1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan
8-cyl. 336.7cid/154hp 2bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Ford Motor Company was struggling after World War II, with Chrysler Corporation having surpassed Ford’s overall sales as well as general disorder in the company. By 1949, though, this had mostly been sorted out.
The all-new 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan rode on a 125-inch wheelbase and cost anywhere from $3,186 to $3,948, but a smaller “Standard” Lincoln shared the Mercury body shell and had a shorter 121-inch wheelbase. It was priced from $2,527 to $3,116. Prices were broadly similar to Cadillac and Packard, the primary competition.
To replace the old trouble-prone 292 cubic inch V-12, Ford had to reach into their very limited engine resources to source a heavy-truck flathead V-8 engine that was redeveloped as the new Lincoln V-8 for 1949. The new V-8 in Lincoln tune produced 152 hp from 336.7 cubic inches. A Hydramatic automatic transmission, procured from archrival GM, was optional at extra cost, for the simple reason that Ford had not yet been able to develop an automatic transmission.
Body styles included coupe, Sport Sedan four-door, Town Sedan four-door and convertible coupe. Styling was right up to date and followed the fenderless trend set two years before by the semi-luxury Frazer and lower priced Kaiser. The rear doors on four-door cars were similar to the later 1961-69 cars in that they were hinged at the rear. All Cosmopolitans had rear fender skirts and one piece curved windshields.
For 1950 a new, more handsome grille found its way onto the Lincolns, and price increases of a dollar or two came about. Mid-year, a Capri two-door was introduced with thin pillars and a vinyl top for that hardtop convertible look that was so popular that year and in years to come.
The 1951 Cosmopolitans added full length side chrome trim and a revised grille, with a 2 hp increase in the engine. Prices actually dropped about $60. For 1952, all of the Lincoln cars were all-new from the ground up, and the Cosmopolitan line was demoted to the lower price range, with the Capri name used for the higher-priced cars. All Lincolns now shared a single body shell with 123-inch wheelbase, and featured an all-new overhead valve Y-Block V-8 engine of 317.5 cubic inches, good for up to 160 hp. The Hydramatic continued to be optional. Body styles included sport hardtop coupe and four-door sedan, which now had front hinges on the rear doors.
The 1953 Cosmopolitan line was virtually the same, but horsepower was increased to 205. The 1954 cars were nearly the same again, with 1955 cars having a revised grille and a bore increase in the engine for 341 cubic inches and 225 hp. In fact, the 1955 cars were actually marketed not as the Lincoln Cosmopolitan, but a one-year-only appellation was utilized for the lower priced series: “Custom”.
Prior Lincoln owners or folks moving up-market from Mercury were the typical buyers for the Cosmopolitan. Although it certainly wasn’t a sporty car, the Cosmopolitan was robust and the model actually made a very strong showing, including class wins, at the early runnings of the grueling Carrera Panamericana road race in Mexico.