History of Lincoln | Beckley, WV

History of Lincoln | Mountaineer Automotive | Beckley, WV 

When you think of Lincoln, you might know a few things, like it's a sub-brand of Ford Motor Company, or that it specializes in more luxurious, high-quality vehicles. But, where did Lincoln get its start? Originally, it wasn't owned by Ford at all, but a separate independent brand all its own. In 1917, Lincoln was founded as a luxury car brand by Henry M. Leland. Leland had been in the industry for a while, having left Cadillac after he helped co-found it. He named Lincoln after the late president, a man for which he had great admiration.


The company remained small throughout World War I, during which time Lincoln made most of its profits providing the Army with Liberty aircraft engines. When the war was over, Leland enlisted the assistance of his son in converting the company to a luxury automobile brand. Unfortunately, Lincoln met several financial obstacles that caused the company to slide into bankruptcy by 1922. That was when Ford made the decision to purchase the company and take Lincoln under its wing.


Ford engineers immediately went to work solving the styling and financial issues that stood in Lincoln's path, and the brand almost immediately began mass-producing luxury automobiles. Leland's original engines were used with few changes, as well, so he got to see the results of his labor come to fruition. Over the course of the next few years, Lincoln found success and expanded its lineup, including the Lincoln Flyer, once widely used as a police car across the US. However, the famous Lincoln Zephyr was finally released in 1936, preceding the eventual success of the Lincoln Continental.


Lincoln was the most successful luxury brand in the industry by 1998, and despite recent setbacks, the company hopes to rectify this by reinventing its lineup to appeal to modern sensibilities and consumers, with innovative technology and updated, contemporary designs.

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