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It was the last American car with a V12 engine.
His career on takeoff was interrupted by the war, and even after it, the first generation Lincoln Continental was released for a short time. It was the last American car with a V12 engine.
No, I'm not going to town! Constantly calculating the trajectory, trying on the bizarre bends of a huge body to the modern traffic whirlpool? And to turn around somewhere in a tight parking lot? It is enough to think about the long tail, and you do not want to do this at all.
After all, such a convertible could well live not only in the shadow of skyscrapers - in the country of Theodore Dreiser, but also in the provincial America of William Faulkner and Robert Warren. So we'll ride along quiet paths - say, somewhere west of Indiana. Just first turn the handle of the massive sparkling receiver. What is it? Well, of course, the melody from "Sun Valley Serenade" …
WIDE, DEEP, LONG
The only flat surfaces in the Lincoln seem to be the cylinder heads and blocks. Everything else is curved according to the patterns of the imagination of Detroit stylists. The team of Continental creators was led, by the way, by Eugen T. Gregory (just Bob for friends), a friend of Edsel Ford himself, the son of the automobile king and the ideological mastermind of the Continental. The gray tarpaulin roof of a huge car, shining in noble black and elegantly shiny (chrome would be enough for the heels of European small cars), looks somehow naive. Down with her! Two simple fasteners at the windshield and … no muscular effort! On the dashboard - round timber. To remove the roof, it is pulled out, folded - pressed. It is logical! Only first you need to start the engine: a hydraulic roof raiser, like power windows, is an energy-consuming device. Under the long hood, the engine slowly hums, somewhere in the bowels of the body the drive rumbles - the roof slowly lay down between the rear sofa and the trunk.
True, sometimes, having suspended the process, it is required to correct it by hand. But, you see, this is not at all burdensome. It remains to move the automatic transmission selector. The handle has only three positions: neutral, forward and backward, no parking. Forgetting to put the car on the handbrake risked finding it somewhere under the hill … To move a huge car, you need to press the pedal quite deeply, but also with caution. It is worth inaccurately pressing it closer to the floor, and the car, roaring powerfully, shows agility, surprising for its image. Of course, in comparison with some of the current cars "Lincoln" - a slow lump, but other contemporaries will do without stress. And how did they ride such dreadnoughts in their Chicago and New York? To get into the gates of the farm is scary the first time! No, this is where the Lincoln Continental is in its element!
Confidently, but not in a hurry, the car sails imposingly under the bright and warm sun, announcing the patriarchal surroundings with the quiet rumbling of a dozen cylinders and the melody of Glenn Miller's orchestra. Behind there is not only road dust, but all the problems … The behavior of the convertible is also conducive to calmness. A car with a huge base and long rear springs ignores all and all kinds of irregularities. And the driver is also isolated from the road by a giant leather sofa. By the way, it is not a shame to put such a successful lawyer or doctor in the office. In addition to the sun, the heart is warmed by the inscription on the huge reddish, almost transparent steering wheel - Limcoln Twelve.
Twelve cylinders are every American's dream! More by 1940 was only on "Cadillacs", and after the war - on no other American car. Juggle that luxurious steering wheel? Nonsense! We are in America, where even on oval race tracks, handling is not the most demanded property. And the process of rocking the steering wheel in order to choose the backlash and feel the connection of the steering wheel with the wheels is even pleasant at low speeds - it creates a feeling of unity with the car. The Lincoln's brakes are not bad - better than you would expect from such a massive and elderly car, which slowly but very diligently drives me through the decades …
FROM PERL HARBOR TO THE THIRD MILLENNIUM
You can't think of a worse time to debut! The 1942 model year began in September 1941. True, while the States still lived a well-fed, cheerful life, which perfectly fit the updated Continental (the first version started in 1939) with a dozen cylinders with a total volume of 5 liters. How far from the belligerent Europe are the interests of the Americans! The Sun Valley Serenade was released, and a bas-relief of four presidents was unveiled on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. But the Japanese are already planning a raid on Pearl Harbor … The country has officially entered the war, the production of passenger cars has been curtailed. "Lincolns" by this time made only 336. The release was resumed in 1946.
Longing Americans gladly bought pre-war models, but the companies did not manage to hold out on them for long. New times came, new films and melodies appeared, technology also did not stand still. In 1946, when the Lincoln Continental became the official pace car at the Indy 500 (a very honorable role in the United States), IBM showed the first electric calculator … Ahead is the new golden age of the American automobile industry. Gasoline will still flow through the huge carburetors, like a saucepan for a large family. It will not be very soon, the designers will have to save on steel, chrome and leather.
But 12-cylinder engines will never be mass-produced in the USA. And the monumental, but smooth lines of the bodies will be replaced by aggressive aerospace stylistics. In 1948, the first generation Lincoln Continental changed the Cosmopolitan model (later the original name will be revived). A year earlier, a black convertible was born, with which you so do not want to part.
The car and I will linger a little longer between some small city and an even smaller, “proud to be on the map” town, sailing under the setting sun with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Photo: Georgy Sadkov.