The 10 Best Old Lincoln Cars of All Time

Lincoln has been the measuring stick of American-made luxury cars for over a century. These are the best, boldest, and most brazen Lincolns ever made.
Written by Matt Nightingale
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Lincoln conquered the luxury auto world within just a few years of its founding, becoming the first official state limousine of the U.S. President. Since then, Lincoln has been the measuring stick for refinement, churning out some of the most memorable luxury vehicles this country has ever produced. These are the ten best Lincoln cars of all time.
In this list of the 10 best Lincolns of all time, we'll look at all the most memorable models that have ever rolled off the line. We’ll chat about some of the unsung heroes of the brand, we’ll mention some of the trailblazing pioneer models, and, of course, we’ll talk about the
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What makes an old car great? 

Look, not every Lincoln has been a wild success—remember that pin-striped pick-up truck, the Lincoln Blackwood? Lincoln would rather you didn’t.
But what makes a great car great? Well, for this list we’ve decided to consider a few different factors. Some have been included because of their historical significance, like the Model L. Some, like the Town Car, performed at a consistently high level for decades. And some, like the Versaille, just took their best shot in an impossible situation.
Not all of these Lincolns would necessarily make a great used car, however, so we’ve followed up this article with a guide to the best old Lincoln cars to buy.

10. Lincoln Cosmopolitan (1949–1954): A breath of fresh air

The Lincoln Cosmopolitan represented a new age in auto manufacturing. The smooth features and flush headlamps were a refreshing change from the jagged and boxy cars of the pre-war era. In 1949, a brand new Cosmopolitan started at $3,186—about $38,400 in today’s market.
The 1951 model was the stand-out of the Cosmopolitan line-up, outfitted with a 152 horsepower V-8 engine, automatic transmission, power seats, and power windows. To put into perspective how cutting edge that was: some of us didn’t get power windows until 2013. The Cosmopolitan also featured a hood ornament resembling a fighter jet traveling at Mach speed which Lincoln claimed helped make the vehicle more aerodynamic. 
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9. Lincoln Capri (1952–1959): The spin-off

Originally the premium trim level for the Lincoln Cosmopolitan, the Capri became its own model in 1952 and served as the company’s flagship luxury vehicle until 1956. In its first year, the Capri sold over 14,000 units. In its second year, it sold over 26,000.
The Capri sported a 5.2-liter Lincoln Y-block V-8 engine and was available in two-door coupe, two-door convertible, and four-door sedan variations. The Capri was one of the first-ever vehicles to offer an automatic headlight dimmer.
Not only was the Capri luxurious, but it could move, too. From 1952 to 1954, the Capri competed in the Carrera Panamericana, a five-day rally race that runs from Mexico’s northern border to its southern border with Guatemala. Lincoln Capris won the top four places in both the 1952 and 1953 races.
MORE: The most iconic Lincoln cars of all time

8. Lincoln Versailles (1977–1980): The little Lincoln that could

The 1973 oil crisis caused many car buyers to second guess their gas-guzzling ways. In the years that followed, demand for compact economy cars grew while the appetite for luxury cars waned. In response, luxury car makers began to introduce mid-size luxury brands—the Versailles was Lincoln’s offering.
The Versailles offered power leather seats, power windows, a lighted passenger vanity mirror, and rear-seat map pockets—to encourage back-seat drivers of course. The Versailles was also the first North American vehicle to offer clear coat paint and halogen headlamps.
Despite its reduced size, the Versailles was the most expensive Lincoln in the fleet at the time. Meant to compete with the
Seville, the Versailles only sold about 50,000 units in its three years. Meanwhile, the first generation Seville sold 50,000 units in each of its final two years.
Being a luxury car in a gas crisis is an unenviable position to be in, and for that, we tip our hat to the Lincoln Versailles and give it the number eight spot on our list of Lincoln greats.

7. Lincoln LS (2000–2006): The new generation

Lincoln LS
is the newest vehicle to make this list of Lincoln greats. When Lincoln introduced the LS in 2000, they had set out to attract a new generation of luxury car buyers. To achieve that end, they built the LS as a blend of luxury and sport. 
Leather seating was standard inside the LS, as were power windows, power door locks, and keyless entry. Underneath, the LS was fitted with an independent double-wishbone suspension, 3.0-liter V-6 Jaguar engine, and five-speed automatic Ford SelectShift transmission.
The LS won Motortrend’s “Car of the Year” award for the year 2000. In all, Lincoln would sell 262,900 units of the LS in its full six-year run, before putting it out to pasture in 2007.

6. Lincoln Model K (1931–1940): The quintessential classic

The Model K is probably what you picture when you think of 1930s gangsters fleeing the scene of a bank robbery. This car is the quintessential classic car. It’s got it all: wide running boards, side-mounted spare tire, and bug-eyed headlamps.
The Model K was the first car in the Lincoln lineup to offer a V-12 engine, and buyers could opt for a completely custom-built body. The pick of the litter was the 1932 Lincoln KB Lebaron Convertible Roadster which retailed for about $5,150$98,000 in today’s currency. The Roadster is worth considerably more than that, though, and collectors can expect to pay upwards of $270,000 for one.
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5. Lincoln Mark III (1968–1971): The savior

By the 1960s, Lincoln-Mercury was hemorrhaging money. In 1965, in a bid to right the ship, Vice President of the Ford car and truck group Lee Iacocca instructed designers to “put a Rolls-Royce grille on a Thunderbird”. The result was the 1968 Lincoln Mark III.
Not only did the Mark III do well in sales, it outsold its main competitor, the
Cadillac Eldorado
, and turned Lincoln into the darling of the Ford Motor Company.

4. Lincoln Town Car (1981–2011): The embodiment of luxury

Lincoln Town Car
holds the record for the longest production run of any Ford-built vehicle. For 30 straight years, the Lincoln Town Car was the embodiment of American class and luxury, serving as the most-used limousine in the United States.
If you’ve ever seen a celebrity step out of a limo onto the red carpet, chances are they were stepping out of a Lincoln Town Car. Every wedding, every funeral, every prom—if there was a limo there, it was probably a Town Car. That’s how good these cars were.

3. Lincoln Model L (1920–1930): The first Presidential Limo

The Model L was the first Lincoln vehicle to roll off the line, marking the beginning of Ford’s luxury wing. Unlike its rivals, Lincoln didn’t really change much about the Model L from year to year. Instead, Lincoln understood that its customers valued the personalized luxury of coachbuilt vehicles, rather than yearly style changes.
Lincoln rose to prominence rapidly, and in just four years of car-making, the Model L became the very first official state limousine for the President of the United States

2. Lincoln Zephyr (1936–1942): The dark horse

Originally intended as a low-end entry-level Lincoln brand, the
was an unexpected hit. Appropriately, the Zephyr—meaning “gentle breeze”—featured a bold aerodynamic design, 3-speed manual transmission, and a 4.4 V-12 engine.
Features were limited on the Zephyr, boiling down to an optional electric clock, leather upholstery, and available matching luggage set from Louis Vuitton.
Lincoln took a big risk with the design of the Zephyr. Shortly before its introduction,
had fallen flat on its face with a similarly aerodynamic offering called the Airflow. But, the risk paid off, and the Zephyr accounted for 80% of Lincoln’s sales in its first year.

1. Lincoln Continental (1940–2020): The G.O.A.T.

With 10 generations produced in nine different decades and 54 model years, the
Lincoln Continental
is without a doubt the greatest Lincoln of all time.
The Continental was originally designed as a one-off vacation vehicle for Ford Motor Company President, Edsel Ford. Ford received so many compliments from his rich buddies that he decided then and there to put the Continental into production.
The 1961 Lincoln Continental is often thought to be the best version in the Continental’s 80-year history. Following disastrous years from 1958 to 1960, Lincoln streamlined its fleet with all models replaced by the Continental. To right the ship, Ford re-upped its commitment to engineering and craftsmanship, and the ‘61 Continental’s designers were awarded a bronze medal by the Industrial Design Institute of New York and Car Life’s Engineering Excellence Award.

Honorable Mention

Even though it didn’t make our top ten list, honorable mentions go to the 1956 Continental Mark II. The Mark II was filled with standard power equipment and when it hit showrooms it was the most expensive car sold by an American automaker, weighing in at $10,000 (almost $100,000 today). 

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