Lincoln L-Series

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Lincoln L-Series
Lincoln Model L Sport Touring 1929.jpg
1929 Lincoln L-series Sport Touring
Overview
Manufacturer Lincoln Motor Company
Lincoln (Ford)
Also called Lincoln Model L
Production 1920-1930
Assembly United State: Detroit, Michigan (Lincoln Motor Company Plant)
Designer Angus Woodbridge
Edsel Ford
Body and chassis
Class Luxury car
Layout FR layout
Powertrain
Engine
Transmission 3-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase
  • 1917-1922: 130 in (3,302.0 mm)
  • 1923-1930: 136 in (3,454.4 mm)
Chronology
Successor Lincoln K-Series/Model K

The Lincoln L-Series (also called the Lincoln Model L) is the first automobile that was produced by the Lincoln Motor Company.[1] Introduced in 1920, the L-Series would continue to be produced after the bankruptcy of Lincoln in 1922 and its purchase by Ford Motor Company.

It was an alternative to various top level luxury vehicles to include the Mercedes-Benz 630, Rolls-Royce Phantom I, Packard, and Cadillac Type 61. It was replaced during 1930 by the Model K.

Assembly of the L-Series took place in Detroit, Michigan.

Model history[edit]

1917-1922[edit]

1922 Lincoln L series Touring Sedan

After leaving the company over a dispute with William Durant over World War I production, Cadillac founder Henry Leland created the Lincoln Motor Company. the company produced Liberty V12 aircraft engines as its only source of revenue. With the war finished Lelands decided to make the Lincoln Motor car. The company was reorganised in 1920 & created the first L-Series car in 1920, for sale as a 1921 model.

The L-Series was designed by Angus Woodbridge, the son-in-law of Henry Leland; trained as a ladies hatmaker, the design of the L-Series was considered old-fashioned for the time.[1] In the years following World War I, the Lincoln Motor Company struggled in the postwar recession with repeated, false tax evasion claims.[2]

Year Engine HP Transmission Wheelbase Tire size
1921 357.8CID 60° L-head V8 81[1] 3-speed manual 130 in (3,302 mm) [1] 23"

1922–1923[edit]

1923 Lincoln L-series Brunn coupe

In financial trouble, Leland sold the company to Henry Ford in 1922 for $8 million, the amount determined by the judge presiding over the receivership Arthur J. Tuttle.[3] Henry Leland valued the company at over $16 million. After a few months the Lelands left the company because of Henry Ford's managerial style and his son, Edsel Ford, designed a new body for the L-series. Edsel became President and Ernest C. Kanzler General Manager. the L-series was a robust car. In the first year, hydraulic shock absorbers were added.[1] Edsel and Kanzler implemented production economies, trimming manufacturing costs by about $1000 per car.

Aside from the extension of the wheelbase from 130 to 136 inches, the chassis of the Lincoln Model L saw few major changes; the 60-degree L-head V8 remained in production. For 1923, several new body styles were introduced for the Model L under the direction of Edsel, including two and three-window four-door sedans, and a four-passenger phaeton. Other vehicles included a two-passenger roadster, and a $5,200 seven-passenger touring sedan and limousine.

A sedan, limousine, cabriolet, and town car were also offered by coachbuilders Fleetwood, Derham and Dietrich, and a second cabriolet was offered by coachbuilder Brunn. Vehicles built by these coachbuilders went for as much as $7,200; despite the relatively niche market segment, Lincoln sales rose about 45 percent to produce 7,875 cars and the company was operating at a profit by the end of 1923.

Year Engine HP Transmission Wheelbase tire size
1923 357.8CID 90 3-speed manual 136 in (3,454 mm) [1] 23"

1924–1926[edit]

In 1924, the L-series was given a newer look with such things as a nickel-plated radiator shell. 1925 is identified by the absence of cowl lights. Front and rear bumpers became standard. The smallest L-series was the 2-door, 2-passenger roadster. 1926 was basically the same except for some interior changes.[1]

In 1924 large touring sedans began to be used by police departments around the country. They were known as Police Flyers, which were equipped with four-wheel brakes, two years before they were introduced on private-sale vehicles. These specially equipped vehicles, with bulletproof windshields measuring 7/8 of an inch thick and spot lights mounted on the ends of the windshield, also came with an automatic windshield wiper for the driver and a hand-operated wiper for the front passenger. Police whistles were coupled to the exhaust system and gun racks were also fitted to these vehicles.

Year Engine HP Transmission Wheelbase tire size
1925 357.8CID V8 90 3-speed manual[1] 136 in (3,454 mm) 23"

1927–1930[edit]

1927-28 Lincoln L-series limousine

In 1927, the L-series got smaller wheels. Also, 4-wheel mechanical brakes became standard.[1] All instruments were on an oval surface. A larger engine (though no HP increase) came in 1928. 1929 brought Safety glass and dual windshield wipers. 1930 was the last year for the L-series.

Year Engine HP Transmission Wheelbase tire size
1928 384.8CID V8 90 3-speed manual 136 in (3,454 mm) 20"[1]

Coachbuilt examples[edit]

Lincoln contracted with dozens of coachbuilders during the 1920s and early 30s to create multiple custom built vehicles, to include American, Anderson, Babcock, Holbrook, Judkins, Lang, LeBaron, Locke, Murray, Towson, and Willoughby in the 1920s. Murphy, Rollston, and Waterhouse were added in the 1930s.[4][better source needed] Optional equipment was not necessarily an issue with 1920s Lincolns; special and bespoke items were accommodated on customer vehicles. A nickel-plated radiator shell could be installed for $25, varnished natural wood wheels were $15, or Rudge-Whitworth center-lock wire wheels for another $100. Disteel steel disc wheels were also available for $60.

Lincoln chose not to make yearly model changes, used as a marketing tool of the time, designed to lure new customers. Lincoln customers of the time were known to purchase more than one Lincoln with different bodywork, so changing the vehicle yearly was not done to accommodate their customer base.[5]:52–57

Pop culture[edit]

A 1924 Lincoln was featured in the first season of the classic CBS sitcom The Good Guys.

In the 1986 comedy movie, The Money Pit, the house came with a 1929-30 Lincoln L-series 4-door Sport Phaeton as a part of the purchase.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kimes, Beverly (1996). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805–1942. Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-428-4. 
  2. ^ Mandel, Leon (1982). American Cars. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Inc. ISBN 0-941434-19-2. 
  3. ^ Weiss, H. Eugene (2003). Chrysler, Ford, Durant, and Sloan. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-1611-4. 
  4. ^ "Willoughby Coach". Willoughby Coach. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  5. ^ Bentley, John (1952). The Old Car Book. 208.