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Automobiles from 1930 > Extra about cars in 1930

Traditionally associated with high-priced luxury, the Ford-owned Lincoln marque offered buyers its least-expensive model to date with the 1936 Zephyr. Featuring Lincoln’s first unibody construction-in all-steel-and powered by a new V12 engine, the Zephyr thrilled with its daring, sleek design. Launched at the 1936 New York Auto Show, the Zephyr became one of the marque’s best-selling cars of the 1930s and proved that streamlining was the future.
AERODYNAMIC STYLING may not have paid off for Chrysler in 1934 with its radical Airflow range, but that didn’t prevent Ford from introducing its own sleek model two years later. Though a risky venture, the Lincoln-Zephyr was underpinned by a smart marketing move-offering cut-price luxury at a time when other top-end manufacturers were going to the wall. Initially available as a two-door fastback sedan or four-door sedan coupe, this three-window coupe and a convertible coupe were added to the range in 1937. World War II put car production on hold until 1942.
When the model returned in 1946, the Zephyr name was dropped, but the car continued for two more glorious years under the Lincoln banner. The sweeping, teardrop lines of the Zephyr were in marked contrast to offerings from other contemporary luxury manufacturers such as Cadillac and Packard, and would influence the direction their future ranges would take. Within Lincoln, the model provided the blueprint for one of America’s most seminal automobiles, the first-generation Continental from 1939 to 1948.

Lincoln-Zephyr (1936)

Model  Lincoln-Zephyr (1936)
Assembly  Detroit, USA
Production  29,997 (1937)
Construction  Steel unibody (monocoque)
Engine  267 cu in (4,378 cc), V12
Power 110 bhp
Transmission  Three-speed manual
Suspension   Front and rear transverse-leaf springs
Brakes  Drums front and rear
Maximum speed  90 mph (145 km/h)

Lincoln-Zephyr front view
Lincoln-Zephyr rear view

Road presence

Dominated by its distinctive grille and dramatic, sweeping curves, the front of the Lincoln-Zephyr oozed Art Deco panache.
The model was originally conceived by John Tjaarda of the Briggs Manufacturing Company that had supplied Ford and other car makers with bodies for several years.
The Zephyr’s front end was then reworked by Edsel Ford and in-house designer Eugene “Bob” Gregorie.

Lincoln-Zephyr specification
Lincoln-Zephyr logo
Lincoln-Zephyr logo from 1934

Rail to road
The Zephyr model name came from a futuristically styled, steel-bodied diesel locomotive called the Pioneer Zephyr.
It operated from 1934 and set several speed records during its time spent promoting rail travel in the United States.
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