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Lincoln Motor Company boasts a long history of ups and downs, filled with a flavor of luxury. Perennial elaborations in automotive industry – of course, with the involvement of a parent Ford Motor Company - made the brand a sacred image in the world of top-tier vehicles. Tough competition inside and outside the US market has downgraded Lincoln a bit in recent years. Who cares?! It is and will always be recognized as a brand for presidents!
Famous Presidential Cars
Indeed, Lincoln limousines are primarily known for being a luxury attribute of many US presidents. They were distinguished by a sophisticated design and a state-of-the-art interior layout.
The first ‘presidential’ car was introduced by Lincoln in 1939. The Sunshine Special was a K-Series V12 convertible that became a visiting card of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Bubble Top of 1950 was used on different occasions by four presidents till 1965: Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson.
The SS-100-X, introduced in 1961, became an iconic state vehicle. It was designed as a convertible with an open-top to give the president an ability to better interact with the citizens during the parades. It still featured a bubble top that was used in case of poor weather conditions. The model was an official car for John F. Kennedy who made a range of state appearances in it. Yet, the SS-100-X achieved notoriety due to the fact that Kennedy had been assassinated in its back.
After this tragic incident, the car has been removed from service because of security concerns. However, in a few years it has returned to the official ranks, serving the needs of Richard Nixon. The latter also used a 1969 Lincoln Continental model for official occasions. The car featured a sunroof that gave Nixon a possibility to stand upright and cheer the parade-goers.
The 1972 Continental became a source of pride for Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. This vehicle gained notoriety due to the participation in two attempts upon the life against the US presidents; the first attempt happened in 1975 against Ford, while the second one took place in 1981 against Reagan.
The last Lincoln car to serve as a presidential vehicle was Town Car of 1989. It was distinguished by dramatically improved safety facilities: thick armor plating, bulletproof glass. It was in use by George H.W. Bush.
Lincoln was established in 1917 by Henry Leland as a standalone automobile company. However, in 1922 it became a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, and nowadays it is a division of luxury vehicles. The automaker is so far preoccupied with the design of middle-to-large sized units. Hence, its current model range includes a pair of sedans (MKZ, MKS), the same amount of SUVs (Navigator, Navigator L), and three crossovers (MKT, MKX, MKC).
In early years the company was working at the design of two-/three-window, four-door sedans, estimated for four passengers, a two-passenger roadster, a seven-passenger touring sedan, and a limousine. In 1932 a new KB platform was introduced, along with a compact Lincoln-Zephyr car. The car instantly became a hit, having increased the maker’s overall sales ninefold. In 1940 Zephyr received a brother – V12 convertible coupe.
During wartime Ford’s division was preoccupied with the manufacture of military vehicles. In post-war period the parent company decided to unite Lincoln with Mercury. The merger resulted in the launch of two car families: Continental and new Zephyr. Later on a new EL-series of cars appeared, sharing style with Mercury Eight.
In 1958 Lincoln moved all facilities to Wixom, Michigan (an assembly plant). Since that time it has been producing a new unibody type of chassis. Some 10 years later a new Continental Mark II unit entered the market to rival an erstwhile successful Cadillac Eldorado. With the rising popularity of compact passenger vehicles, the division produced the Versailles that was shorter and lighter than Continental.
During 1990s Lincoln cars have fallen behind other American, European and Japanese manufacturers. In order to revive the brand, Ford decided to affix the division to Premier Automotive Group. Therefore, the lineup outlived major innovations, but Continental nameplate was permanently retired.
In 2005 Ford introduced The Way Forward restructuring scheme which presupposed the closure of Wixom Assembly Plant, the discontinuation of LS series and, further on, of Town Car. As of 1990, Lincoln sold a record 231.660 vehicles per year. The sales have declined since that time; although, the team hopes to increase global sales to 162.000 units by 2016, basically due to the introduction of significantly redesigned car series.
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