Lincoln Continental V12
In 1939, Lincoln introduced the Continental, and it is still the nameplate that most people commonly associate with this brand. The company wanted a car with a European or Continental appearance and style. So, they took a Zephyr chassis and a V12 engine and put it in a gorgeous coupe or convertible body.
The Continental even featured a spare wheel on the trunk, which later became a trademark detail on many future Continental cars. This first-generation Continental proved to be popular since the V12 engine had loads of power and the car looked like million dollars while cruising the streets. The production lasted until 1948. Interestingly, it was the last V12 car produced by a major U.S. manufacturer.
After World War II, Lincoln realized the other manufacturers like Cadillac and Packard introduced new designs, which attracted more customers. So, they decided to introduce a new, full-size luxury car they named the Cosmopolitan in 1949. The design was more advanced than anybody expected with its sleek and aerodynamic looks, distinctive front end and low roofline.
And better still, under the hood was a Ford Flathead V8 displacing 337 cubic inches and delivering 152 HP. The market loved the new Cosmopolitan and all its variants, especially because of its high-power ratings and exciting performance.
In 1952, Lincoln presented the Capri, a new two-door model. It featured the new 317 V8 with 160 HP and a new ball-joint suspension. The combination of power and improved handling proved to be great for road races. In fact, the Capri was dominant on the gruesome Mexican Carrera Panamericana race in the early â50s.
The Capri’s power steadily grew, reaching 225 HP in 1955. The V8 earned it the nickname, “Hot Rod Lincoln” thanks to its decent performance and success in road races abroad.
Continental Mark II
Despite the fact Continental built this car as Ford’s short-lived luxury brand, it was engineered and produced by Lincoln. So, it is a part of the Lincoln model lineup and heritage. But in the mid-50s, Ford decided to establish a separate brand they called the Continental Division. They wanted to produce new luxury cars to position above the Lincoln brand.
The success of the original Thunderbird showed the way. So, Ford decided to build a bigger, more advanced, more expensive and prestigious luxury coupe. The first and only car was the famed Continental Mark II, which they introduced in 1955. Ford`s idea was to present a superb luxury coupe with the finest technology and comfort to market as a separate brand.
But even though the idea sounded good, the market response wasn’t so great. So, they shut down the Continental Division five years later due to the disappointing sales of the Mark II coupe. Sadly, that was despite it being one of the finest American cars they ever made and the ultimate Lincoln.
Lincoln Continental Convertible 1959
Despite the failure of the 1956 Continental Mk II, Lincoln continued to offer big and luxurious cars. So, for the 1959 model year, they presented the Continental two-door sedan. It came with enormous dimensions and a 430 V8 engine.
The car had a 130-inch wheel base, which meant it was one of the longest vehicles Ford ever produced. But best of all, they filled it with all the luxury items and creature comforts of the era.
Back in the late â50s, the Ford luxury division, Lincoln, was much behind Cadillac. And not only in sales numbers but also in popularity and style. Despite building big luxurious cruisers with powerful engines, those late â50s Lincolns just weren’t as nice looking as their comparable Cadillacs.
So, Ford decided that this has to change, and the 1961 Lincoln Continental was born. When Lincoln showed the new model, the automotive public was stunned. The beautiful elegance of the styling, conservative use of chrome, straight lines and futuristic design transformed the four-door luxury model into a work of modern art. All of a sudden, their sales doubled. In fact, the new Continental became the official car of the White House because of its stately appearance and restrained elegance.
But the best exterior feature was the suicide doors, with the rear doors opening towards the traffic. Of course, this wasn’t the best solution, but it only added to the charm of the Continental. Interestingly, Lincoln offered a cool-looking four-door convertible model that proved to be popular and quite unique on the market.
Lincoln Continental Mark III
The Lincoln division of the Ford Motor Company was enjoying considerable success during the â60s. That is mostly thanks to the fantastic Continental sedan they introduced in 1961. In fact, it was a landmark model in many aspects. With healthy sales numbers, Lincoln turned to the personal luxury market with the innovative and advanced 1969 Mark III coupe.
It proved to be one of the best personal luxury cars the Ford Motor Company ever made. They debuted it in late 1968, building the Mark III on a Thunderbird chassis and using the new and powerful 460 V8 engine. Since the new model used much of their existing mechanics, Lincoln concentrated on the design and equipment in which they excelled.
The front was dominated with a big chrome grille, reminiscent of those Rolls-Royce models. The hideaway headlights were an interesting touch and the trunk had a cool-looking spare wheel hump with the Continental lettering. And all that, along with the vinyl top made the Mark III design unique and special.
But better yet, the buyers had a long list of optional extras to choose from. Also, this was the first U.S.-made car with radial tires as standard. They replaced the Mark III with the Mark IV in 1972 and it was one of the finest personal luxury automobiles of the period.
Lincoln Continental Town Coupe
The â70s brought many changes to the American automotive landscape. And Lincoln adapted by introducing bigger, heavier, comfortable sedans and coupes. The domestic luxury car buyers demanded such vehicles and the late â70s Continental Town Coupe was the perfect example.
It was an enormous boat of a car, with a long hood, soft suspension and big 460 or 400 V8 up front. They filled the car with every possible convenience option, and it was a typical cruiser of the day. However, due to the fuel crisis, by the late â70s, for Lincolns like this, their days were numbered.
Lincoln Town Car
The early â80s brought the necessary downsizing to the whole American car industry. So, enormous cars with monster engines were a thing of past. And Lincoln responded by presenting the popular Town Car model they built on a Ford Panther platform.
It got its power from a 5.0-liter V8. The Town Car was a recognizable boxy shaped sedan with a big chrome grille and bumpers as well as a comfortable ride. It was a typically-styled luxury model and buyers loved its proportions, soft ride and plush interior.
The SUV craze started long before they presented the Navigator. But this model was so perfectly describable of the class, it became a legend of the segment. Big, luxurious, expensive, powerful and prestigious, the Navigator was all that an SUV needed to be. Besides that, the Navigator had style and attitude.
It was equally at home in the rich suburbs as it was in the shady downtown alleys. You could see soccer moms and gangsters driving the same model, which was quite interesting. Even today, the sight of the original Lincoln Navigator demands respect. Lincoln introduced it in 1998, and the Navigator was a sales hit.
But best of all, it came with a long list of options, drivetrain configurations and trim packages. And the 4.6-liter V8 with 300 HP was enough for most tasks. Someday, most people will consider the Navigator to be a valuable classic in the SUV genre. So, you should grab a well-preserved one-owner model today for a low price while you still can.
Lincoln Town Car
The 1997 to 2011 Lincoln Town Car was possibly the last of the classic Lincoln models. This is since it was a big rear wheel drive sedan with a V8 engine up front and a comfortable ride. Like the previous generations, the third-gen Town Car used Panther platform they discontinued the same year when Town Cars stopped rolling off the assembly line.
However, despite being a legendary and recognizable model, the third generation Town Car was truly the last of its kind. Still elegant and luxurious vehicles, the last Town Cars were no longer as prestigious. Also, they mostly used them as limo services. The market started changing and looking for other types of cars so Lincoln had to adapt to survive.
You may be surprised to learn that Lincoln made a pickup truck for one year only in the form of the Blackwood model. Back in the early â2000s, Lincoln offered the popular and successful Navigator, which was the golden standard of luxury SUVs at the moment. Wanting to capitalize on that success, somebody at Lincoln suggested they should build a pickup version to expand the range.
The idea seemed plausible so soon, they sent the first prototypes for testing. The Lincoln used a Ford F-150 platform with the front end and cabin of a Navigator. Also, it came with a custom truck bed with a tailgate that opened like doors and even had a power cover. The finished product looked like a Navigator truck and it was luxurious.
But it failed as a truck since the truck bed was small and unusable. However, the biggest problem was the price as the new 2002 Lincoln Blackwood started at a whopping $52,000. This was an extremely high price for an unusable truck with a Navigator fascia. As you could expect, the market was not amused. In fact, during its 15 months in production, the only made 3,356.
The first of the modern Lincolns was the LS they introduced in 2000. Immediately, it became one of the most interesting American sedans. The LS was much smaller, nimbler and modern looking than other Lincoln products since it used Jaguar S-Type chassis and engines.
However, the LS looked distinctively American and buyers loved the performance, equipment and driving dynamics. In fact, it was totally different from the other big and heavy sedans Lincoln produced.
Lincoln finally realized that the market had changed, and big heavy sedans are no longer in demand. So, for 2010 they presented their first crossover model they named the MKT. The MKT was a Ford Edge under the sheet metal but with Lincoln’s unique touches and details.
But the real reason the MKT is on this list is that it helped Lincoln survive the economic recession of 2009/10. In fact, it earned enough money for Ford, so they decided to invest in the brand rather than closing it down like Mercury.
The 10th and latest generation Continental made a triumphant return to the Lincoln lineup in 2016 after 15 years of absence. Ford planned this model for a long time. However, waiting paid off since the 2016 Continental is a truly fantastic luxury sedan that could rival any luxury car from Europe or Japan.
They built it on Ford’s modern and advanced CD4 platform featuring V6 engines with up to 400 HP, as well as a rear or all-wheel drivetrain option. As you would expect, the luxury levels and available equipment are out of this world. Apart from the finest leather and latest in-car electronics, it has a hand treated wood and bespoke interior components.
Apparently, Ford plans to kill all of its sedans, so the Continental will not have a successor. Even so, this is a fantastic way to say goodbye to one of the greatest nameplates in the American car industry.
These are 18 of the best cars the Lincoln Motor Company ever produced. Which one was your favorite? These iconic cars will all become desirable classics someday if they aren’t already. So, you should hurry and grab the one you want before the availability goes way down and the prices skyrocket.