After a relaxing coffee break last year(between lockdowns,) we were amused to be complimented by a passer-by with the words “Nice Jag mate!”, following a busy morning’s photoshoot around Kew, West London. The admirer had mistaken the sleek Greyhound mascot on the bonnet for the Leaping Jaguar, but owner Derek diplomatically corrected the enthusiast very gently. We were not far from Lincoln’s former original Art Deco headquarters on the Great West Road (A4), opposite the famous Firestone factory buildings, both now sadly demolished, though this car even precedes the establishment of that Thirties location and also the Dagenham complex.
The Lincoln Motor Company was founded in 1917 by Henry Leland, to manufacture 6500 Liberty V12 Aero Engines for the war effort, but when the contracts ended, he was left with a large factory and machinery with a skilled workforce, but nothing for them to do. Therefore, having previously created the Cadillac marque, he naturally decided on a new luxury car named after Abraham Lincoln. The first cars were produced by 1920 and were arguably the most advanced mechanically at the time and well-received, but the styling was too conservative. By 1922, the company was in financial difficulties, so his old nemesis Henry Ford seized the opportunity for a takeover, purchasing Lincoln at the receivers’ sale in February 1922 for $8 million.
There is a famous picture of Leland and his son Wilfred with Henry and Edsel Ford signing the deal, and the Lelands’ look of defeat is palpable. This may well be because the roles were reversed, since in a previous joint venture the elder Leland had dispensed with Henry Ford’s services, proving the old adage about revenge. However, it was not long before relations between Ford Motor Company and the Lelands deteriorated, so on June 10, 1922, the company’s founders were forced to resign, followed by lengthy litigation; all won hands down by the lawyers and lost by the Lelands. In fairness to Ford, the Lincoln Division continued to be run as a separate entity, without any compromise in quality, but aided by financial support and sharing technology, plus also the introduction of much-improved styling.
By 1930 the L model needed replacement and in 1931 the K model was introduced, with an uprated V8, replaced in 1932 by a larger V12 for the KB, which again was replaced by a smaller, more modern and efficient V12 in 1934. The Model K series remained till the end of 1939, but was made in smaller and smaller numbers, due to the enormous cost. In 1936, Ford introduced the streamlined V12 Lincoln Zephyr, which was in the medium-priced category, sharing no mechanical connection to the large Lincoln. The Zephyr went on to become the flagship Lincoln Continental from 1939. That car was inspired by a one-off model built for Edsel Ford and, of course, the marque continues to this day as a luxury car.
The original owner
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