The brand's name comes from Abraham Lincoln, for whom Leland had voted in 1864. The company began as a Liberty aircraft engine manufacturer during the first World War and their ties with Ford were immediate, as the cylinders for those engines came from Ford. In 1922, Ford purchased Lincoln, but the brand operated independently into the early 1940s. The brand's first truly popular vehicle appeared at this time as the Lincoln-Zephy and the Continental in 1940.
Although the brand has had its ups and downs over the past century, it has largely remained steadfast in its popularity. When the Lincoln Town Car was introduced in 1989 as a new-generation, it broke all Lincoln sales records and the company saw its best year ever in 1990 with nearly 232,000 units sold. Incidentally, that was also the last year that a Lincoln was used as a presidential limousine, with that modified 1989 Lincoln Town Car limousine being currently on display in the George Bush Presidential Library.
Currently, the Lincoln brand sells about 100,000 vehicles annually. Lincoln's chief competitor is General Motors' Cadillac division. Lincoln markets two sedans, three crossovers, two sport utility vehicles, and two limousines in the U.S. Many of the brand's historic vehicles are prized collectibles as show cars and weekend drivers.