Sunday, June 23, 2013

1951 Lincoln Sport Sedan

"Easily recognizable in these views of the Lincoln for 1951 are the sweep of its new full fender styling . . . the richness and spaciousness of its interior luxury . . . and above all, the authoritative impression that here, indeed, is a motor car built to master the highways. And so it is . . . with its deep cushioned ride, the poise of its springing, and the abundant spirit and power of the Lincoln 'InVincible Eight' engine, so silent in operation, so magnificent in performance."

Our pictured Lincoln Sport Sedan from 1951 was jockeyed around by a young and eager driver and thus really lived up to its name. The deep note of its V-8 engine explained the spinning wheels on each slightest bit of gravel. Not that this is a sports car: after all, a Lincoln was intended and built to carry aristocrats or the President of the United States. But if you call out the reserves, as the youngster demonstrated, you can have a lot of fun with it...

Incidentally, this generation of Lincoln cars, introduced in 1949, originally was meant to become a Ford. Developed under styling chief E. T. "Bob" Gregorie, its design was already finished when Henry Ford II replaced his father at the helm of the company. He deemed the prospective Ford being too big to compete with the upcoming Chevrolets, and commissioned a complete restyling. This decision led to a fierce "styling war" between external design consultant George W. Walker and Ford's own design team, who quickly had to come up with new proposals for the 1949 Ford. Walker's proposal finally was chosen for production, while Gregorie's original design now would be shared between Mercury and the entry level Lincoln, because the engineering of this car had already progressed too much to stop the development. Good so, we think, because the Mercury and the Lincoln should become two of the most elegant looking cars of the late 40s, and their styling a big departure from the stuffy previous generation.

Ahead of the windshield, the Lincoln was seven inches longer than the Mercury, to make room for the bigger Lincoln "InVincible Eight" V-8 engine. Still, passenger space was the same in both cars. On that account, the cheaper Mercury actually was the smarter buy if brand image wasn't an issue.

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