Here’s an entertaining and educational little video history of Lincoln, one of the oldest and most distinguished names in the Motor City.
Ford’s Lincoln brand has been marketed and managed under a number of different divisional titles over the years, but when in 2012 the name was changed back to the original—the Lincoln Motor Company—it gave us a smile. Note the name: Motor Company. When Henry and Wilfred Leland founded the company in 1917, it was to build Liberty V12 aircraft engines for the American war effort. Cars for the consumer market would come a few years later. Personally, we think the whole retro-tradition trend in automotive marketing has been overdone, but here the tribute is fitting. Lincoln has a long, proud history, as this brief historical video demonstrates.
Produced for Ford in the early ’90s, the video has a number of nice moments, but our favorites are those that include some wonderful home movie footage of Edsel Ford and family. The only son of Henry Ford and the father of Henry Ford II, Edsel died in 1943 at the age of only 49. But more than any other single person, he was responsible for the survival and success of Lincoln—and he was also the creative force behind one of America’s most distinctive cars, the Lincoln Continental. Edsel Ford is as essential to the story of Lincoln as the company’s founders, Henry and Wilfred Leland, and it’s wonderful to have this rare personal glimpse of him here. Video below.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.
Mercury’s XM-Turnpike Cruiser may have been a flop, but it was an influential one, foreshadowing the division’s 1957-1959 production cars. Let’s circle back for a second look.
Originally called the Mandalay, the XM-Turnpike Cruiser was conceived in the spring of 1954 by John Najjar and staff in the Lincoln-Mercury advanced design studios. There, the flamboyant design caught the eye of executive Francis “Jack” Reith, one of the original Ford whiz kids and a rising star in the company poised to become head of the Mercury brand. With backing from Reith and others, the Cruiser became reality, with a single prototype constructed by Ghia of Italy at a reported cost of $80,000. In the meantime, plans were also laid to produce a production version of the Cruiser for the 1957 model year.
The Cruiser was loaded full of novel features, including transparent roof panels that raised and lowered with the doors via electric actuators. The rear window could also be operated electrically, a handy gimmick that would later appear on Mercury production cars. Four torpedo-like nacelles in the dash housed the speedo, tach, and engine instruments, while the four bucket seats were upholstered in contrasting two-tone leather.
“XM-Turnpike Cruiser is not merely a ‘dream’ car,” Mercury boasted. “It is a full-scale, fully operative automotive styling laboratory.” The working drivetrain included a 312 CID Y-Block V8 with twin four-barrel carburetors and a Merc-O-Matic transmission. The dual exhausts exited through racy rear fender outlets, and overall height was only 52.4 inches, nearly five inches shorter than a production model. The XM stood for “experimental Mercury,” one may safely guess.
To transport the Cruiser to its appearances, Mercury created the custom semi rig above with a see-through trailer pulled by a snub-nose Ford tractor (wearing Mercury badges, perhaps). The showboat made its debut at the ’56 Chicago Auto Show, then did a full circuit of auto show and dealership events over the year. With opening sides and an extending floor, the trailer reportedly doubled as a stage at open-air showings.
In the photo below, a pair of models with a passing resemblance to Doris Day and Audrey Hepburn try out the Cruiser’s roomy trunk. The spacy, far-out design was well-received on the car show circuit, and much of its look was applied to the 1957-59 Mercury production cars. (That included the distinctive tail lamps, though in considerably smaller form.) There, the styling was less of a hit, and the production Turnpike Cruiser, a gadget-laden premium model slotted in at the top of the Mercury line, was not a great seller, either. It sold well below expectations and lasted only two model years.
As sales stumbled, Reith was moved from general manager of the Mercury division to head of Ford of Canada. Rejecting the apparent demotion, the former whiz kid moved on to lead AVCO’s Crosley electronics division. The XM-Turnpike Cruiser show car is still in existence, though in rough shape at last report, and currently resides in California awaiting restoration.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage
Photos courtesy Doug Pray.
Not long after Glenn Pray started building his fiberglass-bodied Auburn 866 boattail speedsters, dozens of companies around the country copied the design with their own fiberglass replicas. However, Pray’s son, Doug, maintains his father’s cars had a special provenance because they had the stamp of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg company on them, the same provenance he intends his steel-bodied third-generation speedsters to benefit from.
“This will be an Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg factory upgrade of original cars,” Doug Pray said, referencing the company he inherited from his father, who in turn resurrected it from the ashes of E.L. Cord’s original Auburn, Indiana-based company when he bought its inventory in 1960 and moved it all to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. “You could say it’s a factory re-body, but it’s way more than that.”
Pray’s plans, suggested by former Broken Arrow Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg factory worker Dale Adams, start with original 1935 Auburn frames, around which he will build and trim new speedster bodies according to the original Gordon Buehrig design using some of the 30,000 pounds of NOS parts still in Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg’s inventory. “What we don’t have, we’ll make new,” he said.
The drivetrains, however, will start with original Lycoming 279.9-cu.in. straight-eight blocks and Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal superchargers but go on to incorporate a host of changes, including newly cast heads redesigned to increase the compression ratio from its stock 6.2:1, new aluminum pistons and connecting rods, a redesigned camshaft, and a redesigned impeller for the supercharger intended to increase boost from 3.5 pounds to 13.5 pounds. With all of those changes, Pray anticipates an output bump from the original 150 horsepower to about 250 horsepower.
While the 150hp supercharged eight-cylinders were good for 100 MPH in the original speedsters, Pray said he intends the new 250hp versions not only to be good for 100 MPH but also to “feel like a modern car in traffic.”
He said he and Adams, who is engineering the changes for Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg, have yet to agree on a transmission to back the upgraded engines, but either way it will have a modern overdrive package. As for the remainder of the chassis, it will largely retain the 1935 specifications. “The original drivetrain will hold up, it was built heavy duty,” Pray said. “It would be good to upgrade to discs, but we can’t hide those, so we will upgrade the drum brakes.”
Ultimately, Pray said, he intends the finished cars to be concours-worthy, with all of its upgrades hidden.
To avoid any confusion with the 115 Auburn-built speedsters, Pray said he will append a G3 – for third-generation – to the cars’ original frame and serial numbers.
“We’re not going to be claiming they’re original, which I think is the big complaint a lot of people have about rebodied Full Classics,” he said. “So far I haven’t heard of any pushback to our plans.”
The G3 designation also pays homage to his father’s Auburn 866 boattail speedster. As Josh Malks wrote in “Glenn Pray: The Man Who Brought Legends to Life,” the Auburn project grew out of Glenn Pray’s disappointment over his split from the company he created to build the Cord 8/10. After taking molds from an original 1935 Auburn 851 speedster, Glenn Pray built 138 fiberglass speedsters atop modified Ford Galaxie chassis from 1966 to 1981.
A Glenn Pray auburn 866 (maroon) in an Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg photograph comparing it to an original 1935 Auburn 851.
“Although no one recognized it then, Glenn Pray had kicked off the replica car industry,” Malks wrote. “Over the coming decades, creating new cars that looked like old ones would become a huge business and a popular hobby.”
However, Pray preferred the term “second generation” rather than replica car, as does his son.
“When I took the company over after dad died, I went from revitalizing the parts business to rebuilding engines and restoration, and now with production, I’m going full circle, I’m doing everything my dad did,” Doug Pray said.
As for the Auburn trademarks, which the elder Pray sold off in 2005 for $500,000, Doug Pray said the buyer licensed the name back to Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg, but even without such a licensing agreement, he sees no problem to simply selling an Auburn boattail speedster based on an original Auburn frame with an original Auburn serial number.
“It was an Auburn when it was born, and it’s still an Auburn,” he said.
Pray said he anticipates selling a half-dozen of the cars for $750,000 each, a relative bargain given some recent seven-figure selling prices for original 851 speedsters. While he has floated the possibility of having the first finished car at this year’s Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival over Labor Day weekend, he said he has a few other cars to finish before then as well.
For more information about the G3 Auburn boattail speedsters, visit ACDfactory.com.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Daniel Strohl.