Thursday, December 2, 2010

Presidential Cars (Lincoln)

Lincoln Limousine used by President Calvin Coolidge, c. 1924

Lincoln has a long history of providing official state limousines for the U.S. President. The first car specially built for Presidential use was the 1939 Lincoln V12 convertible called the "Sunshine Special" used by Franklin D. Roosevelt. It remained in use until 1948.

A 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan called the "Bubble Top" was used by Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and once by Johnson. It was retired in 1965.


The Lincoln limousine made famous in Dallas was a 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible, custom built by Hess and Eisenhart of Cincinnati, and known as the SS-100-X. The Secret Service had the car fitted with a 1962 grill for aesthetic reasons. It was in use from 1961 to 1977, having undergone extensive alterations which made it an armor-plated sedan after Kennedy's assassination. A 1969 Lincoln was used by Nixon and a 1972 Lincoln used by Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush. A 1989 Lincoln was the last Presidential Lincoln as of 2004. Cadillac supplied Presidential limousines in 1983, 1993, 2001, and 2004.

The John F. Kennedy limousine also included a "Plexiglas" bubble top to be used in the event of inclement weather. The 1961 vehicle was notorious for its inadequate cooling of the rear of the passenger cabin while the bubble top was in place, particularly in sunshine. In order to prevent excessive heat and discomfort to the passengers, the top was often removed prior to parades, as was the case in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Though it was always assumed that President Lyndon Baines Johnson had the car destroyed after the assassination of President Kennedy, the 100-X was turned over to the Secret Service, Army Materials Research Center, Hess and Eisenhart, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, and Ford Motor Company for retrofitting of armor plating, permanent sedan roof, new interior, improved air-conditioning system, electronic communications equipment, bulletproof glass, a new paint treatment, as well as cosmetic alterations to remove damage incurred during the assassination, among other changes. The car is also on display at the Henry Ford Museum.

The Johnson Administration also used three 1965 Lincoln Continental Executive Limousines. Two limousines for the President and one for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, as well as a 1968 "stretch" Lincoln to be used in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. This vehicle is on display at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

The 100-X was modified again in 1967. Later, under President Richard Nixon, the large one-piece glass roof was replaced with a smaller glass area and a hinged roof panel. It remained in service until 1977 and resides in its final configuration at the Henry Ford Museum.

President Nixon ordered a 1969 model limousine, through Lehman-Peterson of Chicago. This vehicle also had an added sunroof so that Nixon could stand upright when appearing before parade-goers if desired. This vehicle was equipped with several features, such as retractable hand grips and running boards, options later copied by Hess and Eisenhart. This car is now located at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.

In 1974, Ford supplied a 1972 Continental model which was stretched to 22 feet (7 m), outfitted with armor plating, bullet resistant glass and powered by a 460 cu in (7.5 L) V8 engine. This limousine was used by Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan, and is on display at the Henry Ford Museum. This model was also altered a number of times during its history, including a full body redesign in 1979. This was the limousine that Reagan was about to enter during his assassination attempt in 1981.

Source: Ford

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lincoln Futura

1955 Lincoln Futura Concept

The Lincoln Futura was a concept car designed by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company. It was built by Ghia entirely by hand in Italy at a cost of $250,000 and displayed on the auto show circuit in 1955.

Futura's styling was extravagantly impractical even by the standards of the '50s, with a double, clear-plastic canopy top, exaggerated hooded headlight pods, and very large, outward-canted tailfins at both ends of the vehicle. Nevertheless, the Futura had a complete powertrain and was fully operable in contrast to many show cars then and now. Its original color was white, and was one of the first pearlescent color treatments, using ground pearl to achieve the paint effect. The Futura was powered by a 368 cubic inch Lincoln engine and powertrain; the chassis was that of a Lincoln Mark II.

The Futura was a success as a show car, garnering a great deal of favorable publicity for Ford. It was released as a model kit and a toy, and in a much more subdued form its headlight and tailfin motifs would appear on production Lincolns for 1956 and 1957. It even played a prominent part in a movie, 1959's It Started with a Kiss, starring Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford. For the movie, it was painted red, as the pearlescent finish did not photograph well.

After that, though, the car would logically have been forgotten and perhaps destroyed, as most show cars of that time were. However, it was somehow sold into the hands of George Barris, one of the great auto customizers. As the car was never titled and was therefore uninsurable, it was parked behind Barris' shop where it sat idle for several years and was allowed to deteriorate.

In 1966 Barris was requested to design a theme car for the Batman television series, Barris then contracted stylist Dean Jeffries to build a car for the show. Jeffries worked on the design and initial fabrication for the Batmobile, using a 1959 Cadillac, but when the studio wanted the car faster than he could deliver, he turned it back to George Barris. With the short notice, Barris thought the Futura might work well, and using Jeffries initial car, decided that its unusual winged shape would be an ideal starting point for the Batmobile. Barris hired Bill Cushenberry to do the metal modifications to the car.

Barris went on to build three fiberglass replicas using the frames and running gear from 1966 Ford Galaxie cars for the show circuit, three of which were covered with a felt-like flocking finish in the 1970's. Barris later acquired a fourth replica, a metal car built on a 1958 Thunderbird.


In the 1990's, Bob Butts (under George Barris' consent) made replicas of the Batmobiles. He took one of the Barris-built replica Batmobiles and made a mold of it. Based on pictures from when the Futura was shown in the 1950's, he retrofitted one of his Batmobile replicas into the Futura. He only created one copy and since the original Futura became the Batmobile, this is the only known Futura in existence.

Bob Butts Replica as seen in Ohio November 7th 2009.

Source: Internet

Lincoln Versailles

The Lincoln Versailles was the first mid-size car from Ford Motor Company's Lincoln luxury division. It was sold from 1977 to 1980, as a four-door sedan only, with a total production of 50,156. The Versailles was largely a response to the great success of the smaller Cadillac Seville which had appeared in 1975. The Seville was based upon the Chevrolet Nova and became an instant hit. Ford responded by choosing the Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch as the base for a new mid-size Lincoln sedan.



Ford did not have as much development capital to spend on its vehicles as General Motors, which was a problem that has often led to the similar bodies of Ford and Mercury models. Until the Versailles, however, care had generally been taken to give Lincolns a distinct appearance and feel, in order to hide their sometimes humble origins although by the seventies the similarities were very apparent. But the Versailles was visibly a Ford Granada clone and quickly became one of Lincoln's greatest sales disasters.

Unable to afford a new body, Lincoln stylists attempted to disguise this fact with a Lincoln-esque grille and wheels, along with a "humped" trunk lid that mimicked the spare tire bulge of the Continental Mark coupe. Whether these elements really worked on a smaller vehicle could be debated, but what was in between was indisputably Granada. Doors and windows were interchangeable, the roofline was identical and inside, the potential luxury buyer faced the same dashboard design as the budget-minded Granada customer. Perhaps most tellingly, the Granada windshield wipers remained present and exposed, long after hidden wipers had become expected not just on luxury cars, but even on intermediates. Even more, the base model Versailles for model year 1977 was exactly the same car as the top of the line 1976 Mercury Grand Monarch (which could have been purchased for 50% less than the Lincoln counterpart).

 1980 Lincoln Versailles rear, showing extended roofline and continental trunklid

A somewhat longer, more formal roofline (via a hidden fiberglass cap) was grafted on for 1979, with a carriage-style landau vinyl roof. The car was also given some genuine firsts. The Versailles was the first American car to use halogen headlights and the first to use clearcoat paint, which would shortly spread throughout the industry. Buyers evidently noticed, because sales went up to 21,000, then virtually stopped. The Versailles was withdrawn before the end of the 1980 model year with only about 4,000 produced, although prototypes for the next generation design had already been built.

Unlike other Lincoln vehicles, and the Cadillac Seville of the same period (the "Elegante" package from 1978), the Versailles was available in standard sedan form only with no "designer editions" or luxury packages adding to its title (i.e-"(Title) Edition").

Lincoln remained out of the luxury mid-size market for a couple of years, then re-entered the market in 1982 with the downsized Lincoln Continental.

Technical specifications

The car's mechanicals, along with its body, were somewhat lackluster. The standard 351 cu in (5.8 L) V8 was carbureted, as opposed to the Seville's fuel injected 350 cu in (5.7 L). Even worse, Ford's situation with regard to the tightening fuel-economy standards was precarious, as it had not been able to afford as fast a downsizing of its line as GM had managed. Consequently, almost immediately the Versailles was cut back to the smaller 302 in³ V8, which was very common in the Granada.

The rear differential used in the Versailles was the tried and true Ford 9-inch, but equipped with rear disc brakes, replacing the drums on the Granada and the Monarch. A Versailles complete rear end assembly or brake setup can be fitted to many other 1960's & 1970's Ford products, making them a popular swap.

At least in its brake setup, the Versailles did measure up to its Cadillac rival. A unique and rigorous quality-control regime was also used at the factory, according to advertising. The car sold 15,000 units in its first year, compared to the Seville's 45,000 that same year. For 1978, sales were about half of the mediocre 1977figure. The car's close relationship to the Granada had an unforeseen consequence. Although the Versailles was a sedan-only model, its trim and mechanical parts would bolt right onto a Granada coupe. An unknown number of these two-door conversions were made by owners with a sense of humor, particularly as donor Versailles began to depreciate and show up in wrecking yards.


Today, the Versailles' lack of success is working for it. The fairly small number produced has given the car rarity value, and Versailles values are reportedly going up. As the enthusiast site puts it, "Finding few Versailles buyers during the late 1970s, today it is being viewed as a future classic. Low mileage and restored Versailles are, now, being advertised with list prices from $5,500 to $10,000."

In early calendar 2005, as a 2006 model, the Lincoln Zephyr (shortly renamed the Lincoln MKZ) was introduced, an update of the Versailles' basic concept in that it was very much an up-trimmed Ford (in this case, the Ford Fusion).

Source: Internet

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ford Charts Turn-Around For Lincoln With Seven Revamped Models

Ford Motor Co. must establish Lincoln as a solid luxury brand in the United States before taking it abroad, CEO Alan Mulally said Thursday.

That could take five years -- enough time for Lincoln to introduce seven new or refreshed models.

"Once we get Lincoln going in the U.S. and people appreciate it, I think there will be a lot of customer pull around the world for Lincoln," Mulally told reporters at the Paris Motor Show.

Lincoln has fallen from the top-selling luxury brand in the country, with peak sales of 231,660 in 1990, to No. 6 in 2009, with sales of 82,800, according to Autodata Corp.

Key to reviving Lincoln's appeal, and elevating its status, is reducing the number of U.S. dealers -- 1,187 today -- and demanding higher dealer standards to better compete with foreign brands.

Ford has said it won't terminate Lincoln dealers, but it is banking that many will voluntarily step aside after deciding they can't afford to make the investment that Ford will require.

"This is a pivotal time," said Bob Tasca Jr., president of Tasca Automotive Group in Cranston, R.I., and chairman of the Lincoln Mercury Dealer Council. "Opportunity comes once in a brand's lifetime."

Much of the campaign to reinvent Lincoln centers on dealers, who will meet in Dearborn next week to learn what Ford expects of them.

"Company leaders and select dealer representatives are working together to help create a new and improved luxury ownership experience for future customers," said Lincoln spokesman Christian Bokich.

Details are being kept under wraps. But since June, senior Ford managers have met four times with a Lincoln advisory committee. There is an ongoing debate about what would constitute the optimum number of Lincoln dealers, as Ford uses the year-end demise of its Mercury line as a springboard to rehabilitate the brand.

Analysis of the luxury market suggests Lincoln should be pared to about 350 outlets in major markets, to directly compete with the upscale foreign brands. But its domestic rival, General Motors Co.'s Cadillac, has 1,260 U.S. dealers.

"Over 1,000 places to buy Lincoln are too many and it isn't working," said Tasca, but 300 may not be enough to sustain the brand. "There will be a place in the middle that would work."

Tasca says Ford "won't put a gun to anyone's head. It will be up to the individual dealer to make a business decision."

There are 264 dealers who sell Lincoln and Mercury in their showrooms. Some will fold without the volume boost from Mercury, others likely will consolidate with Ford franchises.

But hundreds, especially in smaller markets, could decide the return is not worth the investment that will be asked of them.

Much of Ford's focus is on determining the optimal number of Lincoln dealers in the top 30 metropolitan markets. Half of the brand's sales are from rural dealers in cities without competition from luxury foreign brands.

Ford must align Lincoln dealers with where luxury buyers are concentrated, said analyst Rebecca Lindland of IHS Automotive in Lexington, Mass.

"They have to do significant regional studies before closing doors to avoid a backlash because people are used to a dealer around the corner," she said.

Dealers to get overview
In Dearborn Monday, dealers will get an overview of the luxury landscape, comparing Lincoln with benchmark brands such as Lexus, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. The next day, they'll hear details about the plan to make Lincoln competitive, covering everything from dealership facilities, signs and furniture to staff training.

"Lincoln must portray an upscale image to go head-to-head with the European luxury brands," said Randy Berlin, a director with dealer consultant Urban Science of Detroit.

A Lincoln franchise needs to be clearly delineated from the Ford brand, preferably with its own entrance and ambiance, Berlin said. "The worst scenario is someone who diminishes the brand for others," he said.

"You won't see a gorilla on the roof of a Lincoln dealer during a sale."

Ford has not set investment figures because there are many variables, Mark Fields, Ford president of the Americas, said recently.

Sheldon Sandler, CEO of dealer financial consultants Bel Air Partners LLC in Skillman, N.J., estimated the cost of refurbishing a dealership at $500 million to $2 million. A new standalone showroom could run as high as $5 million, depending on real estate prices, he said.

"It will be up to the individual dealer to decide if they can make it without Mercury and how much they need to invest in Lincoln for the future," Tasca said.

"Some will say they can't make it."

Lou Stanford, owner of Varsity Lincoln in Novi, knows it will be tough after losing Mercury.

"It will be a struggle until we get more products," he said. "I have no intention of closing or consolidating."

The overhaul will be long and expensive, Lindland said, noting that Cadillac's rehabilitation took a decade and cost billions.

And it will take time, Berlin said: "Consumers need experience with the product and ownership before they can say 'Lincoln' and 'BMW' in the same breath."

Source: The Detroit News

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lincoln Premiere

1956 Lincoln Premiere coupe

The Lincoln Premiere was a luxury car sold by Ford Motor Company's Lincoln-Mercury division. It was produced in both 2 and 4 door versions both seating 6 people. A limousine version was also offered, which had the same wheelbase as the sedan version, but its cabin extended further back, allowing for more space for rear passengers. The limousine version also had a division window. The Premiere was sold in the 1956 to 1960 model years, inclusive, and was positioned below the company's Continental and above the Capri. The vehicle featured a 6.0 L V8 and was approximately 223" (5664 mm) long. The vehicle weighed 4357 lb (1976.3 kg) and had a price tag of approximately $4,600 in 1956, which equals roughly $31,730 in 2005 dollars.

The Premiere was known for its stylish exterior, high-grade interior and some unique features. For example, when equipped with optional "factory air conditioning," the vents were located overhead, much like those in an aircraft. The cool air was directed to the roof via a pair of clear plastic ducts visible through the rear window at each side, connecting upward from the rear package tray.

Source: Internet

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ford kills Mercury, will make Lincoln the most efficient luxury brand

Lincoln Concept C

Ford Motor Company is finally getting serious about making Lincoln a top notch premium brand to compete with the likes of Lexus and Cadillac. To make that happen, the Blue Oval will introduce seven all new or heavily refreshed models to the Lincoln lineup in the next four years, each of which it claims will have segment-leading fuel efficiency.

245 Ford's plans for Lincoln include offering Ecoboost engines in every model as well as new exclusive powerplants and advanced transmissions. Ford has already previously committed to having six-speed automatic transmissions in all of its models by 2012 and the rejuvenated Lincolns will likely be the first to move to seven- or eight-speed gearboxes. Even the massive Navigator full-size SUV will get an Ecoboost V6 sometime after it debuts in the F150 pickup truck later this year.

This announcement also brings confirmation that Lincoln will get its first ever C-segment vehicle built on the next-generation Ford Focus platform. That car may be based on the Concept C that was shown at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. Lincoln is also getting its hybrid this fall when the MKZ hybrid goes on sale.

In order to free up the engineering resources to put all of this effort into Lincoln, Ford finally bit the bullet today and pulled the plug on the Mercury brand. Mercury hasn't had an exclusive model since the Cougar was discontinued in 2002, and its sales have dropped by more than 70 percent in the past several years. Mercury production will end later this year.

Source: Green Autoblog

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Can Automatic Car Washes Damage Your Car?

Automatic/drive-through car washes are more popular than ever because they save time and hassle.

But are automatic car washes safe for your car? In fact, in many instances, they are the "safest" course of action for many car owners who want to keep their car clean.

In fact, automatic car washes can be safer for your car's finish than washing your car yourself because do-it-yourselfers sometimes don't use enough water to safely remove dirt; or they wash the car in direct sunlight -- which can burn spots in the paint. Or they use the wrong type of soap -- such as dishwashing detergent, which removes protective wax and leaves a chalky residue on the finish. Or any one of several common mistakes can end up doing more harm than good.

Cars by the numbers:

3 Most Popular Muscle Cars 6 Cheap Cars with Great Gas Mileage10 Fastest Sports Cars Keeping your car clean and the finish looking good can also mean higher resale value when it comes time to get a new car. All else being equal, a car with faded paint and a dingy overall look sells for 10-20 percent less than an otherwise identical vehicle that just looks nicer.

So how often should you have your vehicle washed? That depends on how quickly it gets dirty -- and how dirty it gets. For some cars, once a month or so is sufficient -- especially if the car is lightly used and kept in a garage. But some cars will need a bath more often -- especially those that are parked outdoors where they're exposed to bird droppings, tree sap and so on, or driven in areas with very long/severe winters, where the roads are salted when it snows.

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to automatic car washes:

Be sure it's "brushless" -- Some older car washes still use abrasive brushes (instead of cloth), which can leave small scratches in a car's finish. On older cars with so-called "single stage" paint jobs, light scratches could usually be buffed out; but all modern cars use a "base/clear" system with a thin, transparent layer of clear coat on top of the underlying color coat to provide the shine. Once the thin clear coat is damaged, often the only way to restore the shine is to repaint the damaged area.

Another safe bet is "touchless" car washes that use only high-pressure water jets and detergents to clean the car -- without physically touching it at all. There is virtually no chance of your vehicle suffering any cosmetic damage this way. Some areas have "self-service" coin-operated hand washes, which are great for spraying away heavy dirt buildup. You'll usually need to bring your own bucket, wash cloth/sponge and dry towels, though.

Watch out for the after-wash wipe-down -- Most drive-through washes use a strong jet of heated air to force excess water off after the car goes through the wash. Many full-service car washes will then have you drive the car (or drive it for you, in some cases) away from the wash area to be hand-wiped by attendants. This is usually OK -- provided the attendants are using fresh, clean (and soft) towels to do so. Be alert on busy days, when lots of other cars have gone ahead of you. If you see the attendants using obviously dirty old rags to wipe the car down, you should say "thanks, but no thanks" -- and drive away wet. Dirt and other abrasives in the rags can scratch the finish just like sandpaper. Simply driving away from the wash and letting air flow over the car to dry any remaining water won't hurt anything -- and is the best guarantee of a no-damage experience. Any lingering streaks can easily be cleaned up at home yourself using readily available spray cleaners designed for just this purpose. (Honda Pro Spray Cleaner & Polish is excellent for this; it also provides UV protection and easily and safely cleans off bugs, tar and road grime, etc. without water.)

Hold off on the extras -- A "works" car wash can cost twice as much as the basic wash, but you may not be getting twice the wash for your money. Undercarriage rustproofing, for example, is of dubious value. Effective rustproofing is applied to brand-new metal, in order to seal it from contact with external corrosives such as road salt. Most new cars are extensively rustproofed at the factory during the assembly process; further "treatment" is superfluous -- and a money-waster.

On the other hand, if the wash offers an undercarriage bath, it may be worth the additional cost. Jets of water sprayed directly underneath the car can break loose accumulated crud that would be difficult (and unpleasant) to try to remove yourself using a garden hose. It's also important that underbody drainage holes not be obstructed by mud and other buildup; accumulated moisture can accelerate rust or (in the case of the air conditioning system) lead to the formation of mold in the system. The undercarriage bath should help keep those drain holes clear.

Do, however, think twice about spray-on wax. This typically adds at least a couple bucks to the cost of the wash and while it doesn't hurt anything, it's no substitute for hand-applied polish/wax. Spray-on "wax" may provide a short-term gloss enhancement, but doesn't protect against UV sun damage the way hand-applied wax does. Ditto the cost of having an attendant spray Armor All (or a similar protectant) on your tires to make them shiny. The cost for this extra can be equivalent to the cost of buying an entire bottle of the stuff on your own.

Wheel and tire cleaning is an exception; the heavy-duty cleaners used by the car wash do a great job of removing baked-on brake dust, etc., that can otherwise be a real chore to clean on your own, using over-the-counter cleaners, a hand brush and a hose. It's especially important to keep aluminum alloy wheels clean; brake dust can eventually permanently stain them if it's not regularly cleaned away.


Make sure your car's OK before you leave -- While many car washes will have a disclaimer posted that they are "not responsible for any damages that may occur" as a result of running your car through their wash, that doesn't mean you should automatically absolve them of any damage their equipment or personnel may have caused. If you notice something, ask to see the manager and point it out to him; whether "legally liable" or not, he may offer to fix the problem in the interest of customer relations. And even if he does not, you can still pursue the matter with a higher-up (such as the company headquarters, if the wash is a franchise, as many associated with big-name gas stations often are). If you have a cell phone with a camera, use it to take a photo of the damage in order to support your claim. And it ought to go without saying that you should never leave your purse or other valuables in the car if you use a wash where an attendant will have access to the vehicle's interior.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lincoln Marketing Targeting "Gen Xers"

Adopting a youthful, sporty image worked wonders for Cadillac, so it's no surprise to hear that Lincoln has decided to pursue a younger demographic with its new marketing campaign.

Lincoln is reportedly interested in targeting its ad materials to the "Gen X" crowd. Ranging between the ages of 35 and 45, these buyers are seen as key to Lincoln because they're reaching their earnings potential, and that they don't seem to have an opinion - good or bad - on the brand.

"They are wide open to the message," says Lincoln Marketing Manager Thomais Zaremba. "We have no baggage with them."

Lincoln's spacey ad campaigns are chock full of slick graphics and CGI, and feature '80's songs performed by modern alt-rock groups like Shiny Toy Guns and Australian singer Sia. Zaremba hopes the ads will appeal to the "children of the '80s," and make Lincoln's presence known to a group that may also be considering a Lexus, Audi, or BMW for the first time.

Source: Internet

Lincoln History

Source: Lincoln

1917 The Lincoln Motor Company is founded in Detroit by Henry Leland to build Liberty aircraft engines for the First World War.
1920 The first Lincoln car, the 'L' series, is introduced.

1922 The Ford Motor Company acquires Lincoln at the urging of Edsel Ford.

1936 The Lincoln Zephyr, the first successful streamlined car, is introduced.

1940 Zephyr becomes the basis for the original Lincoln Continental - a car Frank Lloyd Wright declared to be the most beautiful in the world. It also was the first vehicle honored for design excellence by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

1956 The Continental Mark II, which was developed under the direction of Edsel Ford's son, William Clay Ford, establishes the classic hood, cabin and deck proportions of the modern luxury coupe.

1961 A new Continental is introduced. It remains one of the most enduring designs of all time. Its sheer body surfaces, unique center-opening doors and chrome accented upper shoulder line established a signature look for Lincoln that was totally unique.

1968 The Lincoln Mark III, the first of a new generation of Mark-series coupes, is introduced.
1970 The Continental is redesigned. The new car is built on a 127-inch wheelbase frame and offers V-8 engines that range in size up to 460 cubic inches (7.5-liters). Throughout the 1970s, Continental is offered with a Town Car package that included special leather seats and wood appliqu├ęs in the cabin.

1981 The Lincoln Town Car is introduced as its own line. The new car is built on a 117.3-inch wheelbase and is powered by a 5.0-liter V-8 engine.

1990 The second-generation Town Car is introduced. The car is powered by the venerable 5.0-liter V-8. The wheelbase is unchanged. For the first time, Town Car is offered with dual front air bags, speed-sensitive power steering and rear air spring suspension. Anti-lock brakes are optional.

1998 The third-generation Town Car is introduced. The wheelbase is slightly longer than the previous car, but the exterior design is more contemporary. The engine is a modern overhead cam 4.6-liter V-8. A Watt's linkage rear suspension and other chassis refinements are adopted.

The Navigator is introduced. As the first American luxury sport-utility vehicle, it became an overnight success. Fully 60 percent of Navigator customers are new to the Lincoln brand.

1998 - 2001 Lincoln Mercury relocates its headquarters from Detroit to Irvine, Calif., in the heart of the country's largest market for luxury vehicles. Its permanent headquarters opens in 2001.

1999 The Lincoln LS is introduced and is named Motor Trend's 2000 'Car of the Year.' Fully 70 percent of LS customers are new to the Lincoln brand.

2000 Dedicated Lincoln design, product development, purchasing, finance and manufacturing organizations are established.

2001 The Lincoln MK 9 concept is unveiled. Together with the Continental concept, it points to the design direction of future Lincoln vehicles.

The 2002 Lincoln Blackwood is launched. It faithfully recreates the 1998 concept vehicle.

The 2003 Lincoln Town Car is unveiled by Ford Motor Company President and Chief Operating Officer Nick Scheele at the Henry Ford Estate in Dearborn.

2002 The 2003 Lincoln Navigator is revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show and the all-new 2003 Lincoln Aviator is revealed at the New York Auto Show. The new Navigator, Aviator and Town Car will be joined by a new 2003 LS later in the year.

The Lincoln Continental concept is introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It embodies elegance, simplicity and restraint.

1959 Mark IV

Source: Internet

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Earlier this week we reported that Ford had plans to repurpose its very well-received hybrid powertrain in the Lincoln MKZ. Makes sense, right? Both the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan (sister cars of the MKZ) benefit from the fuel-sipping mill, and by adding a bit of electric power to the Lincoln lineup, Ford is hoping to attract more buyers into its luxury division's showrooms. What's more, since Lincoln vehicles carry higher price points than comparable Ford or Mercury products, the return on this hybrid investment means a larger profit margin for the automaker as a whole.

Well, now it's official. For the 2011 model year, the Lincoln MKZ will offer the award-winning 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline/electric powertrain from the Fusion and Milan hybrids, good for up to 41 miles per gallon in the city. In doing this, Lincoln aims to compete directly with the recently introduced Lexus HS250h, and since the MKZ will net six more MPGs than the HS, it can safely take the title of most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America. What's more, the MKZ is slightly larger than the Lexus, and if Ford plays its cards right, we wouldn't be surprised if the MKZ Hybrid is less expensive than the HS, as well.

Aside from the powertrain, the new hybrid doesn't differ too much from the rest of the MKZ range. Plenty of standard amenities are on tap, such as the cool-looking SmartGauge with EcoGuide, a reverse sensing system, heated and cooled front seats, Ford's MyKey system and – of course – SYNC.

But the big question surrounding the MKZ Hybrid isn't how well it will perform against the Lexus, but if it will carry enough extra kit to significantly differentiate it from a Fusion or Milan with the same powertrain. Consumers who are only looking for efficiency might be willing to sacrifice certain luxury amenities to save money, and this dilemma has always affected MKZ sales. Still, luxury-minted customers would be wise to look at this as an alternative option to the HS250h, and we'll keep a close eye on sales numbers when the MKZ Hybrid goes on sale later this year.

Source: Autoblog

1940 Lincoln Zephyr Brochure

Source: Internet

Four Newest Trends For Car Thieves

1. Odometer Fraud

Amid so many technological advances, the full digitization of the dashboard has had an effect on odometers. Odometer rollbacks are "back in a big way," said Christopher Basso of Carfax. "There is widespread use of digital odometers. People are getting software off the internet rather than cracking open the dash and hand-cranking back the odometer. It's harder to detect as there are no physical signs the vehicle has been tampered with."

Odometer rollbacks increased 57 percent from 2004-2008 (the last year for which data is available), with more than 450,000 cases reported annually. Over the last five years there's been a nearly 60 percent increase in the number of vehicles reported with odometer rollbacks, Basso says. The number of unreported cases -- where a consumer is unaware there is a problem -- is potentially much higher.

"It is a big and growing problem that continues to plague used-car buyers," said Basso.

But Frank Scafidi, of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, says rolling back odometers "is not as easy as it used to be."

"It happens here or there but it is not the predominant cause of auto fraud. Just like making moonshine, you're still going to find people somewhere doing it because they know how to do it. It's just now most people prefer to get their alcohol at a liquor store."

Have you been the victim of a vehicle break in?

2. Car Cloning

Scafidi says one of the newest auto frauds is "car cloning." Cloning occurs when multiple (usually higher-end) cars of the same model are stolen and registered with a VIN number from a legitimate vehicle.

"The thieves go get a VIN number from a showroom floor and reproduce it three or four times and attach it to the stolen vehicles and then ship them to four or five states," said Scafidi. "The multiple VIN numbers for us are the biggest red flags out there, and we go get 'em."

The FBI says that car-cloning rings -- often established for decades -- operate in most major cities nationwide. While there is no way to calculate true rates of car cloning, the FBI says it constitutes a "significant percentage" of vehicle thefts, the value of which totaled $6.4 billion in 2008. The agency recommends always buying your car from a reputable dealership and checking your car's VIN number with your state's licensing agency before you buy.

Common warning signs that you may have bought a cloned car include receiving unpaid traffic tickets you haven't sustained; a model being sold for much less than buyer's guides indicate it should be; scratches or evidence of tampering on the car's VIN number on the door frame or engine block; or a missing vehicle history report.

Terri Miller, director of Michigan's Halt Auto Theft program, says: "We're seeing a lot of cloning. They'll go to a scapyard and buy a clean title and they can then use that number on a vehicle of the same make and model."

3. Component theft and resale

With car stereos -- traditionally the item most stolen from cars -- getting harder to pilfer as a result of electronic security measures, thieves are getting more inventive.

Nationally, more than 75,000 airbags are stolen every year, according to the FBI. Thefts of GPS and DVD systems are increasing alongside the popularity of the devices among aftermarket buyers. Thefts of xenon headlights are also a growing problem. The advantage (or disadvantage) of component theft: The goods often are difficult to track and usually there's a fairly constant demand for them.

Miller says component theft is "the biggest thing. As cars are getting harder to steal, they have to steal parts of them. We're seeing easily fenced items such as tires, rims and GPS units getting stolen."

She says many items end up being sold online or on the street. In many cases buyers may think they're buying a legitimate product rather than a stolen part. She says that criminal enterprises, like legitimate businesses, mainly work on the basis of supply and demand.

"Occasionally, when, for example, Ford Taurus airbags are on back order, we'll see an increase in thefts."

4. Carjackings

You may think that carjackings had gone the way of spinning rims, but rates are holding steady in Southern California and increasing in Michigan. And there are pockets of America urban areas where the trend never really died down.

Officer Canales of the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division says carjacking is still "pretty common."

"We get a few every now and then, usually a gun or knife is involved. It can be anything from high-value to low-value [cars] but we see more Hondas -- Accords and Civics -- and Toyotas."

Carjackings occur most frequently in urban areas and account for about three percent of all thefts, the Insurance Information Institute reports.

"A co-worker of my husband last week was carjacked outside a pizza parlor," Miller said. "He pointed a gun and said, 'You know what I want,' and drove off in his brand-new Mustang.

"Most carjackings involve a weapon so we always advise motorists to hand over their keys before they become a statistic," Miller says.

Where You Live Is As Important As What You Drive

A motor vehicle is stolen in the United States every 33 seconds, according to the FBI. In 2008, most vehicles -- or 37.8 percent, were stolen in the South, followed by the West at 33.9 percent, the Midwest at 18.3 percent and the Northeast at 10 percent. But thefts are decreasing by about 12 percent year on year for the last five years.

"Thefts follow technology," said Scafidi. "Smart keys or digital security devices are playing a big part in the reduction."

Source: AOL Autos

Monday, June 28, 2010

Classic Lincolns

1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II

1955 Lincoln Futura

1940 Lincoln Continental

1958 Lincoln Continental Mark III

1934 Lincoln Model KB limousine

Source: ClassicCars

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Les Hilgers 1950 Lincoln Custom

You can have all the '49-50 Mercs in the world because with '50 Lincoln customs being built like Les Hilgers, them ol' Mercs don't stand a chance. Les covered the Lincoln steel in gold metalflake before lowering the car over capped and whitewall wrapped steelies. A 351ci Windsor engine provides the go, shifted by a C4 trans. With our cutoff date moved well into the '60s now, it was an obvious choice to go with Les' '50s-style custom Lincoln for a Top 100 honor.

Source: Streetrodderweb

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New York 2010: 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is exactly what we expected

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Ford has reminded us over and over again about its plans to offer a full line of electified vehicles in the United States. The Escape and Mariner hybrids started this trend, the Fusion and Milan hybrids are garnering lots of praise, and with new products like the Transit Connect Electric and Focus Electric hitting the streets in the not-too-distant future, the automaker appears to be fulfilling its goals. The newest addition to the electrified lineup is this 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which builds upon the success of its Fusion and Milan sister hybrids.

With fuel economy ratings of 41 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway, the MKZ Hybrid will lay claim to the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America, besting its nearest competitor,the Lexus HS250h,by six MPGs. Ford has also assured us that the MKZ will be priced below the Lexus, making it a more affordable alternative for shoppers. Aside from the addition of the four-cylinder hybrid powertrain, not much changes from the standard MKZ and Ford is hoping that this vehicle will bring more buyers into Lincoln showrooms when the car hits dealerships this fall.

Source: Autoblog

Review: 2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost AWD has a good personality and great moves

2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost AWD

Approaching the 2010 Lincoln MKT for the first time is like meeting a blind date. You've been told by friends she has a good personality, which immediately has you wondering what she looks like. From a distance you see your fears confirmed: She's a big girl with a toothy grin and a weird hump. If super models are your thing, you'll be disappointed by this three-row crossover sitting alone in the corner with a red carnation in her hair. But if you meet her with an open mind, you'll find that a good personality goes a long way.

It's our job to go on blind dates with vehicles before you do, and despite the MKT's controversial design, we're glad we sat down and got to know her. Now, if you can't get over seeing a beached whale in your driveway every morning, stop reading; no twin-turbo direct-inject V6 engine, advanced infotainment features or luxurious appointments will change your mind. We'll agree to disagree and you'll probably pass judgment on the MKT from afar, not even giving it the courtesy of a test drive before shacking up with that German model. Will you regret not getting to know the MKT like we did? Read on to find out.

The Lincoln MKT has a sister – the Ford Flex. Both models are based on Ford's D4 full-size CUV platform and built in Oakville, Ontario. In past years, that would mean the Flex and MKT were near identical twins, the Lincoln version merely a rebadged interpretation of the Ford, with a new grille and more upscale materials. The MKT, however, is more like a big sister to the Flex – still related but not its twin.

Ford calls it a "differentiated top-hat strategy." The two vehicles share the same platform, suspension, engines and other mechanicals, but everything you can see and touch without the use of a wrench is unique to both. Lincoln designers, perhaps restless after being tethered to Ford designs for so long, went a little nuts.

We count three design elements that make the MKT controversial, and we'll start with that grille. It's called a "dual wing" in Lincoln parlance and can also be seen on the MKZ, MKS and newly redesigned 2011 MKX. We're all for establishing a consistent brand identity, but someone should've had the foresight to consider what enlarging Lincoln's new corporate face by 125 percent would look like. Now we know: Not so good. It's a shame too, as the rest of the front fascia is clean – elegant even – with interesting details like the centered crease that runs forward from the base of the windshield, splits the Lincoln logo and terminates in the undercarriage. But who notices stuff like that when faced with the grille's mighty wingspan?

The other two off-putting design elements are an upward kink in the rear fender and that forward-leaning rear hatch. Whether or not you like the kink is up to you. We don't really understand its purpose, but it doesn't ruin the design. The canted hatch, however, steals valuable cargo space and headroom from third-row passengers. There's only 17.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the third row upright, though that jumps to 75.9 when it's stowed. The Flex, however, with its right angles and slab sides, is easily a more practical crossover because the MKT makes sacrifices at the altar of the aesthetic gods.

Aside from those three distracting elements, Lincoln designers did well making the MKT's outward appearance live up to its more-expensive-than-Flex price tag. Our tester's White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat paint was as flawless as a pearl, while the lack of cladding, sparing use of chrome and simple surfaces reminded us of contemporary furniture design. The MKT would be right at home in a SoHo loft parked next to a $5,000 Italian sofa.

Once you get past the exterior (if you can), an interior awaits that's above reproach. The materials are first rate, featuring stitched leather on the padded dash, center console and doors. Real Olive Ash wood trim cuts across the middle and also tops the big multifunction steering wheel, and those Canyon-colored leather seats are supremely comfortable and supportive with 12-way adjustability for both the driver and front seat passenger, as well as being heated and cooled.

While two second-row captain's chairs are an option, we prefer the 60/40 split bench our tester was equipped with. The third row can fit two people in a pinch, but we'd rather stuff a third in the middle before banishing anyone to the back. Regardless of which seat you're assigned, Lincoln's optional Panoramic Vista Roof bathes the whole interior in soft light, which helps neutralize claustrophobia for passengers who might feel closed in by the vehicle's high beltline.

Functionally, the MKT carries forward the segment-leading infotainment systems that are now a huge selling point for Ford. This current-generation system features SYNC, SIRIUS Satellite Radio with Travel Link, a 10 GB HDD, USB and auxiliary inputs, along with Bluetooth connectivity. We're particularly impressed that most Ford and Lincoln vehicles equipped with SYNC now also handle Bluetooth audio. That means in addition to routing calls through the vehicle, a Bluetooth-compatible music player can also play tunes through the THX-certified stereo without plugging in. All is controlled using a big touchscreen with sharp graphics and an easy-to-understand interface that also doubles as a monitor for the rear view camera, which you're gonna need when backing this big girl up.

On the topic of not hitting things, the MKT can be had with two technologies that help you avoid rearranging its sheetmetal. The first is the Blind Spot Monitoring System, an admittedly ubiquitous piece of tech in large vehicles these days, but a helpful one in the MKT with its rather large blind spots. The second is Active Park Assist, another technology you can find in other high-end automobiles, but the Lincoln's system is by far the best we've used. Simply pull the MKT alongside an open parking spot on the street, hit the APA button and inch forward. When the system senses there's enough room to parallel park, put the vehicle in Reverse and let go of the steering wheel. You're on braking duty, but the system will steer and park this barge perfectly every time.

Low-speed maneuvers are one thing, but how does the MKT perform above parking lot speeds? In a word, remarkably. For one, our tester's push button starter fires up Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 producing 355 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 350 pound-feet of torque at just 3,500 rpm. We've sampled this engine in the Ford Taurus SHO and Flex, as well as the Lincoln MKS sedan. It's a superlative mill using twin turbos and direct injection to create a power band as deep as Warren Buffet's pockets. With the EcoBoost V6, you wouldn't know the MKT with all-wheel drive weighs a smidge over 5,000 pounds because effortless power is its calling card, just like a larger V8. The upside is better fuel mileage: We experienced a range of between 19–22mpg, which is at the hind of the EPA's 16 city/22 highway mpg estimate. The downside: no V8 vibrations or acoustics.

The MKT uses a six-speed transmission with paddle shifters to carve the EcoBoost's output into maximum thrust chunks. Shifts are smooth and transparent while dropping kids off at soccer practice and making back-and-forth trips to Home Depot, but those oddly shaped paddle are there in case manual control is required. Rare among flappy paddles, up and down shifts are activated on the same paddle, not split on either side. Pull back on either paddle for upshifts and push forward with either thumb for downshifts. It takes some getting used to, but manually controlling shifts means the engine will be at your beck and call rather than preoccupied with maximizing fuel economy.

We were all set to comment on the MKT's handling, steering and breaking in the context of a long road trip we had planned that would rack up over 800 miles, mostly on the highway. It would've been what you expect with remarks about how the MKT goes great in a straight line and soaks up expansion joints like a Tempur-Pedic mattress. All that's true, but a navigation glitch by yours truly meant the nav system plotted our route without the benefit of high- and byways. A blessing in disguise, we road tripped from Cleveland to D.C. on back roads only and had a rare chance to flog the MKT on some of Pennsylvania's windiest roads.

While using the MKT more like a Mustang than the three-row crossover it is, we isolated the one difference that makes it a better driving vehicle than competitors like the Audi Q7 above or Buick Enclave beneath: it's low. Other large CUVs have enough token ground clearance to pretend that "off road" is some place they're actually going to explore, but the MKT drops that pretense and hunkers down over its 20-inch wheels wearing P255/45VR20 all-season rubber. That lower center of gravity combined with all-wheel drive, big contact patches and enough ribbon-smooth pavement to wrap the Keystone state in a bow turned out to be a delicious recipe for surprisingly fun driving.

Fortunately, the MKT's power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering didn't spoil our fun in Pennsylvania back country. Heavy assist is present at low speeds to help turn the tiller of this 5,000+ pound CUV, but as speed climbs that buffer begins to fade and you can feel the friction between the road and tires. This feedback helps your fingers know which direction the wheels are pointed instead of just using your eyes. The four-wheel disc brakes kept up as well, though their mushy feel didn't always inspire confidence even if they did arrest motion well enough when asked.

Are we saying that the MKT is the best handling big CUV out there? No, we're saying that if you require three rows of seating and like the finer things in life, there aren't many better handling large luxury crossovers available, short of a much more expensive and narrowly focused BMW X5 M. In other words, if you want a luxury CUV that feels more like a wagon than a wannabe 'ute, get the MKT.

There's also the issue of price, and the MKT scores well here with a $49,200 base MSRP for the EcoBoost model. When equipped with comparatively powerful V8 engines, the German competition (Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GL) all start above $55,000 with less standard equipment. Our MKT EcoBoost tester came with a $4,000 Elite Package that adds navigation, a THX-certified stereo, the Panoramic Vista Roof and Blind Spot Monitoring System. The only other option we had was Active Park Assist for $595, though Adaptive Cruise Control is also available for $1,295. Even still, the MKT EcoBoost tops out fully loaded where its Germanic competition is just starting.

So our blind date with the 2010 Lincoln MKT turned into a week-long getaway where the journey was more enjoyable than the destination. It does everything well that you'd except, and proved to be extremely comfortable, luxurious and technologically advanced enough to impress the editors of Engadget. But we were most surprised with how well this lady dances, something we would never have known if we saw her sitting alone in the corner and made a B-line for the door.

Source: Autoblog

Monday, April 5, 2010

Refreshing or Revolting: 2011 Lincoln MKX

2011 MKX Front View

With the compact and midsized premium crossover segments completely saturated, we think Lincoln's decision to boldly restyle of the MKX was a good one.

We're not necessarily saying we like the new design, but it's certainly eye-catching. It starts, predictably, with Lincoln's two-part grille. Most of the automaker's lineup sports confusing and identical-sounding "MK" names -- well, now the front styling will appear similar too.

2010 MKX Front View

2010 MKX Interior

2011 MKX Interior

Overall, the 2011 MKX has more presence than the 2010 Lincoln, which had a larger grille stretched from one headlight to the other. Headlights on the 2011 model are pulled back, as on the MKZ, MKT, and MKS. A character line starts at the headlight, echoing the line of the wheel well bulge, making the MKX appear bigger.

If you've seen the 2010 MKX at night, you know how attractive the long and horizontal taillights appear. That design is replaced on the 2011 model with smaller, chrome-lined units. There are two red reflector bars on the rear bumper to add a bit of visual interest while the rear windshield wiper is out in the open unlike the hidden units on the Lexus RX 350.

The segment-leading Lexus doesn't have much over the Lincoln in the interior department. The 2011 MKX interior is a big improvement over the outgoing car, and perhaps is one reason the 2010 MKX has $4000 on its hood this month. The navigation screen on the center dash is much larger than before, and the rest of the audio and climate controls look less Ford parts bin than before.

The wood trim on the 2011 MKX's steering wheel is less conspicuous than on the 2010 model, and the buttons have moved higher, making them more usable. The instrument cluster is also completely new and, it appears, borrowing a page from the Ford Fusion Hybrid's display.

Overall, we'd have to say the 2011 MKX is a step above the 2010 Lincoln.

Source: Motortrend

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lincoln Prepares MKS, MKZ, MKT for 2009 SEMA Show

With Ford Motor Company as the primary sponsor of the 2009 SEMA show, we're not too surprised to hear three customized Lincolns will debut in Las Vegas.

Raceskinz has added its subtle touch to the MKS. Carbon fiber accents have been tastefully added to both interior and exterior components -- the roof panel, mirrors, door panels, and the dash trim all have a carbon fiber overlay. The MKS is also outfitted with black rims that feature a subtle polished lip. "Carbon fiber is to us what chrome was to our previous generation," said Tirrelle Lazada-Smith, co-owner of Raceskinz. "It is not gaudy or overdone."

Rick Bottom Designs tricked out an MKT, dubbed the "Panache." With door handles and the antenna shaved, the MKT is as sleek as they come. A chrome beltline molding and lowered suspension further enhance its lines. Sprayed in Turnin' Orange, the Lincoln appears orange in the sun but has a red hue in the shade.

A Lincoln MKZ was revamped by the guys at 3dCarbon. The MKZ is highlighted by mild enhancements like 20-inch deep-dish wheels, an upgraded exhaust, and custom lower door moldings. "The ride and feel of the new MKZ inspired us to enhance the design with a lower stance and conservative touches of aerodynamic styling," said 3dcarbon owner Ernie Bunnell.

Lincoln, with the help of the three customization shops, proves that the brand's vehicles don't have to be conservative. "Lincoln as a brand is continuing to attract younger customers to the showroom with products like the MKS, MKZ, and the new MKT luxury crossover," said Amy Marentic of Ford.