Description

  • The Lincoln-Zephyr’s sleek, classic styling influenced automotive design in the U.S. and Europe
  • If not for the popularity of the Zephyr, Lincoln Motors might have died during the Depression. 
  • Its styling beat its mechanical performance.
  • The engine was troublesome, crankcase ventilation was inadequate, and hydraulic brakes were not introduced until 1939 (even so, it saved the day).

Story

Story

If it weren’t for the Zephyr, Lincoln Motors might have died as a result of the Depression.  With only 1,700 Lincolns produced in 1933, the company was in need of an automobile that would generate public interest and guarantee sales.  A Dutchman, John Tjaard, was the innovative stylist who, with support from Edsel Ford, designed a prototype for display in 1933 and 1934.  The prototype was modified substantially before the first Zephyr was produced in 1935, and 17,715 Lincoln-Zephyrs were sold in 1936.

The sleek lines of the Zephyr made it a styling classic and influenced automobile design both in the United States and Europe.  Unfortunately, the Zephyr’s appearance was far ahead of its mechanical performance.  The V-12 engine had a reputation for being troublesome, crankcase ventilation was inadequate, and hydraulic brakes were not introduced until 1939.

Although the Continental supplanted the Zephyr’s pre-eminence for Lincoln’s share of the automobile marketplace, it’s the Zephyr that saved the day.

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