Lincoln was founded in 1917 by Henry M. Leland and captured as the luxury brand of the Ford Motor Company in 1922. It's no surprise that Lincoln is rooted in luxury because Leland was also one of the founders of Cadillac. In July 1909 General Motors purchased Cadillac for $4.5 million. Through many ups and downs and a battle with GM president William Durant, Leland resigned in 1917. Henry Leland and his son Wilfred gathered a group of investors and launched their own company, the Lincoln Motor Company, in an effort to build engines for the war. When the government contract was revoked and the Lelands were left with war plane engines, an expensive factory and back taxes yet to be paid they reverted back to building luxury cars. However, Lincoln vehicles didn't fare well and soon the company took a turn for the worse and was forced into bankruptcy. The Ford Motor Company purchased the Lincoln motor company in 1922 and soon pushed the father and son team out replacing it with another, Henry and Edsel Ford.
By the end of 1923, the Ford Motor Company had turned the Lincoln division around and began operating at a profit, which wasn't hard to do when prices of vehicles sold for around $7,000. In 1932, Eugene Gregorie began designing the Continental, which would become one of Lincoln's top sellers. Gregorie was also coined for creating the Lincoln Zephyr which sported a 4.4 liter V12 and increased sales magnificently.
Continental became a separate model instead of being associated with the Zephyr series and soon production increased. Prices increased, but styling remained much of the same. By 1942, Lincoln introduced a new 305-cid V12 engine, increased the length and reduced the height but sales decreased and the last Lincoln rolled out of the factory on February 10, 1942 before productions was halted for the war.
After the war, vehicle design remained much of the same for Lincoln until they could present and all-new Lincoln in 1949. While the 1949 Lincoln's were slightly, design hadn't changed all that much. However, sales rose to a record 76,507 vehicles. During the 50's, Lincoln changed into very long and posh cruiser. From 1950 to 1954, Hydra-Matic transmissions where offered, which were purchases from General Motors. By 1952 sales were up a little, but Lincoln still fell behind their rival Cadillac. By 1957 Lincoln finally received an entirely new body style. It grew fins, acquired some styling touches and adopted the biggest engine in the business with 10:1 compression the 368 V8 delivered up to 300hp.
1958 however, wouldn't see as much success as the previous year. Car sales dropped by half, Ford was trailing Chevrolet in production, and consumers were considering more compact cars. Because of this, Lincoln hired a designer named Elwood Engle whose 2-year styling program would produce a new look for Lincoln in 1961. Engle, along with numerous other designers would receive the annual award of the Industrial Designers Institute for the '61 Lincoln – the Lincoln Continental. The public responded and sales exceeded 25,000. The Lincoln became noteworthy as a highly desirable luxury automobile, as well as being noted for providing official stat limousines for many U.S. President's.
1920-present: Ford Motor Company