Lincoln Capri (1952-1959): The third generation was the longest running Lincoln

Lincoln Capri (1952-1959): The third generation was the longest running Lincoln

Three generations of Lincoln Capri luxury sedans were powered by V8s with a displacement of 5.2 to 7 liters. The 1958 Capri sedan was 5,817 mm long.

The 1950s are among the most important and frequently cited in American automotive history. Three generations of Capri models were produced by the Lincoln division of the Ford Motor Company during this time. Capri was named after an Italian island in the Bay of Naples. In 1952, the Capri became an independent model line and ranked among the first models of the Lincoln brand. Following the introduction of the Lincoln Premiere and Continental brands in 1956, the Capri replaced the Cosmopolitan models.

The design of the first two generations of the Capri model was overseen by William Schmidt, who began working at Ford in 1940 and went through stylistic studies for the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands. His first task was to redesign the front of the Lincoln models of 1950 and 1951. The third generation of Capri models was designed by John Najjar (1918-2011). He worked for Ford for over 40 years, and his lesser-known works included the design of the first prototype Ford Mustang. In the 1950s, car design was hit by a wave of fashion caused by the Space Race and advances in rocket technology.

First generation (1952-55)

The first generation Lincoln Capri was launched in the 1952 model year, and its rivals in the US market were the Cadillac Series 62, Chrysler New Yorker and Packard Patrician. The Capri did very well, selling 14,342 in its first release and nearly twice as many in the 1953 model year (26,640). The Cosmopolitan style easily surpassed its “stable companion” in sales. The model range included a four-door sedan with a wheelbase of 3,124 mm and dimensions of 5,438 x 1,968 x 1,593 mm (LxWxH), a two-door hardtop coupe (pictured) and a convertible. Typical of the 1952 and 1953 models were angled side vents with a horizontal ridge from the front wheel arches to the rear bumper. The front was dominated by a large chrome bumper and large vertical members that housed the headlights. Later, navel-shaped protrusions appeared on the bumper. On the front bumper, the Capri had a narrow space that fed air to the radiator. The combined rear lights were mounted vertically on the rear fenders and connected to the rear bumper.

Above the front bumper, the 1952 Capri had a narrow slot that fed air to the radiator.

The Lincoln Capri was powered by a new eight-cylinder Lincoln Y-block fork with a 90-degree cylinder opening angle, OHV transmission and displacement of 5,204 cc.3. The engine had a maximum power of 163 hp (120 kW) at 3,900 rpm and a torque of 385 Nm was transmitted to the rear wheels via a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Capri 1952 weighing 1,960 kg reached a speed of up to 158 km / h. The cost of the convertible is 3,665 US dollars, which was a price comparable to the competition.

In the 1953 model year, almost nothing changed, except that all models had hub-shaped protrusions on the front bumper. The year 1954 brought a simplification of the front bumper (its upper part no longer had a break in the middle) and the decorative pieces on the sides also changed. In 1954, Lincoln achieved a record number of Capri cars sold (29,552 units). For the 1955 model year, the Capri received a new 5.6 liter V8 engine with increased compression and a peak output of 228 hp (168 kW). The Ford Turbo-Drive automatic transmission was a three-speed. Three body versions continued to be offered: hardtop coupé, cabriolet (photo) and sedan. The most important stylistic change for the 1955 models was the replacement of the narrow chrome headlight frames with wider frames in the car’s color. The first generation Capri cars were among the first to offer automatic headlights. In 1955, 23,673 Capris were sold, which was 87% of all Lincoln cars sold.

The 1953 Lincoln Capri Special Custom Convertible had hubcaps on the bumper.

Second Generation (1956-57)

A major facelift of the Lincoln Capri took place in the 1956 model year, when the second generation was introduced (photo). The Capri’s wheelbase has increased to 3,200 mm (126 inches) and exterior dimensions to 5,659 x 2,029 x 1,529 mm (LxWxH). The new bumper on the redesigned nose had integrated auxiliary lights and the main headlights were placed under a large roof at the end of the front fenders. A new feature was a paneled front window and rear fenders with vertically mounted taillights. The sides were decorated with a molding along the entire length of the car and large areas of chrome above the covered rear wheels. Bill Schmidt was inspired by the Lincoln Futura concept he designed with John Najjar in 1955.

The 1956 Lincoln Capri had a 3,200 mm wheelbase and exterior dimensions of 5,659 x 2,029 x 1,529 mm (LxWxH).

The 1956 Lincoln Capri was powered by a six-liter Lincoln Y-Block V8 engine with a peak output of 278 hp (205 kW). The sedan weighing 2,040 kg reached a top speed of 185 km / h with it and accelerated from 0 to 100 km / h in 10.3 s. Novelty was a 12 volt electrical system capable of covering the use of various additional equipment. , such as electric adjustment of all seats.

Lincoln Capri 1956 became the base model of the brand, and the top level was represented by the new Premiere model introduced, based on Capri. There was a choice of two-door hardtop, four-door hardtop and sedan. The converter was discontinued. Sales dropped in 1956 to just 8,791 units. One of the reasons was the high price, the hardtop coupe costs, for example, $4,119.

The 1957 model year brought changes to the design with two vertically arranged headlights and raised rear fenders with distinctive fins mounted on top and large tail lights. The V8 engine received a new camshaft and the compression ratio increased to 10: 1. Thanks to this, the output increased to 300 hp (221 kW) and torque to 563 Nm. But it did not help to improve the sales results, only 5,900 cars were sold.

The Third Generation (1958-59)

The third-generation Lincoln Capri models were the first cars produced at the Wixom (Michigan) plant and were the largest cars with an independent body. The 1958 and 1959 Lincoln Capris were among the largest passenger cars ever made, surpassing the Cadillacs and Imperials of the time. With a wheelbase of 3,327 mm, they reached a height of 5,817 mm and were historically the longest Lincolns without “five mile” bumpers. A width of 2,035 mm and a length of 1,435 mm were among the standard dimensions for American supercars of the time. With their twin slanted headlights and unusual side moldings (pictured), they had a style that many saw as superficial. Designer John Najjar designed for the sedan and hardtop (two-door and four-door) a wide grille that extends to the headlights, front and rear window panels and wide C-pillars. With an interior width of 1.6 meters at elbow height, became the owner of the record among Lincoln cars. Extras include a heater and defroster, AM and FM radio, and seat belts.

The 1958 Lincoln Capri had a wheelbase of 3,327 mm and a length of 5,817 mm.

Under the front hood with three ridges was the new Ford MEL series eight cylinder with a displacement of 7.044 cc.3 (430 cubic inches) and a maximum power of 380 horsepower (280 kW). He allowed the car with a three-speed Turbo-Drive straight from Borg Warner, drum brakes and a weight of 2,290 kg to reach a speed of 209 km/h and accelerate to 100 km/h in 8.6 s.

Sales in 1958 totaled 6,859, with less than half of them being Landau sedans. Development costs cost Lincoln more than $60 million, which was not covered by sales affected by the recession in the United States. In 1959, sales of the Lincoln Capri increased to 7,929 units, but it was still decided that the Capri would not continue. From 1961, it was replaced by the fourth generation Lincoln Continental.