Pack Automotive Museum

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(LINCOLN) ZEPHYR

Initially a 1935 introduction, and produced until 1942, The Zephyr was meant as a niche-priced vehicle to go against Cadillac’s sibling the LeSalle although the Lesalle was much smaller.  The initial offering came as two and 4-door sedans as well as a three-window coupe. Then came the convertible coupe and club coupe over the next couple of years. Cars like the Hupmobile Aerodynamic and Chrysler's Airflow twins folded early because they were too radical for most buyers – you might say ugly. But the Zephyr was attractive as well as advanced, and thus far more acceptable to far more buyers.
Since it’s direct purpose and competition was style, grace, power and luxury, this hydraulic lifter, V/12 powered sleek car could generate 110 hp and reach speeds in excess of 90 mph.  Despite its size, the overall weight was only 1,520 kilograms with both front and rear springs pushed outward for stability and it was the first Ford vehicle to include an all steel roof.

  As historian Leslie R. Henry notes: "The Depression and its aftermath had forced many luxury-car manufacturers to the wall: Duesenberg, Franklin, Peerless, Pierce, Cord, Auburn, and Cunningham all folded during this period. The remaining marques either rode out the lean years on the profits of their popular-priced smaller brothers [Cadillac, for instance] or moved into the production of compromise cars that traded on an honored name [such as Packard]. In Lincoln's case, the big K-series continued to be built until 1940, while an effort was made to attract more buyers and to fill the price gap between the Ford and Lincoln." After World War II turned auto plants into war plants, the Zephyr returned to production as the Lincoln Continental.

 

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