Sunday, April 25, 2010

1946 Lincoln 4-door Sedan

"The selection of a fine motor car is based on its beauty, its performance, its thorough comfort . . . and its expression of true worth. It is natural that successful men and women should choose Lincoln . . . for the Lincoln happily combines those qualities to mark a leader."

The history of Lincoln is tied to the rather tragic story of Henry Leyland, nicknamed the "Grand Old Man of Detroit". In summary: in 1902, Leyland, a highly accomplished engineer who is famous for his obsession for precision manufacturing, is hired by a group of investors to evaluate the remains of the bankrupt Henry Ford Company, Ford's unsuccessful first endeavor. He persuades them to stay in the automotive business and together they create the Cadillac Motor Company. Cadillacs soon become famous for their impeccable quality. In 1909, Leyland's investors sell their shares to Henry Durant's General Motors, and Cadillac is integrated into the growing GM empire. For long time, Cadillac is the only profitable GM division, and effectively saves GM from bankruptcy.

Leyland still succeeds in building extremely well-engineered cars, although his efforts become increasingly torpedoed by GM's bean-counters. In 1917, over a dispute if Cadillac should join military production, he resigns. Leyland, a very patriotic citizen, immediately launches the Lincoln Motor Company and with immense federal loans they produce aircraft engines during the first world war. Soon, the war ends, and Lincoln has problems to repay the federal loans. Leyland decides to do what he does best, and begins car production with the acclaimed Lincoln Model L in 1920.

Ironically, the savior for Lincoln appears in person of Henry Ford, who once had to give his bankrupt company into Leyland's hands. In 1922, Ford buys Lincoln and immediately begins to push Leyland out of his company, replacing him with his son Edsel as the new president. Luckily, Edsel Ford continues to build quality cars, and Lincoln is established as one of America's luxury brands. Earlier Lincolns can best be described as homely, but soon after the world war, Lincolns should become recognized for their advanced styling and expensive construction.

Our pictured 1946 Lincoln 4-door Sedan, is one of these extremely massive and well-built, yet somehow fairly plush and tubby early Lincolns. Powered by a silky-smooth V-12 engine, it's chassis is based on the Lincoln Zephyr, a car that was introduced already in 1936, to be built through 1948.

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