Lincoln auto parts, including headlights, taillights, weatherstripping, mirrors, door handles, exhaust manifolds, radiators, and more. We don't only just sell aftermarket Lincoln parts online here at 1A Auto; we also carry a selection of new, genuine OEM replacement parts - the very same parts you would receive if purchased from your local dealer, but without the inflated cost - and performance parts such as high flow air filters for your Lincoln as well.

Our product development team spends over 8,000 hours a year researching the best Lincoln auto parts, and they are carefully selected by our trained engineers so you can rest assured that you are getting the correct, high quality part you need for your car, truck or SUV, at a discount price. If we wouldn't put the part in our own vehicles, we won't sell them to anyone else. A new aftermarket replacement Lincoln part from 1A Auto will save you 30-50% on average over a comparable new OEM replacement Lincoln part that you would get at a dealership, and our new aftermarket Lincoln parts are also extremely durable and reliable. Don't overpay for Lincoln parts and save yourself from a lot of potential headaches by shopping at 1A Auto.

You can shop for all of your Lincoln auto parts online and buy safely and securely right here on our website, or you can call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about any of our parts, or to buy over the phone. With over 150 years combined experience, 1A Auto's customer service representatives are the most qualified to answer your questions about all of our new, aftermarket, genuine OEM, and performance Lincoln parts. Our representatives answer 99.9% of phone calls in less than one minute and emails are responded to within the hour because we know you need answers quickly to get your beloved Lincoln back in working order again. We also know you want your part fast for the same reason; 98% of in stock Lincoln auto parts ship from our warehouse within one business day so that you can get back on the road in no time, and all ground shipping in the continental US is completely free. And, in the unlikely case that you are unhappy with your Lincoln auto part for any reason, 1A Auto also offers the only No Hassle return policy for unused items in the industry. Simply put, our competitors can't beat the 1A Advantage. Don't just take it from us - take it from over 50,000 satisfied customers!

Look no further than 1A Auto for your aftermarket, original equipment (OE) replacement, new and performance Lincoln parts and get your car, truck or SUV the new parts it needs today from car enthusiasts just like you! If you happen to be an enthusiastic Lincoln owner, have a deep passion for Lincoln vehicles, or just want to learn more about the automotive manufacturer, continue reading below for a detailed look at the brand's history and some of its past and present models.

Overview

The Lincoln Motor Company (formerly just Lincoln) is a luxury vehicle division of the Ford Motor Company, selling primarily to the North American market but available globally as well. In addition to luxury cars, Lincoln’s current model range includes SUVs, crossover vehicles, and luxury pickup trucks (available only in Mexico currently) as well.

Contents

1. Origin
2. Purchase by the Ford Motor Company
3. Building the Lincoln Brand
4. Reorganization and Lincoln Today

Origin

The history of the Lincoln Motor Company starts with its founder, Henry Leland. Leland was also the founder of Cadillac in 1902, which was formed from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company, Henry Ford’s second attempt at automobile manufacturing. Ford’s first company, the Detroit Automobile Company which was founded in 1899, was unsuccessful and as a result of its reorganization, the Henry Ford Company was born in 1901. However, following a dispute with his financial backers in early 1902 Ford, along with a few of his key partners, left the company and it was dissolved. As part of a final settlement, Ford got to keep his name and he would go on to start the Ford Motor Company in 1903. In August of 1902 however, William Murphy and Lemuel Bowen, Ford’s financial backers with whom he had clashed with, brought in Leland who was an engineer and principal owner of Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company, to appraise the Henry Ford Company plant and all of its equipment as they had intended to sell it all off in order to liquidate the company. However, upon completing the appraisal, Leland began attempting to persuade Murphy and his partners to stay in the automobile manufacturing business. He told them that they were making a mistake in liquidating and that they should reorganize, building a car featuring an engine he had originally developed for Oldsmobile during the time his Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company had been supplying engines to them. They were convinced and that same year in 1902, the remnants of the Henry Ford Company reorganized as Cadillac. The first Cadillac automobile rolled off the assembly lines late that same year.

In 1909, Leland sold Cadillac to General Motors (GM), who purchased it from him for $4.5 million. Leland however was asked by GM to continue operating Cadillac, which he did in an executive capacity until 1917.  In 1917, Leland left GM after a dispute with its founder William Durant. The United States Government had asked Cadillac to build Liberty aircraft engines for them as it entered World War I but Durant, who was a pacifist, did not want GM or Cadillac facilities to be used for the production of any war material. Leland, feeling this was a solid source of revenue, disagreed with Durant and left the company to pursue his own agenda. This led to Leland, along with his son Wilfred, forming the Lincoln Motor Company in 1917, which he named in honor of one of his personal heroes former president Abraham Lincoln, in order to make the Liberty engines. Shortly thereafter, the company would eventually break ground on building a sufficient factory complex that could handle the engine production that Leland envisioned. The plant was constructed in a very quick amount of time and it was devoted entirely to the production of Liberty engines. The initial government contract that the company was awarded called for Lincoln to build them 6,000 engines, with the option to produce more if needed. The Ford Motor Company supplied the Lincoln Motor Company with the cylinders for their engines. In November of 1918, German forces agreed to a cease-fire, effectively ending the war. After producing about 6,500 engines, manufacturing ceased at the Lincoln Motor Company plant not long after in January of 1919.

Following the war, the company had to reorganize and transition into the production of something else now that it was no longer making the Liberty engines, which had been Lincoln’s first and only source of revenue up until this time. Initially, Lincoln considered manufacturing engines to be used in other automobiles, but it eventually decided to convert to the production of its own luxury automobiles. The plant was then retooled in order to be able to manufacture the cars it desired to create. The Lincoln L-Series was the companies’ first automobile model and it was released in 1920.

Purchase by the Ford Motor Company

Unfortunately, the company ran into severe financial difficulties during the transition from Liberty engine production to automobile production. Production delays, unsatisfactory body styling, and the postwar recession of 1920 hurt sales, and the company was struggling mightily. After having only produced about 150 cars up until that point in 1922, the company was forced into bankruptcy and was sold to Henry Ford’s Ford Motor Company in February of that same year. The winning bid of $8 million by Ford was the only one for the Lincoln Motor Company at the receiver’s sale. The original offer by Ford was actually $5 million, but the judge overseeing the sale would not accept it because Lincoln was viewed as a well-equipped company and its assets were conservatively estimated at triple that amount. In reality, Ford deliberately made a low offer as revenge against Henry Leland due to his role in the creation of Cadillac, and he considered the eventual purchase of Lincoln as retribution. Aside from his personal vendetta, Ford of course had legitimate business reasons for the acquisition as well. Ford had been trying to find success in the luxury automobile market with his Ford Motor Company and produced several models in the early 1900’s, but they were not well received or successful. Thus, Ford saw Lincoln as his entry into this segment.

After the sale, Ford initially retained Leland and his son Wilfred and they continued to run the company. Leland believed that he and his son would still have full control of the company under the watchful eye of Ford, and run it as they saw fit. However, Ford quickly assigned a number of his own people to Lincoln, in order to learn its business it was assumed. However, it became clear to Leland and his workers quite fast that Ford’s people were actually there to streamline their production and stop the loss of money that had sent Lincoln into bankruptcy. As this continued, the relationship between both sides deteriorated even further. In June of 1922, Henry Leland’s son Wilfred was asked by a Ford Motor Company executive acting on the behalf of Henry Ford to resign his position. Realizing that this had come from Ford himself, the elder Leland resigned as well that same day and from that point forward, both men no longer had any affiliation with the company. Henry Leland would die in 1932, less than 10 years later. The Lincoln Motor Company would continue to operate as a somewhat separate company from Ford through early 1940, when it then became the Lincoln division of the Ford Motor Company.

Building the Lincoln Brand

Not long upon acquiring Lincoln, bodywork changes were introduced on the Lincoln cars and the price was lowered, which helped to increase sales during the remainder of 1922. Also in 1922, the Town Car nameplate appeared for the first time on a custom-built Lincoln car made for Henry Ford. In 1923, Ford had his son Edsel design other body styles for the L-Series; a two-passenger roadster, a four-door sedan, and a seven-passenger touring and limousine were amongst those released. The company also began to contract with various coachbuilders during this time in order to help them create multiple custom built vehicles, and they continued to do so into the early 1930’s. By the end of 1923, sales had continued to increase and the company had climbed out of the red and was finally operating at a profit. In 1930, production on the Lincoln L-Series line of luxury vehicles came to an end and a new line, the Lincoln K-Series, was released.

In 1936, the Lincoln-Zephyr car was released for sale, a vehicle conceived by Edsel Ford and designed by Eugene Turenne Gregorie. Initially, Lincoln-Zephyr was a marque of its own, with the car released in 1936 being what was supposed to be the lines first model. It was envisioned by Ford that the line would be the lower priced luxury vehicle line of Lincoln automobiles. The initial streamlined car was extremely successful; sales for Lincoln skyrocketed and it helped propel the company to new heights. The success of the Lincoln-Zephyr resulted in declining sales for the Lincoln K-Series and thus production of those models ended in 1939, with the last model being delivered in 1940. At the end of 1940, not long after transforming the Lincoln Motor Company into the Lincoln division of the Ford Motor Company, Ford decided to discontinue the Lincoln-Zephyr marque and instead it became a model under Lincoln. All Lincoln models produced in 1941 were based on the Zephyr chassis, including the original Lincoln Continental, which would become one of its most famous cars.

The Continental started as a one-off project car for Edsel Ford. In 1938, Ford told Eugene Gregorie that he wanted a European-style car to drive around during his upcoming vacation to Florida, and he wanted it to look different than the boxier designs the Ford Motor Company had produced. Gregorie then went to work on designing a custom-built personal car by sectioning off a 1939 Lincoln-Zephyr V-12 Convertible Coupe four inches. The car was given the styling features that would become known from later Continental Marks including the vertically mounted spare tire. After seeing and hearing all of the interest in the car from his friends, Edsel communicated back to the company that the car could be a big seller. Thus, the car was put in limited production in 1939 and in much greater production starting in 1940 as a model under the Lincoln-Zephyr marque, and from 1941-1948 it was a model under the Lincoln marque when the Lincoln-Zephyr marque was discontinued at the end of 1940. In 1942, production of all American cars was halted due to the United States entering into World War II, and Ford converted many of its factories to the production of materials for the war. Production resumed shortly after the war ended, and Lincoln restarted manufacturing on their pre-war lines. However, the company decided to eliminate the Zephyr name altogether and those cars were simply called Lincolns. Therefore, the last actual Lincoln-Zephyr to be released was in early 1942. Production on these would end in 1948, the same year production of the original Lincoln Continental ended as well.

It was also during this period that Lincoln built its first car especially for Presidential use, a 1939 Lincoln V12 convertible called the "Sunshine Special" used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, signaling the beginning of a long history of providing official state limousines for the U.S. President. The original limousine remained in use until 1948, with additional models manufactured by Lincoln replacing it in the years to come, including the limousine president John F. Kennedy was driving in when he was assassinated in 1963.

Various other vehicle models were produced by the company in the late 1940’s and the 1950’s, including the Lincoln Sport, Lincoln Cosmopolitan, Lincoln Lido, Lincoln Capri, and the Lincoln Premiere. In 1954, Ford came to the conclusion that they wanted a superior and standalone up-market brand aside from Lincoln, so they decided to revive the Continental name and formed the Continental division. The Continental vehicle itself was to now be a separate marque, developed by the Continental division and absent of Lincoln branding. The first model released was the two-door hardtop coupe called the Continental Mark II, inspired by the original Lincoln Continental. Production of the model began in 1955 and was released to the public in 1956. The car featured an extremely unique design and at the time of its release, it was one of the most expensive cars in the world, owned predominantly by the wealthy and many celebrities. The vehicle technically was never a Lincoln and it was manufactured by the separate Continental division, but it was sold and maintained through Lincoln dealerships and featured many Lincoln components and features.

Beginning in mid-1956, the Continental division began being overseen by the Lincoln division and at the end of 1957, Ford discontinued the Continental division altogether and merged it back into the Lincoln brand for the 1958 year. The Mark II was also discontinued after the 1957 year as well. Starting in 1958, the Lincoln Continental became the flagship model for Lincoln, while the Mark continued to be sold as the Continental Mark, starting with the release of the original Continental Mark III that same year. In 1959, the original Continental Mark IV was released and this year also saw the reappearance of the Town Car nameplate on a special limousine-like version of the Mark IV. In 1960, the original Mark V was released, but production of the original Mark Series would end that year. In 1961, a completely redesigned Continental was released and for the first time, the names Lincoln and Continental would be paired together outside the Mark Series. The uniquely designed car was a big sales success and the Continental became Lincoln's flagship model until 1981.

In 1968, the Mark Series was re-introduced by Lincoln as a personal luxury car, starting with what would be known as the Lincoln Continental Mark III, released for sale in 1969. The Mark Series would keep the Continental prefix and were not really branded as Lincolns except for the framed, four-pointed star logo that the company adopted in the mid-1950’s that adorned them (the logo actually originated from the Continental brand itself and is still used by Lincoln today) until the Continental Mark VII, which was released in the 1980’s. After being dormant for 10 years, the Town Car nameplate re-emerged once again, as an interior option package for the 1969 Lincoln Continental. In 1970, the Lincoln Continental was redesigned once more and the Town Car nameplate appeared again as a trim option for that year. The Lincoln Continental would receive additional facelifts throughout the decade and the Town Car nameplate continued to appear through 1980 alongside it as the top-line trim option package for the car.

In 1977, Lincoln released the Lincoln Versailles, which was its first mid-sized luxury car. The car was not very successful in terms of sales and was discontinued after 1980. In 1981, the Lincoln Town Car full-size luxury sedan was introduced as its own line, separate from the Continental because the company was preparing to make the latter a smaller car than it had traditionally been. The Town Car would become Lincoln’s flagship model from this point forward until its demise in 2011; it is often converted into a stretch limousine and it became the most commonly used limousine and chauffeured car in the United States and Canada. The car would be redesigned in 1990 and again in 1998, and all three generations of the car received substantial facelifts halfway through its production cycle, in 1985, 1995, and 2003.

After a one year hiatus in 1981 the Continental, after three decades of being a full-sized model and serving as the largest Lincoln, became an entirely different mid-sized car starting in 1982. It would be redesigned numerous times over the next couple of decades and each of those also received facelifts as well. In 1984, Lincoln released the Continental Mark VII. Upon going on sale to the public in 1984, the vehicle was called the Continental Mark VII but the name was later shortened to just Mark VII after the Continental prefix was dropped shortly after the car’s release. The Mark Series of models was produced until 1998, with the last car in the series being the Lincoln Mark VIII, released in 1993.

In the late 1990’s, Lincoln was part of the Premier Automotive Group (PAG), an organizational division within the Ford Motor Company which was formed by Ford to oversee the business operations of its high-end automobile marques. The Lincoln lineup was completely overhauled during this time, beginning with a redesign of the Lincoln Town Car. Lincoln’s first SUV and its first four-wheel drive capable vehicle, the Lincoln Navigator full-size luxury SUV, was also released. The vehicle was a huge success and is still in production after receiving multiple redesigns since. The Lincoln LS mid-sized sedan was also released, winning Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” in 2000, and remained in production until 2006. However, Lincoln’s inclusion in the PAG was short lived and in 2002, it was pulled out and returned to Ford’s direct control due to Ford's new marketing strategy of separating its import brands from its domestic marques (the PAG was eventually dismantled in 2010). The company had great success in terms of sales during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, and even managed to beat out its main competitor Cadillac a couple of times, but sales eventually began to decline.

Also in 2002, after a few slow-selling years, Lincoln announced that it would be ending production of the Continental at the end of the year. The market for large front-wheel drive luxury cars had continued to dwindle, and this contributed to Lincoln’s decision to terminate it. 2002 also saw the release of the companies’ first luxury pickup truck, the Lincoln Blackwood. The vehicle tanked however and was discontinued in the United States after one year, though it went on to sell in Mexico for another year until being discontinued permanently after 2003. A second SUV called the Lincoln Aviator was released by the company shortly afterwards, but unlike the Navigator, it was not very successful and production of the vehicle ended in 2005.

Reorganization and Lincoln Today

Over time, Lincoln gradually began to transition into a much more global automotive brand, selling in many places around the world, but by the mid-2000’s, the company had fallen behind its Japanese, European, and American competitors due to a lack of fresh, new, and successful vehicles. In order to better compete, the company began to share parts and platforms with other Ford divisions’ so that they would be able to get new models into the marketplace much faster. The result was the release of many new Lincoln models over the next few years, starting with the Lincoln Mark LT pickup truck (discontinued in the U.S. and in Canada after 2008, but still sold in Mexico to this day), the Lincoln Zephyr in 2006 (renamed the Lincoln MKZ in 2007 which is also still in production), and the Lincoln MKX mid-size crossover vehicle in 2007 (also still in production). Subsequent models that were released were the Lincoln MKS sedan and the Lincoln MKT crossover vehicle, also all still in production. 2011 however marked the end of era when the Lincoln Town Car, the companies’ flagship model for so many years, was discontinued.

In December of 2012, the company returned to its heritage when Ford changed the name of the Lincoln division to the Lincoln Motor Company. This was done in order to reposition the brand and help differentiate Lincoln-branded products from Ford-branded products. Unique design, product development and sales teams were established solely for Lincoln as well. With this “re-launch,” Ford hoped to “return Lincoln to its original branding” and to “restore Lincoln to its luxury status.” The company also plans to release several vehicles in the next few years as well.

The Lincoln logo is a registered trademark of Ford Motor Company. All rights reserved.

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