In 1936 Lincoln introduced the Zephyr, named and styled after the streamlined Burlington Zephyr express train. The train was an aerodynamic diesel powered streamliner that brought an end to the steam-engined trains and set many new speed-records. The Zephyr stayed in production until 1942 when it was discontinued to make way for the new Mercury line which was in a similar market segment. Since the Mercury's were derived from a Ford running gear and chassis they were cheaper to produce, Lincoln decided to cancel the Zephyr after only six years of production.
The styling was courteous of the Dutch-Born designer John Tjaarda of the Briggs Body Corporation, however, prior to production Ford's stylist Bob Gregorie restyled the front end. Under the hood was a Ford-derived V-12 that produced 110 horsepower, not enough to do justice to the Zephyr name and what it represented, but a modest amount to carry the vehicle where it was tasked to travel.
In 1936 around 15000 Zephyrs were constructed, nearly 80% of all Lincolns sold. Nearly 1500 were given coupe/sedan body-styles which were a two-door sedan configuration built on a chassis that could have accommodated four-doors.
In the year 2005, Lincoln reintroduced the Zephyr. To help create excitement at auto shows, Lincoln purchased a 1936 Zerphyr serial number H-5739, to tour with the modern Lincoln Zephyr.
Due to the onset of World War II, Lincoln switched to war-related production. Production resumed in 1946 and continued until 1948.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2006