The Lincoln Cosmopolitan is a full-size luxury car that was sold by Lincoln from the 1949 through the 1954 model year. This exhibit comes from The Salvador Claret Automobile Collection.

All Lincolns were manufactured at Lincoln Assembly, Dearborn, Michigan, while some were sent in “knock-down kits” to regional factories at Maywood Assembly, Maywood, California or St. Louis Assembly, St.Louis, Missouri, and assembled locally.

First generation (1949-1951)

In 1949, Lincoln introduced its first postwar bodies (the first product lines of the combined Lincoln-Mercury Division); a Mercury Eight-based standard Lincoln and a larger “senior” Lincoln Cosmopolitan utilizing an exclusive body and wheelbase.

The two Lincolns were the result of a last-minute revision to Fords original postwar plans for small (Ford), medium (Ford-based Mercury) and large (Lincoln) car variants. When it was decided that the 1949 Ford would be an entirely new, smaller vehicle the originally planned Ford would become the new Mercury, the somewhat longer originally planned Mercury would become the “junior” Lincoln and the originally planned Lincoln would become the “senior” Lincoln Cosmopolitan.

In a departure from previous Lincoln vehicles, the bodywork featured no running boards, with the fenders and doors enclosed together; the Lincolns featured headlights and taillights recessed (“frenched”) into the bodywork. At the time, the styling was referred to as a pontoon design. Using a feature that would later appear in the later Lincoln Continental sedan, all Lincoln-Mercury four-door sedans featured rear-hinged suicide doors. Alongside the four-door, the Cosmopolitan was sold as a two-door (in standard and Capri trim) and two-door convertible.

There was also a four-door fastback sedan body style (marketed as the Cosmopolitan Town Sedan), but fastbacks rapidly went out of style after WWII and after only 7302 Town Sedans were ordered, the model did not return for 1950. Although Lincoln moved 73,507 total cars for the 1949 model year, 1950 production totaled only 28,150, a nearly 60% drop.

The retail price for the convertible was US$3,948 ($48,558 in 2022 dollars).

Sharing its engine with the Ford heavy truck line, the Lincoln and the Lincoln Cosmopolitan were powered by a 337 cubic-inch Ford Flathead V8, becoming the first Lincoln powered by a V8 engine. Ford did not have a full automatic transmission yet, although an experimental automatic known as Liquamatic had been tested in 1941.

An attempt to purchase Packard’s Ultramatic transmission was unsuccessful as Packard could not supply the transmissions in sufficient quantities, so Ford instead purchased GM Hydramatics. Although Ford and Mercury would gain automatics for 1951, Lincoln continued using the Hydramatic until 1955. The 1951 model year saw the last Lincolns with manual transmissions until the 2000 Lincoln LS.

For the suspension, the chassis was given front coil springs.

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