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Model L Dietrich
Lincoln Motor Company entered the luxury automobile market in 1921 with the V8-powered Model L.
Henry Leland founded Lincoln in the wake of an acrimonious departure from Cadillac, thanks largely to conflicts with GM founder Billy Durant. As the first model to come from this new marque, the Lincoln Model L boasted a compact yet powerful 60-degree V8 with fork-and-blade connecting rods and full-pressure lubrication, set in a robust chassis that was widely praised for its excellent handling and ride quality.
Early models were criticized for their somewhat dull styling despite superior engineering, and sales struggled to get off the ground. In 1922, Henry Ford acquired the Lincoln Motor Company, which was as much a business decision as an act of vengeance against his arch-enemy Henry Leland. Ford immediately installed his son Edsel at the helm who, unlike his pragmatic father, had a keen sense of style, making him the ideal person to run Ford’s new flagship. With Edsel’s input, the Lincoln range was restyled and could now be tailored to the individual buyer’s needs, with a bevy of custom coachwork options from LeBaron, Deitrich, Judkins, Willoughby, and others. Finally, the Model L had the style to match its superbly engineered underpinnings.
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